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Health smart: Commissary hosts Your Healthy Lifestyle Festival

Melissa Camilo, Vitamix representative, pours a fresh batch of smoothies after a demonstration to Melanie Seal, military spouse, during the Your Healthy Lifestyle Festival in front of the commissary June 6-8. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Melissa Camilo, Vitamix representative, pours a fresh batch of smoothies after a demonstration to Melanie Seal, military spouse, during the Your Healthy Lifestyle Festival in front of the commissary June 6-8. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: June 13, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (June 13, 2014) -- Fort Rucker is always looking to help its citizens get in shape by promoting a healthy lifestyle, and the installation continued that effort with a festival to highlight healthy living choices Friday-Sunday.

The installation hosted the Defense Commissary Agency’s Your Healthy Lifestyle Festival in front of the Fort Rucker Commissary to feature many of the commissary’s healthier options when it comes to eating and staying fit.

“We just want to show people how to shop healthy, eat healthy and be healthy,” said Bobby Ward, Fort Rucker Commissary store director. “This event helps to draw attention to the healthier options of food people have here on the installation.”

Ward said the focus of the festival was to highlight options like fruits and vegetables when it comes to meal or snack time, adding that a healthy lifestyle starts with healthy eating habits.

Throughout the festival, people were able to enjoy Zumba demonstrations, face painting for children, tips for grilling vegetables and a Vitamix blender demonstration, during which patrons were treated to free samples of the many concoctions possible with the blender.

Jennifer Handel, military spouse, was among those who attended the festival and said that she thinks it’s a great idea to get people on the right health track.

“A lot of times I think people need a nudge in the right direction, especially when it comes to eating right and being healthy in general,” she said. “This event is great because it’s where people come to get their food, so when people see healthier options, it might persuade them to try something different that’s better for them.”

Handel admits that she hasn’t always made the healthiest choices when it comes to diet and exercise, but she does try to get a good mix of fruits and vegetables in as part of her daily intake.

“It’s important to keep up with your health, especially as you’re getting older,” she said. “I’m not 22 anymore, so I can’t just eat whatever I want and stay fit. If I want to feel good about myself, I have to start taking care of myself. I think eating right is a great way to start.”

DECA decided that the beginning of summer would be a great time to kick off its healthy-lifestyle initiative and showcase its wide selection of produce since this is the time when a lot of fruits and vegetables are the freshest, said Ward.

Among the tables of fruits and vegetables were vendors featuring things like kettle corn and the Vitamix Blender demonstration, which offered up ice-cold smoothies and blended sorbet, and many, like Brittany Smith, military spouse, found the demonstrations to not only be entertaining, but refreshing as well.

“I really liked the smoothies from the blender demonstration, especially on a hot day like today,” she said. “It’s always nice to come out and enjoy free samples when you’re out for a day of shopping. It’s a nice surprise.

“Not only was it nice to get something cold to cool me down, but it was surprising how something so healthy could be so good,” Smith continued. “It makes me really want to rethink what I put in my body – it just tasted refreshing.”

To many of the onlooker’s surprise, the smoothies contained a healthy dose of spinach, as well as other fruits and juices to make for a healthy alternative to sodas or ice cream, according to Melissa Camilo, Vitamix representative.

In addition to the healthy samples, people were also able to enjoy savings on many produce items, and the post exchange offered sidewalk sales on many health and fitness items to enhance shoppers experiences.

“I was glad to come out today and experience not just the sales, but the care that the installation and the Army takes for its Soldiers and Families,” said Handel. “That in and of itself is enough to make me a happy Army Family member.”

This article was originally published at

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