21, June 2018 3:48 PM

PBS Stars the Burgess Brothers Raise a Milk Carton to California Dairy Farm FamiliesJune is Dairy Month, time to celebrate everything dairy with key organizations in the community, highlighting the work that dairy farm families and milk processors do to elevate the health of children and families in California, across the country, and across the globe. 

World Milk Day

Dairy Council of California kicked June Dairy Month off by celebrating World Milk Day on June 1. Partnering with International Dairy Federation and the Undeniably Dairy campaign, individuals and organizations across the globe ”raised a glass” to dairy farm families and milk processors.

Nearly 20 "Raise a Glass" photos from notables like California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross, Senator Dr. Richard Pan, PBS stars the Burgess Brothers and more filled social media channels along with other dairy-positive stories for 24 hours of resoundingly positive dairy and nutrition Children and adults enjoy a free summer meal picnic at the California messages.  

Summer Meals Promotion

June Dairy Month also coincides with the launch of USDA’s summer meals program which provide healthy meals including milk free to all children 18 and under when schools are out over the summer.School children visit Dairy Council of CA's Mobile Dairy Classroom at the California Capitol.

Dairy Council of California’s Mobile Dairy Classroom was a featured guest at A Picnic at the Capitol sponsored by the Sacramento Summer Meals Collaborative, which served nutrition education, fun and food to more than 1,250 participants.

In addition to providing a forum to promote the importance of milk and dairy’s role in California’s economy, the picnic launched Sacramento’s million meal summer. "Last year we fed about 600,000 kids. We said we need to get a lot more sites so we can reach the kids where they are over the summer," said State Senator Dr. Richard Pan during the picnic. "(I) really appreciate all the people stepping up and making this happen." Hollandia's milking cow demonstration was udderly enjoyed in Rialto.

Sacramento’s picnic was just one of many summer meal kick-off events planned for June. In San Bernardino County, Dairy Council of CA staff exhibited at two kick-offs reaching more than 1,500 participants.

In addition to important partners like the county Nutrition Education Obesity Prevention and Department of Public Health, Hollandia Dairy was on hand promoting milk and dairy foods with a cardboard milkable cow and  ice cream for everyone.

One participant couldn’t keep his devotion to dairy to himself, “I drink about four cups of milk a day because I love milk!” exclaimed 7th grade student Traevaughn Nelson as he approached the Dairy Council of CA exhibit.A young boy enjoys the ag information board in Rialto.

Staff are planning exhibits at events from San Diego to Pittsburg, CA through the end of the month. The Dairy Ag Board originally developed to provide agriculture literacy and nutrition education to children and families at community ag days, will be featured as a way to promote milk’s role in healthy eating patterns at the summer meal events.

June Dairy Month Partnerships

Dairy Council of California staff shared their nutrition knowledge and expertise to California Milk Advisory Board during a blogger event in San Francisco on June 7.  #ReturntoRealNutrition allowed both organizations to share dairy’s health benefits, nutrition and versatility and flavor with local lifestyle and fitness writers with active followings.Kristal Shelden offers expert advice on nutrition trends at a CMAB blogger event.  

Dairy Council of California’s Trend Report provided bloggers with numerous story lines to offer their followers, from science-based nutrition updates on topics from updates on dairy and saturated fat research, ways (good and bad) millennials are influencing food choices, dairy’s positive role in a plant based eating patterns and the multiple health benefits of fermented dairy foods. 

While dairy food styling and photography lessons featuring yogurt, cottage cheese and milk, were the main focus, Dairy Council of California was on hand to make sure the bloggers got a side of dairy nutrition education with their June is Dairy Month Real California Milk Seal event. 

Raise a GlassChef Dr. Julia Nordgren shares the importance of dairy at a CMAB blogger event.

Partnering with leaders in the community to elevate the health of children and families can come in many forms, from mobilizing an international social media event to helping bloggers build additional content to grassroots community engagement to promote summer meals. Indeed, this year’s June Dairy Month celebration combines partnerships, promotions and community based summer meals kick-offs to share the multiple health benefits of California’s number one agricultural product, milk. 

James Winstead, RDN
Industry Relations Manager

Tags: California Milk Advisory Board James Winstead June Dairy Month mobile dairy classroom nutrition education nutrition trends summer meals
Categories: categoryHealthy Eating

09, May 2018 10:51 AM

In April, our Silicon Valley Dietetic Book Club reviewed, The Salt Fix: Why the Experts Got It All Wrong—and how Eating More Might Save Your Life by the Doctor of Pharmacy and Cardiovascular Research Scientist, James DiNicolantonio. His primary thesis: salt isn’t the dietary culprit that we have been led to believe, and the vast majority of Americans don’t need to restrict their sodium intake. Instead, this book suggests the real dietary villain is sugar. 

The author puts forward an evidence-based argument that consuming too little salt causes hunger and increases cravings for sugar. This can lead to weight gain which has negative secondary health consequences such as insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes increased blood pressure and heart rate. 

