Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Pumpkin Spice: Breaking the Addiction

The leaves are beginning to fall, the morning air is crisp and cool, and you can practically smell nutmeg wafting on every gentle breeze. It's pumpkin spice season, also (less commonly) known as fall, and the flavor is turning up everywhere. With this addictive substance now being pushed on every corner, pumpkin spice is getting its hooks into more and more of us, and its hold is strong. My completely fabricated statistic shows that one in three Americans is addicted to pumpkin spice. Consider the following list of symptoms to see if you, too, have fallen prey to the spice phenomenon:

Do you find yourself anxiously awaiting the arrival of autumn, simply because you know pumpkin spice will start showing up on shelves?

Are you afraid to bypass any pumpkin spice product, for fear of missing out on some delicious, far-too-fleeting seasonal experience?

Have you stockpiled as many sources of pumpkin spice ecstasy as humanly possible? Does your inventory include cookies, cakes, cupcakes, coffee, coffee creamer, pies, muffins, cream cheese, jam, bread, and (gasp) even beer?

Do everyday activities seem arduous without the aid of pumpkin spice? Do you find yourself thinking that you could get through the task at hand much easier if you had a pumpkin spice latte within your grasp?

You are not alone in this compulsion. Personally, I don't even drink coffee--Starbucks holds very little fascination for me--and yet, I begin jonesing for a pumpkin spice latte in early September. Once I hear that an acquaintance has scored a hit, I practically jump out of my skin until I, too, can get my fix. And once that high wears off, all I can think about is when I can get my hands on more of that glorious stuff. Pumpkin spice (also nicknamed p-spice by pushers and junkies) has become a street drug, people, and a powerful one at that.

Just to show how serious my condition is, I want you all to know that I willingly and eagerly bought these a couple of weeks ago (the fact that there is still some product remaining over a two week period should tell you something about the taste):

This is a dire situation, indeed. I'm not usually a connoisseur of fine chia and flaxseed products, but you throw a pumpkin seed in there and suddenly, I am powerless to resist. I have even given into the temptation and purchased pumpkin spice protein the name of fall fitness, of course.

If any of these situations rings familiar for you, you should know that you are not alone, and that there is help. I'm pretty sure that last week, while snacking on a Little Debbie Pumpkin Delight cake, I read that the first step is admitting you have a problem. I was contemplating whether or not Pumpkin Spice Oreos were a worthwhile purchase when I came across the second step, which is admitting that you are powerless over pumpkin spice. I'm ready to agree with both of those, in an effort to move forward with healing.

In addition to those first, courageous steps, I think the most effective way to break the cycle of p-spice addiction is to bombard your senses with all things pumpkin and spice. It's a daunting commitment, but you have to take your well-being into your own hands and risk drastic measures. Indulge yourself in sinful amounts of cinnamon, mega doses of nutmeg, and copious amounts of cloves. Sooner or later, our taste buds will be desensitized to the deliciousness, and this pumpkin spice spell will be broken, right?

If you find yourself still in the throes of codependency, take heart in the notion that soon it will be entirely possible to wean yourself off the rush of a spiced, seasonal gourd by gradually making the switch to our next round of limited-time treats. This is also known as the third step in the recovery process: turning it over to a higher power, which in this case, clearly means such holiday-inspired flavors as eggnog, gingerbread, and peppermint. Put down the pumpkin, and reach for the hand of a gingerbread man. Resist the lure of the p-spice, and let the soothing sensation of peppermint wash over you. Think calming thoughts of eggnog and caramel brulee. We can, and we will, persevere and come out on the other side of this, come hell, high water, or chestnut praline latte. Because, above all else, we are pumpkin spice survivors.

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