Milk Man Delivers

Franklin Weaver, Milk Man for the 2010 Indianapolis 500

Only seventeen people in the world are eligible to be selected as the dairy farmer who gets to hand over the ice cold bottle of milk to the winning driver of the Indianapolis 500. The position lasts two years. The first year (the “rookie” year), the selected individual gives the milk to the Chief Mechanic and Team Owner. The second year, the selected individual becomes the “mentor milk person” and actually gets to hand over the bottle of milk to the Winning Driver.

 Last year was my rookie year, and it was an amazing experience. A week before the race, Sam Schwoeppe, who was my mentor milk woman, and I spent a day doing media interviews on TV and radio.  The interviews were arranged by the milk promotion staff, who did a great job.   My first TV interview was on the Fox station where Sam and I were interviewed on LIVE television.  Even though I had first time jitters, the people at the TV station were very courteous and made my first interview very enjoyable. 

 One of the next stops was a radio interview that was conducted at a home being built by Habitat for Humanity.  We passed out milk to the workers and radio announcers who were thankful for the cold milk since they had been working all day.  While handing out milk, there were three workers on the roof who didn’t think I could throw the milk that high. I told them I could throw it if they could catch it. Needless to say, they ended up with ice cold milk to enjoy.

 Every year there is an Indy 500 parade held on Saturday, the day before the race. The parade was one of my most exciting experiences even though it was an extremely hot day in May.  Once we arrived at the float, we discovered we were right behind Miss America’s float, which was great! Also in the parade were Indy 500 queen candidates and racecar drivers, which really made the parade an exciting event. Sam and I rode on opposite sides of the float, right up front taking turns holding up the bottle of milk and waving.  It was amazing how the crowd responded when I held up the bottle of milk. The higher I held it up, the louder the cheers.  It was unbelievable how the enthusiasm from the people in the parade and from the spectators contributed to the excitement.

Sam Schwoeppe and Franklin Weaver on the Winners Drink Milk float in the Indy 500 Parade.

 On the day of the big race, we had a police escort waiting for us to start the day.  While waiting for the escort, we handed out ‘Winners Drink Milk’ pins.  Once the escort arrived and took us to the track, we parked and got the cooler containing the milk that would be given to the winning driver.  As we were carrying the cooler, we were stopped by people who asked if we were the ‘milk people.’  We finally made it to our special suite reserved for us where we could store the bottle of milk.

 Our job had only started that day because we had more interviews lined up! After the media interviews were completed, we had the opportunity to go down and view the cars before the race.  I enjoyed looking at the cars and the great pre-race show.  We stopped at the David Letterman car, and a photographer took a picture of us with the car.

 Once the race began, we went back to the suite to “guard” the milk cooler and watch the race.  Before the race ended, the 500 officials came up to get us to take us to our places where we would present the bottle of milk to the winner.  It was very close quarters and became even tighter once they pushed the winning car in the winner’s circle.  I remember pulling my toes back so they wouldn’t get ran over!  The officials cautioned us about touching the car; basically they said not to touch it, as the car was so hot.

 Sam gave the bottle of milk to the winner, and I handed a bottle of milk to the owner and chief mechanic.  Looking back, a special memory I have is of the winner’s father standing beside me and trying to introduce himself and his family.  I paid attention more to him than watching the cameras in the area.

 This year, I am the “mentor milk man,” and I will be training the new rookie, Richard Thomas. I’m looking forward to another great experience.

Cheesy Gooey Grilled Goodness

The track just opened and qualifications begin this week! So, let’s fire up the grill and get ready to add zip and zing to an American favorite–the burger! Think about the burger as a full meal! The base – the bun should have texture and stability to hold up to the juices and sauces. Choose one with flavor and chew; you don’t want it to turn to paste after a couple of handlings. Next, add the garden like tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, peppers, and onions, but you’ll want to keep the burger on top so the great beef flavor is first! My choice is to use caramelized onions, so I suggest slicing and cooking them slowly in the oven at about 225°F with a bit of sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir them every 30 minutes until desired color is reached, and then you can put them into small packets to freeze so they’re ready when needed. Now, select your meat of choice (I love Bison and moderately lean beef) and add seasonings as you wish. Lightly mix the meat and ingredients with a fork then lightly pat into a round shape and rest for a few minutes. If you haven’t noticed, this is a great way to get veggies into the body, so add chopped spinach, onions, and don’t forget those great antioxidants like cinnamon, oregano, and rosemary! If you’re not sure exactly what to include for your burger, check out these recipes.

