Should Your Family Go Gluten Free?

By Jenni Purcell

I am a Registered Dietitian, and I get frustrated sometimes with the latest news and trends concerning food and diet. I know if I am frustrated then the public must have surrendered and thrown their arms up a long time ago! Can anyone really keep up with the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ diets? What’s ‘in’ or ‘out’ this year? It’s hard to keep up! And who should consumers believe? First it was Fat Free, and then it was Carb Free, now it is Gluten Free.

Let’s discuss this latest trend: gluten-free. I am guessing the majority of people couldn’t point out gluten in a line up, yet they have heard they need to stay away from it. So what is a gluten-free diet? It’s a diet that does not include the protein found in wheat, rye and barley. This protein is gluten.  It is a medically prescribed diet for people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

So what is Celiac Disease? Celiac disease is an auto immune disease that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents people from properly absorbing and digesting foods with gluten. This makes it hard for your body to absorb nutrients that keep you healthy.  Celiac disease has become more prevalent in the United States and thus increased awareness about gluten-free foods. You’ve probably seen advertisements for gluten free products and more and more labeling on packaged foods in the supermarket.

Some advocates are saying gluten free is the way to go. This is leaving many wondering if it’s a necessary step for a healthy lifestyle. Should you really cut out gluten for health and weight loss, even if you don’t have a problem digesting it? 

The answer is NO.  Unless you have celiac disease, choosing only gluten-free foods is not necessarily going to benefit you. If you feel that you may have intolerance to gluten it is a good idea to get tested by your doctor.  This will help you discover if you have sensitivity to gluten or have celiac disease. If you do get tested, do not cut out gluten from your diet until the test has been completed.  (Doing so will throw off the validity of the test.)  If you do have celiac disease or sensitivity, you will get relief from symptoms by eating a gluten free diet.

Some other reasons why you should not just eat gluten-free for weight loss or for the heck of it: There is a risk of becoming nutrient deficient, and it doesn’t guarantee weight loss.

Rule of thumb for trending nutrition fads and diets: It’s the same old stuff you have been hearing for years.  Eat in moderation, eat from all the food groups and get 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Easy as pie ;)!

Celebrate New Years Your Way

By Jenni Purcell

 New Year’s Eve is right around the corner and will be here before we know it. I am one of those people that put a great deal of pressure on what I am doing and who I am with when the ball drops. And yes, I realize this is silly and I have to remind myself it should be a time of reflection and a time of being thankful for the previous year and the year to come. This holiday is notorious for producing high expectations and people want to make the night special. It’s not how much money you spend that makes the evening memorable.

 So how can you make the evening memorable? You can join the millions, like my Mom and Dad, which may have some indulgent snacks and fall asleep in front of the TV before the ball drops. If that works for you, great!  Others want to be at the loudest and biggest parties. No matter where you are, the recipe for a successful night includes just a few ingredients.  Perhaps incorporate some tasty cocktails and food, a couple silly hats and horns and good friends and family.

 If you are going to stay home and have a few people over to avoid the chaos I have some tips for you.

Send out the invite before the event. You can invite your party people via several methods: email, text, call, etc. I suggest using the Evite so you can obtain RSVP’s easily.

Planning is important. Take into account the time you have and resources. Don’t take on more than you can handle and if you are cooking don’t make everything from scratch. Check out some of these nutrient packed, tasty recipes on our website

 Ask others to chip in. You can ask some of your family or close friends to prep and even decorate.

Set the mood. Get the music out! Music is such an amazing mood elevator. Pick some of the old favorites especially if you want people to start to cut loose and dance.

 No matter what you do and who you are with – Have a great time, have a Happy New Year!

Cabin Fever – Find a Cure for your Kids!

By Jenni Purcell

Winter months do bring the holidays, but they inevitably also bring on a case of cabin fever. You might ask: How will I know when my family has come down with this serious illness? The symptoms are easy to spot. You will know by the repetitive opening and closing of the refrigerator, complaining that nothing is on TV and the whining that sounds something like ‘I am bored!’ The good news is that there is a cure! The number one suggestion is to get out of the cabin, if possible (unfortunately, this isn’t always possible). So, on those occasions where leaving the cabin is impossible, it is important to act fast with indoor activities and games to cure your family.

Does your family have Cabin Fever?

 If cabin fever is not addressed immediately it will eventually lead to insanity. Here are 4 simple ways to rid your family of cabin fever:

1.  Get artsy.  You can have your children write thank you notes for Christmas gifts or get an early start on Valentine’s Day cards. Make your own stamps by doing a little vegetable stamping — cut a potato in half, cut the flesh into the shape you desire, and then let your child dip it in some paint and stamp the potato on construction paper.

2. Build a fort.  It’s time to bring out all the extra blankets, sheets and pillows.  Kids love to make forts and mazes with anything that you have around the house.

3. Chef for a day.  Kids love to help in the kitchen and have fun with food. A snowy day is the perfect time to teach children to cook with a simple recipe.  Take this opportunity to teach them the importance of eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals.

