Wednesday, September 10, 2008

In Which Starbucks Misses Its Chance to Make Me Happy

Question for fellow low-carb enthusiasts:

Do you hate coffee shops as much as I do?

Maybe I shouldn't be so bitter about them, considering how much I used to love them. I spent an obscene percentage of my undergraduate career at a coffee place where I enjoyed sugary mocha beverages and giant everything bagels at least three times a week.

But these days, I avoid coffee shops like the plague. Even though I can tolerate the hassle of confusing the barista by asking for coffee with heavy whipping cream and Splenda, there's never a single food item I can order without blowing my carb allowance for the entire day. (Unless I want to lick cream cheese off a spoon, which I am not above doing.) For me, making the switch to low-carbing pretty much meant kissing coffee shops goodbye.

Which also meant kissing convenient and casual meeting/chatting/time-killing places with friends goodbye. I've said it before, and it bears repeating: The world is NOT friendly to low-carbers.

I didn't get my hopes up too much when I heard that Starbucks had decided to introduce new food items to their menu to try to pull themselves out of their sales slump, but I was secretly hoping that they would read my mind and start serving sausage, bacon, and western omelets. It turns out that they failed to take me into consideration at all. Their new, "healthier" breakfast menu includes oatmeal, apple bran muffins, and fruity granola bars. This USA Today article lists all the new stuff, along with each item's calories, fat, fiber, and protein, but numbers for sugar and overall carbs are nowhere to be found. Wonder why! And don't bother trying to find that info at the Starbucks website, either. All they do when you click on "food" under "nutrition" is list the items.

The only new offering that initially caught my eye was the "Power Protein Plate", but then I read the description:
An on-the-go snack of Cheddar cheese, fresh fruit, hard-boiled cage-free egg, whole-wheat bagel and peanut butter.
Depending on what kind of fruit it is and if the peanut butter is natural, I suppose if I was in a pinch I could order that and toss the bagel, but it's still not quite impressive enough to lure me to Starbucks. It's a step in the right direction for sure, but just misses the mark.

I think I'm just going to continue avoiding coffee shops while I'm trying to stick to my eating plan. I don't know if I can imagine a suckier scenario than sitting in a Starbucks with a sugar-free coffee and hard-boiled egg when there are giant pastries and pieces of cheesecake staring back at me from the display case.


Jennifer said...

LOL I think avoid those coffee shops for now, unless you have some ready made cheesecake at home or protein bar that you can slip in a container in your purse and take along with you to have with your special coffee. The other alternative is to pick up a Lindt chocolate bar (70%) and have a few blocks with your coffee - but only occasionally. :-)

Tracey said...

Yeah, I'm no stranger to bringing my own food along in order to make sure I can get something to eat. Sometimes the extra preparation is annoying, but I suppose it's worth it.

Jennifer said...

It really is worth it, if it keeps one from consuming sugar, breaking one's diet, getting back on the carbs, etc. Sugar is very aging (I have a post on my blog about that), besides the other ills it causes. If you start at this young age - avoiding sugar - you will always have a prettier skin.

plumpdumpling said...

I was in line at Starbucks the other day and thought of you when I saw the protein plate. I was pleased with the cheese, surprised they went with an apple instead of strawberries, and offended by the bagel.

I'll tell you, every time I get fed up with my weight and think back to how successful I was on Atkins, it's things like this that keep me fat.

Tracey said...

Yeah. The thing is that while lots of places are starting to get the hang of the importance of fiber and realizing that protein is worth adding a little fat, but there's almost never any consideration for sugar content. I sure didn't know that berries were lower in sugar than apples before I started low-carbing. But apples seem to be the default -- the only fruit offered at McDonald's, Panera, and even Subway, I think.

I don't remember enough about the 90s low carb craze to know if places were getting more of this stuff right back then, but, I'm pretty sure even then it was just bunless burgers and crustless pizza on the menus.