Getting to know Diane Ruyack

What do you do at Indiana Dairy?
Director of Nutrition Programs

What is your favorite part of your job?
The variety of activities and being able to teach people how to make wise food choices.

Tell us a little about yourself:
I am originally from Dixon, Illinois, hometown of Ronald Reagan.  I went to college at U. of Illinois for B.S. and my Masters at Kansas  State University.  I taught at the U. of Nebraska for 3 years.  I have worked for Dairy & Nutrition Council for 35 years and have enjoyed promoting a food I believe in.  I am married and have 2 grown sons.  I soon will be a grandma!  I enjoy hiking, reading and oil painting.  I am learning to quilt.

Tell us a little about someone who has influenced your life and why?
My husband is able to see the big picture about things and has helped me put many things I have encountered into perspective.  He has always been supportive and has allowed me to make my own decisions about work, etc.

Do you have a favorite recipe or restaurant to share?
I love Palominos, especially their scallops.


Fuel Up To Play 60 Huddles

New television PSA entitled “Huddle” developed by the Ad Council in collaboration with Let’s Move!, Fuel Up to Play 60, National Dairy Council, the NFL, NFL Players Association, USDA and Brunner advertising. The spot features Tony Romo, Quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, and encourages youth to get healthy and be active by joining the Fuel Up to Play 60 movement.

By Mary Nicholson

While Super Bowl XLV may be history, there was also some history being made well before the flipping of the ceremonial coin on Sunday. Some of our nation’s principal thought leaders in child health, physical activity and education converged in North Texas, site of Super Bowl XLV, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on February 4 that outlines an unprecedented private-public partnership committed to child health and wellness.

This historic agreement will bring together the National Football League, leading government authorities, National Dairy Council (NDC) and Gen YOUth Foundation, a newly formed nonprofit organization that supports efforts to end childhood obesity. MOU co-signers include U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack; U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius; NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell; NDC CEO Thomas Gallagher and Gen YOUth Foundation CEO Alexis Glick. This MOU sets a new precedent for private-public partnerships and cross-department collaboration. Continue reading

The Many Faces of Nutrition

Over 200 Registered Dietitians and Food Service Directors attended the Indiana Dairy and Nutrition Council’s Annual Summit – “The Many Faces of Nutrition” – at the Colt’s Complex on February 22. It was a packed day of great information. The Dairy and

Nutrition Council of Indiana (DNCI) has been providing nutrition and wellness education for 80 years. Some of the comments the guests had were: “Whatever the topic the DNCI presents I always benefit!” and “This day was full of nutritional information and fun.”

There were five speakers on the agenda. Dr. Robert Murray was the first speaker up who is a professor of Pediatrics and Pediatric GI

Dr. Robert Murray spoke on the new Dietary Guidelines at the DNCI Summit.

 and Nutrition at the Ohio State University. He presented on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines and quality nutrition.    To get an understanding of what MyPyramid represents, you may want to become familiar with what the 2005 Dietary Guidelines emphasize. Nutrient-dense foods provide substantial amounts of vitamins and minerals and relatively fewer calories. These foods will be found in the wide bottom of each color band on the pyramid. He focused his talk on how children AND adults need to think about the nutrients in food we need to consume, for example, calcium, Vitamin D, protein and potassium.  They should not focus solely on the contents of food to avoid.

Next up on the list of speakers was Doug Adams who is the President of Prime Consulting Group. He has over thirty years of sales, research and management consulting experience in the Consumer Packaged Goods industry.  He spoke on the importance of offering flavored milk in schools to children by discussing a recent study.  The study revealed that eliminating chocolate and other flavored milks from school cafeteria menus resulted in a dramatic drop in milk consumption along with a substantial reduction in nutrients—which are not easy or affordable to replace.

