It's fall, which to many a coffee-lover means the "arrival" of the Pumpkin Spiced Latte at Starbucks. (I say "arrival," because they have it all year round but they just promote it as a fall bevy.) Not only is it the PSL, but there are pumpkin-flavored EVERYTHINGS - cheesecake, muffins, doughnuts, pound cake, cupcakes....you get the drift.
Why do we love our pumpkin flavored whatevers? Why do we look forward to them every year, drooling with excitement? I think it has something to do with the innate nature of the human body.
Think about it. Spring time - associated with the element, wood, is a time of growth. We come out of our hibernation and once again begin to walk the earth. Like, think in caveman times when the snow melted and that first warm, sunny day (which is really only like 50 degrees - cold by the standards of the fall) has people out in droves! Suddenly new projects, new relationships, new jobs, new trips....they're poppin' up like in a game of wack-a-mole. And we're food-wise transitioning out of the winter lentil and lamb soups and into a lighter more steamed vegetable, sauteed chicken diet. Some raw foods come back into our diet as the weather gets warmer (like salads, etc), but it's a transitional mix.
Then we move into Summer - where the fire element takes over. We are still out and about. We are starting to see the fruits of the labor of the new stuff we implemented in the spring, and for some of us (guilty party!) it's like we're this fireball of motion that is as non-stop as the days are long, burning through our to-dos and ta-das! We're eating light and water-filled foods like cucumber, watermelon, raw greens - all very good for summer, but all light and airy.
By August - the height of heat - we're starting to come to the end of this mass energy outflow and then we transition into the short season, late fall (see the post about it HERE) where some days are still hot like summer, and some are the cold of the coming true-fall, we start to want to bundle up. We start to crave our jackets and sweaters and slippers. And, we start to slow down. Through late fall and into fall-proper (right now) we get the chance to slow down - and our bodies are definitely ready for it. After the enormous output of energy we've experienced the last two seasons or so, it's like YES PLEASE!!!!!!!
It's no coincidence that that is when our squashes and gourds come into season. Nor is it a coincidence that we crave more starchy veggies - like squashes and potatoes. It's a totally natural biological movement of our systems to ground ourselves (notice these are all heftier foods that either grow underground or close to the ground) and get ready for the coming hibernation of winter. Winter being the biologically-built-in time of rest where we get to build up our energy and strength to launch us into spring when it comes in 5-6 months.
So, why do we love our PSL's? Because our caveman brain is saying "this is right!" Pumpkin is a seasonal vegetable that is the epitome of the "earth element" within us - it's big and round, is orange and sweet, and it grounds us (okay really, check out that blog post here for BG on what I'm talking about).
Unfortunately, as we do in the most wonderful U.S. of A is throw a truckload of sugar, synthetic flavoring and other chemicals on top of something that is actually really healthy for us. It's no wonder that that's where we run into trouble. So, am I telling you to have your PSL? Heck no!! What I'm telling you is that it's totally normal - and explainable - why you love them. But, really, you'll get the most satisfaction and benefit from eating something like pumpkin soup that you made yourself with a little coconut milk to make it creamy. Or smashed sweet potatoes with a little ghee and some chili powder. Or roasted carrots and butternut squash with rosemary and black pepper.
Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is.
Trust me, once you have the real stuff, it's hard to go for the fake sugar-laden crap that we're telling ourself is "healthy" because "it's a vegetable." (Yes, I used to do that with carrot cake. And...nah.)
Want some good recipes? I HIGHLY RECOMMEND: Make it Paleo (volumes I & 2) for beginner health-cooks. The recipes are super simple, incredibly health conscious, AND DELICIOUS.
ROCK ON and go have something orange to eat. Like, actual food orange.