It used to start making its appearance with the beginning of cooler temperatures and the first signs of fall.
Now, every year it seems to start earlier and earlier…this year, Starbucks started serving its beloved pumpkin spice latte on August 30th! And Dunkin'? Would you believe they started serving their pumpkin flavored lineup of coffees, doughnuts and muffins on August 10th?! It's true!
Love it or hate it?
Some of you may love the cozy comfort that comes with pumpkin spice, especially on a crisp, cool fall day. For others, this craze may have finally become too much of a good thing and the thought of pumpkin spice may send you running in the other direction!
Believe it or not, there are now over 500 products featuring pumpkin spice flavor on the package! And sales for pumpkin-flavored products now exceed $500 million!
During your next trip to the store, pay attention and look around -- you will see pumpkin spice has found its way into chips, cereals, whipped cream, yogurt, granola bars, Twinkies, marshmallows, candy bars, cupcakes, almonds, donuts, jelly beans, gum and much more!
Why do we love it so much?
Limited time offers create a sense of urgency through time-based scarcity. This explains why certain things are more attractive when we know we can't have them all the time.
There is even science behind our warm and fuzzy emotions.
When we attach feelings (or flavors) to the things we love about fall such as changing leaves, crisp cool temperatures, cozy sweaters, and the excitement of upcoming holidays...it comforts us, improves our mood, and brings on nostalgic feelings.
Is it good for you?
True pumpkin spice is a combination of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and sometimes includes actual pumpkin. These are the natural (REAL!) combination of flavors that make up pumpkin spice…and come from plants...and are good for you!
It's super-simple to make your own pumpkin pie spice, simply combine:
- 3 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cloves
The star ingredient, cinnamon, is rich in cell-protecting antioxidants and, when you include pumpkin, you are getting huge nutritional benefits to help fight cancer and improve heart health including Vitamin A, antioxidants like beta-carotene, plus fiber and Vitamin C.
Buyer beware -- looks can be deceiving!
Have you seen the Pumpkin Spice Twinkies or the Jet-Puffed pumpkin spice marshmallows?
Believe it or not, many of these processed foods contain no REAL pumpkin spice, but instead include an artificially flavored combination that includes synthetic chemicals manufactured to taste like pumpkin spice and make our brains think we are eating pumpkin pie.
Enriched Wheat Flour (Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Sugar, Vegetable Oils (Palm Kernel, Palm And/Or Soybean And Hydrogenated Soybean), Milk Chocolate (Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Whole Milk, Chocolate Processed With Alkali, Chocolate, Nonfat Milk, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla Extract), Eggs, Contains 2% Or Less Of: Cornstarch, Nonfat Milk, Reduced Mineral Whey, Whole Milk, Salt, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavors, Annatto For Color, Baking Soda.
Where’s the pumpkin?!
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but as you can see, this is not the REAL deal!
You can become a pumpkin spice expert at home…healthfully and deliciously! It's easier than you think to make pumpkin inspired meals, drinks, smoothies and sweet treats...here are just a few examples:
Pumpkin Spice Latte (and then after pumpkin spice season, enjoy this as a Turmeric Latte)
We even have a delicious Pumpkin Tiramisu Overnight Oats recipe on the website!
Remember, it's not about depriving yourself -- enjoy your favorite pumpkin spice treat while you can and in moderation. And, if you haven't already, read those ingredient labels to know exactly what you are getting.
You can find even more ideas and inspiration on EatRealAmerica.com!
You might be surprised...
you can satisfy your pumpkin spice craving, reap the health benefits, and save some money in the process!