Vogel Resiliency Center holds monthly virtual healthy cooking events, food distribution
(From left) Mary Long, Vogel Resiliency Center chef and culinary instructor for holistic health, Spc. Mitchel Robinson and Spc. Macy White, both from U.S. Army North (Fifth Army), and Christine Abraham, Vogel Resiliency Center director of culinary wellness, lead a virtual cooking demonstration from the Vogel Resiliency Center teaching kitchen June 24. (U.S. Army photo by Lauren Padden) (Photo Credit: Lauren Padden) VIEW ORIGINAL

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas  –

The Vogel Resiliency Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston hosts monthly virtual cooking events as a follow-up to their monthly Military Family Food Distributions.

Registered dietitian Christine Abraham, VRC director of culinary wellness, and Mary Long, VRC chef and culinary instructor for holistic health, conduct the virtual cooking events, which are typically held on the third Thursday of the month at 3 p.m. on both the VRC and the U.S. Army North (Fifth Army) Facebook pages from the center’s teaching kitchen. To join, go to www.facebook.com/vogelresiliencycenter or www.facebook.com/USArmyNorth.

The VRC also hosts a Military Family Food Distribution in collaboration with the San Antonio Food Bank on the third Monday of each month from 3 to 5 p.m. in the VRC parking lots, located at 2490 Stanley Road. The distribution is for military families in need of assistance including those who are active duty, Guard, Reserve, retiree, Department of Defense civilians and military contractors.

Those in need of food assistance can register for the food distribution using the link that is posted each month on the Army North and VRC Facebook pages.

Abraham says the cooking events feature foods from the monthly food distribution. Before COVID-19, one out of seven JBSA families were food insecure, struggling to feed their families in a socially acceptable way. That number is now estimated to have grown to three out of seven families.

However, many military families are hesitant to accept assistant, feeling others need it more. The monthly food distributions have the capacity to help 250 families, however only 150 typically attend.

The monthly virtual cooking events were started as a way to help families use the food they received.

This is especially important when families are receiving 20 pounds of produce, rather than the intended 12 pounds of distribution for 250 families. As the program develops further, the cooking events still feature the food received, but now also focus on promoting wellness in the use of that food.

“We are cooking with holistic health and fitness in mind,” Abraham said. “The events are not just about good nutrition.”

On June 24, VRC hosted the session titled “Holistic Health and Fitness Cooking: Operational Nutrition,” which focused on operational nutrition.

Abraham said operational nutrition is all about nutrie

nt timing, the process of timing your food intake in helping yourself perform at your best.

“Anything we do as humans involves the whole person: body, mind, and spirit,” Abraham said. “We can’t separate physical performance from mental and spiritual, they inherently go together.”

The virtual cooking show integrates concepts from the new FM 7-22 Holistic Health and Fitness regulation, such as the June 24 event.

Abraham said she and Long will prepare three recipes rich in taste and nutrients, with the event lasting approximately 45 minutes.

The recipes used in the event, and additional ones relevant to the food available, are attached to the live streaming event link on the VRC and Army North Facebook pages. The cooking streams are also recorded so users who don’t attend live can view the events at their own convenience.

For example, on June 24, Abraham and Long prepared recipes using produce such as Fattoush salad with basic citrus dressing and healthy slaw with lemon dressing. They also focused on hydration by making honey lemonade.

All recipes are posted on the VRC Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VogelResiliencyCenter.

For more information about this and future virtual cooking events, contact Monique.m.hudson.civ@mail.mil. Volunteers are always needed at the food distributions.

For those who want to volunteer, also contact Monique.m.hudson.civ@mail.mil or look for the volunteer link posted each month announcing the date and time of the next food distribution on the Facebook pages of Army North or the VRC.