The book claims there is little evidence that a low-sodium diet will reduce blood pressure in the majority of people. “Evidence in the medical literature suggests that approximately 80 percent of people with normal blood pressure (less than 120/80 mmHg) are not sensitive to the blood-pressure-raising effects of salt at all. Among those with prehypertension, roughly 75 percent are not sensitive to salt. And even among those with full-blown hypertension, about 55 percent are totally immune to salt’s effects on blood pressure.” 

Dr. DiNicolantonio is not alone in questioning the Dietary Guidelines for American’s (DGA) sodium recommendations  of <2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. In fact, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) convened an expert panel on the topic in 2013, concluding that insufficient evidence exists to support the current DGA's recommendations for dietary sodium1.

Areas of Agreement

Additional factors are likely at play in the sodium-blood pressure relationship that were not recognized in the past. For example, potassium intake may lower blood pressure2,3,4, while high body mass index, low physical activity levels, sugar and alcohol intake and tobacco use are additional factors that may raise blood pressure. In fact, we agreed that the real problem may not be what people are eating in excess (e.g. sodium) but what is missing, specifically fruits, vegetables, dairy foods and physical activity. Further, we agree that if adding salt to vegetables increases vegetable consumption, then that is a good trade off.

Where We Differed

When a claim in a nutrition book sounds too good to be true, it usually isn’t. The book claims that by eating all the salt you desire you can:

  • “Improve everything, from your sleep, energy and mental fitness, fertility and sexual performance,”
  • “And stave off common chronic illnesses including heart disease.”

This article published in the Guardian takes it further and describes the recommendations in the book to be dangerous to public health. 

Bottom line

As health professionals it is important to acknowledge that politics can get in the way of effective decision-making. Well-meaning groups, individuals following agendas and old paradigms can influence committees to formulate policies that may or may not align with scientific facts. We must remain critical thinkers and review the science rather than accept recommendations blindly. 

Until the recommendations are more definitive, health professionals who work in clinical settings need to individualize, individualize, individualize. Acknowledge that the DGAs are a starting point for the public, and were never intended to be rigidly adopted by the individual. Ask about family history; assess body weight; examine other lifestyle factors; consider taste, culture, tradition, preferences … and then make recommendations that are feasible, realistic and appropriate for each individual client.


Maureen Bligh, MA, RDN
Director, Resource Development and Marketing

Kristal Shelden, MPH, RDN
Project Manager, Nutrition Sciences


1. Institute of Medicine. Sodium Intake in Populations: Assessment of Evidence. 2013. National Academies Press: Washington, DC, 2013.

2. O'Donnell M, Mente A, Rangarajan S et al. Urinary sodium and potassium excretion, mortality, and cardiovascular events. N Engl J Med 2014.

3. National High Blood Pressure Education Program Working Group. The fourth report on the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of high blood pressure in children and adolescents. Pediatrics 2004. 

4. Buendia et al. Longitudinal effects of dietary sodium and potassium on adolescent blood pressure. JAMA Ped 2015.

Tags: consensus science Dietary Guidelines for Americans healthy eating patterns Kristal Shelden Maureen Bligh registered dietitian book club sodium

17, April 2018 10:00 AM

Today, more than ever, consumers are genuinely interested in where their food comes from. However, in a world of information at our fingertips, it can be difficult to distinguish what is factual, and what is not. Last month, Dairy Council of California helped 20 registered dietitian nutritionists go directly to the source of their dairy foods with a trip to a dairy in Galt, CA as a California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (CAND) Public Policy Workshop pre-conference tour. 

Dairy Council of CA staff and board members Stephen Weststeyn, a third generation dairy farmer from Willows, CA; Sarah Goreham with Sunnyside Farms; and farm manager Arlin Van Groningen accompanied attendees on the bus and on the farm, sharing their passion and commitment to dairy farming and milk processing. Along the way, attendees learned about cattle feed, animal welfare, milking practices and production, milk processing safety, dairy farming sustainability and milk processing beyond the farm. 

As dietitians focused on helping humans get the right combination of nutrients for optimal health, attendees really seemed to enjoy a presentation from dairy feed nutritionist John Kennedy. Kennedy explained how dairy cow nutrition works, feed mixing ratios for optimal nutrition and even how cow biology enables them to convert agricultural waste products like cotton seed and almond hulls into nutritious milk. 

Dairy sustainability was a popular topic during the tour as attendees viewed a methane digester on the dairy, which turns cow manure into renewable energy, such as electricity.

Reflecting on the day, attendees walked away with a deeper understanding of California’s top agricultural product, milk, and the hard work that goes into dairy foods from cow to container. In post tour surveys, attendees shared what they learned about dairy farming:

“A lot. Great to learn about the ruminant stomach and how it works. That to have high production cows must be well fed and live in a low stress environment.” 

“Everything! Knowing nothing going in, I definitely gained knowledge and respect for dairy farmers.”

“It's efficient and very scientific.”

“Dairy farming is a labor of love and labor intensive!”

