Spreading the Good News

Guest Post by Indiana Dairy Princess Elles Niessen

Hello my name is Elles Niessen and I am this year’s Indiana Dairy Princess. Part of my responsibilities as the Indiana Dairy Princess is to attend different events and spread the good news about dairy.

On October 23rd, I attended an annual ‘Fairy on a Dairy’ event sponsored by the Kelsay Dairy Farm. My attendance at the Kelsay Dairy Farm was greatly enjoyed. Little girls in adorable tutus and wands showed up ready to learn about the Fairy who was saving ‘Buttermilk Hollow’ with one dairy product at a time. The kids all loved the story and were very attentive and eager to learn how these dairy products are very important for their health.

After finishing up the story, we all went on our adventures parade through the barns with the wands they were given. They also were able to go on a princess hay ride, which they all enjoyed. The kids were wonderful to be around.  After spending time with them, it was clear to me that I am leaving a mark behind and perhaps changing their view on dairy and dairy farming. I am promoting the importance of dairy and want to have a positive impact on these girls.

Being the 2010 Indiana Dairy Princess has been great, because with this specific event, I have seen my influence on these bright young kids. They wanted to learn and listen, and were honored to be around a “real” princess. One of the parents actually approached me after the program to thank me on helping her daughter get involved and not be so shy and timid with the other kids and myself.

Also in the month of November I attended the Indiana State School Music Association (ISSMA) in Indianapolis at the Lucas Oil Stadium.  This event was sponsored by the Indiana Dairy Farmers and it was a great honor to attend. I was able to hand out awards and of course an ice cold glass of milk to all the hard working band members after an intense performance. This glass of milk refueled them by not only providing them with a source of rehydration but helped their body retain, replenish and rebuild their muscle and energy. Individuals at this event couldn’t wait to drink their milk after their marching band performance and commented how good it tasted.

My next event will not be until the Fort Wayne Farm Show.

Thank you to everyone that has supported my efforts in promoting and protecting the image of dairy!

Let’s Give Thanks for All Our Blessings This Thanksgiving

By DeDe Hausmann

How do you and yours celebrate this holiday?  Is the turkey and all the trimmings the central focus of Thanksgiving or do you take time to recognize all the blessings you have?

Many Americans are still going through tight economic times.  We’ve either over-spent  and/or we haven’t set aside emergency funds to serve as a cushion when possible job losses, health issues or other major issues have unexpectedly occurred.  But times are getting better.  More people are back to work and we hear daily in the media how the majority of us are shopping for needs, not wants.   We have much to be thankful for.

We’ve been told, since we were kids in elementary school, that the Pilgrims and the Indians joined together, after getting past their differences, and enjoyed a feast of foods that they had harvested.  Everyone had gone through tough times but they learned that by accepting each other and working together much could be accomplished.   So they sat down and feasted together, to celebrate and to thank the Lord for the bountiful harvest, in their respective ways.  Think of all that they had to overcome to get to that first Thanksgiving:  tumultuous voyages across the ocean to an unknown land; creating new homesteads- sometimes in hostile territory; having to scrounge for food to eat-sometimes not knowing where their next meal was coming from, etc.  Ever wonder if you would have been able to do what our forefathers did to get to their first Thanksgiving?!

So let’s count our many blessings and be thankful for what we have, maybe it’s having a job, a roof over our heads, food to eat, clothes on our back, and very importantly, our family and friends.  May Thanksgiving 2010 be a special one for you and yours and thank the ONE who is there through thick and thin for all who believe.

On the Farm

By Deb Osza
One of the activities I enjoy most about my job is getting to visit dairy farms. I love animals and cows are one of my favorites. This week, our team visited Four-Leaf Clover Dairy in Geneva Indiana. The dairy is owned by Leontien Oostdijck – Vandelaar and her family. The Vandelaar family immigrated to America from the Netherlands and is adjusting well to life in Indiana.

Leontien and her family began operating Four Leaf Clover Dairy three years ago this month. The family operation also has 21 employees. Their primary focus is on quality. During our tour of the farm, Leontien showed us how the family cares for their cows and the land to produce high quality milk. Cows get regular pedicures at Four-Leaf Clover. Cows get a foot bath every three days and a hoof trimmer comes in once a week. The cows are in the milking parlor for about 5 to 10 minutes each session, and are milked three times a day. The cows and workers both stand on thick rubber mats during the process so everyone’s comfortable. Sand beds add to cow comfort. Cows spend much of their time relaxing in their beds. The cow’s sand beds are fluffed three times a day with new sand added once a week. The sand beds are like a day at the beach.

