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My Favorite Healthy Gluten Free Junk Food Swaps

Updated: Mar 26

Lately, I've been diving into a new kind of experimentation—not with food, but with social media. It's no easy feat to stand out in the crowded digital landscape, but amidst my journey through various platforms, one has captured my attention like no other: Lemon8. Developed by ByteDance, the company behind TikTok, Lemon8 drew me in with its intriguing interface and promising potential.


Picture Lemon8 as a fusion of Pinterest and Instagram—primarily photo-centric but with the option to incorporate videos, akin to TikTok's endless scrolling feature. So, why is Lemon8 the focus of this blog post? Well, for the first time, I've experienced genuine growth in my audience, coupled with meaningful engagement. Previously, my social media endeavors felt like shouting into the void—some likes, a few messages, but nothing substantial to guide my content creation. However, Lemon8 changed that dynamic.


Lemon8 Performance overview encapsulating Vi's growth and engagement on this new social media platform.

Through Lemon8, I've finally tapped into what resonates with my niche audience: holistic health. It was a moment of realization one evening as I brainstormed another post idea, fueled by the unexpected success of a recent one. Sipping on an Olipop, I contemplated the allure of indulging in guilty pleasures—a necessary break from the routine of home-cooked meals. As someone who follows an 80/20 lifestyle—80% clean and holistic, 20% indulgence—I've found even my indulgences tend to lean towards healthier options due to my gluten allergy.


Consistent healthy eating alters your palate. Recently, I revisited a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup after years, only to find it sickeningly sweet, prompting me to reach for Trader Joe's "clean" peanut butter cups instead. This revelation, coupled with my experience, led to my first viral post on Lemon8: "My Favorite Healthy Junk Food Swaps." I posted it, went to bed, and woke up to over 1000 notifications—a surreal moment of validation.



Previously, I poured hours into meticulously crafting content, driven by my passion for design. While those posts did okay, I discovered that sometimes, hastily thrown-together content yields better results. This viral post was a testament to that—simply images from the internet on a gradient background. It highlighted a crucial lesson: your audience values substance over style. I had finally identified the need my audience had been seeking, and it paid off.


The succession of Vi's Healthy Junk Food Swap posts on Lemon8 and their thumbnails.

Subsequent posts, parts two and three, followed suit, performing exceptionally well. Attempts to cross-post this content on other platforms yielded little engagement. However, it prompted me to reevaluate my audience and their preferences. Rather than spreading myself thin across numerous platforms, I've decided to focus on the ones that matter most: Lemon8, YouTube, and this blog.


In essence, Lemon8 has not only provided a platform for growth but also a deeper understanding of my audience's needs and preferences. It's not just about chasing numbers; it's about connecting authentically and delivering value. And in that pursuit, Lemon8 has become an invaluable ally in my digital journey toward promoting holistic health.


Embracing Moderation:

In my journey as a certified holistic health coach, I've come to embrace the concept of moderation wholeheartedly. While I advocate for a predominantly wholesome and homemade diet, I also recognize the importance of allowing ourselves the occasional indulgence in our favorite junk foods. This is where the 80/20 rule comes into play – aiming to make 80% of our food choices nourishing and nutrient-dense, while reserving the remaining 20% for more indulgent treats.


Rocks balanced on top of each other beside the ocean with the text "Balance, the key to wellness" at the forefront.

Navigating Dietary Restrictions:

Living with a gluten allergy has posed its challenges, especially when it comes to enjoying traditional junk foods. However, through exploration and experimentation, I've discovered healthier alternatives that satisfy cravings without triggering adverse reactions. Whether it's gluten-free versions of classic snacks or innovative substitutes, there are options available to suit every dietary need.



Exploring Healthy Junk Food Swaps:

Let's take a closer look at some of the specific products I've reviewed:


1. Olipop:

With its array of delicious flavors like grape, orange, and root beer, Olipop offers a refreshing alternative to traditional sodas. Packed with prebiotics, these fizzy drinks not only satisfy soda cravings but also support gut health – a win-win for anyone looking to indulge without the guilt. To receive $15 off your first order of Olipop, click the image below!


An orange flavored Olipop with "15$ Off your first order" in the forefront.

