Archive for the ‘health and nutrition’ Category

Welcome to the Weekly Round Up where everything is interesting and nothing is second-rate.

Or something like that.

  • So, Supreme Court justices are always austere and serious, right? Turns out, that may not be the case. To find out what you get when you mix a bunch of justices from the highest court in the land, wine and the State of the Union address, check out this article from NPR’s The Salt.
  • This, because, well – I don’t think this is well-known.   corn
  • This story, from Scary Mommy, which has nothing to do with agriculture and everything to do with a boy who’s caught trespassing and stealing – but in the best way. Ever.
  • This, because wise words are always good to hear on a Friday. dreams
  • So, I know this is a longshot, but have you heard of GMOs? Oh, you have? Weird. In all seriousness, though, it’s a touchy topic these days. And, it’s a worrisome topic for moms and dads who are out there just trying to pick the right food for their families. So what do you when you have questions? Tour Monsanto, of course. For more on one mom’s tour of Monsanto and the questions she asked, be sure to check out www.WatchUsGrow.org.

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Remember how, last week, I was busy cleaning and crossing items off ‘to do’ lists to get ready for H’s second birthday?

Well, we survived the party and we now have a two-year-old living with us.


Nobody does fashion like HT.

What I have I learned? They’re called the terrible twos for a reason. Yikes.

Anyway, on the to the Weekly Round Up:


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We’re dairy-loving people in our house – and not just because my family has dairy cattle. We genuinely love all things dairy. And my two-year-old may be the queen of the dairy-loving kingdom.

Seriously. This day, she had milk, strawberries, yogurt, and cream cheese – with a little bit of bagel because that’s just the way she rolls – for breakfast.

Like I said. HT loves her dairy.

Right now, she’s drinking whole milk. But, growing up in the “full-fat dairy will kill you!” era, I’ve wondered, “Is it time to switch to 2 percent?”

Enter “The Full-Fat Paradox: Dairy Fat linked to Lower Diabetes Risk,” on NPR’s The Salt.

For years, the dairy industry had touted the benefits of drinking milk and consuming dairy products. Health officials and nutritionists have only half agreed, saying low-fat dairy products are the best for optimum health.

However, a new study finds that the dairy fats found in milk, yogurt and cheese may help protect against one of the most prominent diseases in the U.S.: Type 2 diabetes.

Published in the journal Circulation, the study included 3,333 adults and measured circulated levels of biomarkers of dairy fat in participants” blood. Over two decades, the researched tracked who among the participants developed diabetes.

According to the study, participants who had more dairy fat in their diet had a lower risk of diabetes.

“People who had the most dairy fat in their diet had about a 50 percent lower risk of diabetes,” compared with the people who consumed the least dairy fat, said Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Polciy at Tufts University, who is also an author of the study.

That’s pretty interesting information, especially for someone like me, who grew up on the information that to eat dairy in a healthy way, you had to eat the low-fat version.

To top it off, NPR’s The Salt also recently reported that additional research shows that children and adults who have a higher intake of whole milk or 2 percent milk gain less weight over time.

Researchers don’t know why full-fat may equal full health, but that doesn’t matter.

What does matter is my two-year-old’s hefty whole milk habit (and love for all things dairy – including the cows) is a healthy habit to have.



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Happy Friday, all! Big plans this weekend? Hubs and I have big plans that involve little to no sleep because we’re moving H to her ‘big girl bed.’

If that doesn’t mean, “Congrats, mom and dad, no sleep for you,” I don’t know what does.

But hey, what are parents if they aren’t gluttons for punishment? Anyway, on to the Weekly Round Up!

  • The big news here in the agriculture community is the current state of the farm economy. If you’re not intimately involved in agriculture, it may be news to you. But for farmers, the downturn in the farm economy has been brewing for a while and it doesn’t look to improve too soon. To learn more about why that’s a problem for farmers – and you – check out these articles from Reuters (this one features one of my favorite farmers, Dave Kestel!) and Farm Futures.
  • Along the same lines, Illinois Corn Growers posted an excellent breakdown of how ag products are priced and the share the farmers receives – it’s Ag Econ 101. Where was this when I was in college?
  • This, because it’s awesome. Here’s the guys and gals out there growing our food. FB_IMG_1459210414746
  • In the same vein as the farm economy stories I mentioned above, here’s another that you may not be aware of. Recently, a wildfire broke out in Oklahoma and then rapidly moved into Kansas. Across the two states, ranchlands were burned, putting ranchers in a tough spot coming in to spring. For more information on how ranchers are dealing with the fires, check out this post from Tales from a Kansas Farm Mom.
  • This, because it doesn’t seem like a day goes by without hearing some other completely incorrect nugget of information regarding GMOs. This? This is good stuff. AnFB_IMG_1454119992741
  • And, speaking of GMOs – check out this article. I realize I’m a little biased because I think GMOs are all around pretty great. And I do have some issues with a couple of the statements made here (especially about pesticide use), but overall, I think it’s a great piece that outlines just how silly mandatory GMO labeling actually is.
  • And finally, this. Because, obviously. Farm to table