We also learned that this dairy is the first facility in the state of Indiana to operate under the Direct Load system, which means all that milk is pumped right from the cow directly to one of three tanker trailers parked at the facility. The really cool thing about this system is the cooling! In just minutes the milk is chilled to 34 degrees. It comes from the cow at her body temperature of about 101.5 degrees. This system also saves on water and cleaning supplies so it is very ‘green.’

When Leontien is not busy with the farm, she blogs. Check out Four-Leaf Clover Tales at http://fourleafcloverdairy.blogspot.com . She also has a cooking blog called A Farmers Recipe at http://afarmersrecipe.blogspot.com/. I tried her recipe: Boerenkool met Nootjes en Brie…I call it Kale and Mash with Nuts and Brie. Very yummy (though I’m convinced some of my family would think I’d ruined the mashed potatoes by adding Kale, nuts and brie, they would be wrong). This traditional Dutch dish is something I plan to make again. I have Kale in the fridge right now.

The Vandelaars’ are especially appreciative when people stop by to look over their dairy operation. If you can’t make a visit to the farm, visit them online at http://www.fourleafcloverdairy.com/ and E-dopt a cow! You can sign up and get a link to an 8″x10″ photo of “your” cow and a Certificate of Edoption that you can save and print. Then, you can check out the website each month to learn about ‘your’ cows’ life on the farm.

Portion It Out

By Whitney Hackman, Ball State University Intern

Portion sizes have been growing in this country right along with obesity rates and heart disease.  Restaurants are now serving meals twice the size they were in the 1960’s and it’s showing up in our waist lines.  Research shows that portion control is an important component in healthy weight maintenance, but it can be frustrating if you plan on stepping outside of your house without your measuring cups and a scale at any point in your life.   Here are some quick visual aids to help keep your portion sizes in line.

  • 1 ounce of cheese (1 serving) is the same size as four dice or a 9-volt battery.
  • 1 serving of milk is 8 ounces.
  • 1 meat serving (about 3 ounces) is similar to a standard deck of cards (NOT the jumbo ones!).
  • 3 ounces or 1 serving of fish will look similar to a check book.
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter or mayonnaise is equal to a ping pong ball.
  • A serving of ice cream or mashed potatoes is ½ cup which will look about the same size as a tennis ball.
  • Apples and oranges seem like they are growing bigger and bigger but one serving of fruit should look like a woman’s fist.
  • A baked potato should look comparable to a computer mouse.
  • A serving of nuts is comparable to a medium-sized egg.
  • The diameter of a pancake should be the same as a CD.
  • 1 teaspoon of butter is as small as a thumb nail.
  • 1 ounce of chocolate looks like a standard packet of dental floss.
  • ½ cup of cooked pasta, cereal or rice is the same size as a standard light bulb.

We are faced with oversized portions everyday and it’s a tough battle but we hope these visuals give you a good idea of what you should be aiming for if you want to eat healthier!

AHH the holidays… AHH butter!!!

By Michelle Plummer, MS, RD, CD

Learning, Teaching and Cooking for more than 20 years Michelle is comfortable cooking in the kitchen or on stage.  When I first began giving cooking classes I was the self proclaimed Queen of high fat, high sugar and high alcohol.  Over the past many years I have met with moderation and balance and as all great chefs conclude less is really more!  Food and education has been my mantra: to provide a better comfort in the kitchen and with food to achieve balance in both.  After becoming a Registered Dietitian, balance and moderation became more evident.  There is still no substitution for real food done well.  Please enjoy learning about dairy from a cook’s prospective with a dietitian’s knowledge.

AHH the holidays…AHH butter!!!

Both of these statements send fear and happiness to your ears (or mouths).  Either enjoying the holiday gatherings in the little black dress and those delicious little nibbles OR trying to get into that little black dress for the gatherings and staying away from those delicious little nibblers (You have to love those ‘devils in disguise’– appetizers)!

As a Dietitian I have read the science about cholesterol, trans fat, saturated fats, water added, salt added, salt removed http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/butter-vs-margarine .  Where do I stand?  For the next couple of months I support the moderation side of delicious!  If you currently use margarine at home fine, but yes enjoy butter for the special occasions!  If you use butter at home be mindful when eating when you go to those special events with more ‘special’ temptations!  OK enough about what you eat  let’s have some fun.

Cooking with butter, in moderation, can make almost any meal delectable.