Heat the grill to medium heat, oil the grates, and then place your prepared burgers on the grate. Cook one side for 5-7 minutes (no smashing), flip to second side, and cook an additional 5 minutes (still NO smashing). Check for doneness with a thermometer (they should be at least 160°F), remove from grill and place on clean platter. Tent the platter with foil and rest for 5 minutes.

It’s time for the condiments. Ketchup, salsa, mustard, mayo (plain or seasoned), pesto, and chili sauce are enough to get started, but feel free to add one of your own. Since the burgers have been removed from the grill, you can add the bun tops, if desired, to make them a little crispy. 

Oh, did I forget to mention CHEESE? What self-respectful burger lover wouldn’t add cheese to this delicious masterpiece? Cheddar, Colby, American, Swiss, Provolone, Gouda, or even Boursin!

Let us know what your favorite burger is in honor of May being National Burger Month. Don’t want to make your own burger? Check out the Food Network’s list of great burger joints throughout the States. also has more information about burgers than one could ever imagine!

Brown Intermediate goes WILD with FUEL UP TO PLAY 60

We’ve found  that for the Fuel Up to Play 60 Wellness Program to do well in a school, an advisor has to really care about helping students develop healthy lifestyle habits, such as  enjoying nutritious foods  AND wanting to be physically active for 60 minutes daily.  Brown Intermediate Center, a South Bend Community School Corporation school, has such an advisor.  

When Mrs. Eugenia Jenkins, Brown’s Vice Principal, heard about the program, she knew that Melissa Buss, a young, energetic physical education teacher and softball coach, would be willing to take on this new health initiative and get students excited about it.  Melissa found 15-8th grade girls who were willing to be Student Ambassadors and the young ladies have developed great ideas.  Some of the programs/ideas that the Student Ambassadors developed are:

  • School breakfast time is called: FUEL UP TO PLAY.
  • Fuel Up to Play 60 Club: Open to all 8th grade students.  Meetings held on Mondays and Fridays during homeroom.  Student leaders recognize student athletes and educate the student body about the power of nutrient-rich foods.  Kids are allowed to play basketball, and those who haven’t eaten breakfast at home can eat a nutritious breakfast at school during this time, too.  
  • Fuel Up to Play 60 Restaurant: 5th grade Health Fair.  The student ambassadors educated 5th graders about the 5 Food Groups (Nutrient Rich Foods) and helped students create grocery lists and a healthy snack using whole grain English muffin halves topped with marinara sauce, part-skim mozzarella cheese and pineapple bits served with milk.
  • Play 60—After Lunch:  Play 60 sponsors basketball and soccer tournaments and jump rope competitions.  Fuel Up to Play 60 prizes are awarded to winning teams.  On Fridays, 6th grade teachers reward students who have done well in classes all week with supervised free time (30 minutes) in the gym after lunch using sports equipment purchased via Fuel Up to Play 60 grant funds.
  • The cafeteria also hosts “Salad Bar” days that expose students to different salad vegetables and they also promote “Fruit of the Month”—highlighting one particular fruit.
  • Fuel Up to Play 60 grant funding also provided funds to host a Zumba instructor to teach all female PE classes Latin dance aerobics.

Because of the Fuel Up to Play 60 initiative, Brown Intermediate also applied for and received a Silver Healthy Hoosier Award, which is funded by Indiana Action for Healthy Kids.  Teachers, as well as students, have benefited by making healthy lifestyle changes.  Over 20 teachers participated in Brown’s “Biggest Loser Competition” with weekly weigh-ins.  Teachers found that by making many of the healthy changes that the students were doing (eating more nutritiously/exercising daily), they lost weight, have more energy and are feeling so much better. 

Brown Intermediate Center is a wonderful example of what a school can do if teachers and students alike want to create a healthy environment.  That’s what Fuel Up to Play 60 (developed by the National Dairy Council and the National Football League) can do for your school!

