I am one of those people, the ones who want to totally hate on your pumpkin-spice whatever, but I’m also about promoting peace. It’s a conundrum!
It’s not that I object to the spices used in pumpkin pie – cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and clove. Who isn’t a fan, particularly in the Fall season?
What I object to is the people who start tweeting about it and posting about it on FB. They are so excited, they literally count down the days to its arrival. They are so obsessed, they post how many they’ve had in a day or a week, like it’s a competition. Old ladies and young girls alike, donning the official “pumpkin spice uniform” (aka yoga pants, which few actually wear for yoga) and driving their SUVs in caravans to the nearest Starbucks. Fewer ladies would sign up to see Channing Tatum strip! It’s like they’ve all become 12 year old girls crushing on the latest boy band. The Beatles were less popular.
It’s marketing genius.
The spices used in pumpkin pie, are the same spices one would find in apple pie, gingerbread men and Christmas fruit brick. They aren’t new. No one has discovered some amazing new health benefit or beauty secret to make it the latest fad. I understand the need to find delight in the little things, but it has become Xanax for seasonal anxiety.
It’s also all about nostalgia . The smell of these familiar spices make us feel warm and fuzzy, perhaps transporting us to a time in our lives where, as kids, we felt carefree and secure. Think Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma’s house, or snuggling under a blanket by a fire on Christmas Eve.
This year, I’m more annoyed than usual. This year, the pumpkin-spiced everything craze started in August. August, people!! I was still enjoying summer holidays. The kids weren’t in school yet. It was 40 degrees in the shade at 9 a.m. and Starbucks Barbie is lined up for her pumpkin spiced latte, tweeting to her friends that she made it there first! You’re not better than anyone because you drink a certain drink!
However, if she keeps consuming them like drugs, she could end up looking like a pumpkin herself. Let’s review:
A pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks is made with espresso, pumpkin, spices, steamed milk and sweetened whipped cream, in a paper cup. The standard order is a 16-oz. grande with 2% milk and whipped cream is 380 calories, 13g of fat (8 g saturated), and 12.25 tsp. of sugar. The American Heart Association recommendations 6 tsp. of sugar daily and men just 9 tsp. Sure you can substitute for skim or soy milk, skip the whipped cream, etc. but are you going to substitute? Really? Really? Don’t you deserve that limited edition, annual indulgence…
It also has carrageenan, a food additive made from seaweed and known to cause some inflammation and gastrointestinal issues. And it has mono- and diglycerides, a type of incomplete fat to bind the product and increase shelf life. Yummy!
Catherine Franssen, assistant professor of psychology and director of the neurostudies minor at Longwood University in Virginia, says it has addictive potential. She said, it’s “not quite the same neural mechanisms as drugs of abuse, but, certainly, the more you consume, the more you reinforce the behavior and want to consume more”.
Yesterday I saw a cartoon of a guy standing at the gas pump rolling his eyes. His gas options were Regular, Super, Pumpkin Spice. I feel your pain, man.
I realize the PSL is here to stay (yes, it has its own acronym . It even has its own Twitter and Instagram Accounts). But unlike Linus, I will not spend the year parked in a Pumpkin Patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin Spice whatever to appear. I’m not stepping into the cue – please enjoy quietly without me. I will savour the “flavours of the season” but not like this. I have decided my mind will not be controlled, my behaviour dictated, my body polluted, or my opinion swayed…by a beverage.