4. Dust off the old board games. Checkers, Dominos, and Candyland are just some of the classics and are now as popular as ever.   Uno, Go Fish and basic cards can be used for matching games too.

I found other good ideas at this link as well.

Now after looking at some of these ideas,  create a Cabin Fever emergency kit with craft supplies, games, books, etc. that you can get out when Cabin Fever symptoms start to appear in your family!

Happy Thanksgiving!

By Kimmi Devaney

Thanksgiving is here! As we sit down with our families this holiday season, let’s not forget the hardworking individuals who work hard year round to ensure we have enough to eat. Dairy farms and many other types of farms are 24/7/365 operations, and this includes holidays. Sometimes this means juggling meal schedules and other activities to milk or feed cows.

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Planning A Holiday Feast

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By Diane Ruyack

In our family, our favorite holiday feast is Thanksgiving!  If this is your first holiday feast or your 10th, the following list will help you have an enjoyable and successful party. Plan the meal, keeping in mind your guests’ tastes, ethnic backgrounds, allergies and any other factors.

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Let’s Make Our Tailgating Fun But Nutritious!

By DeDe Hausmann

When we think of attending college and professional football games, foods that can be enjoyed via TAILGATING immediately come to mind.   It’s fun to get together with buddies before the BIG GAME and food always comes into play.

When planning the menu, you DO know that nutrition and good tasting can go hand-in-hand?  RIGHT?!!!!  Many might be trying to live a more healthy lifestyle so who wants to blow it on the weekend?!!!!  There are many great foods/beverages that are very tasty and still can be nutritious.

When thinking of meat or protein foods, think LEAN.  Many sausages and other processed meat products are produced in reduced-fat varieties.  READ PACKAGE LABELS before purchasing and try to go with those that are lower in fat, such as chicken or turkey sausages, brats, etc.  How about grilling turkey burgers?

I bet your friends won’t even know the difference.  Buy whole grain buns or tortillas to serve with your burgers or brats.  Other foods high in protein include cottage cheese and Greek yogurt and these can be made into great fruit and veggie dips.

Speaking of fruits and vegetables, have loads available.  Keep them icy cold and serve with dairy dips.   OR spread a whole-wheat tortilla with a yogurt/seasoning  mixture, add bits or thin slices of broccoli, carrots, and cucumbers, top with shredded low-fat cheese and then place another tortilla on top.  Heat, cut into quarters, and ENJOY!!!!  Ever try grilled fruit?  Grill over low heat pineapple, apple, banana or pear slices dusted with cinnamon and nutmeg.  YOU WON’T BELIEVE THE FLAVOR!!!  Or grill fruit kabobs and serve with vanilla yogurt as a dip.


Are you salivating yet?!!!!  Since it’s fall what better time to serve cold or hot Apple Cider besides those other beverages that TV seems to think are necessities for tailgating.  Also consider serving reduced-fat CHOCOLATE MILK, either hot or cold, for those that love chocolate but don’t need additional calories and care about nutrition—hey, it’s packed with 9 essential nutrients so go for it!!!!  Make sure to have lots of water available.

Dessert anyone?  If you serve treats, make servings SMALL.   If someone is really craving a sweet, they might be able to satisfy that urge with a mini brownie, cupcake, etc.

See, TAILGATING can be fun and still be nutritious.  Don’t tell your guests how healthy they are eating and just let the compliments fly before you surprise them with YOUR SECRET: what they are enjoying is good for them!!!  You’ll be the host/hostess with the MOSTEST!!!

Staff Spotlight: Meet Susan Stern

What do you do at Indiana Dairy?

I am the receptionist for Indiana Dairy. I am the ‘smiling voice’ you will hear when you contact us or the ‘smiling face’ you will see when you enter our office building.   I work with the entire office to handle everything that goes on behind the scenes. I gather and ship educational and promotional materials to farmers, educators and health professionals. The materials are used for a variety of events. The events can range anywhere from County fairs and Ag Days, farm tours, to college education programs. We also provide resources to many hospitals and schools around the state.  I get to interact with all of our employees and feel we are truly blessed to have a great group of people working here at the American Dairy Association of Indiana.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Every day is different and my job continues to be a learning experience.

Tell us a little about yourself:

I grew up in the town of Lapel and have lived in that area most of my life.  My husband and I have two grown children and six grandchildren.  It is a delight to watch my children as adults raise their families. To be a part of my children’s and grandchildren’s life is an utmost pleasure. Our family gets to spend some of our free time enjoying the water in northern Indiana at our lake home.

Tell us a little about someone who has influenced your life and why?

Many family and friends have been an influence over the years. My Mom has been one of the greatest influences and has been a very special person in my life.

Do you have a favorite recipe or restaurant to share?

If you are ever in Lapel, you will have to stop by The Bulldog Corner. It is located in the heart of Lapel has great food. I recommend the breaded tenderloin sandwich.