The Mukbang Craze

The Mukbang Craze

Food Porn Gone Wrong?
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Mukbang is a South Korean cultural phenomenon that has swept the screens of many Americans since 2015. Millions of South Koreans and Americans tune in daily to watch their favorite food hosts broadcast themselves eating a massive calorie-dense meal while socializing with their audience. The most popular "mukbangers" are gaining thousands of dollars of revenue each night, through advertising revenue, viewer donations, and sponsorships. While South Koreans usually broadcast their mukbangs live on Afreeca TV , Americans are making mukbang one of the top trending video categories on YouTube with hundreds of channels dedicated to mukbangs, competitive food eating, food drive-thru hauls, and high-calorie food challenges. While most viewers might be tuning into this mukbang frenzy as a form of vicarious eating , some might be seeking these videos to experience an ASMR, or autonomous sensory meridian response, to make your body tingle at the sound of food eaters slurping, burping, crunching, slapping, finger-licking, chewing, and exaggerating other noises made while eating.

I was unsure whether I should feel amazement or disgust when I first discovered the world of mukbang through Matt Stonie's YouTube channel. Matt Stonie is an American competitive eater ranked #3 in Major League Eating. In addition to his multi-World Record holdings for food challenges, some of his most popular food challenge YouTube videos are the massive ice cream sundae challenge (11,000 calories), with 20M views, and his massive English breakfast challenge (10,000 calories), with 16M views. Along with other popular mukbangers such as the ever-popular Keemi, the cute Hyunee Eats, the "sloth" Nikocado Avocado, 500 lbs Hungry Fat Chick, famous Trisha Paytas, and even the creative Raphael Gomes, all of whom I am regretfully subscribed to.

This Mukbang Craze is a growing health concern not just for the competitive eaters and mukbangers but also for the viewers with eating problems who might be triggered by these food binge videos. Many viewers, including myself, have often wondered how competitive eaters manage to stay relatively thin despite all of their food challenges. According to TIME, competitive eating poses severe health risks as doctors found the stomach's and colons of competitive eaters "appeared as a massively distended, food-filled sac occupying most of the upper abdomen...with little or no gastric peristalsis." Health professionals speculate that in order to compensate for the massive food injuries that can be sustained from these popularized and sported food binges, many competitive eaters and mukbangers alike most likely fast on water for days at a time.

Some mukbangers like food YouTube vlogger and competitive eater Erik the Electric said: " Mukbangs and having eating videos have helped me overcome my bouts with undereating – they’ve also helped me be able to be more “social” around food which is primarily what mukbangs are about. I’ve had viewers and subscribers send me countless emails over the years telling me that my videos have helped them realize that just one day of eating or hours of eating isn’t enough to make them “fat” or overweight and that it’s okay to indulge once in a while."

While some viewers might find mukbang helpful, I worry that mukbangs and epic food challenges, which often feature unhealthy junk foods, are promoting binge eating disorder which leads to obesity, a national health epidemic that often co-occurs with related debilitative diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Can this latest mukbang food trend of people gorging on enough servings of food to feed a whole family be sinful glamorizations of gluttony and an unhealthy obsession? You can decide by watching a mukbang video for yourself of Nikocado Avocado and Hungry Fat Chick gorge on large fat-laden foods at the famous Heart Attatck Grill located in Las Vegas, Nevada where many of the city's residents are considered one of the most obese populations in the nation with some of the highest rates of childhood obesity. The British TV show Super Size vs Super Skinny captures this food trend's discrepancy quite well. After watching a few mukbangs, you might begin to wonder are you hungry in amazement or disgusted?

Cover Image Credit: Imgur

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12 Starbucks Iced Drinks You NEED In Your Life This Summer

Must-try beverages brought to you by your local barista.
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Be kind to your baristas, they can make you some pretty great drinks. With the temperature rising and the days getting longer, it's approaching the time to find your summer staple to keep you cool (and caffeinated) over the next few months.

Starbucks offers a wide variety of cold beverages that really hit the spot during the summer months, from espresso drinks to fraps, smoothies, teas and refreshers. As a Starbucks barista, I've had the opportunity to taste most drinks on the menu and receive feedback from customers on the do's and don'ts of cold beverages.

While this is not an exhaustive list, I pulled together some of my favorites to give you, the "Ultimate Starbucks Iced Beverage Bucket List for 2017" that you MUST try this season:

1. Pink Drink

Three words: Basic white girl. If you want a photogenic drink that tastes like a Starburst and makes baristas happy, the Pink Drink is for you. It's a pretty simple beverage... this Strawberry Acai Refresher combined with Coconutmilk is sure to satisfy your hipster needs.

