07, December 2016 10:35 AM

Tangled Vines cover In November, our Silicon Valley District Dietetic Association Book Club reviewed Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California by Frances Dinkelspiel. A bit of a diversion from some of our more nutrition focused selections, this book outlines the interesting history of the California wine industry --  a narrative that spans the introduction of wine cultivation by the Franciscan fathers in 1769, planting vines for sacramental wine as they built the missions, to the world-renowned wines produced in California today.

In the early days of the California wine economy, greed spurred more than a few opportunists to fight over fertile land suited for growing grapes, resulting in five murders linked to one of the first vineyards in the state. Closer to present day, the author tells the sordid tale of Mark Anderson, an arsonist who destroyed 4.5 million bottles of California's finest wines stored at Wine Central warehouse in Vallejo, California in 2005. Vintage wines made by the author's great grandfather in 1875 were lost in this fire. The book includes other juicy vignettes of wine embezzlement and fraud.  

As native Californians, we found the book very interesting since it provides a look at California history through the lens of the wine industry: 

  • Large vineyards were first established in southern California and wine making flourished in the region until a disease in 1883 wiped them out.
  • In 1869, Leland Stanford (founder of Stanford University) purchased a  55,000-acre winery, the largest in the world at the time, but struggled financially and the wine wasn't particularly good. His wife sold the vineyard after his death. 
  • The California Wine Association monopolized the wine economy in the 1880s and 1890s, controlling approximately 80 percent of state wine production and sales, until it was put out of business by prohibition.
  • The 1906 Earthquake destroyed 12 - 15 million gallons of wine, making it the most destructive natural disaster ever to impact the industry.
  • The emergence of premium California wine production began in the 1960s when wine industry pioneers like Robert Mondavi promoted a lifestyle that included fine wine and good food.

Wine and Nutrition

You may be wondering, what does this book have to do with food and nutrition? Alcohol is a significant part of human food and nutrition since all food and beverage choices matter. While definitely not an essential part of human nutrition (most nutrition guidelines state if you don't drink, don't start) alcoholic beverages when consumed in moderation can be an enjoyable part of a healthy eating pattern for adults. Moderate drinking is considered up to two drinks/day for a man and one drink/day for a woman.

Most people think of California for its large cities, beaches and mountains. But you may not know that California is the leading US state in cash farm receipts, and a leading producer of wine in the nation.1 The top crops in California are milk, almonds, grapes, cattle, lettuce, strawberries eggs and walnuts. All of this is overseen by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. USDA's MyPlate, MyState provides fascinating information and resources on healthy eating patterns and local agriculture in your own state.

Bottom line

People who are interested in wine and history will very much enjoy this book. It is well written and researched. The author provided a bit more detail than we were interested in regarding her family story, but that is a small negative. We recommend this book and feel confident if these topics interest you, you will find this book a very satisfying read.

Maureen Bligh, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Kristal Shelden, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist


1. Wine Institute (2015). California Wine Facts & Figures. Retrieved 11.18.2016 from


Tags: Dietitians Book Review healthy eating patterns Maureen Bligh
Categories: categoryNutrition Education

01, December 2016 9:00 AM

We're closing out the year with recipes that will warm your heart and flavor your holiday celebrations. If you're feeling worn down by the holiday season, fight off colds and flu with healthy soups the whole family will enjoy. Then gear up for the winter holidays with recipes for both Christmas and Hanukkah, which overlap this year. Finally, ring in the new year with southern favorites like Hoppin' John and barbecue.

From everyone at Dairy Council of California and, best wishes for a healthy, happy holiday season celebrated with plenty of family meals.

Soup's On

New England Clam Chowder with Pretty Flower Pepper Salad and Warm Fruit Compote Over Vanilla Frozen Yogurt; plus Green Chili Chicken Soup, Hearty Split Pea Soup, Cheesy Bread Twists and Roasted Parsnip Soup.

Deck the Halls

Creamy Scallop + Pea Fettuccine with Green Beans with Pine Nuts and Hot Cranberry Sipper; plus Baked and Glazed Ham, Mom's Macaroni + Cheese, Asparagus and Cheese and Caramelized Apple and Toasted Walnut Brie.

Spin the Dreidel

Coffee Braised Pot Roast with Caramelized Onions and Turkey-Matzo Meal Meatball Soup with Poached Pears in Chocolate Raspberry Sauce; plus Fava Bean Cake With Diced Peppers and Yogurt, Yogurt Cheesecake, Apple Bagel Sandwiches and Zucchini-Potato Latkes with Tzatziki.

Southern Start

Chicken-Fried Steak + GravyHoppin' John and Limeaid Milk Chiller; plus Black-Eyed Peas and Red Beans, Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken, Apple Yogurt Coleslaw and Apricot Cooler.

Tags: balanced meals family meals Healthy eating holidays recipes
Categories: categoryHealthy Eating

09, November 2016 10:00 AM

November is American Diabetes Month®, a time to inform individuals, health care professionals and the community about diabetes and the impact it can have on health and the health care world. 

Diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, has become a large public health concern. The 2016 theme, This Is Diabetes™ refers specifically to the real people this disease impacts. In California alone, a study released by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research in March 2016 found that 55 percent of adults in California have either diabetes or pre-diabetes1. Furthermore, a new WHO Report released this year revealed 422 million adults worldwide have diabetes2. This number has quadrupled from the 108 million in 1980 and continues to grow drastically. Read more general information about type 2 diabetes and its financial impacts here.

The rising prevalence of type 2 diabetes in the world today highlights the growing need to find effective interventions help prevent the development of this condition. It is known that type 2 diabetes is caused by both genetic and lifestyle factors, such as diet and exercise. Click here for four simple ways to reduce risk of type 2 diabetes. 

Perhaps it's no surprise that mountains of research are dedicated to diabetes each year. In honor of American Diabetes Month® 2016, here's a round-up of this year's research results trying to pinpoint the lifestyle factors that can be adjusted to help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Please bear in mind that these studies are part of an ever-increasing body of research. Consult medical professionals before making any lifestyle or dietary changes. 

Exercise and Diabetes

  • In May 2016 a study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine found that adolescents with poor cardiorespiratory fitness and poor muscle strength were at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life. These findings were the same between participants regardless of body weight3.

Weight and Diabetes

  • JAMA Pediatrics published a study that found that children who have excess body fat by age 10 may be at a greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes in their preteen year compared to their peers who have less body fat. The study found that every 1 percent of additional body fat was linked to a 3 percent decline in insulin sensitivity, which leads to type 2 diabetes4.

Diet and Diabetes

  • A study following 200,000 male and female health professions across the U.S. for more than 20 years found that consuming a plant-based diet (one that is high in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes) was linked with a 34 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, the study found that a diet high in refined grains, potatoes and sugar-sweetened beverages was correlated with a 16 percent increase of developing type 2 diabetes5
  • Eating homemade meals has also shown to possibly be beneficial in preventing the onset of diabetes. This study found that people who reported consuming 5-7 evening meals prepared at home during the week had a 15% lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared to those who only consumed 2 homemade meals or fewer a week6.

Dairy and Diabetes

  • An observational study published in April 2016 looked at the data from 2,391 individuals and found that those with a high consumption of total dairy products were less likely to have newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes7
  • This meta analysis of 22 cohort studies comprised of 579,832 individuals found that total dairy intake was inversely associated with type 2 diabetes. Specifically, the study found that there was a 14 percent reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes with the consumption of approximately 1/3 to ½ cup yogurt daily and a 3 percent lower risk with the consumption of one serving of dairy a day8
  • A study following 2 prospective cohorts, totaling 3,333 adults aged 30 to 75 years old, investigated the association between circulating fatty acid biomarkers of dairy fat and the incidence of type 2 diabetes. They found that higher blood levels of dairy fatty acid concentrations were associated with a 43-52% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes9

All in all, research continues to show that the most beneficial way to help mitigate and prevent type 2 diabetes seems to be by living an overall healthy lifestyle. That is one that includes physical activity and a healthy eating pattern that includes a variety of foods including whole grains, fruits vegetables, nuts, legumes and at least 3 servings of low-fat or fat free dairy products a day as recommend by the 2015 Dietary Guidelines. 


1. Babey SH, Wolstein J, Diamant AL, Goldstein H. Prediabetes in California: Nearly Half of California Adults on Path to Diabetes. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and California Center for Public Health Advocacy, 2016. Retrieved from
2. World Health Organization (October 2016) Global Report On Diabetes. Retrieved from  
3. Crump C, Sundquist J, Winkleby MA, Sieh W, Sundquist K. Physical Fitness Among Swedish Military Conscripts and Long-Term Risk for Type 2 Diabetes MellitusA Cohort Study. Ann Intern Med. 2016;164:577-584. doi: 10.7326/M15-2002. Retrieved from 
4. Henderson M, Benedetti A, Barnett TA, Mathieu M, Deladoëy J, Gray-Donald K. Influence of Adiposity, Physical Activity, Fitness, and Screen Time on Insulin Dynamics Over 2 Years in ChildrenJAMA Pediatr.2016;170(3):227-235. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.3909. Retrieved from
5. Satija A, Bhupathiraju SN, Rimm EB, Spiegelman D, Chiuve SE, Borgi L, et al. (2016) Plant-Based Dietary Patterns and Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes in US Men and Women: Results from Three Prospective Cohort Studies. PLoS Med 13(6): e1002039. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1002039. Retrieved from 
6. Zong G, Eisenberg DM, Hu FB, Sun Q (2016) Consumption of Meals Prepared at Home and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: An Analysis of Two Prospective Cohort Studies. PLoS Med 13(7): e1002052. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1002052. Retrieved from
7. Eussen, SJ et al. Consumption of dairy foods in relation to impaired glucose metabolism and type 2 diabetes mellitus: the Maastricht Study.  2016 Apr;115(8):1453-61. doi: 10.1017/S0007114516000313. Epub 2016 Feb 24. Retrieved from
8. Lieke Gijsbers, Eric L Ding, Vasanti S Malik, Janette de Goede, Johanna M Geleijnse, and Sabita S Soedamah-Muthu. Consumption of dairy foods and diabetes incidence: a dose-response meta-analysis of observational studies. Am J Clin Nutr ajcn123216; First published online February 24, 2016. doi:10.3945/ajcn.115.123216. Retrieved from 
9. Yakoob, MY, et al. Circulating Biomarkers of Dairy Fat and Risk of Incident Diabetes Mellitus Among Men and Women in the United States in Two Large Prospective Cohorts.  2016 Apr 26;133(17):1645-54. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.115.018410. Epub 2016 Mar 22. Retrieved from 

