Top 10 Memories from 2011

We had another busy year and made many memories.  It’s tough to choose just 10; but here, in no particular order, is my top 10 list:

Celebrating 80 years of nutrition education in Indiana through our Dairy Council.  Indiana dairy farmers are long time supporters of nutrition research and education for the health of Hoosiers.

Dining at the home of Jim Irsay!  We partner with the Colts to bring improved nutrition and fitness experiences to Indiana school students.  That partnership yielded an invitation that I was thrilled to accept and gave me a rare opportunity to chat with Mr. Irsay about our Fuel Up to Play 60 program.

Celebrating 100 years of Indy car racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Indiana dairy farmers and the racing fraternity have a special bond:  milk.  We produce it.  They drink it to celebrate winning the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.  That’s why, in Indiana, we know that Winners drink milk!®

Helping our two dairy farmer milkmen get ready to present the famous bottle of milk in Victory Circle following the Indianapolis 500.  This year I was very close to the action!  How exciting!

Attending our annual Dairy Summit.  More than 250 registered dietitians and school nutrition professionals came to the conference to learn from experts about the new dietary guidelines, the benefits of flavored milk at school and chocolate milk as a sports recovery drink.

Visiting several dairy farms during the Kentuckiana Dairy Exchange in Indiana.  Each year, dairy farmers from Kentucky and Indiana get together to tour farms and swap ideas.  We have a varied and vibrant dairy industry in Indiana and it was great to spend some time on several fascinating farms.

Watching Diane Ruyack receive her 35-year service award at our annual meeting.  I’ve had the privilege to work with Diane for many years and was so grateful to see her be recognized for a long career sharing the good nutrition news about dairy products on behalf of Indiana’s dairy farmers.

Unveiling the cheese sculpture at the Indiana State Fair.  For several years, we’ve brought Sarah Kaufmann, cheese sculptor, to our great state fair to create a work of art from huge blocks of cheese delighting thousands of fair-goers!

Hosting Dairy Day at Victory Field.  We entertained Indiana dairy farmers at the beautiful ball park in June.  It was a great time for visiting and showcasing dairy at the ball game.

Announcing that 2012 is the Year of Dairy Cows at the Indiana State Fair!

100 and 80 and 70+

Born out of a commitment for service, matured through the processes of service to health and education, the dairy industry developed and nurtured what is known today as the Dairy & Nutrition Council of Indiana, Inc. 

Those words written thirty years ago evoke strong feelings.  Looking back and reading those words once again, I feel the intense pride in our Indiana dairy farm families that I felt thirty years ago while putting together the program for the Northern Indiana Dairy Council’s 50th anniversary!   My pride stems from knowing Indiana dairy farm families’ dedication to providing, not only good food, but a gold-standard nutrition education program as well.

2011 marks the 80th anniversary of the organization known today as Dairy & Nutrition Council, Inc.  Our materials and programs look different from those of 80 years ago, but our reliance on sound science has never changed.  We continue to work with health professionals, educators and the media delivering current, peer-reviewed nutrition science and information along with practical tips to make a difference in the lives of Hoosiers.

One of the first health messages, 80 years ago, to school children was presented on a book mark:  Eat 3 meals daily including at least ONE GLASS OF MILK WITH EACH MEAL.  Today we are part of Fuel Up To Play 60, a nation-wide nutrition and fitness initiative in more than 70,000 schools across America empowering students to make healthy food and fitness choices.

Our Indiana dairy farm families didn’t stop at nutrition education.  They also nurture and support promotion programs.  The most notable being Winners Drink Milk®, the marketing and public relations efforts around the storied ice cold Drink of Milk in Victory Circle, following the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.

