You are what you eat
Military couple shops commissary as part of their fitness plan
Note: To see photos related to his news release, visit DeCA's Flickr site.
When it comes to being fit, Army Sgt. Maj. Edward A. Bell and his wife, Lisa, could be a poster couple for health and wellness.
Their approach to fitness is one of the reasons they’re starring in the Army and Air Force Exchange Service’s latest “Be Fit” video, in which they discuss the importance of being fit and how they reinforce their workout regimen by paying attention to what they eat.
A portion of the video, due to be released in January, was shot in the Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Commissary, where the unscripted Bells explained how shopping the commissary for nutritious foods is part of their fitness game plan.
While at the Belvoir Commissary, the Bells explained how prominent fruits and vegetables were on their shopping list and how important the commissary’s Nutrition Guide program labels are to them when they make their healthy food choices.
“Eating right has everything to do with your energy level, stamina, vitality and resiliency,” said Lisa Bell, a wellness coach who works at the Fort Myer, Virginia, and Fort McNair, Washington, D.C., fitness centers as a recreation assistant and aerobics instructor.
“Living life on a daily basis, working, taking care of, or spending time with, family, building relationships, running errands and taking care of financial responsibilities takes a lot of energy,” she added. “When people choose unhealthy options it makes everything more of an effort.”
Sgt. Maj. Bell is the Department of the Army Deputy Chief of Staff (logistics) G4 sergeant major responsible for advising and assisting the Army G4 on all matters pertaining to the Army’s strategic logistics policies, plans and processes.
The Bells met in 1988 in Germany, where they were both stationed as soldiers. Nearly 30 years of marriage later, they’ve raised four sons to adulthood and along the way become passionate about being physically fit. They routinely work out together, and they both keep a watchful eye on nutrition – it’s a family affair.
“By choosing a healthy lifestyle you typically are less prone to injuries or illness; you have more energy and a higher work production,” said Lisa Bell, linking good health to helping form a strong immune system to ward off colds and the flu.
Lisa is the primary shopper for the Bell household, frequenting the Fort Myer Commissary at least four times a week and stopping in on occasion at the Bolling Commissary on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, D.C., for fresh seafood.
Her regular shopping trips center around buying the fresh items for daily meals such as organic kale, spinach, dandelion, bananas, tomatoes and cucumbers along with the whole foods that go in their smoothies, stews, soups and salads.
She also looks for specific meats – chicken, turkey and occasionally lamb or beef – that are grass-fed with no added hormones or antibiotics. If she happens to buy processed lunch meats or breakfast meats, they must be “all natural ones,” with little or no nitrates. The Bell kitchen maintains all natural or organic spices and sea salts for seasoning.
For snacks, they look mostly for walnuts; natural mixed nuts; baked all-natural crackers and sea salt; and gluten-free, non-GMO chips. Her drink of choice is all-natural coconut water with no added sugar.
“Individuals looking to improve fitness should always consider their nutrition primarily because optimum health and fitness is about 70 percent nutrition, 20 percent exercise and 10 percent genetics, and genetics can be altered by nutrition,” Lisa Bell said. “Start out by eating all-natural, whole foods. Processed foods have never been proven to benefit health. In fact, many studies have shown them to destroy health and cause obesity.”
Beyond looking to the commissary for nutritious choices, Sgt. Maj. Bell is quick to tell his troops about the effect on their financial wellbeing taking advantage of their benefit can have.
“My wife will tell you after raising four boys that the commissary is very affordable when compared to the retailers outside most military installations,” he said. “Throughout nearly 29 years of marriage we appreciate the great savings and friendly environment that is consistently found in the commissary.”
Supporting the military’s “Be Fit” lifestyle is crucial to the military’s ability to operate, especially during deployments, Sgt. Maj. Bell said.
“A healthy life style with nutritional food choices will continue to strengthen our endurance and resiliency when called upon,” he said. “So it’s important to shop the commissary, where you’ll find many organic, all-natural and non GMO products at very reasonable prices.”