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Pumpkin Spice Latte…Deconstructed

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Pumpkin Spice Latte

It’s hard to believe it’s October already. Yet the mornings are getting chillier and there’s an autumnal vibe about. We are coming into comfort food climate. With October hosting both Thanksgiving and Hallowe’en, thoughts turn to pumpkins and spice and all things nice. And who hasn’t been tempted at one time, or many, by a steamy Pumpkin Spice Latte on a cool fall afternoon?

While we know these concoctions aren’t exactly nutritious, it’s hard to say no. So I hope my recipe and what I’ve written below will convince you that making your own is a far better way to treat yourself. Sign up to my newsletter today to receive the recipe for my Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Pumpkin Spice Latte…Deconstructed

I’m more of tea granny than a coffee fan so I’d like to start off by mentioning that my Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe is epic made with Chai tea as well. But regardless of whether you prefer coffee- or tea-based lattes, here’s why it’s best to use a homemade recipe like mine to treat yourself when the cool weather comfort craving strikes …

When you make your own Pumpkin Spice Latte, you know what’s in it.

  • When I looked at the Starbucks version on their website, under “Ingredients” it merely says “Not available for this item”. This should be an immediate red flag. After all, it isn’t as if they don’t know what’s in it. So why do they choose not to tell you?
  • I had a bit more luck with Tim Hortons website, though you can’t see a menu until you choose a store. For my local, the website mentions an espresso shot, 2% milk, Pumpkin Spice Syrup and Whipped Topping. But what exactly is in the syrup and the whipped topping? Presumably, since it isn’t called whipped cream, it isn’t cream. And dollars to donuts (pardon the pun), the Pumpkin Spice Syrup is made from artificial flavours.

The ingredients in my recipe are found in nature, not in a lab.

  • Neither site provided detailed information about ingredients (certainly not that were easily found). A bit of searching for the ingredients in Tim Hortons whipped topping came up with this: White Whipped Topping: Water, glucose-fructose, hydrogenated vegetable oil (palm, palm kernel, coconut and/or cottonseed), sugar, dextrose, sodium caseinate (a milk derivative), modified cellulose, polysorbate 60, microcrystalline cellulose, salt, preservative (potassium sorbate), natural flavour, soy protein concentrate, polyglycerol esters of fatty acids, xanthan gum.
  • In the spirit of full disclosure, this was said to be from their 2018 ingredient guide (and so may no longer be accurate). But they don’t seem to publish an ingredient guide anymore. Perhaps because ingredient lists like this one are pretty unappetizing.

You will consume far less sugar.

  • The Starbucks’ version (Tall, which is 354 mls or about 1.5 cups) contains a whopping 38 grams of sugar. The Tim Hortons’ version (medium, about 1.25 cups) also contains 38 grams of sugar. Whereas my version (which makes approximately 1.5 cups) contains only 19 grams of sugar. Which is half the sugar. That 19 gram difference is the equivalent of 4.5 teaspoons less sugar in the homemade version. Now that is sweet!

You aren’t likely to have one every day.

  • While my version contains only half the sugar of Starbucks’ or Tim Hortons’ versions, it still has 19 grams (4.5 teaspoons) of sugar.  So treat this as, yes, a treat and not a daily indulgence.  When you have to take the time to make it yourself, you aren’t likely to do it every day, which is a good thing!

I hope you enjoy sipping this steamy Pumpkin Spice Latte. Sign up here for the recipe and feel free to share it with your family and friends!

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