Jean Ragalie-Carr, RDN, LDN, FAND @ 7:00 AM
Lately I’ve been having more and more conversations about where food comes from, in addition to the quality of the food itself. Other factors, such as how and where food is grown and animal care, also may play a part in peoples’ food-purchasing decisions.
As a health and wellness professional, you may be asked about agriculture and on-farm practices that were likely not part of your health professional/dietetic training. While agricultural sciences may one day be part of training for registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs), it wasn’t part of mine. However, in my role as President of National Dairy Council, I’ve had the opportunity to meet hundreds of our nation’s dairy farmers and have been on dozens of dairy farms. Here’s what I learned and what I know.
Camellia Patey @ 7:00 AM
Many of us have fond memories of walking through the school lunch line, and getting our favorite meals. We couldn’t wait for Taco Tuesday, Hamburger Day and Pizza Friday! Many of the names (and in some cases the ingredients) have changed – we now have Touchdown Tacos, Fastball Fruit Salad and Mega Cheese Swirls, but no matter what was or is being served, there is always delicious, nutritious milk!
As health and wellness professionals, you know that school meals are designed to help meet nutrient needs and teach children healthy eating habits. What foods are offered in schools has evolved as public health challenges have evolved. First there were lunches, later, breakfasts, suppers and meals in summer programs.
Of course, just like everything else, this didn’t just happen. There’s a story to the nutritional importance of fluid milk in school meal programs. And now the concurrent history of both is available in one succinct report, “Fluid Milk in School Meal Programs.” Read the rest of this entry »
Gregory Miller, PhD, FACN @ 8:05 AM
Osteoporosis and the broken bones it can cause are not a normal part of aging, the National Osteoporosis Foundation reminds us. As anyone who has experienced a broken bone will tell you, it causes suffering, disability, and reduced quality of life. Even after the bone heals, many people who have experienced a fracture are anxious and depressed because they fear falling and breaking another bone, mourn the loss of independence and missed activities with family and friends. Practitioners are increasingly aware of the need to address the whole patient with a comprehensive program of exercise, diet, coping strategies, and osteoporosis information.
When it comes to diet and lifestyle, there is a need to be comprehensive as well. You are likely familiar with the nutritional and lifestyle changes people can make to protect their bones throughout life, such as getting enough calcium and vitamin D, eating a well-balanced diet, engaging in regular exercise, not smoking, and limiting alcohol.
While these are important recommendations for maintaining bone health, we also need to recognize and appreciate how nutrients supporting both bone and muscle work together to help people maintain active lifestyles as they age. Read the rest of this entry »
Judith Jarvis, MS, RDN @ 7:00 AM
In working for National Dairy Council I’ve gotten to know many dairy farm families and have visited several dairy farms. But just like most people who have visited a dairy farm, I’ve come to appreciate their diversity. Of the 45,000 dairy farms in America, most are family owned, but no two are exactly alike. They are large, small, and everything in between – and they all work together to help feed our nation.
One thing I admire most about dairy farm families is their ingenuity. Farmers continuously innovate and find solutions to problems and challenges. Sometimes that ingenuity leads to a new dairy food to meet people’s unique needs and expectations.
Take Mike and Sue McCloskey, for example, founders of Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana. A problem with a collapsed well on their dairy farm in New Mexico 23 years ago became the inspiration for fairlife ultrafiltered milk, which was recently launched nationwide, using filtration technology to provide benefits people want.
This is how it came about. When the best water well on his farm collapsed, which corrupted the drinking water for his cows, Mike, who is also a veterinarian, built a water filtration system to remove the impurities. After combining several types of filters, he was able to give his cows the type of water they needed. Their health flourished. As a farmer and veterinarian, Mike’s curiosity about filtration was piqued. Read the rest of this entry »
Roxy Helman @ 8:47 AM
Last spring the Great American Milk Drive (GAMD) kicked off nationwide and with it we were reminded of shocking food insecurity and hunger in America statistics. According to Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger relief charity, 49 million Americans live in food insecure households. To put it in perspective, that is equal to one in six Americans.
