It used to be that the fall season was heralded by back to school sales, some lovely apples, and the changing of the leaves. Now I know that winter is coming when I see my first Instagram photo of a pumpkin spice latte. Within hours, the internet becomes full of Pumpkin Spice Everything and I’m already pumpkin’ed out before I ever even see one in the grocery store.
I have no beef whatsoever with Pumpkin Spice, AKA Pumpkin Pie Spice, and yet one blogger has tried to earn 5 minutes of fame ala yoga bread by commenting about toxic chemicals in Pumpkin Spice Lattes. So we’re going to play a game–Pumpkin Spice: will it kill you?
No. No it won’t. Okay, this is a crappy game.
Pumpkin spice–which contains no actual pumpkin, by the way–is a seasoning blend: ground ginger, ground allspice, ground nutmeg, and ground cinnamon. Occasionally it contains cloves too, but some people are wishy washy on them cause cloves are strong. Me, I love cloves, but I prefer to have total control over adding them to something, so I usually leave them out of the blend and add them later.
A pumpkin spice latte, if it’s a latte in the proper sense of the word, is espresso, steamed milk, and said herb blend… and probably with a hefty dose of sugar. Sugar is, of course, not so good for you, but “toxic” is a matter of interpretation and scale. Water is toxic to you in sufficient quantity (hyponatremia), and coffee contains many form of chemicals, some helpful, some that can be considered carcinogenic, but in quantities that would cause you to die of hyponatremia before you got cancer.
So are there good things about it? Sure. Cinnamon may or may not help lower blood sugar levels and reduce insulin sensitivity; ginger, as I’ve mentioned previously, can be helpful for aches and pains; and nutmeg actually has anti-fungal properties. And if there’s a pick-me-up for your mental state? Who cares if it’s a placebo effect.
Go easy on the sugar (but you knew this already), and enjoy your PSL.
You may have noticed that I implied Pumpkin Spice can be made! Yes, yes it can. It makes a lovely gift, sealed in a little jar, and in your own kitchen, you can use it however your Pumpkin Spice craving heart desires. Whip up a decent batch, and you’ll be set for the winter.
- 5 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 3 teaspoons ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
- Stir all the spices together and store in an airtight container.