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Save 200 Calories and $2 With This Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

J Shepherd/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Turns out I’m not the only person obsessed with pumpkin treats: According to Starbucks’ website, every fall, #PSL generates more than 3,000 tweets per day from fans of its famous Pumpkin Spice Latte, which turns 12 this year.

But I also found out something that scared me more than a potential pumpkin shortage: A grande (16 ounces) Pumpkin Spice Latte with 2-percent milk and whipped cream contains 380 calories and 50 grams of sugar! It probably shouldn’t have been so shocking after we discovered what was really inside a 24-ounce Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino: 510 calories and 81 grams of sugar.

Something Starbucks doesn’t make clear online is that the current version of the pumpkin spice latte cannot be made vegan. According to the official Starbucks blog, the “Pumpkin Spice Flavored Sauce” contains condensed milk.

I also wasn’t thrilled to see emulsifiers carrageenan and mono- and diglycerides on the ingredient list. Carrageenan is a food additive made from seaweed that is commonly used as a thickener or emulsifier in packaged foods such as ice cream, almond milk and coconut milk. Carrageenan has been connected with causing inflammation and gastrointestinal issues.

Mono- and diglycerides are a type of incomplete fat that is added to processed foods to help bind the ingredients and/or increase the shelf life. They’re created from an animal source (derived from a pig or cow), a vegetable source (usually canola or soybean oil) or may be synthetically produced. Vegetarians and vegans should avoid consuming them since manufacturers aren’t required to list the source of the mono- and diglycerides contained in their product.

If all these other details didn’t scare you away from Starbucks already, keep in mind that a grande Pumpkin Spice latte there will set you back about $4, depending where you live in the world. (Did you know that in Oslo, Norway that same Starbucks grande latte will cost you $9.83?!)

Thankfully, I found some amazing natural and organic bloggers –Lindsay Nixon of Happy Herbivore, Genevieve of Mama Natural, and Meg of Beard and Bonnet – who inspired me to create a delicious 125-calorie pumpkin spice latte recipe that vegans and non-vegans can both enjoy.

Easy, Healthy Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte
This recipe will make one grande-sized latte that contains 125 calories and 15 grams of sugar. To see the carbs, fat and protein content, you can view this recipe in LIVESTRONG.COM’s free food and recipe tracker.

Ingredients
* 2 ounce double espresso shot
* 1 cup organic unsweetened vanilla almond milk (OR if you’re not vegan, 1 cup organic milk)
* 4 tbsp organic pumpkin puree
* 1 tbsp real maple syrup
* 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or your own mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and clove)
* 1/8 tsp organic vanilla extract

Directions
NOTE: If you don't have an espresso maker, you can use 4-6 ounces of very strong coffee.
1. When you have your coffee ready, add the pumpkin, spices, vanilla extract and maple syrup to a mixing glass or blender and mix together. When smooth, remove from blender and pour into mug.
2. Froth your almond milk using the frother on your espresso machine OR if you don’t have an espresso machine, put your milk into a saucepan and cook at medium heat until it’s simmering. Pour into the blender and blend on high until it gets frothy.

3. Pour the milk into a coffee mug carefully, using a spoon to hold the froth back, then spoon the froth on top.

If you love pumpkin as much as I do, be sure to check out these recipes:

Gluten-Free 2-Minute Paleo Pumpkin Microwave Muffins
4 Yummy 175-Calorie-or-Less Pumpkin Treats

–Jess

Readers – Do you love or loathe pumpkin spiced drinks? Will you try this latte recipe? Should Starbucks make a vegan version of its popular drink? Do you have other favorite pumpkin recipes? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Jess Barron is Editor-in-Chief at LIVESTRONG.COM. Read some of her other health and fitness articles here. A longtime foodie and fan of Farmer’s Market food, Jess particularly loves heirloom tomatoes, fresh figs with burrata cheese, and anything with pumpkin or peanut butter in it! Her love for food fuels her desire to exercise daily. Some of her favorite workout routines include running, yoga, P90X, INSANITY, and mixed martial arts. Jess’s writing can also be found at Poprocks.com. She has appeared on MSNBC’s “The Most,” ABC News Now, and XM satellite radio and her writing has appeared on Wired.com and Yahoo!

Follow Jess on Twitter @jessdandy. Also, you can add her on Google+ and follow her on Pinterest.

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