Jenni Purcell RD, the Director of Communications for the Dairy and Nutrition Council, presented ways to connect with your local media and the importance of social media to get out your nutritional message. Diane Ruyack, RD, the Director of Nutrition Programs for the Dairy and Nutrition Council, presented on Fuel up to Play 60. Fuel up To Play 60 is a nationwide movement focused on fighting childhood obesity by empowering kids to take control of their own health. Find out more by visiting

Last but not least, Erika Whitman spoke who is a registered dietitian and is currently the sports nutritionist at the University of Notre Dame. She discussed using chocolate milk as a refueling agent after exercise. Emerging research shows milk may be as or more effective than other post-exercise beverages to help the body recover. Milk has a powerful nutrient package that supplies the

The Dairy and Nutrition Council is celebrating 80 years of nutrition education this year.

nutrition the body needs after exercise. White and chocolate milk provides 9 essential nutrients for athletes. Milk is a source of complete, high-quality protein that can help reduce muscle breakdown and stimulate repair and growth after exercise.

There was even a surprise appearance by Buttercup, DNCI’s mascot, who brought a cake to help celebrate the day and 80 years of nutrition education.  (Buttercup was escorted by Mary Nicolson.)

March is Agriculture Appreciation Month in Indiana

Events and contests will shine the spotlight on Hoosier farmers and the food they grow

For Immediate Release

INDIANAPOLIS (February 22, 2011) Governor Mitch Daniels has declared March Agriculture Appreciation Month in Indiana. The Hoosier celebration is an extension of National Ag Week, March 13-19.

The official proclamation reads, in part:

WHEREAS, the foundation of Indiana agriculture, farm production, occurs on 61,000 farms representing 14.8 million acres of farmland in the state; and

WHEREAS, the Hoosier farmer, a symbol of strength and strong moral fiber, has displayed ingenuity in times of prosperity and perseverance in the face of hardships, while supplying our state, our nation and the world with an abundance of high quality agriculture goods and products; and…

In honor of the month and in recognition of the significant economic and cultural contributions agriculture makes to the Hoosier state, Indiana’s Family of Farmers (IFoF), a coalition of more than a dozen ag-related organizations, will sponsor a series of events and initiatives during Agriculture Appreciation Month, including:

Indiana’s Family of Farmers Statehouse Reception
Monday, March 7, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
IFoF will kick-off Agriculture Appreciation Month with a luncheon reception and special presentation in the Statehouse North Atrium. Lt. Governor Becky Skillman will announce the winners of the ag essay contest and Morgan Dawson, Indiana FFA State President, will read the official Agriculture Appreciation Month proclamation.

Celebrate Antioxidants

By Michelle Plummer

February is the month to celebrate the heart!  National Heart Month, World Marriage Day, Valentine’s Day… Do you see a theme developing?  Hearts, family, warmth, babies being born (more babies are conceived in Indiana during February than other times of the year) are all parts of the February celebration.

Why am I telling you about this, because I love chocolate, drink wine and indulge in many delicious antioxidants daily!  NO, because every 34 seconds someone is dying from heart disease.  Can heart disease be prevented, to a degree.  Below I have listed some heart statistics, risks and ideas to not only increase your antioxidant levels but also your overall wellness using nutrient rich foods.

Heart Disease Statistics

  • Every 34 seconds a person in the United States dies from heart disease.
  • Every 20 seconds, a person in the United States has a heart attack.
  • The countries with the highest death rates from heart disease are the Soviet Union, Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia. The countries with the lowest are Japan, France, Spain, Switzerland, and Canada.
  • Every 33 seconds, a person dies from Cardio Vascular Disease in the United States.
  • Men suffer heart attacks about 10 years earlier in life than women do.

Continue reading

How do you get more nutrients into your child’s lunch box without spending hours of preparation?

By Diane Ruyack

A Breakfast for lunch idea could be a toasted whole-grain waffle sandwich spread with almond butter, or any nut butter and low-sugar jam. A variation is low fat cream cheese and cinnamon and spice topping. Throw in a piece of fresh fruit on the side. Make sure that there is money for milk!

