It’s made with just a few things. Dairy, coffee, sugar, fruit, and garnishes. It sounds like a dessert and considering the caloric impact, yeah it’s a treat. Except flavored lattes are ordered for the caffeine, right? You don’t drink one without the jolt. While the sun will rise each morning, your mood will not unless you ingest some caffeinated–and this time of year, pumpkinated–shine.
I think I know why the pumpkin spice latte (PSL) won’t quit returning to fall menus. The reason we’re drinking those lattes, the king of autumnal bevies, isn’t for the perk or the sweetness, but to fill a nutritional void, a deficiency. It’s like craving chocolate to fuel up on manganese. Or a steak when iron levels are low. It’s pumpkin when you’re missing Vitamin A. You heard it here first.
What if a Vitamin A deficiency outmatched the epidemic of sleep-deprived Americans? There could be an undetected health crisis lurking and it wants orange and yellow produce to stay under the radar. Our eyes have needs, Vitamin A needs and with any remedy, we seek out convenience. In walks the portable PSL, a quick shot of some vitamins.
Also, this is ‘Merica, we avoid work, but some of us like to get their kitchen craft on. Forget breaching a thick shell, and no more picking slimy flesh from seeds. Skip the effort to ready a pumpkin for consumption. Go semi-DIY on your coffee and buy a can of pureed pumpkin for a homemade one. Easy.
Until you can’t. Before you can say peppermint mocha, the PSL might be unavailable, according to NBC due to a likely pumpkin shortage come November. Eeek. Nothing makes an item more popular than limited supply. Don’t panic. Let’s not start chomping into gourds at the area pumpkin patch, frightening toddlers and ruining scores of suburban Instagram selfies. We can have standards. Instead go to the store like it’s the eve of a snow storm. Clear out canned pumpkin like you’re stocking up on bread, toilet paper and milk. If your neighbors (those amateur preppers!) stockpile before you can, fear not, your eyes won’t suffer. In Vitamin A land, there’s always the carrot. And hooray, thanks to juicing, you can drink those, too.
With the scariest night of the year quickly approaching, who wants to risk night blindness. Fend it off, one Vitamin A filled gulp —15% RDA in a nonfat no whip grande PSL from Starbucks, and way more than 100% RDA in a cup of carrot juice–at a time. A PSL may delay the eye doctor, but your dentist won’t go for that daily dose of sugar. Hmmm. Carrots suddenly seem better and better, but no one wants a cold sip of carrot and apple juice when your outdoor attire requires wool socks.
The hot latte wins. Warmth, maybe that’s all we really want. For these dark and cold times, a warm mug of comfort is one latte away.