Vegetables dipped in mustard grab the attention of millions on TikTok.
That’s all there is to the app’s current biggest food trend: a plate filled with hearts of palm, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and chicken sausage, all dipped in mustard. According to the creator of the trend, Tiffany Magee, the meal helped her lose weight.
While it’s just something Magee eats for lunch or dinner, it’s now escalated into a full-fledged “diet” with followers believing their mustard plates can aid in their own weight loss journey.
How it started
Magee, 31, has been sharing her health and weight loss journey online since May 2016. She has built a lifestyle and fitness community through her blog and Instagram account under the brand name My Adventure to Fit. She attributes her overall weight loss of 80 pounds to her diet.
The foods Magee eats are also dictated by her diagnosis of Lyme disease. “[My diet] dictates the severity of my symptoms and makes me feel good or okay most of the time, rather than absolutely awful,” she tells Yahoo Life. “These are some of the few foods I’m allowed to eat to minimize my inflammation. “
She first posted about the specific combinations of mustard and veggies on her TikTok, where she goes by Tiffany Elizabeth on May 19 and shared that it was her office lunch. A similar video on May 23 attracted more attention and has since been viewed 2 million times.
She says the initial interest can be attributed to the fact that people were “completely intrigued by the idea of mustard and the sound of the vegetables cracking.” She then continued to post about the meal “to encourage people to be healthy, to be consistent” and to “create a desire that is actually healthy.”
More people are trying the mustard plate
Users on the app post videos of themselves eating raw veggies dipped in mustard, inspired by Magee:
Magee created a Live, Laugh, Mustard e-book in response to the interest, outlining the details of the record. She also launched a Facebook group “where people can share their mustard journey” and shared that she had 104 million video views in the past week.
“I wanted to give people someone to follow that they could take their journey with because that’s what I personally needed to succeed,” she says of her videos, explaining that she’s “wrestled with my weight for a lifetime and had no had no idea what to do or where to start in a world filled with so much conflicting information.”
Experts explain why this has gone viral
Brenna O’Malley, a registered dietitian and founder of The Wellful, tells Yahoo Life that people are always fascinated by the “idea that there is an answer to weight loss.” When someone like Magee shows images of how her body has changed and credits this mustard board for it, people are going to want to try it.
O’Malley compares it to previous food trends considered “secrets” to weight loss, such as celery juice and green powders.
Esther Tambe, registered dietitian, nutritionist, and licensed diabetes care and education specialist, tells Yahoo Life, “People will do whatever it takes to be thin… to copy the same trend in hopes of changing their bodies too.”
The “objectively strange” nature of the food selection adds to the intrigue, according to O’Malley, as does the “do what I do” way Magee’s videos are presented.
“I feel like it’s kind of a recipe for people who want to copy this to have the same weight loss results,” says O’Malley. “But it’s really not the most convenient way to get health or nutrition advice.”
What to consider
“Nutrition is very individualized,” says Tambe. “It’s not a one-size-fits-all.”
“Even if we all ate exactly the same way, we wouldn’t all suddenly have exactly the same health stats or feel exactly the same in our bodies, or all of a sudden our bodies wouldn’t look exactly the same,” says O’Malley.
She encourages people to consider their “intentions” when trying a viral food trend and wondering, “Is this meal coherent?” when they see others eating “incoherently.” Most importantly, O’Malley urges readers to recognize the difference between wanting to try vegetables with a specific condiment for the first time and “trying to eat like this person who has a lot of followers and has gone through these changes in their body.”
Eating based on trends alone would be “exhausting,” says O’Malley, while Tambe notes, “None of it is believable or sustainable.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, visit the National Eating Disorders (NEDA) website at nationalatingdisorders.org For more information.
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