2011 marks the 100th anniversary of the first running of that greatest spectacle in racing!  The tradition of drinking milk to celebrate winning the Indy 500 got its start 70+ years ago.  When legendary race driver Louis Meyer pulled into Victory Lane at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Memorial Day 1933 and asked for a cold glass of buttermilk to quench his thirst after 500 grueling miles a tradition was born.  For more than 70 years the drink of milk tradition has remained an endearing part of Indianapolis lore.  In 2005 the drink of milk tradition was named the sports world’s coolest prize by Sports Illustrated on their website.

Today, dairy farmers who serve as directors on the board of Milk Promotion Services of Indiana are selected, in teams of two, to deliver the ice cold milk to the winning driver on race day, helping him or her re-hydrate, refuel and refresh.

Indiana Dairy Farmers Sponsor Finest Marching Band Contest in Nation

Over 200,000 music students get the message that ‘winners drink milk’ throughout the year thanks to Indiana dairy farmers’ sponsorship of Indiana State School Music Association (ISSMA) events. The sponsorship is coordinated by Milk Promotion Services of Indiana. ISSMA holds the finest marching band contest in the nation according to the judges from all across the country who were in Indianapolis for the recent Marching Band State Finals.

While dairy farmers were home milking, their check-off program was working. Milk commercials featuring local dairy farmers were played on the jumbo video boards in the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis during the 12-hour marching band competition. Nearly 30,000 spectators and performers viewed those spots.

Four Indiana high school marching bands won $1,000 scholarships from Indiana’s dairy farmers plus a drink from the victory bottle of milk for their championship performances at the 2010 ISSMA Marching Band State Finals. Each school took top honors in its division. The winners were Avon, Greenwood, Western High School/Russiaville and Springs Valley High School/ French Lick in classes A through D respectively. Each member of each competing band also received an ice-cold pint of Prairie Farms’ white, chocolate, strawberry or Cravélatté milk after their performance. Prairie Farms Dairy donated all the milk served to the band members.

According to Deb Osza, general manager of MPSI, “I’m proud of the students and impressed with their dedication and focus. Each and every one of those band students is a winner.” “Teaching kids the importance of including at least 3 servings of dairy a day in their diets, in addition to physical activity, will help them develop stronger bones and a healthy lifestyle. We want them to learn that when they put good energy into their bodies, they get energy out. We’re working hard to keep milk messages in our schools. Indiana’s dairy check-off program works efficiently and effectively by getting those milk messages in through music education as well as in the classroom and the cafeteria.”

Additional $1,000 scholarships are awarded annually to the state champion schools in concert band, mixed chorus, orchestra and state show choir finals by Indiana’s Dairy Farmers, exclusive corporate sponsor of all ISSMA events.

World School Milk Day

Create a Healthier World

Celebrate the 11th Annual World School Milk Day (WSMD) on Wednesday, September 29!

What is it? An international, annual event that celebrates the importance of school milk in children’s diets. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations actively supports and promotes it.

Who celebrates? Countries throughout the world! In the past, over 40

countries representing every continent celebrated, including Germany, India, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Ethiopia, China, Iceland, Finland, Croatia, Indonesia and Oman.

Why celebrate World School Milk Day? It’s a way to focus on helping children make healthy beverage choices and to bring our world closer

together, thereby raising children’s global awareness.

What’s more, both flavored and white milk provide calcium and eight other essential nutrients that growing children need. Research shows that children who drink milk at school are more likely to meet their daily nutrient needs.

Milk provides three of the five nutrients the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recognize as being low in children’s diets – calcium, magnesium and potassium.

How do other countries celebrate? Celebrations are unique to each country and involve children in a variety of ways. In previous years:

  • Children from across Australia entered a creative drawing, writing and photography contest. Winning entries were displayed at the Royal Melbourne Show and on Australia’s Discover Dairy Web site.
  • State-wide School Milk Clubs were launched in various schools in Gujarat, India. Eighty schools also participated in a “Milky Way to a Stronger Nation” painting competition. The best three entries received prizes from this His Holy Highness, Lalji Maharaaj Shree Nrigendraprasadji.
  • Over 6,000 children in China participated in an online nutrition competition that had 15 percent of the questions related to milk.
  • Two daylong dairy carnivals in Lahore and Karachi, Pakistanused fun-filled activities that highlighted the benefits of drinking milk to launch a School Milk Ambassador Program.
  • In Zagreb, Croatia, children gathered in the main square to celebrate milk with pictures, songs, and milk and dairy foods tastings.
  • Milk was distributed to over 3,600 children in Oman.