2. Savory Cravings:


Lay's Potato Chips, Cape Cod Potato Chips, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Annie's Gluten Free Rice Pasta & Cheddar, Totino's Pizza Rolls and Caulipower Pizza Bites, Cheez It's and Simple Mills Farmhouse Cheddar Crackers


From sea salt potato chips to gluten-free mac and cheese, I've discovered substitutes that deliver on flavor without compromising dietary requirements. Brands like Cape Cod and Annie's offer delicious options for salty cravings, ensuring a satisfying snack experience without sacrificing health.


3. Satisfying Sweet Tooth:


Skittles and Yum Earth's Giggles, Froot Loops and Magic Spoon Cereal, Reese's and Justin's Peanut Butter Cups, Almond Joy and Unreal Chocolate Bars

Navigating the realm of sweets can be tricky, but brands like Enjoy Life offer allergen-conscious chocolate options, allowing for guilt-free indulgence in childhood favorites like Almond Joy. Their ricemilk chocolate bars and dark chocolate varieties provide a rich and satisfying treat without the worry of hidden allergens.


4. Finding Comfort in Familiar Flavors:

Discovering healthier versions of beloved snacks, such as peanut butter cups and fruity cereals, has been a game-changer. Trader Joe's dark chocolate peanut butter cups and Magic Spoon's Frooty cereal offer satisfying alternatives to traditional favorites, proving that healthier options can still deliver on taste and satisfaction.



5. Mindful Eating:

By choosing products like Kodiak gluten-free oat waffles and Yum Earth's giggles, I've been able to enjoy familiar flavors in a healthier way. These options not only satisfy cravings but also align with my health goals, allowing me to indulge without compromising my well-being.


In our journey towards holistic wellness, it's crucial to recognize the significance of balance in our dietary choices. While the term "junk food" often carries negative connotations, it's essential to understand that indulging in moderation can actually contribute to our overall well-being. As we've explored various alternatives and swaps for traditional junk foods, one theme remains constant: balance is key.



By adopting an 80/20 approach – where 80% of our diet consists of nourishing, whole foods and the remaining 20% is reserved for indulgences – we create a sustainable framework for healthy eating. This balance allows us to satisfy cravings, enjoy guilty pleasures, and still nourish our bodies with essential nutrients.


Through mindful choices and moderation, we not only satisfy our taste buds but also support our physical, mental, and emotional health. Denying ourselves the occasional treat can lead to feelings of deprivation and resentment, ultimately undermining our wellness efforts. Instead, by embracing balance, we cultivate a healthier relationship with food and ourselves.


An assortment of foods around a small chalkboard with the words "Balanced Diet" written across.

It's okay to enjoy that slice of pizza, indulge in a piece of chocolate, or savor your favorite salty snack – as long as it's done in moderation. By listening to our bodies, honoring our cravings, and making conscious choices, we can find harmony in every aspect of our lives.

So, let's celebrate the joy of indulgence while prioritizing our well-being. Whether it's sipping on an Olipop, munching on gluten-free crackers,  or treating ourselves to a dark chocolate peanut butter cup, let's remember that balance is not only attainable but essential for holistic wellness.


In the end, it's not about perfection but about finding what works for us individually. So, here's to embracing balance, enjoying life's pleasures, and nourishing our bodies, minds, and souls along the way.


Cheers to a life of wellness, moderation, and endless joy!



Vi <3







More of a visual learner? Watch my video summarizing this blog post!









*Please note that some of the links in this blog post are affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you choose to make a purchase through these links. I want to assure you that I only recommend products or services that I believe in and that align with the values of my holistic wellness blog. Your support through these affiliate links helps me continue to provide valuable content. Thank you for your trust and readership.


**The views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any entity mentioned herein. Any content provided in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as professional advice.


The author makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this post and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use.


All brands mentioned in this post are the property of their respective owners. The inclusion of these brands in this post does not imply endorsement or affiliation. The author does not intend to slander, defame, or disparage any brand, product, or service mentioned herein.


Readers are encouraged to conduct their own research and seek professional advice before making any decisions based on the information provided in this post.


Vi is a certified Holistic Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. The opinions and thoughts of this post in no way represent IIN or its affiliate programs. VHARMON's opinions and suggestions are not to be taken as medical advice. You should always discuss any health issues with your doctor. Stock Images provided by Canva.

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