I’ve been writing about viral TikTok myths, but today we’ll dig into something a little different: a viral meal. On the surface, it’s a weird combination of flavors, but underneath is a reasonably healthy and possibly actually good-tasting meal. And then beyond that—well, that’s where it gets really weird.
What is the mustard and cottage cheese plate?
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Basically, this is a lunch that TikToker @tiffanyymagee eats regularly, to the fascination of the Internet. She picks up an item, names it, dips it into a puddle of mustard and/or cottage cheese, and takes a bite. Then she usually puts it down and moves onto the next item.
There’s nearly always a sausage on the plate—often chicken sausage—and a wide array of fruits and vegetables. Hearts of palm are, to her fans, an iconic component. There’s sometimes dragonfruit as well, and you might see more pedestrian produce make an appearance: celery, radishes, strawberries, apples, broccoli.
There are some TikTokish quirks to the videos. The camera is set roughly at plate level, and she leans in to give us a close-up view of her mouth as she bites into each item. (She is also often filming this in what appears to be her car.) Most items produce a characteristic crunching or snapping sound. She’s heavily made up. You get a hint of the vibe of those weird fetishy recipe videos, except this one is, at its heart, just a woman eating her lunch.
Is this gross and bad?
Look, most of us do not routinely make a plate of sausages and raw vegetables and dip them in mustard and cottage cheese. Part of the appeal is that it looks kind of gross. But TikTok is full of video after video of people trying the mustard plate and liking it.
If you want to try this, go for it. It’s nothing more than a slightly unusual lunch. Tiffany is not the first person to put mustard on fruit, and she won’t be the last.
But I have to admit I got some overzealous dieter vibes from this. Mustard is a classic diet food, being high in flavor and low in calories; cottage cheese is famously high protein and low(ish) calorie. Raw veggies are a favorite of dieters because they take a while to eat and, in theory, take up more space in your stomach. Chicken sausages are typically lower in calories than beef.
But all that said, Tiffany is not explicitly promoting a mustard-plate-only diet, or at least not that I saw. As a meal, the mustard plate has plenty of fruits, veggies, and fiber, and has a decent amount of protein. I ran the numbers, eyeballing to estimate the serving sizes, and I figure a typical plate has 28 grams of protein (nice!) and maybe 300-400 calories. That’s small for a meal, but whether it fits into your overall diet depends on what else you are eating. Three mustard plates a day will leave you horrendously undernourished. But one of them could easily make a good snack or small lunch, complemented by a more substantial breakfast and dinner.
Why I’m still leery of this TikToker
Tiffany’s feed is now full of reactions to people recreating her mustard plates. She sells a “Live, Laugh, Mustard” ebook. Her weird lunch has gone viral, and that’s working out well for her.
But what is this all in service of? Well, Tiffany is in the supplements business. She sells electrolytes, greens powders, and protein powders. She also has a store full of ebooks, including guides for “clean keto,” “low carb,” and “OMAD” diets—that last one indicating “one meal a day.” OMAD only makes sense if you’re able to eat a ton in that one meal. It better not be a mustard plate.
Tiffany also makes some strange claims in other videos. She talks about lectins and nightshades affecting people’s gut lining, hence why she uses a brand of mustard that she says doesn’t contain these. (Neither are actually the dietary villains social media sometimes makes them out to be.) She talks about her weight loss journey, a botched plastic surgery, and getting diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, reactive hypoglycemia, leaky gut, and Lyme disease.
She doesn’t go out to eat because restaurants use seed oils. She tells you where to buy raw milk. She is worried about mold sickness. It’s none of my business what health conditions this woman does or does not have, but the account reads like a list of every buzzy “wellness” topic that has gone viral on TikTok or anywhere else in the past few years.
So, the mustard plate? Fine idea. Have at it. All the fearmongering about food and illness? I would scroll right past those in your search for mustard plate inspiration.