U.S. Army Dietician / NBA Chef
See how keeping Soldiers and NBA players in top physical form includes a healthy diet.
Johnson: My name is Major Nichelle Johnson and I am an Army Dietician at Fort Knox. I am Army strong and I’ve got skills. As an Army dietitian, I see patients. Then outside of that they kind of use me as a nutrition liaison between Medcom and Fort Knox, making sure that they’re following the goals of where nutrition care needs to go.
Brown: I’m Jerome Brown. I’m a personal chef to athletes and entertainers. And I’ve got skills. When you are a personal chef, people are trusting you that what you say is gonna work for their body. They’re not gonna feel like they’re on a diet. They’re gonna feel like they’re getting the same quality that they’re getting if they go to the finest restaurant. I got my start in the U.S. Army. The Army gave me an opportunity to take it to another level.
Brown: Hello. How you doin? I’m Chef Brown.
Johnson: Major Johnson. I’m good, how are you? Nice to meet you.
Brown: So you’re joining me today.
Johnson: I am. I’m in your world.
Brown: Alright. Well we’re gonna prepare a couple things for my client, Josh Powell.
Johnson: Okay, awesome.
Brown: So we’re gonna start with the meats and seafood.
Johnson: Okay. Great place to start.
Brown: So let’s go. Josh is a power forward for the Atlanta Hawks. Based on his lifestyle, I want to do a fish and I want to do a lean protein. So, I saw a really nice black grouper steak.
Johnson: I think that’s a great choice. In addition to the omega 3s in it, it also is able to decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease. As a dietitian, I’m always looking for ways to improve the taste of food without messing up the nutritional value of it.
Brown: I found her to be very knowledgeable. When you’ve been doing it as long as I have and you can still learn from someone, that’s a good thing. Now we’ll head on down to the produce department.
Johnson: I’m loving it. I’m seeing the Vitamin A, I’m seeing the citrus, Vitamin C. This is awesome. I like the fact of how you start with your proteins, making sure that you know they’re getting things for the muscles. And then you morph into the vegetables and the seasonings and you’re still keeping health number one.
Brown: Come on in. So Nichelle, we want you to meet Josh Powell. Josh, this is Nichelle.
Johnson: Hi, how are you.
Brown: Today we’re gonna do a black grouper for you, Asian style. And then we’re gonna do an Italian veal chop for you.
Johnson: One of the things that I think Chef Rome may have gained while he was in the Army as a cook is the preparation techniques, having to start you know, really, really early to get everything done and everything done at one time.
Brown: All we wanna do is extract the flavors out of there. We’ll add some of that.
Johnson: Everything kind of went together with why he was choosing it and trying to find the greatest nutritional value as well as making sure that he pleased the client. We've set up a time for Chef Rome to come to Fort Knox. He’ll be able to see what has changed from when he was in the Army to what the Army is now.
Johnson: Chef Rome, how are you?
Brown: Good Major.
Johnson: Welcome, welcome. I have the hat for you. Cause you’re now in my world. All right?
Johnson: So welcome to Ireland Army Community Hospital. I’m going to show you some of the things you know that I do while I’m here. We’ll go ahead and get started.
Brown: Alright. Let’s go.
Johnson: All right. The type of clientele that comes to the hospital, we’re talking about beneficiaries, we’re talking about active duty, we’re talking about their family members, or retirees coming in because they have diabetes, or coming in because they have high cholesterol. Those are the same things that I see patients for. This is one of the things that I do throughout the course of the day. I will counsel soldiers. Specialist Brown is here today. He’s been referred to us because he has hypertension.
Brown: What are you eating, Soldier?
Spec. Brown: Lovely fast food. Of course which I know is not very good for you but, hey, when you’re in a hurry, when a soldier on the go, sometimes that’s one of the easy habit to pick up.
Johnson: So do you read the food labels at all?
Spec. Brown: I don’t read ‘em that much.
Brown: Particularly if you have hypertension, you know one of the things you want to be mindful of is your salt intake.
Johnson: It was good to hear Chef Rome talk about those things because I know that you know with him being able to contribute to the conversation, these are things that he looks at too as a chef.
Brown: After that, we went over to DFAC, or Dining Facility. And so in my mind, I already had this preconceived notion about what it's gonna be like. Walked in the door, the place looked like a new nickel. Shiny, fresh out the box, equipment was like, just like wow this is totally different from what it used to be like.
Johnson: In all dining facilities, they’re all gonna start adhering to certain ways of preparing food, being more consistent with the types of recipes that we use, making sure everyone’s using the same ones. Uhm
Johnson: Making sure that what we’re preparing is as healthy as possible.
Brown: The Army is going in a direction where they want the soldier to be healthier. And she’s definitely doing all she can to get that information out there. A lot of things that Major Johnson spoke of today served as a reminder that I can continue to implement to do an overall great job for the athletes and entertainers that I cook for.
Johnson: When I was in his world, you know he was having an awesome time, you know, being in the kitchen preparing the meals. You know just as him coming here, I hope he saw how happy I am to be an Army dietitian and not only affect the soldiers and what they eat but also being able to affect them just as individual.
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