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It’s time for another edition of the Weekly Round Up! Here’s what’s on the docket for this week:

  • Ever wonder what happens to milk after it leave the farm and before it gets to your refrigerator? Well, if you do, take a look at the this Michigan State University article to get all of your questions answered. It covers all steps — and hopefully all of your questions!
  • And speaking of milk… Whats in milk
  • This article, from BEEF Magazine, which talks about Wendy’s stance on antibiotic use in food animals. Of note, this statement from Dennis Hecker, senior vice president of quality assurance for Wendy’s: “At Wendy’s, we have an opportunity and a desire to care for our customers and employees while also promoting the health and welfare of the animals that provide our food. Our goal is to work with our supply partners to refine, reduce, and replace antibiotic therapy through their judicious use and by exploring animal management practices that do not rely on medically important antibiotics to increase production yields.” They sure have a different take on handling the situation than other fast food chains (I’m lookin’ at you, Subway.).
  • This, because you may need to know it for a game of trivia at some point. Tractors
  • And this post, from Holly Spangler, which is oh so moving and beautiful. Farmer or not, you’ll find meaning in this.


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Are you seeing the trend here? There have been a whole lot of food safety, food processing, consumer question answering websites over the last 22 days.

Today is no different.

Today, we’re headed over to U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance’s (USFRA) Food Dialogues page.

A little bit of background about USFRA:

USFRA is made up of more than 80 farmer – and rancher-led organizations and agricultural partners representing virtually all aspects of agriculture, working to engage in dialogue with consumers who have questions about how today’s food is grown and raised. USFRA is committed to continuous improvement and supporting U.S. farmers and ranchers efforts to increase confidence and trust in today’s agriculture.

Essentially, USFRA is a national version of Illinois Farm Families (www.WatchUsGrow.org) and Common Ground (www.FindOurCommonGround.com). Same concept of transparency and answering consumer questions, but on a bigger scale. Plus, there are events!

In addition Food Dialogues being an internet presence where farmers can answer questions and talk about why they do what they do, USFRA hosts Food Dialogues events across the country where panels of farmers and industry professionals are on hand to answer consumer questions in a live setting.

On their website, you can find information about animal welfare, antibiotics, GMOs, farm size and ownership, food choices and price, food safety, hormones and growth tools, pesticides, herbicides and fertilizer, water quality and a section on how farmers do what they do.

As with all of the other websites I’ve featured, lots of good stuff if you take the time to read it. So make sure you take the time.

To see the rest  of the 30-day series, check out the links below:

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Have you noticed the plethora of labels on today’s food products? It’s crazy the amount of labels that get slapped on everything from boxed dinners to fresh meat. All natural, organic, gluten free, low fat, no fat, grass fed and more.

Food Labels 1 Food Labels 2When it comes to meat, the labels get even more complicated — and even misleading. Take, for example, this label:

antiotic free meatThe first line on the label says, “No Antibiotics.” Awesome, right? Well, yes, if you don’t know that all meat is free of antibiotics because it’s against the law for farmers to market animals if they still have antibiotics in their systems.

So, where do you turn when you need help deciphering all of these crazy labels —  especially when it comes to protein? Why, Mom at the Meat Counter, of course.

Meat scientist and mom Janeal Yancy started blogging at Mom at the Meat Counter four years ago, after she gave birth to her daughter, hoping to return the gift of advice that so many moms had given her.

Janeal Yancy

“When you become a mom, you join this special club,” Janeal said. “Moms love to help each other out. After my daughter was born, I realized that I was getting all this great help and advice from other moms and I wanted to contribute something back to other moms.

“I realized that lots of moms didn’t know much about how their food was produced. They had lots of questions and concerns about food and meat production. It can be really stressful to hear or read scary things about the food supply and not know where to get good answers. I had an understanding of meat production that other moms didn’t. I could help other moms feel better about the food they feed their kids and I could help give them some confidence in buying food.”

Thus, Mom at the Meat Counter was born. Janeal, who still works in academia at the University of Arkansas, is oversees the meats quiz bowl and academic quadrathlon teams (you go, Janeal! I have a toddler, and let me say, if you can get all that done, you deserve a cape!) and loves working with students in the university’s Block and Bridle Club.

On her blog you kind find all kinds of great information about how your favorite protein is raised, harvested and marketed. Janeal tackles the topic that brought me to her blog in the first place, which is labeling, as well as food safety, and processed meats, among other things.

But Janeal says her favorite blog topics come from other moms who have questions about their food and says that, no matter the question, it’s always worth asking — and answering.

“I love questions and comments,” Janeal said. “My best posts come from readers’ questions. No questions are off limits. If you are worried about something in the meat supply, ask me about it. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find someone who does.”

Be sure to check out all of the excellent information Janeal posts at her blog and her Facebook page. You can find both at the Meat Counter. And if you have questions, take her up on her offer! Post comments, ask questions and engage in conversation. Janeal and I have had the opportunity to meet online a couple of times now and she’s absolutely wonderful!

To see the rest of the 30-day series, check out the links below:

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