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Seattle is synonymous with the ubiquitous coffee chain Starbucks, and for one local woman the company became a Morgan Spurlock-esque challenge. Beautiful Existence, let’s not even start with your hippie ways Pacific Northwest, spent all of 2013 eating only items from the company. This means she had burnt tasting coffee with all of her processed food for the year; I’m really not all that jealous.
Beautiful spoke with CNBC about the ordeal, and it turns out she spent a whopping $7,000 on her sustenance budget for 2013. As anyone who’s popped into a Starbucks for a drink and a snack knows, the tally can easily top the $10 mark with just an item or two for yourself. The real year-long challenge was not the eating and drinking of Starbucks, but enduring their ridiculous prices.
Not that Beautiful Existence is afraid of any kind of year-long challenge. In the past she’s lived off of Goodwill, and exclusively used the advice in Parent’s Magazine. Rather than try to save the world, or make us realize how horrible Starbucks is for our bodies, Beautiful seems to just like setting a challenging goal and seeing it through. That kind of stick-to-it-ness is to be applauded, as it’s too rare to find someone with such will power.
Because her plan was to eat only Starbucks company food and not just food from a Starbucks store, Beautiful did have access to other venues that are owned by Starbucks including items from San Francisco based La Boulange, which Starbucks acquired in 2013 and used to expand their menu. There may not have been a whole lotta salad options for Beautiful, but at least her diet was more varied than coffee and one of five different pastries each day. Evolution Fresh and Roy Street Coffee & Tea, while still local Starbucks joints, offered her a change of pace, as well.
Even so, her palette did become numb throughout the year. The tongue and taste buds require exercise in the form of variety, it’s something that every chef knows and constantly works on. When Beautiful sat down to eat her post-Starbucks meal at Seattle landmark Ivers, she was shocked by the new flavors of fish and chips. It’s not that the taste of this formerly familiar food was new, only that her tongue had become accustomed to a set of flavor profiles that were limited.
Starbucks itself did not sponsor Beautiful’s challenge. The company never paid her, nor did they give her discounts or free food. They did acknowledge what was happening, of course, but didn’t turn the challenge into a marketing stunt. The only special treatment offered, according to Linda Mills’ statement to CNBC, is that Beautiful was kept abreast of new items as they became available.
Next up Beautiful will be trying 80 different outdoor sports via outdoor sporting retailer REI. She needs to do something to sweat out all those chemicals, so this is probably the best choice for a 2014 challenge. We wish her good luck.