Food banks have a tall order to fill when you consider how many people are in need nationwide. The general public helps fill this need by donating food. But a lot of times this means cleaning out pantries of items such as beans, canned vegetables, rice and spaghetti. Nonperishable food items are always top of mind and convenient to donate. With that, an important part of feeding the hungry is in short supply: milk. In fact, milk is one of the most requested yet least donated items at food banks. Read the rest of this entry »
Robert Murray, MD, FAAP @ 10:48 AM
Recently, two reports were released discussing how we eat in America. First, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) submitted its recommendations for consideration for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In the second report, one singular niche of a child’s diet was examined in a policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP): “Snacks, Sweetened Beverages, Sugars and Schools.” Together these reports offer a way to think about how to build a healthful personal eating pattern.
Even though the DGAC report presents a case for the health benefits of certain eating patterns – such as the Mediterranean, vegetarian and DASH type diets – many dietitians, health care professionals and the media focus almost exclusively on the foods they recommended people cut back on. Substantial cuts in saturated fat, sodium and added sugars drew the most attention (cholesterol was delisted). In discussing foods and drinks brought into school for booster sales, fundraisers, celebrations and packed lunches, the AAP policy statement urged thinking about the issue differently. Sweet, spicy and salty flavorings can encourage greater appeal to foods from any of the five food groups. Parents, students and school staff can link preferred flavors with nutrient-rich foods and drinks. This is a good trade. Read the rest of this entry »
Abigail Copenhaver, RDN, CDN @ 8:33 AM
By the time many of us wake up in the morning and stumble to our coffee cups, dairy farmers have been up for hours working hard to bring people that milk for their coffee or yogurt to start their day.
As a registered dietitian and a dairy farmer’s wife, I hold a unique perspective on food and agriculture. My husband and his business partner operate our 900 dairy cow farm. I love to share my credentialed background and hands-on experience with fellow health and wellness professionals and the public to help them understand the farm to table process, especially when it comes to dairy foods.
Many people don’t know the details behind their nutritious dairy foods. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, farm and ranch families make up only 2 percent of the U.S. population, but they help feed all of us. Read the rest of this entry »
Christopher Cifelli, PhD @ 7:28 AM
Here’s a statistic that may make you pause – according to the American Heart Association, one out of every three adults has high blood pressure and only half have it under control. What’s equally surprising is that high blood pressure is one of the most predictive risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD).
As a health and wellness professional, you know that consuming excess sodium is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure, especially in those who are salt sensitive. For years, the primary strategy for managing high blood pressure through what people eat was to reduce sodium consumption. Then, the original DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) meal plan published over a decade ago — pioneered research supporting a link between increased consumption of certain foods to help manage high blood pressure. This fresh approach emphasized foods to eat more of versus individual nutrients to avoid, such as sodium.
Both observational and clinical studies have shown a beneficial relationship between the consumption of dairy foods and blood pressure in adults – but, you may wonder, how can the addition of dairy foods to the diet help contribute to a healthy blood pressure? Read the rest of this entry »
Judith Jarvis, MS, RDN @ 8:07 AM
Greek yogurt has become a staple on my weekly grocery shopping list, as it has for my grown kids and their families. That may be the case for many families, since over the last year, 60 percent of households bought Greek yogurt. Since the popularity of Greek yogurt continues to grow, I am guessing you may be getting questions about it from clients, friends, or family. Here are three things you need to know:
What is Greek yogurt and did it originate in Greece?
Greek yogurt is yogurt which has been strained to remove much of its whey, making it thicker, richer, and tangier than traditional yogurt. The term “Greek” refers more to the process for making it than it does country of origin. The exact country of origin is unclear – since Africa, India, Greece, and Arab countries all have traditional cultured milk dishes created by straining.
Christine Rivera, RDN @ 8:48 AM
As a registered dietitian working at a food bank, I saw how imperative it was to provide nutritious foods, such as vegetables, fruit, lean meats and low-fat dairy, and include health-promoting education to food insecure individuals and families.
While many community organizations may not initially think of food banks as potential health partners, more and more food banks in the Feeding America network play a leading role in promoting healthy communities. Food banks and their member agencies (food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and after-school feeding programs) are trusted sources for food and education by food-insecure community members. As food banks begin collaborations with their community health partners, Feeding America is committed to supporting these connections – and one way Feeding America is doing that is through its Healthy Food Bank Hub.
The Healthy Food Bank Hub, developed in partnership with National Dairy Council, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation and Feeding America’s network of 200 food banks, was designed to allow public health and wellness professionals to connect with their local food banks to learn more about: Read the rest of this entry »