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This juicer lost 103 pounds


Allow Heath Garlow to brag.

He’s earned it.

Garlow, 42, an adult education teacher for the Seneca Nation of Indians in Irving, has participated in the Seneca Nation Weight Loss Challenge twice.

He started juicing last fall, before the first 12-week challenge started in January and has been happily zealous health and fitness-wise between challenges.

That’s what happens when a strong diet, combined with ample exercise, melts off the pounds.

At his latest weight loss challenge weigh-in Thursday night, Garlow learned he has lost 103 pounds since early last October, when he decided to confront his diabetes head-on.

He has gone from 283 to 180 pounds.

Garlow is off his diabetes-related medications, as he told me for the juicing story in today’s WNY Refresh, and has lost quite a bit of weight since he posed for the photo above, taken by News Staff Photographer Harry Scull Jr. a few weeks back.

His weight loss started with a mental shift – a conscious, determined decision to change his lifestyle, Garlow said.

He used juicing to supplement many of his meals, but still ate healthy, solid foods. He also bumped up his exercise regimen.

The first several weeks were the hardest. But he was determined. He got support from his wife, Azalia, the juicing expert in the family, as well as dozens of friends and acquaintances who participated along with him in the weight loss challenges.

The temptations can still be there, as Garlow’s friend Mike Jimerson told me for a recent story on the efforts the Seneca Nation and Seneca Diabetes Foundation have made to address diabetes among its people.

"Everybody around you is eating junk food – pizza, wings – and they’re trying to entice you to eat that kind of stuff," he said.

Jimerson lost more than 80 pounds during the weight loss challenge earlier in the year.

Far more Senecas continue to live a life that puts them on a path to diabetes, but the efforts a growing number of Senecas are making to address their health have become much more commonplace in recent months.

Garlow is among the examples, and gladly shared with me the before and after medical test results that show, clearly, the connection between health, diet and exercise.

Among his numbers changes from early last October to recent weeks:

• His blood-sugar level has gone from 7.5 mg per deciliter (high) to 5.1 (normal)

• His blood pressure has fallen from 120/86 to 102/64.

• His triglyceride level was 573 mg per deciliter, compared to about 200 mg now.

• His LDL "bad cholesterol" was too high to calculate; its at a normal 52 now.

• He has lost 16 inches off his waist.

• Once deficient in vitamin D levels, he’s now in the normal range.

• His eye pressure readings have fallen by half.

Before the weight loss challenge, "My heart, my liver, my brain, and basically every organ in my body was under attack from a most unlikely of adversaries: Me...," Garlow writes in a paper entitled, "Positive Effects of Seneca Nation Weight Loss Challenge."

"My weapon of choice with which I was so skilled: Food."

His weapon has become his trusty companion.

He’s got the old pants, and a new shirt, to prove it.

– Refresh Editor Scott Scanlon

New group gives Komen runners something to cheer about

By Scott Scanlon – Refresh Editor

A lower percentage of African-American women get breast cancer than women who are white, but a higher percentage of those who contract the disease die from it.

Black women are less likely to take advantage of mammograms and breast cancer detection practices, and are slower to reach out for health care when abnormal results are discovered.

Breast cancer kills more African-American women than any other form of cancer.

These are among the stark realities that the American Cancer Society revealed earlier this year in a report about cancer among African-Americans – and a small group of teenage girls in Buffalo aims to do something about it.

Boob-A-Licious will make its debut Saturday at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Delaware Park.

The group – dressed in pink-and-white cheerleading outfits – will encourage the runners with some choreographed cheers, as well as pass out breast cancer prevention and detection literature as part of race day.

"They have been trained in health awareness," said Kandice Drayton, who came up with the idea for the group. "Any one of them can give you risk factors, they can give you statistics. They can teach women how to give proper breast self-exams. They know what mammograms are. They know what sonograms are. They’re learning about breast cancer in men."

