The spin of this treat is taken from the  pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks which contains ingredients (taken straight from the bottle) such as sugar, condensed nonfat milk, sweetened condensed nonfat milk, annatto (E160b, colour), natural and artificial flavours, caramel colour (E 150d), salt, potassium sorbate (E202, a preservative).

Interestingly enough it contains no pumpkin.

It doesn’t take much research to find these ingredients aren’t real food. Please note when the word color is spelled colour it generally refers to the labeling of the product in another country where regulations are potentially more lenient, in this case the European Union.

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Annato (E160b, colour) Food colors are currently under the microscope leading manufacturers to seek out alternatives like annato. To read more click here.

Annatto in an orange-yellow color which comes from the Annatto tree, Bixa orellana, a tropical tree used in South America for healing. Healers take 8-10 leaves, boil them in water for 10 minutes then use them as a, “Wound healer, as a wash for skin infections, and for liver and stomach disorders. Curanderos (herbal healers) in the Peruvian Amazon squeeze the juice from the fresh leaves and place it in the eye for inflammation and eye infections, and they use the juice of 12 fruits taken twice daily for 5 days to ‘cure’ epilepsy,” according to rain-tree.com.  Annatto E160b, however, is not made from the leaves it is made from the red coating of the seed, encased in red pods from which they extract a vegetable dye.

The Australian Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics 1996:53(3):page 92 says, “Annatto is one of a number of food additives found to cause adverse reactions.”

Fedup.com reports, “The Food Intolerance Network has received many complaints about this additive, including headaches in adults and children, headbanging in young children, and irritability, restlessness, inattention and sleep disturbance in children and adults as well as the full range listed above plus arthritis. Reactions to annatto can occur the same day but are more likely to be delayed than reactions to artificial colours, and are therefore more difficult to identify.”

""“>Click here for more.

Natural and artificial flavours can be anything.They are always a conglomeration of chemical and synthetic sweeteners that involve shame in listing them on the label. If it was indeed naturally from nature they would list it that way, peacocking. Generally it includes MSG but it always includes some form of heightened chemical sweetener unidentifiable and un-absorbable by the body.

Caramel colour (E 150d) is defined in the Class IV Sulphite ammonia caramel by the European Food Safety Authority. Sethness, the company that makes caramel color says, “Class IV Caramel Colors are produced from carbohydrates that are heated in the presence of both sulfite and ammonium compounds, and carry a negative ionic charge.”

It is a colloid that also functions as an emulsifyer described by Feingold.org as, “sweeteners which are the monomers glucose and fructose or their polymers, e.g. glucose syrups, sucrose, invert syrups, and dextrose, generally in the presence of food-grade acids, alkalis and salts, in a process called caramelization. Antifoaming agents may be used as processing aids during it manufacture.”

Caramel colouring is known to contain wheat and does cause issues for many people with celiac disease.

Potassium sorbate (E202), is a preservative that is both GMO and/or genetically engineered.  The Food Intolerance Network fact-sheet says it causes, “Possible liver damage, behavioral problems. Linked to asthma. Avoid if kidney or heart problems.”

If you contact Starbucks their response is vague regarding allergies and sensitivities. They say, “Thank you for contacting Starbucks Coffee Company. What I can do is give you the ingredients of the syrups that go into the drinks you requested information on.” They do not give a list a allergens or sensitives, only the list of chemicals used in their syrups.

A barista named Jamie said, “Just a heads up…anything with caramel coloring in it….you can’t have. Also, you can’t have the whip cream at Starbucks because we put vanilla in our whip cream and that has caramel coloring in it.”


So the next step was adapting a recipe from my good friend the Real Food Maven made a pumpkin spice late out of real food, this fall treat is now something even us with Leaky Gut can enjoy!

Those following the GAPS diet should limit this treat as honey should be used sparingly and coffee should be brewed weak. You can adapt yours to use less honey and weaken the coffee to your liking.

To get the biggest punch out of your treat click here, it’s my secret ingredient that will increase your flavor seven-fold! You’ll never go back.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

130 calories vs 510 calories from Starbucks

Pumpkin Spice Latte

1 cup cooked pumpkin

1 cup home brewed kefir from real milk

2 tablespoons local honey

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup coffee (weak if you are on GAPS)

Blend together all ingredients until smooth and to temperature.

*If you learned something from this post share it so others can do the same. To support the efforts of this blog shop the affiliate links above like this one. You pay the same shopping through Amazon while the author receives a small referral fee from Amazon. This offsets the costs of this site.

*Nourishing Plot is written by Becky Plotner, ND, traditional naturopath, GAPS who sees clients in Rossville, Georgia. Since her son was delivered from the effects of autism (Asperger’s syndrome), ADHD, bipolar disorder/manic depression, hypoglycemia and dyslexia through food she continued her education specializing in Leaky Gut and parasitology through Duke University, finishing with distinction. This is not a news article published by a paper trying to make money. This blog is put out by a mom who sees first hand the effects of nourishing food vs food-ish items. No company pays her for writing these blogs, she considers this a form of missionary work. It is her desire to scream it from the rooftops so that others don’t suffer from the damaging effect of today’s “food”.

Other sources:









Probiotic Foods vs Commercial Probiotics

GAPS, Stage by Stage, With Recipes

Joyous Song, The Proverbs 31 Woman

The Fontainebleu Miami

Ocean Drive Guidebook

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