Looking Back… Indiana State Fair 2010

Elles Niessen, the 2010 Indiana Dairy Princess, is our guest blogger today. We hope that you enjoy learning about her memorable experiences at the Indiana State Fair.

            I realize that the Indiana State Fair has been over for almost a month, but I still want to share my experiences

Elles, second from right, at Indiana State Fair Dairy Show.

from it since I’ve attended it every year since I was in the 4th grade. To make it even better, this year I got to experience it as the 2010 Indiana Dairy Princess. First, I had the privilege of helping hand out ribbons and welcoming everyone to both dairy shows during the State Fair this year. I was also able to attend one of the milking events where we taught the public about the milking process and allowed them to ask questions about it and dairy cows in general. Every day at the state fair, I met and interacted with many new people who share a love for the dairy industry and try a variety of dairy products, like fried butter. For example, I attended the ice cream crank off in the Pioneer Village and taste-tested all of the different homemade ice cream flavors, like chocolate covered strawberry. Yum!

            Not only did I get to experience that event, but I also welcomed and educated the public about the importance of consuming three servings of milk and other dairy products every day while standing outside of the Dairy Bar. I was handing out “I love milk” stickers to kids when an adult asked if she could have some to take home to her grandchildren. This is when I thought of the idea to propose her with a DAIRY question to make her earn the stickers

Elles & Buttercup in the daily State Fair parade.

while engaging her dairy knowledge. It actually turned into a fun game for those waiting in line, while also getting them involved and testing their knowledge one person at a time J . The Dairy Bar also provided me with plenty of milk shakes and grilled cheese sandwiches to keep me on my feet, especially for the evening parade. In the parade, I rode the float with my side kick, Buttercup the Cow. It was probably my favorite part of the State Fair because people knew we were promoting the dairy industry with our logo “Winners Drink Milk.”

            The whole fair experience was great, and I probably had my picture taken over twenty times. I know that there were many girls there who dream of becoming the Indiana Dairy Princess when they get older. Even though you may think I helped the public become more knowledgeable about the dairy industry, I believe this was a great learning experience for me. I only showed Holstein cows and heifers at my county fair, so this opportunity gave me the chance to learn many valuable things about judging different dairy breeds and the specific details judges look for in larger shows like that at the State Fair. I enjoyed my experience greatly and hope to see many more people at Kelsay Farms on October 23rd, where I will next be seen following through with my legend!

Do South Bend School Meal Programs Make the Grade?

By Stefany Jones, Dietetics Intern, Purdue University

The National School Lunch Program provides meals for over 30 million children in the US every day.  Everywhere you look, school meals have come under more scrutiny by the media, parents, students, and those concerned with the health of our youth. Recently, Newsweek issued a “Back to School” feature article highlighting school lunch deficiencies and improvements across the country, and just last week, the South Bend Tribune featured “Send the School Menu to Detention”, written by a seventh grader concerned with the fat content of meals at LaSalle Intermediate Academy in South Bend. Wanting to know more, I set out to interview some of the people involved in meal planning and preparation, as well as observe and experience, for myself, some of our local school meal offerings.

I first stopped at Monroe Primary to observe their breakfast program and to tour the facility with Karen Case, Nutrition Facilitator for South Bend Community Schools.