I love cooking with butter year round.  Butter gives a flavor, and texture that margarine simply cannot provide.  To thicken a sauce, a tablespoon of butter swirled in will heighten the flavor but the texture becomes more velvety.  From appetizers to desserts butter is versatile.  In keeping with the moderation though, look at the recipe and see if some of the butter could be reduced.  Think about the sweet potato casserole….does it really need two sticks of butter and all the sugar and cream?  Can the milk be changed to skim, the sugar reduced by one forth and the butter to one stick?  I said yes to this many years ago and WOW, it tastes great and I can still have dessert….my brother-in-law uses this as his dessert! Continue reading

Tips for a Healthy Holiday

By Guest Blogger Heather Cupp, RD

It is easy for anyone to gain weight over the holidays when we are surrounded by food.  There are a lot of things we can do to make for a healthier and happier holiday season.

  • Have your family try lower calorie versions of their favorite recipe.  Even if it is something as simple as using egg whites instead of whole eggs. Remember that little things help.
  • Be the one who brings the veggie and fruit tray so you know you have some healthy options to add to your plate or snack on.
  • Do not skip meals so you can overeat at the main meal.  This affects your metabolism and makes us more likely to overeat and have an excuse to.
  • Have a healthy snack before going to a party or a meal – that way you are not overly hungry and less likely to overeat.
  • Drink water only on the day of the party – an easy way to save calories.
  • Don’t waste calories on something like a dinner roll you can have any time of the year.  Enjoy your favorite foods but balance is important.  Include all food groups – fruits, veggies, grains, meats/protein, dairy.
  • Small portions are the key.  Enjoy favorite foods but in moderation.
  • Wait 20-30 minutes before going back for second helpings.  Allow your body to figure out it is full before pushing yourself over the top with a second helping.  Find a fun family game like ‘Would you Rather’ to distract everyone before going for a second plate.


Survive The Holidays Without Weight Gain

Tis the season to eat and be merry! And boy do we EAT! I did a little research, and the average American eats approximately 3,000 to 3,500 calories during Thanksgiving lunch / dinner (the actual meal). This comes to about 4,000 calories for the day in total. To put that in perspective, an excess of 3,500 calories equals one pound of fat. Many people gain a significant amount of weight during the holiday season; some people can gain as much as 5-7 pounds. The weight-gain cycle can easily continue throughout the winter months, and by spring you can have up to 5-10 lbs to lose. Hold that pace for a decade and you will have gained 50-60 lbs.

But wait! There is good news: While it can take a few to several years to gain 50-60 lbs, it can only take 6-12 months to lose it. The better news: you don’t HAVE to gain weight over the holidays! Here are some tips on how to avoid adding holiday weight:

1) Walk and Exercise More. Take a walk with the family after dinner or go outside and toss the football around. Inside activities could include playing video games that are exercise related such as the Wii Fit, or just helping clean up! Just twenty minutes of brisk walking can burn between 100-150 calories. That equals a cookie or soda in calories! You can even start a new holiday tradition of going hiking, ice skating, swimming in an indoor pool, working out in a gym, or taking an exercise class at an adult education facility

2) Eat Slowly. Eat very slowly and enjoy the flavors. Try to chew your food several times per mouthful. It’s recommended to chew 30-40 times! It will allow the “hungry- full” response from your brain to recognize that you are satisfied. It takes the brain about 20 minutes to let you know you are full.

3.) Drink Water. Water is going to naturally help you avoid eating as much if you drink a large glass 20-30 minutes prior to having a large dinner. Plus, water will keep you hydrated and help you burn fat more efficiently. Some people confuse hunger with dehydration. If you just drink a glass of water, that will often take care of the food yearning. This is not skipping a meal – just a way to work through temptation. You can figure the approximate amount of water you need a day by dividing you weight in pounds by 2. This will be the number of ounces you need a day.

4). Don’t let stress get to you! Don’t let stress trigger an overeating episode. Even though it’s easy to reach for “comfort food” when you’re feeling stressed out or when you’re under pressure, skip the urge altogether and try a completely different activity to feel better. Talk to a friend, take a walk around the block, or hit the gym to give your mood a boost and keep your mind off eating.

5) Brush Your Teeth after Meals. I read this somewhere and tried it. It works! Right after eating a meal, especially dinner, go straight to the bathroom to brush, floss, and mouthwash so that your mouth is feeling nice and clean – this makes it less appealing to eat more (especially before bedtime). Ever try to eat or drink something after brushing your teeth? Not tasty!