Attending a farm tour- whether to a dairy, a vegetable farm or an orchard- provides an opportunity for health professionals, educators and consumers to learn first-hand about the work that is required to grow and raise nutritious food that feeds the world. If you are interested in hosting a future tour at your dairy, please contact me at [email protected] 

James Winstead, RDN
Industry Relations Manager

Tags: Dairy Farm Tour nutrition education registered dietitian nutritionist sustainability
Categories: categoryNutrition Education

02, March 2018 10:02 AM

National Nutrition Month® LogoMarch is National Nutrition Month®, and one way to Go Further With Food this year is to focus on nutrition education during Food Waste Prevention Week March 5-9, 2018. 

Dairy Council of California joins the Public Health Alliance of Southern California, University of California Nutrition Policy Institute along with numerous state agencies and departments to raise awareness and prevent food waste in California, elevating the health of kids and parents.

Why Focus on Food Waste?

According to the California Department of Resources, Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), Californians throw away nearly 12 billion pounds of food each year, wasting precious land, water, energy, and human resources. At the same time, according to Feeding America data, nearly 5 million Californians, including 1 in 5 children- are food insecure, lacking consistent access to enough food.  

A 2014 USDA report estimated that a staggering 1,249 calories per person, per day in the United States are wasted—more than enough to feed Californians currently experiencing hunger and food insecurity.  

Tammy Anderson-Wise invites partners to join Food Waste Prevention Week, March 5-9, 2018Can Nutrition Education Help Prevent Food Waste?

Nutrition education and food literacy embedded into Dairy Council of California programs can help reduce food waste and elevate health. Food literacy components, like knowledge of the five food groups, the importance of breakfast, portion sizes and how to plan, prepare and store healthy foods can help reduce food waste.

Reinforcing these concepts at multiple grade levels and family touchpoints helps build understanding and values that lead to healthier eating habits and less wasted food. 

How to Join Food Waste Prevent Week 

Join several agencies statewide in the Food Waste Reduction Hero Photo Challenge. Encourage students and clients to take a few photos (drawings and videos also accepted) that demonstrate:

  1. How food waste happens in the home, workplace or community; and
  2. Barriers faced in reducing food waste such as such as the food packaging or portion size options available for purchase, bulk pricing incentives, storage or time constraints, food disposal options, etc.; and
  3. What actions, or changes, can be made or you see others making to reduce food waste in homes, workplaces, and communities.

Dairy Is Best if UsedSimply share your submissions via social media platforms using the hashtag #SaveTheFoodCA and tag @SaveTheFood on Twitter and/or Instagram or email them to [email protected]. Please include your location and include mention of your department/agency/school with your submission.

What Else Helps Prevent Food Waste?

Teaching nutrition, educating on portion sizes, meal planning and shopping are a few healthy eating strategies available in Dairy Council of California resources.

Incorporating a few simple actions - such as adding a share table in the cafeteria, reminding students to only take what they’ll eat and finishing the last swallow of milk in the carton- helps to reduce wasted food at school.

Reminding clients to pay attention to how they waste food and encouraging them to meal plan and buy smaller portions of food in the store or order smaller portions in restaurants can help reduce wasted food at home.

Joining Food Waste Prevention Week 2018. Visit the Public Health Alliance of Southern California's website and follow hashtag #SaveTheFoodCA. 

Your efforts to be a Food Waste Reduction Hero this week, and into the future, will be impactful.   


Shannan Young, RDN, SNS
Program Director, Food Systems and Access

Tags: food access food waste Healthy eating meal planning National Nutrition Month nutrition education portion sizes Shannan Young

26, February 2018 3:50 PM

Dairy Council of California exhibits at California League of Schools Technology ConferenceDairy Council of CA participated in the California League of Schools Technology Conference in February. This conference provided K-12 teachers and administrators with a hands-on experience utilizing technology as a tool to ignite students’ passion for learning. Educators were able to walk away with applicable tools and resources to stay up to date with the changing classroom environment. 

With more schools moving towards 1:1 device implementation in the classroom, teachers were thrilled to hear about online education opportunities available with Dairy Council of CA’s nutrition education curriculum, such as:

These resources caught the eye of administrators and district level technicians alike. Attendees viewed Dairy Council of CA online tools as a vehicle to generate buy-in from teachers and help them begin implementing technology in the classroom. Teachers were excited to start using nutrition education lessons as an additional delivery method in teaching core subjects.Tech conference attendee learns more about Eat Move Win from Dairy Council of CA

In addition to the wide array of K-8 online extension activities, Dairy Council of CA shared a new fully-online high school nutrition education resource called Eat Move Win. This new online nutrition program was a big hit among both middle school and high school teachers, as it met some of the needs they shared with us:

  • Teen-specific nutrition education topics
  • Pre-made Kahoot games
  • Auto-graded quizzes

All in all, the California League of Schools Technology Conference was a great way for Dairy Council of CA to hear what teachers and administrators are looking for in an online resource and to continue to evolve our activities to meet the needs of the evolving classroom environment.


Becca Shupp
Community Nutrition Adviser

Tags: Becca Schupp common core Conference Eat Move Win nutrition education online games SMART Board technology

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