As I entered the cafeteria, the smell of citrus greeted us. Tables full of students and breakfast trays brimming with milk, oranges, cereal, and breakfast sandwiches filled the room. Moving along to the breakfast line, children began assembling their meal by choosing a carton of milk from boxes of low fat, fat-free, white and flavored milks. Reduced-sugar versions of kids’ favorite cereals, like “Frosted Flakes” and fiber-containing “Total Raisin Bran” were also available. Instead of cereal, students could choose a breakfast sandwich consisting of half of an English muffin topped with an egg, turkey Canadian bacon, and reduced fat cheese. Finally, breakfast-eers could choose a fruit in fresh form or as 4 oz. of calcium and vitamin D fortified 100% fruit juice. Behind the scenes in the kitchen, not a fryer was in sight! “Not a bad breakfast!” said my dietetics intern inner-voice.

On to lunch.

I then ventured on to LaSalle Intermediate Academy for lunch. First, I grab my fat-free milk. Hmm…today’s entrée choices? Filet of fish on a whole wheat bun (tartar sauce, optional) and beef tacos (Karen said that all beef is well drained of fat before it’s included in an entrée). Not being in the mood for either of those, I opted for a pre-made romaine-blend salad (offered daily) topped with chicken, shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese, and reduced-fat Ranch dressing. Next, I grabbed an apple from the basket loaded with 4 different fresh fruits daily.  Then, it was time to sit, eat, and mingle with Karen and the kids!

Periodically, school meals are analyzed by a state agency Registered Dietitian for adherence to the USDA’s strict nutrition standards for school meal programs. And how did South Bend’s program measure up? “We were a bit low on calories…our fat content was only slightly over the 30% fat requirement, but our saturated fat fell below the requirement, which is great!” said Karen. Among the school lunch program’s recent improvements, “We’re now offering more fresh fruit and vegetables instead of just canned, and we’re incorporating more whole grain breads.”  Karen says she’s currently working with dairy processors to lower the sugar content in their flavored milks. “We’re always striving to improve the nutrition of our menu offerings,” she adds.

In my opinion, breakfast and lunch both offered tasty and healthy menu options.  What grade would the students give the lunch program? One LaSalle Academy fifth-grader said, “I’d give it an ‘A’ or ‘B’.”

Too Much Caffeine?

Because caffeine is a diuretic, it can cause your body to become weak from not having enough water. Experts estimate that more than 90% of Americans consume caffeine every day, while 11 million Americans consume too much caffeine (over 300 milligrams).

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that children and teens guzzle more than 64 gallons of caffeinated soda a year – an amount that has tripled for teens since 1978, doubled for the 6-11 age group and increased by a quarter for the under-5 tots. Some children also have access to energy drinks, powders and pills – all loaded with caffeine, and the result is a lot of kids addicted to caffeine, which can disturb the sleep cycle, shorten attention span and cause mood swings.

Mayo Clinic cites these additional side effects of caffeine: insomnia, heartburn, intestinal upsets, such as constipation and diarrhea, headaches, jitters, anxiety, heart palpitations or rapid heart rate, increase in blood pressure, and temporary depression.

In case you weren’t aware: An 8-ounce cup of drip-brewed coffee typically contains 85 milligrams of caffeine, an 8-ounce serving of brewed tea has 40 milligrams, caffeinated soft drinks contain an average of 24 milligrams per 8-ounce serving and an 8 ounce serving of milk chocolate has just 6 milligrams. So, the next time you’re choosing a beverage for yourself or your kids keep these numbers in mind. In the future, try replacing caffeinated drinks with herbal tea, milk, water, 100% fruit juices or caffeine-free beverages. You may even consider caffeinated soda as an occasional treat for your teen and not as a regular part of the diet.

Instead of resorting to caffeine, try these energy maintaining tips from the University of Illinois McKinley Health Center:

  • Get a good night’s sleep.
  • Take a brisk, 10-minute walk.
  • Eat regular, healthful meals. The Food Guide Pyramid can help build your meals.
  • Avoid fatty foods. They can make you feel “draggy.”
  • Don’t skip or delay meals.
  • Avoid eating very large meals because digesting a large meal can make you tired.