Some fall treats in Denver that are not a pumpkin spice latte

I’m here today to tell you something important and freeing: You don’t have to drink pumpkin spice lattes.

Everybody calm down. (Michelle Schrank/Flickr)

Everybody calm down. (Michelle Schrank/Flickr)

I’m here today to tell you something important and freeing: You don’t have to drink pumpkin spice lattes.

Now that Labor Day is behind us, you’re probably experiencing the desire or social pressure to consume gallons of pumpkin spice lattes, which Starbucks started selling on Sept. 6. How else will I celebrate the changing of the season, you wonder anxiously. It’s still too hot to wear sweaters.

Well, as you may already know, Starbucks’ most popular drink isn’t so good for you. No drink that is more like a milkshake than coffee is very good for you, of course, but this one is a bigger problem because it’s so damn addictive.

Here’s what Wired had to say about it:

“Sure, it has caffeine, which is kind of habit forming. But the most important elements here are a heap of concentrated sugar, a bunch of warm, frothy milk fat, and a pinch of salt to get the dopamine flowing. A grande (16 oz) serving holds a whopping 40 percent of your daily value of saturated fat. Add to that 240 mg of sodium (10 percent your daily value) and 50 grams of sugar (of which there’s no recommended daily value), and you get a reaction in your brain that mimics the rush from certain addictive drugs.”

Keep in mind that this was written just a few days ago, a year after both Starbucks and Panera switched their recipes over to all-natural ingredients, including, for the first time, actual pumpkin.

And if you’re wondering whether you can truly be addicted to a food, the answer is yes. Have a look at the Yale Addiction Scale and see just how hooked you are on those PSLs.

I’m not saying you should deny yourself the occasional treat. I am saying that you might want to dial down the PSL obsession.

Or — and maybe now I’m just getting crazy — you could find a different edible enjoyment of autumn. Here are a few ideas:

  • Pumpkin whoopie pie at Marczyk Foods, 770 E. 17th Ave. (Call before you go and make sure they’ve got it.)
  • Pumpkin pie waffle cake from the Waffle Cake food truck.
  • Actual pumpkin pie at Humble Pie, 3550 East Colfax Ave.
  • Pumpkin baked donut at Beet Box, 1030 E. 22nd Ave.
  • Hey! Pumpkin beer at Denver Beer Co., 1695 Platte St. (Beer is totally a treat, hush.)

They’re not particularly healthier options, really, but I think there’s less chance of developing a crushing addiction. At the very least, it’ll all look better on Instagram.