Know Your Food: Diestel Turkey


Above: Tim Diestel with his turkeys

Located in Sonora, CA, Diestel Turkey Ranch has been raising their turkeys since 1949. The fourth-generation family operation is the first turkey producer in the country to receive a GAP (Global Animal Partnership) rating of 5+ for animal welfare, the highest available. 

This Thanksgiving Day, enjoy some Diestel turkey and other local, organic sides at Arrillaga Family Dining Commons covered by your meal plan. 

Diestel turkeys are free-range, with plenty of room indoors and outdoors, four times as much as conventional birds, to grow strong and healthy.  They eat a 100% vegetarian diet of soy and corn milled directly on the ranch.  They never receive hormones, antibiotics, growth enhancers, gluten, or animal by-products.  All of the varieties – organic, original, heirloom, and pasture-raised – have more meat, less fat, less water, and better tenderness and texture than other birds. 

The ranch also enforces sustainability by composting, eliminating toxic chemicals and fertilizers, reducing waste, and conserving groundwater. All feathers, manure, and cardboard is composted, reducing Diestel’s waste stream by about 75 percent. 

Know Your Food: Jacobs Farm


Jacobs Farm is an organic farm located in Pescadero, which is 30 miles west of Stanford near the Pacific Ocean. They specialize in organic herbs and edible flowers, and they grow over 60 varieties of herbs and flowers. 
Beginning this year, R&DE Stanford Dining’s dining halls will be purchasing five organic herbs (basil, Thai basil, mint, rosemary, and thyme) exclusively from Jacobs Farm.

Jacobs Farm donated herbs for the dining hall gardens and met students at Arrillaga’s Family Dining Commons’ Earth Day dinner last year.

Jacobs Farm was founded in 1980 by Larry Jacobs. In addition to practicing organic farming methods, the farm is socially conscious, offering their workers wages higher than minimum wage, health and dental care, 401(k) plans, paid time off, and bonuses.
Following the success of Jacobs Farm, Larry and his wife Sandra founded Del Cabo Organic, a cooperative that sells organic produce from small-scale Mexican farmers in the United States.

Thriving During the Holidays

Most of us will be travelling home soon and here are 5 nutrition tips to keep you

healthy while eating the foods you love this holiday season.



Enjoy your favorite holiday food items slowly. Let your taste buds truly taste all the flavors and textures in the dish. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that your stomach is officially “comfortable” so by slowing down you are more likely to eat satisfying amounts. This doesn’t mean you need to stay at the table for hours, but take a “pause” to check-in with your body before going back for seconds–and if you’re still hungry, savor your second serving.



Over the holidays, it’s not so much what you eat but HOW MUCH that can impact your health. You can encourage sensible serving sizes by using smaller plates and bowls, especially for holidays foods with maximum enjoyment and minimum nutrition value. Sometimes people feel out of control if they eat multiple plates of food, so try to choose a plate size that represents a healthy portion for your body. 


There are so many festive and great tasting lower calorie beverages to choose from. Some of my favorites include fun flavored green/white (unsweetened) tea or mineral water with a wedge of lemon or lime. 


Staying active and exercising regularly over the holidays can help improve your mood and keep your metabolism fired up—but make sure you aren’t using exercise as a punishment or compensation for eating something.


TALK TO SOMEONE—Over the holidays, some people tend to get depressed perhaps because it brings up emotions that they haven’t resolved or worked through—consider talking with someone about your feelings whether it is a therapist, religious advisor or trusted friend.




For more information, contact Elaine:

Dealing With Food Product Recall

R&DE has a product recall policy in place which is expected of all vendors to ensure that our students have a wholesome food supply. Every week there is a product recall somewhere in the United States. The most recent is the recall of peanut butter manufactured by Sunland Peanut Butter Plant in New Mexico, which does not affect Stanford.

A food recall is a voluntary action by a processor or distributor to protect the public from products that may cause health problems. The recent Food Safety Modernization Act signed into law by President Obama afforded the FDA a new mandatory recall authority. Some of the reasons that necessitate food recall by food processors, manufacturers or distributors include the detection of pathogen in a product that may make consumers sick, presence of a potential allergen in a product and mislabeling or misbranding of food.

R&DE now requires all vendors to notify us within one hour of them becoming aware of a product recall. Vendors will immediately call five R&DE officials including the unit(s) that received the recalled product. The notification will include the product codes to enable managers to pull the product and the class of recall.


CLASS I: There is a reasonable probability that eating the food will cause serious

adverse health hazard or death. 

CLASS II: There is a remote probability of adverse health consequences by eating

the food.