2. Iced White Mocha

This sinfully sweet iced espresso drink is not only one of the most popular beverages on the menu, but sure to wake you up at any time of day. Jazz it up by asking for half white chocolate, half mocha sauce, topped with a mocha drizzle, and you've got yourself an Iced Tuxedo Mocha!

3. Doubleshot on Ice

If nothing else, this quick pick-me-up looks classy while giving you the energy boost you need to get through the day. With two shots of espresso, a bit of milk and classic syrup, this drink is easy to enjoy in little time... it's like a caffeine I.V.!

4. Iced Caramel Machiatto

Surprise, surprise... Caramel Machiattos are actually made with vanilla syrup. Nonetheless, these espresso-topped beverages are absolutely delicious at any time of year, but summer calls for ice! Want to change things up? Ask your barista to make it with half vanilla syrup, half toffee nut syrup to make an Iced Salted Caramel Machiatto!

5. Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher

A sister to the Pink Drink, the Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher is a fruit juice-blackberry combo that makes for a pretty chilled beverage to enjoy on the go. The caffeine content is minimal, making it a great option for any time of day.


6. Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

Cold Brew is basically Starbucks' version of a smoother-tasting iced coffee with more caffeine. The Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew is a standard drink topped with vanilla-flavored heavy cream to create a sweet taste and a marbled appearance in the beverage. Want something with flavor, but not in the mood for vanilla? Try the Toasted Coconut Cold Brew!


7. Mango Black Tea Lemonade

The Mango Black Tea Lemonade is one of the most popular drinks on the menu. Iced Teavana tea mixed with mango syrup and lemonade makes for the perfect combination

8. Iced Chai Tea Latte

Iced Chais - sound so sophisticated, yet so simple to make. If you order this drink, there is a 10/10 chance that your barista will love you for it. Milk mixed with a sweet and spicy chai syrup makes for a classy drink that can be enjoyed at any time of day.


9. Iced Cinnamon Almondmilk Machiatto

The identifying characteristic that makes a macchiato, well, a macchiato is that the espresso shots are poured on top of the milk and flavoring. Starbucks' Iced Cinnamon Almondmilk Machiatto is a combination of cinnamon dolce syrup and almondmilk topped with espresso shots, a caramel drizzle and a cinnamon dolce topping to create a delicious dairy-free option in the macchiato family.

10. Sunset Refresher

This secret menu drink is fairly simple to make with a cool lime base, lemonade, lime slices, and ice topped with black tea. When finished, the drink will have an ombré appearance that makes it totally picture-worthy!

11. Iced Caffè Americano

Calling all espresso lovers: Americanos are a Starbucks signature. The drink itself is pretty simple - espresso and water topped with ice, but if you're feeling particularly adventurous, you can mix things up with a flavored syrup. This drink is sure to wake you right up, no matter the time of day.

12. Strawberry Lemonade

Want something cold but not feeling coffee or a frap? Frozen Strawberry Lemonade is definitely worth a try! While this drink is not on the menu, most baristas are happy to make it upon request. Just ask for a combination of strawberry flavoring, lemonade, and ice blended together for a slushie-like beverage!

Cover Image Credit: FoodBeast

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A Love Letter To My Air Fryer

And why you would love an fryer too...

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In a previous article, I wrote about how love to use Trello.com for organizing things. I'm still loving Trello. I've haven't grown bored of it and stopped using it (like I have with some other organizational systems). This time, I'm going to share another item that I love, and it's for one of my favorite things, food! I finally gave in and bought an air fryer, and after my first use, I literally said that it's wonderful! I bought a small air fryer. It only holds about two quarts, but it's perfect for quick lunches.

I thought I'd love the air fryer if it could dry fry food with little to no oil, and it does just that. I'm also in love with the air fryer, because I could simply put the food in it, set the timer and live my life for a few minutes until the food is done. I don't have to stand over it and watch the food cook. That makes the air fryer a winner! Did I mention that it really does work?! Yes, it does work. Now, you could buy foods that are already breaded and throw them in the air fryer, but if you want to go the healthier route, you can use bread crumbs, flour, and eggs to make your own crispy coatings for your foods. Dipping your food in your own homemade batter cuts out some of the salt and added chemicals in the frozen pre-fried foods.

You can also fry foods that do not even need a homemade batter. Without using the batter, I've made sweet potato French fries and burritos in it. The tortilla for the burrito turned out nicely crispy, but I didn't leave it in the air fryer long enough for it to be crunchy. The sweet potato fries came out nice. I've tried making crispy chickpeas with Italian seasoning, but they weren't to my liking. However, I have loved everything else that I've made in the air fryer. Sometimes I just put a quick meal in it, just to re-heat it, since I don't use a microwave. I just think that using the air fryer is healthier than using microwaves, and I love that I don't need to put my food in a special box or anything for it to be really crispy. If you love fried chicken or fried fish, you'd love this little machine as much as I do!

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