World Hypertension Day

World Hypertension Day has been established to highlight the preventable stroke, heart and kidney diseases caused by high blood pressure and to communicate to the public information on prevention, detection and treatment. Each year, May 17th is designated World Hypertension Day. Over 1.5 billion people world-wide suffer from high blood pressure (or hypertension). Hypertension is most commonly known as high blood pressure. It is a chronic medical condition in which the blood pressure is elevated. Hypertension has no specific symptoms and is called the “silent killer”. Being overweight can lead to hypertension, which in turn can lead to stroke, heart failure, aneurysm, type 2 diabetes, certain forms of cancer and kidney failure – all of which can be fatal. So, paying attention to your weight can ultimately create better overall health. Being overweight is a growing concern around the world. Globally over 1 billion adults are overweight, with at least 300 million of them obese. And if that is not enough – childhood obesity is on the rise. Globally, 1 in 6 children are overweight, and the figure is even higher when you look at the North American population. The DASH eating plan is a way to reduce high blood pressure through one’s diet by increasing fruits and vegetables and consuming low fat dairy products. Here are some ways to get started:

  • If you now eat 1 or 2 vegetables a day, add a serving at lunch and another at dinner.
  • If you don’t eat fruit or have only juice at breakfast, add a serving to your meals or have it as a snack.
  • Gradually increase your use of fat free and lowfat dairy products to 3 servings a day.  For example, drink milk with lunch or dinner, instead of soda, sugar-sweetened tea, or alcohol.  Choose lowfat (1%) or fat free (skim) dairy products to reduce your intake of saturated fat, total fat, cholesterol, & calories.
  • Read food labels to choose those lowest in unsaturated fat.
  • Limit meat to 6 ounces a day (2 servings) – all that’s needed.  3 to 4 ounces is about the size of a deck of cards.
  • If you now eat large portions of meat, cut them back gradually – by 1/2 or 1/3 at each meal.
  • Include 2 or more vegetarian-style (meatless) meals each week.
  • Increase servings of vegetables, rice, pasta, & dry beans in meals. Try casseroles, pasta, & stir-fry dishes which have less meat and more vegetables, grains, & dry beans.
  • Fruits & other lowfat foods offer great taste and variety. Use fruits canned in their own juice or fresh fruits that require little or no preparation. Dried fruits are a good choice to carry with you or to have ready in the car.
  • Try these snack ideas:  unsalted pretzels or nuts mixed with raisins; graham crackers; lowfat and fat free yogurt and frozen yogurt; popcorn with no salt or butter added; and raw vegetables.

National Osteoporosis Awareness & Prevention Month

During the month of May, the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) will celebrate National Osteoporosis Awareness and Prevention Month in conjunction with a new campaign called Healthy Bones, Build Them For Life®. NOF’s goal is to reduce the widespread prevalence of osteoporosis and associated fractures as well as to find a cure for the disease through programs of awareness, education, advocacy and research. This exciting new campaign will give NOF a platform to continue addressing the vital need for increased education for the awareness, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis while working to make bone health a reality and a priority for everyone.

Healthy Bones, Build Them For Life will help NOF increase awareness of osteoporosis and bone health among women and men of all ages and backgrounds as well as address the vital need for increased education, awareness, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis. This campaign will focus on educating the ENTIRE population on the importance of bone health and osteoporosis prevention, including nutrition, lifestyle choices and exercise. On May 27, the live patient education webinar, titled How Strong Are Your Bones, offers a great new opportunity for those interested in osteoporosis and bone health to learn more. Participants will be able to listen to and view live presentations led by bone health experts. The May event is the first in a series of webinars that will cover a variety of osteoporosis-related topics including risk factors, testing, nutrition, exercise, treatment and more. To learn more or to register for the How Strong Are Your Bones webinar, visit

Bone health must become a priority for all Americans. Approximately one in two women and up to one in four men over age 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their remaining lifetime. Making sure everyone gets their calcium requirements and exercise is very important in the prevention of this disease.  An easy way to get your calcium is by drinking milk or eating cheese or yogurt at every meal or at snack time. Thirty minutes of walking, dancing, jogging, or weight bearing exercises is all that is needed to help build bone. For additional information on ways to get the calcium your bones need, visit the Dairy & Nutrition Council of Indiana.