CLASS III: Eating the food will not cause adverse health consequences.


The vendors immediately follow the phone calls with an email that notifies managers of all R&DE dining, catering and retail units and Executive Directors. These officials visit the unit(s) to confirm that the recalled products have indeed been pulled and discarded. One of our responsibilities to you is serving you delicious, healthy and safe food. Food safety is thus priority one. 




For more info, contact Daniel:

Is Caffeine Making You Irritable?

It’s not that caffeine is “bad,” in fact it can be very helpful at times. But there are a few ways that caffeine can contribute to irritability.

COLD TURKEY If you are physically dependent on it and you decide to go off caffeine cold turkey, you will likely get a headache and feel irritable until your body gets used to going without in the morning. So wean yourself off the caffeine over a period of weeks. Go half and half caffeinated and decaf coffee for a couple of weeks, for example, and then go one-quarter caffeinated and three-quarters decaf for another two weeks.

SLEEP DISTURBER Caffeine is a stimulant and will disrupt your sleep if you consume it too late in the day, making you cranky and exhausted the next day. Some people are more sensitive to this than others. You probably know who you are.

SHAKY and LIGHT-HEADED? Caffeine can bring you up with a burst of energy and then throw you down into a spiral of low energy. Some of us are more sensitive to his than others. The way to minimize this is to avoid large doses of caffeine and to consume your caffeine along with a balanced meal or snack.

—Elaine Magee, MPH, RD

Wellness and Performance Dining Nutritionist

For more information, contact Elaine:

Food Safety: Turkey Time!

Four important food safety issues that must be considered when preparing turkey:


1. Safe thawing: the best way is in the refrigerator—it make take a day or two to thaw. It may also be thawed under cold running water (about 70°F) or in a microwave. Do NOT leave your turkey in the danger zone of 41°F-135°F (e.g. room temperature) for more than two hours.


2. Safe preparation: to prevent cross-contamination, properly wash your hands; and sanitize utensils and work surfaces.


3. Safe stuffing: use a probe thermometer to ensure that the center of the stuffing is cooked to a minimum of 165°F. Better yet, cook the stuffing separately, not in the turkey.


4. Safe cooking: Use a probe thermometer to check the temperature at the meaty portion of the breast, thigh and wing joint to ensure they reach 165°F or above. Once cooked, let the turkey stand for 20 minutes before removing the stuffing and carving.


Divide leftovers into small portions, refrigerate at 41°F or below and use within 3 to 4 days. Discard leftovers that have been at room temperature for more than two hours.

—Daniel Archer, MPH, REHS

Safety, Sanitation and

Environmental Compliance manager

For more info, contact Daniel:

Ramen Wars at Stanford! October 17, 2012

Thrive: Boost Your Health with Beans

Where can you get a boost of plant protein, fiber, important antioxidant phytochemicals and carbohydrate fuel—all in one food? BEANS !

Beans give your stomach a sense of fullness during meals and the feeling tends to stay for a long time after as well. And beans tend not to raise blood sugars like other carbohydrate-containing foods, probably due to their impressive doses of fiber and protein.

Beans and legumes are also top performers in R&DE’s Performance Dining Program with suggested activity in 5 themes: Brain Performance, Enhanced Immunity, Anti- Inflammatory, Antioxidant, and Sports Performance.

A half-cup of beans offer:

• 22 grams of carbohydrates

• 8 grams of fiber

• 8 grams of protein

• Key vitamins (folic acid, B vitamins)

• Key minerals (such as potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron.)

Boost your health by enjoying beans in your dining hall—look for them at the salad bar and in the hot foods station several times a week.



For more information, contact Elaine:

Dim Sum dinner at FloMo tonight (10/11/12)! Looks yummy! :)

Stanford students battle it out with tomatoes!

Stanford students Michael, Natalya, and Sam enjoy the Tomato Battle festival!

Natalya Thakur, Stanford Class of 2015, went with fellow Cardinal friends to the Tomato Battle in Pleasanton, CA last week! Here’s what she had to say about the fun experience:

1) How did you find out about the festival / why did you go?

My friend Martell found out about the festival from a Stanford dining flyer.

2) Who did you go with?

So I went with her [Martell] and two of my best guy friends, Sam and Michael.

3) How was your experience?

The experience was like no other. People were tailgating and dressed in costumes. I got trampled by a stampede of people…and the experience of flinging tomatoes everywhere was more liberating than scary…even though I felt like I was in a real battle. Washing all the juice off was kind of a struggle as hundreds of people waited to hose off…loved it though!