This is just the beginning for Boob-A-Licious. Group members, who meet at New Testament Revival Cathedral at Kensington and Midvale avenues, plan to lead educational efforts at the various schools they attend, become a mainstay at city health fairs and community gatherings, and attend future Komen races.

They also plan to help Carl Bailey make a movie about breast cancer among African-Americans.

Bailey has enlisted the help of Cory and Casey Sampson, 18-year-old twins from his church, Elim Christian Fellowship, to film a movie in the coming months in Buffalo. He will shoot Boob-A-Licious members Saturday for what he expects will be the last scene.

The film – with the working title "Why Should I Care?" – will be about 30 minutes long. It will debut in Buffalo and be made available to churches and civic groups across the country, Bailey said. He said he has applied for a Komen grant to help pay for production and he hopes to land actor Richard Roundtree to play a role. Roundtree is a breast cancer survivor.

The Sampson brothers and members of Boob-A-Licious will help write the script – which will be geared toward young people – as well as act in the production, Bailey said. Other young people interested in helping raise awareness also will be sought for roles.

Drayton’s husband, Bishop Gerald Drayton Sr., is pastor of New Testament. Their granddaughter, Ta’Mar Drayton, 16, is one of the founding members of Boob-A-Licious, along with DeJanae Brooks, 19, and Kristina Henry and Aaliyah Robinson, both 14.

"A lot of young people don’t like to listen to older people so I hope we can get the message across," said Kristina.

The group, which seeks more members, is an outgrowth of Smart Girls Have Expectations, or S.H.E., a New Testament church-based group designed to mentor girls to carry themselves with purpose, make good choices, and have a positive impact on their communities.

Both groups are run by Destiny East, 30, a commercial loan specialist with M&T Bank.

"What we’re finding is that people we’re close to – aunties, grandparents, parents, neighbors – are passing away from breast cancer, and a lot of people don’t have enough understanding or knowledge about why, and what they can do to prevent this," East said.

The inspiration for the group is Richardine Drayton, the New Testament pastor’s mother, who lived in the rural South when she was diagnosed and died from the disease about 15 years ago, in her mid-60s. She didn’t go to the doctor after her diagnosis and didn’t tell her family about her condition, said Kandice Drayton. "She tried to take Tylenol to control it."

Drayton and others involved in the new effort don’t want inexperience with breast cancer to cut other lives short – and they aim to start their efforts with young people, to set a good foundation.

The once more common stigma of breast cancer has largely disappeared in all ethnic groups, but access to affordable health care appears to be among the reasons the death rate among African-Americans diagnosed with the disease is higher than for whites, according to the American Cancer Society. Socioeconomic factors appear to play a role. Twenty percent of African-Americans are uninsured versus 11 percent of whites, according to the organization’s recent report.

Boob-A-Licious aims to fight cancer with education, including where African-Americans can find access to affordable, or free, mammograms, and can learn how to do breast self-exams.

Those interested in joining Boob-A-Licious, participating in the movie or making a donation toward movie production costs are asked to call organizers at 259-6652 or 833-2148; Register for the Race for the Cure at the Delaware Park Rose Garden from 7 to 10 a.m. today, prior to the start of the race.


Boob-A-Licious members who will cheer runners on Saturday include, from left, Aaliyah Robinson, Kristina Henry, Ta’Mar Drayton and DeJanae Brooks. (Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News)

Take a spin outdoors Saturday to benefit Roswell

Spin your wheels on Saturday morning for a good cause – and get some fresh air to boot.

The Buffalo Athletic Club at the Colvin-Eggert location in the Town of Tonawanda will host an outdoor spinning class from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., to benefit Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

The BAC is accepting $10 per bike per hour for the event – and yes, men may attend even though the indoor BAC location at 3157 Eggert Road is for women.

Call 348-3755 to reserve a bike.