It’s National Salad Month, mmmm!

If you live in Indianapolis and are a race fan, you know that May is packed with beer, brats and burgers! And while initially it may not sound the most pleasing, all great food must be balanced with a bit of the garden. In celebration of National Salad Month and the Indianapolis 500 Race to Victory Lane let me give you some salad suggestions that eat like meals and don’t deprive you of any weekend temptations!

Some bit of greenery is nice, but make the greens count, use dark green and leafy mounds such as Romaine, Spinach, Leaf, and or Arugula. Iceberg is fine for the novice, but the darker the greens the better the fuel. Then ‘walk through the garden’ as the diner waitress would say by adding carrots and peppers for Vitamin A, tomatoes for Vitamin C, nuts and cheese for calcium and protein. Not only will this add flavor and nutrients, but great texture, too. Load up on the crunchies that are healthy!  Celery, cucumbers and radishes add great crunch with few calories. Also, don’t forget the fruit! Apples, dried fruits, pears, oranges and figs all give sweetness, crunch and fiber. Now that you have a great salad, don’t drown it! Dressing on the side is not just for the waiter to use an extra cup; in reality you should only use about 1/10 of what is normally used. Salad dressings are expensive in the world of health. If you wish to have save 100 calories, dip the fork in the dressing then in the salad. You will still taste the dressing, just not all the calories.

Now, I promised you great salads that would keep you on track during the week so the weekend at the track can be that much better! Here are two of my favorites:

Greek Salad has lots of flavor with simple ingredients like peppers, olives, chicken (optional), onions, feta cheese, toasted walnuts and dried apricots! It’s nutritious and has all the taste! Sprinkle with fresh oregano and it is amazing!

Parmesan Italian Salad with fresh mozzarella, bell peppers, reduced fat salami, olives, peppedew (African fruit), Parmesan shavings, pinenuts, ripe heirloom tomatoes and steamers of sliced basil is also quite amazing.

Most importantly when creating a salad is being creative with your greens, grains and garnishes. If you do just that, you’ll be a winner in your own personal winner’s circle.

For additional ideas on eating healthy and bringing your family closer together, check out this great new tool, Back to the Table, developed by the American Dairy Association of Indiana.

Good Mood Foods

These days everyone could use a way to beat the blues, and certain foods that provide key vitamins and minerals can be the answer. You may be surprised to learn that some foods contain powerful compounds that positively affect brain chemistry as much as some medications. According to the Mental Health Foundation, a healthy diet and daily exercise can help boost your mood when you’re feeling down.

So where do we begin to combat the blues?  First, what you eat has a lot to do with how you feel – limit energy zapping foods like refined sugar and alcohol and try to eat a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods every four to five hours. You’ll get more vitamins and minerals and fewer calories when you choose nutrient – rich foods like fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean meat and whole grains. In fact, eating these foods at regular intervals every few hours stabilizes your blood sugar, increases your energy, decreases stress and improves levels of serotonin – a natural chemical in the body that triggers happiness.

Foods packed with vitamin D and omega 3 enhance your mood!

There are actually are specific foods that help us improve our mood. Foods fortified with vitamin D, which improves levels of serotonin in the brain, can contribute to a positive mood and help prevent depression. Our bodies produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, but milk is an excellent source if you can’t get outside. In addition, there are other foods that can help boost your mood, including complex carbohydrates like whole grain breads, bananas and sweet potatoes; foods naturally high in folate, like spinach, oranges and sunflower seeds; and crunchy foods such as celery, apples, carrots and popcorn since chewing stimulates serotonin production. Also, try to avoid sugary foods like candy and beverages that give you a quick boost, but could leave you feeling shaky and irritable a short while later.

A true “happy meal” would combine a few of these good mood foods. For example, delicious salmon cakes topped with creamy lime dill yogurt sauce and served with brown rice, crunchy coleslaw and a glass of milk can turn anyone’s mood around! (Click here for recipe.)

Bottom line is when you are feeling down, turn your mood around with daily exercise and regular meals that include nutrient rich foods such as milk fortified with vitamin D, fish with omega 3 fats, carbohydrates loaded with fiber and fruits and vegetables with folate to combat the blues.