Tags: healthy dietary patterns Healthy eating nutrition research physical activity type 2 diabetes
Categories: categoryNutrition Education

01, November 2016 10:00 AM

November kicks off the holiday season. No other month or holiday is more associated with family meals than November and Thanksgiving. Given the amount of preparation that goes into this favorite family meal, we are spreading out our favorite festive recipes over two weeks. 

Start the month by checking out some of our favorite pumpkin recipes, then get ready for the main event. We give you two weeks lead time to get ready for the big day. If you're planning on leftovers, be sure to check out our recipe suggestions so not a single morsel goes to waste. 

Then, just in case too much of the Thanksgiving holiday goes to your waist, we'll round out the month with recipe suggestions that are designed with managing type 2 diabetes in mind. 

November Family Meal Recipes

The Great Pumpkin

Pumpkin, Potato and Leek Soup with Chicken With Yogurt - Cilantro Sauce and Cabbage Carrot and Pineapple Salad; plus Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Pumpkin Pie Dip, Dinner in a Pumpkin and Good for You Pumpkin Rice.

Family Feast

Southwest Rubbed Turkey with Broccoli Cheese and Farro Casserole and Cranberry Apple Dessert Risotto; plus Guilt Free Turkey GravyGreen Bean Casserole, Sweet Potato Mac + Cheese and Mashed Potatoes With Roasted Garlic.

After the Feast

Shredded Turkey + Pinto Bean Burritos and Applesauce With Dried Cranberries with Fresh Vegetable Salad; plus Creamy Potato Soup, Turkey Waldorf Salad, Harvest Vegetable Roast and Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie.

Are You Type 2?

Quick Chicken Cordon BleuBroccoli With Creamy Parmesan Sauce and Roasted Peach Sundaes; plus Alfredo Pasta, Barley Bake, Slow Cooker Beef Brisket and Cabbage and Cherry Salad With Ginger Lemon Dressing.

Tags: balanced meals diabetes family meals Healthy eating holidays recipes
Categories: categoryHealthy Eating

01, October 2016 10:00 AM

Fall in love with Autumn with cooler temperatures and changing leaves. Enjoy the variety of shapes and sizes in the pasta family, plus the wide variety of food group foods produced in California. Then go apple picking and get ready for a healthy Halloween. All told, October has a wide range of fun and festive celebrations for the whole family. 

October Family Meal Recipes

Pasta Month

Lunchbox Power Pasta Salad with Slow Cooker Posole and Super Fast Smoothie; plus Rotini with Fresh Tomato, Basil and Ricotta Sauce, Amaranta Pesto, Tortellini Soup and Apple Cheddar Mac + Cheese.

Farm to School + CA Thursday

Squash and Leek Lasagna with Popeye's Spinach Salad and Minted Fruit Salad; plus Brown Rice With Milk, Curried Sweet Potatoes With Spinach and Chickpeas, Grilled Chicken Breasts with Smoky California Dried Plums and Chipotle Mole and Spinach, Strawberry and Walnut Salad with Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Apple Month

Apple Cheddar Quinoa Muffins with Apple and Horseradish-Glazed Salmon and Apples + Cream Shakes; plus Baked Squash with Apple and Walnuts, Fresh Apple Cake, Apple Raisin French Toast Casserole and Apple Tuna Sandwiches.

Halloween Prep

Smoky Corn and Black Bean Pizza with Autumn Salad and Blueberry Blackberry Gratin; plus Broccoli Cheese Quesadillas, Soft Chicken Tacos with Salsa Ole and Sombrero Salad, Applesauce with Dried Cranberries and Yogurt Fruit Salad.

The Great Pumpkin

Pumpkin, Potato and Leek Soup with Chicken with Yogurt-Cilantro Sauce and Cabbage Carrot and Pineapple Salad; plus Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Pumpkin Pie Dip, Dinner in a Pumpkin and Good for you Pumpkin Rice.

Tags: family meals farm to school Healthy eating healthy eating patterns recipes shopping list
Categories: categoryHealthy Eating

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