– Scott Scanlon

What a hospital food service director eats

Kathy Kubiak-McAlpine and her work as food service manager at Kenmore-Mercy Hospital will be featured Saturday in WNY Refresh. As an entree, here’s a taste of how she eats:

"I eat breakfast and lunch at the hospital every day," she told me. "For breakfast, I stick with my oatmeals and a piece of turkey sausage, the fruited yogurts. For lunch, I stick to a cup of soup and eat my larger meal in the evening. I love the Food Network and get most of my ideas from there.

What’s your favorite health food?

Kale chips. You have to put Parmesan cheese on them and add a little flavor, but they’re pretty good.

The food that’s hard for you to resist?

Potato chips. Cheese.

Are you doing any cooking classes at the hospital?

It’s something I want to look at, especially as far as using the patient TVs to have the chefs cook some of our menu on TV, make it educational.

– Refresh Editor Scott Scanlon

A Bisons coach finds strength in midst of diabetes

Armando Gutierrez, 28, in his first season as strength and conditioning coach for the Buffalo Bisons, spent part of an afternoon late last month meeting with young people who share something in common with him: Type 1 diabetes.

He found out at 17 that he would need insulin shots, and to watch his blood sugar levels very carefully, for the rest of his life, and he shared what that meant with his young audience.

Mentally, it was draining for a decade, he told them, but he has accepted: "I have it and it’s something I have to deal with. It’s something I can’t be embarrassed about or scared of."

It helps being physically active, he told me during an interview for today’s What are you eating? piece in WNY Refresh, after signing autographs and posing for several photos.

"Playing sports helps a lot," he said. "I train myself as if I’m training my athletes. I’m kind of on the same routine, running, working out. On weekends, I try to be active. I go on hikes, I bought a road bike. I’m trying to find trails out here. I love being outdoors, staying active."

His advice to someone just diagnosed with diabetes:

"Don’t be afraid. Do not be embarrassed, do not be afraid. That was my biggest problem. It affected me in a way that I put the worry on someone else. ... I always tried to handle things on my own. I didn’t want someone to take care of me, tell me, ‘Oh, you should do it this way or do it that way.’ But I found that trying to manage it on my own really affected me. There are times when you’re going to get low and when you get low your body doesn’t function right, you don’t comprehend things. It’s almost as if somebody’s alcohol levels are too high. Your mentality, it doesn’t function.

The first time his blood sugar fell dangerously low, "People were like, ‘What’s wrong with him? What’s wrong with him?,’" he said. "Finally, I said, ‘I’m diabetic can you help me?’ And people were scrambling to find juice or something. It’s one of those things."

He continues to learn about how to best manage the disease and said he thinks the lessons he’s learned help the players he works with, too.

"My meal choices fluctuate all the time but I try to keep it pretty balanced," he said. "I love food. The two biggest things hardest to resist for me: chocolate and pizza. It’s something I struggle to control, but I do. Chocolate is my weakness and pizza I pretty much try to avoid. Otherwise, I’d just demolish it.

"The biggest thing is staying in proportion. I can eat almost anything and everything I want, which I do. But I try to keep it in control, within my limits. It’s important to keep that sugar level in balance. That’s true for everyone. A lot of one thing is never good for anybody."

I asked him if there was anything Bisons players could eat to help them hit more homers.

"The biggest thing I try to tell them is, ‘Have a piece of fruit before they play, close to game time,’" he said. "After batting practice, where they have a couple hours before the game, I try to get them more of a solid meal: complex carbs, peanut butter and jelly sandwich with banana, something that’s full of energy that will keep the body content for the hours they’re playing on the field."

Something’s working pretty well. The team was in second place in their division going into the weekend and several games over .500.

– Refresh Editor Scott Scanlon

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About The Refresh Buffalo Blog

Scott Scanlon

Scott Scanlon

Scott Scanlon is an award-winning reporter and editor who has covered various topics in his quarter-century as a journalist in South Florida, Syracuse and Buffalo. He is aiming to pass along what he is learning these days about health, fitness, nutrition and family life.

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