Starbucks marketing has been very successful in making us believe that fall begins with a sip of their signature pumpkin spice latte. However, the PSL contains some unsavory ingredients like sugar, condensed nonfat milk, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, and sulfites. The caffeine content will impede efforts to unwind, find balance, or repair poor digestion. But you're in luck! Our healthy alternatives are sugar-free, dairy-free, and caffeine-free, while still providing a great taste and that fall feeling.
Ginger Pear Tea
Ginger is a warm and spicy herb that helps to improve digestion and decrease bloating. It contains anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, antioxidants, and has antibacterial properties. In Ayurvedic medicine, ginger is used to treat imbalances. It also improves circulation. To get the maximum benefits, it is best to use fresh ginger, which you can find in the produce section (looks like roots) and it keeps for weeks.
Ginger is a little spicy, so we've paired it with favorite fall fruit, pear. To make this homemade tea boil water in a kettle. While it heats up, peel and chop up a heaping tablespoon full of ginger and 1/4 of an organic pear. Allow all ingredients to steep together for about 3 minutes.
Herbal coffee is primarily made of chicory root. Chicory is 100% herbal and caffeine-free. It can be ground and brewed just like coffee and has a similar full-bodied flavor. As a former coffee drinker, the taste and experience of drinking herbal coffee is on par with the real deal and comes in flavors like french vanilla, hazelnut, and mocha. The brand Teeccino makes a great gluten-free dandelion dark roast that is my favorite.
Regular organic coffee is not necessarily a poor health choice, however, on a plant-based diet, I have found an increase in energy by eliminating caffeine. I've read that feeling is from consuming greens and nutrient-dense foods which provide authentic energy.
Concerns around caffeine are that it is addictive, dehydrating, and interferes with sleep cycles. It is best to be consumed in moderation. It is also very acidic. The opposite of acidic, alkalinity, inside the body is a much better environment for digestion. The chicory root in herbal coffee supports the liver, cleanses the blood, increases digestive bile, and contains a soluble fiber that feeds digestive flora (good bacteria) in the intestines.
Herbal coffee tastes great with unsweetened coconut milk and a few drops of stevia.
Rooibos tea is a red tea that is always caffeine-free. It's full of antioxidants and it is naturally energizing. Rooibos is my go-to tea in every season, however the chai rooibos blend made by Yogi Tea, blends in the spices cardamom, cinnamon, and clove, creating a caffeine-free chai. (Chai is typically a black tea and black teas always contain caffeine.)
Starbucks' pumpkin spice latte includes the same spices, cardamon, cinnamon, and clove, for flavoring but mixes them with sulfites and their other less than healthy ingredients. So a rooibos chai will replace that PSL taste, but does not include ingredients that do not serve the body.
Pro tip: Put any of these fall beverages into a thermos and enjoy while picking up gourds and squashes at your local farmer's market!
Need inspiration to get new, adorable tea cups? Post your beautiful fall beverages on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and tag @forkfuloflove so that we can see how you like to savor these fall drinks! Wishing you the healthiest autumn ever.