Yogurt parfaits make a great lunch. Pack a single-serve container of yogurt, a baggie full of granola or other high-fiber cereal, a package of raisins or freshly rinsed blueberries and a spoon. Just add milk and your child would have 2 servings of milk in one meal.

Another new sandwich can be made by spreading a spinach or whole-wheat wrap with low-fat cream cheese, shredded carrots, and your choice of raisins, shredded raw spinach, chopped black olives, diced turkey, or cooked black beans.

A chef salad packs a nutritional wallop with lots of fiber and vitamin-rich veggies. Layer bite-size pieces of romaine lettuce from a bag  with sliced ham and low-fat cheese and as many veggies as possible: diced or shredded carrots, sliced celery or mushrooms, halved cherry tomatoes, and leftover cooked beets or green beans. Plastic disposable containers or squirt bottles make ideal containers for salad dressing.

For the dainty eater,  spread whole-wheat bread, crusts removed, with sweet butter and sliced hard-boiled egg or thinly sliced meat, cheese and cut into triangles. Add cup of diced fruit in own juices and always a cold serving of milk, either white or chocolate.

Toss leftover cooked pasta (preferably whole-wheat) with leftover cooked veggies and chicken or frozen peas, carrots and corn. Add diced hard-boiled egg, sunflower seeds, tofu or other proteins as desired. Sprinkle with shredded parmesan and toss with a few tablespoons of Italian dressing.

An old stand-by is  toasted whole wheat bread with a layer of peanut butter and a layer of sliced banana. Great way to get protein, carbohydrates and vitamins in a sweet and tasty concoction.

On the run? Pack a baggie full of low-sodium almonds or cereal mix,  a washed apple, and a cheese stick for a power packed lunch.

For the adventurous, include a small container of store-bought hummus, a baggie full of carrot, celery, and red pepper strips, and a package of whole-wheat pita cut into triangles. Don’t forget to add milk.

Pets & Farm animals: Love them all the same?

Guest Post By Farmer Leontien van de Laar

Sometimes people come to our large dairy and when we take them to see our cows, every now and then one of our cats will pop up and will literally beg for attention. Usually the question that follows after he (he’s huge and black) shows off is:

Do you have any pets?

My answer:  Yes we do.

And yes, there is a difference between our pets and our farm animals.

But it is not as black and white as some of our cows are… Or maybe it is.

We love our dog because no matter how bad of a day I have had, he is always happy to see me.

We love our cows because they provide food for 155 households in one day.

We love my horse, because I can hug and talk to him as long as I want and he always listens.

We love our cows because they provide food for 155 households in one day.

We love our cats because I can watch them for hours playing or chasing a leaf blown by the wind.

We love our cows because they provide food for 155 households in one day.

We spend 24 hours a day taking care of our cows: provide them with the best quality feed, make sure they are as comfortable as possible, milk them 3 times a day, have a hoof trimmer, nutritionist and veterinarian who come every week to check our cows.

In my opinion it’s simple; just because our cows are not in my house, I didn’t give them crazy made up names, or I don’t pet every single one of them, or I don’t have a special cushion on my sofa where she can lay down, or I don’t walk them 3 times a day, or buy toys for her to play with, it doesn’t mean I care less about our cows than I do our pets.

I love my cows because at the end of the day when I go home to my horse, dog and cats I KNOW our cows will provide food for 155 households the next day, and the next day and the next day– if I keep making sure they have the best possible life here on this large dairy.

So, every evening I go home and play a bit with my dog, hug my horse and watch the cats jump from one snow pile to the other and ponder about my day and the day to come, worrying about caring for our cows and worrying about how to provide for my family, because a farmers life isn’t easy…And later that evening I will wonder about the fact that I will see commercials on TV for DIET FOOD for dogs and why people still look at me (as a farmer), and think I’m the one who doing harm to animals.

 I love our pets, they are my pleasure.

But I love my cows more because they feed the world.

For me it’s black and white, like my cow Berta 1127.