We had high hopes for "My Diet Is Better than Yours" since the program had a real dietitian who I know in real life: Dawn Jackson Blatner.
Blatner's contestant, Jasmin, has been doing rather well on the superfood swap plan. Though Jasmin hasn't won an individual week, she actually finished first overall after 2 weeks, even with an injury. After 4 weeks, Jasmin is a comfortable second behind Kurt and the wild diet.
Since this is a reality show on a major network, the overall emphasis is exercise and psychology. Of course, the contestants are humiliated in their quest with the challenges. Jeff, the guy on the no diet plan, said before the challenge in Episode 3 that the challenge was stupid. Duh. All the challenges are stupid. This one might have been the least stupid, but it was fun as hell for a contestant to speak the truth on one of these shows. Thanks to the producers for leaving in the comment.
Dawn is preaching calm along with her superfood swap suggestions. This goes against every instinct on the reality shows. This may be why all of the experts explained their plan early in Episode 1 but not Dawn. Also, she virtually disappears from Episode 2, not even offering a superfood swap.
Here are Blatner's food tips from the first half of the show (there are 4 more episodes than run the next 2 weeks, starting tonight):
- In her first superfood switch, the new macaroni and cheese involved whole wheat noodles and a 50-50 mix of cauliflower and cheese in the cheese mix. A good way to sneak in a vegetable while reducing the fat content of cheese without a negative substitution. Jasmin's daughter even liked the switch, though this was on camera. This was a better contrast to The Biggest Loser when Biingo's mother crammed 5 vegetables into a meatloaf. One vegetable is just fine, especially if she couldn't tell the difference.
- Blatner is in favor of treats … as long as they aren't done at home. We see Dawn and Jasmin in the grocery store when Jasmin says she wants the whole cake. Dawn says she can have the cake, but have a piece out in a cafe but don't have leftover cake at home.
- Blatner institutes a cart check to reflect the ratios on a dinner plate: 50% produce, 25% grains, and 25% protein.
- Blatner brings out green popsicles in Episode 3. The producers didn't give us any food tips from Blatner in Episode 2. The ingredient list mentioned were plant milk, almond butter, and spinach. The recipe online mentions bananas instead of almond butter, though both should be fine.
- In Episode 4, Jasmin is at a social event where candy is dominant. Dawn has suggested grapes instead of candy to help resist temptation. Grapes are high in sugar so they are a good alternative to candy, but eventually Jasmin should switch to lower sugar fruits such as blueberries and strawberries. But it's clear that Jasmin has issues with sugar, so grapes are a good transition. Dawn spoke of Jasmin needing to feel in charge and believe that sugar has no power over her.
The only diet to be on par with the superfood swap is the wild diet. Lean protein, meat, fat without processed carbohydrates. Think bacon cheeseburger but on a lettuce leaf.
The wild diet is second on the list for less drama, which is not a coincidence.
Some highlights from the wild diet.
- Put butter instead of sugar in your coffee. The wild diet emphasizes that you "have to eat fat to lose fat." The wild diet also pushes coffee, which for most Americans isn't an issue. Butter would seem to be a better option than sugar in coffee, but I might prefer to use butter in other scenarios. Since butter is often used with carbohydrates, using butter in coffee eliminates carbohydrates from the exchange. Might be smart to limit butter and coffee, but this is a way to do both.
- The wild diet guy threw a dessert party for Kurt's family and friends. They made ice cream with 85% chocolate and sweetened with dates. We also saw grain free cheesecake, avocado chocolate pudding, grain-free cookies, and mint chocolate chip ice cream. The grain-free cheesecake ties into the fat minus the carbohydrates. I make my own chocolate pudding with avocados and can vouch for its deliciousness.
- The wild diet loves the idea of bone broth. We saw them get animal bones and make broth with water and rice vinegar in a slow cooker. They made them look easy on TV but as we've learned, the process to make bone broth takes 18 hours.
- The wild diet mentions convenient protein sources such as canned tuna, sardines, and chia seeds, as well as using hot sauce instead of ketchup.
2 of the other plans were vague on food and the other plan was vegan. The contestants get to stay but the experts get to leave. The vegan lady was dismissed after 2 weeks over communication issues. The clean momma plan was extremely vague and the contestant was nice enough to have the expert last a whole 4 weeks.
- The "no diet" plan is about psychology and strategy. Blue plates since foods aren't naturally blue, for example. One of his relevant ideas is for people to use chopsticks to slow down the eating speed since it takes the brain 15-20 minutes to realize the stomach is full. On screen, we see that "the slower you eat, the faster you metabolize food." We're told to eat free of distractions, but those distractions could help us slow down our eating speed. Chopsticks would be more effective that way if you keep the bowl on the table as opposed to eating with the bowl close to your mouth.
- The vegan showdown came with smoothies in the first week with smoothies featuring kale, bananas, and chia seeds as a cleanse.
- The strong, safe, and sexy plan lady replaced the vegan showdown lady. The vegan plan is the smartest in a long-term situation, but there were communication gaps from the start. The strong, safe, and sexy plan lady says she is a clinical nutritionist, which is still not a dietitian such as Blatner. Her recipe for “egg muffins” sounded like frittatas in a muffin tin. Frittatas aren't fun but “egg muffins” do seem more fun.
- Latasha picked the clean momma plan, which was mostly about exercising at every single conscious moment. Latasha kept complaining to the viewers that she was struggling to understand the food component. I never saw anything where that was explained. The only food moment came when the instructor asked to switch mozzarella for cheddar on a salad since mozzarella had 30% fewer calories. I have a medical bias against mozzarella but would point out that in a dish where meltiness wasn't a concern, that the flavor of cheddar could mean using 30% less of it versus a cheese with little to no flavor such as mozzarella.
The show is about which diet is the best i.e., which contestant loses the highest percentage of body weight. You are an individual person with your own needs. Kurt and Jasmin are doing well in part because the diets they picked suit them. And those diets involve a food philosophy. Reality for you might be incorporating elements from each plan as they suit you.
If cheesecake is your calling, try it without a crust. Have a slice outside the home where you will be less tempted. Serve it on a blue plate.
photo credit: My Diet Is Better Than Yours/ABC