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Polish researcher reflects on work at Roswell, his first year in Buffalo

Roswell Park Cancer Institute researcher Maciej L. Goniewicz, who grew up near Krakow, Poland, got more than he bargained for during his first Buffalo winter. (John Hickey/Buffalo News)

By Scott Scanlon – Refresh Editor

Maciej L. Goniewicz, a Polish-born research scientist who studies on the effects of e-cigarettes, lived near Krakow before he moved to London and San Francisco for research positions.

He arrived in Buffalo a year ago this month to take a job as a researcher at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

“I’m more calm and relaxed here,” he told me last week, “and it’s easier to get to work – when it’s not snowing.”

Goniewicz – whose full name is pronounced Ma CHEY, Gon YA Vich – is featured in today’s “In the Field” story in WNY Refresh.

That piece focuses mostly on his professional life, but I also asked him how he’s adapted to life in arguably the most Polish-friendly community this side of the Atlantic. 

“I’m so busy at work, but I really enjoy it,” he said. “This is a great place. I feel like I found my place.

“Coming from outside here was challenging. It was a hard decision to move to Buffalo but I don’t regret it at all.”

Goniewicz lives in Allentown and walks to work; he hopes to get a driver’s license soon.

“I like to travel,” he said, “so the first year, especially before winter, I spent time getting familiar with the area. I’ve met new friends. I love traveling. I travel around Buffalo, but also a lot outside, partly for work, meetings. Also, for pleasure, to take a break from the crazy life” of a researcher.

He’s been to New York City, Washington, D.C. and Miami.

“Here in Buffalo,” he said, “I try to enjoy the city. I go to the theaters, I go to museums. I like the architecture. I’m trying to discover all the wineries. I’m a big fan of wines. I walk downtown, to the marina. I use buses, and the subway, too. I have a few friends and they take me shopping.

What are some of the foods he’s discovered and enjoys?

“Of course, from the very beginning, the chicken wings. I love chicken wings. I’m a big fan of Asian foods. I like the Elmwood Village, and every weekend, I try to go there and discover something new.” Taste of Siam, at 810 Elmwood Ave., is among his favorite stops. “The food is good here in Buffalo,” he said. “It’s great.”

Shortly after his arrival, he also attended Dyngus Day festivities on the East Side.

“It was so cold,” he said. “There was a snow storm when the parade started, so I was there for just a few minutes. But I liked it. It felt like home, my old home.”

His mother, Maria, a psychologist who works in family court in Poland, plans to visit Buffalo this summer. She wants to see New York, Washington, “and of course, Niagara Falls,” Goniewicz said. “All my friends who visit here want to see Niagara Falls. It’s huge, it’s amazing. It’s beautiful” – especially from the deck of the Maid of the Mist. “It’s much better. You can really feel the power and the size of the falls,” he said.

Here’s why studying electronic cigarettes over the next decade, and beyond, will be important, Goniewicz added: “We know that tobacco cigarettes cause cancer because this product was very popular a long time ago. So many people used this product. After 20, 30 years, we only discovered it was very dangerous. The big question with e-cigarettes is what will be the dangers after many years of using these products?”

Here are a few more things he told me about his work:

Anything in your personal history that made you interested in smoking research?

My parents never smoked, dad only occaisonally. My dad (Jerzy; it would be “George,” in English) is a doctor, an internist. But at college, I was really interested in chemistry. I was looking to study something that was between the medicine and the chemistry. That’s why I decided to study pharmacy. I was always interested in doing more the research than to going to the drugstore and dispensing the drugs.

Because e-cigarettes are still so new, they're not yet regulated and it’s hard to make any determination on their dangers or helpfulness? (See a related story on one danger here.)

That’s true. Users are asking us. Regulatory agencies are asking. I think we’re getting closer and closer. There’s so many unanswered questions. But when I started doing research on electronic cigarettes in 2010, we knew absolutely nothing about them. Now, I think we know what’s the effect. We now are looking at advertising campaigns and perception of the products.

People are using these products, so it’s getting more easy to study. We can advertise for people to help us with the research and right now we have no problems with getting people.

How costly can it become and where do the research dollars come from?

It is very expensive. Depending on the aim and what we want to look for, we need a laboratory, we need sensitive equipment if we want to test the products. We need special machines that smoke the product in the lab. When we are doing research on human volunteers, we need to find the volunteers. We need to advertise. We are paying for the time they spend here. Then we collect the samples, so we need to staff to do that. Then we need a lab and equipment to analyze. For some studies we need only 100 people but for some studies we need thousands of people.

What is your recommendation to smokers?

The first is quit. Quit everything. Don’t smoke. Don’t use any smokeless tobacco products. Don’t use any e-cigarettes. There are some safe products: gums, patches. They have been tested in many clinical trials and they work, at least for some people. They’re maybe not as effective as we’d like them to be. They have some limitations. Some smokers quit with these products. We have some prescription drugs that can help smokers quit. There are some precautions. Not everyone can use these drugs, but they are effective.

But for some who have really struggled and who are not going to do anything, are e-cigarettes worth at least a start?

If you tried quitting and you failed, try electronic cigarettes. As long as it helps you stay away from tobacco cigarettes, it’s a good idea. There’s nothing worse than tobacco cigarettes. We cannot guarantee that this product is safe, but research studies show that it’s safer than tobacco cigarettes.


Twitter: @BNrefresh

Meditation specialist joins Complete Wellness center

Dr. James Pilc left his OB/GYN practice to focus on meditation after it helped him battle cancer. (John Hickey/Buffalo News)

Dr. James Pilc, a personal meditative guide and author, has joined the Complete Wellness Arts and Science Center.

I wrote an “In the Field” piece on the former OB/GYN, who quit his practice after being diagnosed with bone cancer and using meditation and other means to address his condition. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Pilc to our space where his Meditation Classes and Meditative Self-Healing Sessions will continue to help those in need of physical, emotional, spiritual and energetic healing,” Pam Priest, Owner of the Complete Wellness Arts and Science Center, said in a news release. “We offer an exceptional and comprehensive variety of healing practices and educational classes and Dr. Pilc’s method of healing will enhance the breadth and depth of what we have to offer.”

The center is at 1515 Kensington Ave. and Pilc will start leading classes in April. They range in price from $25 to $99 per class, depending on whether they’re group or individual sessions and how many you schedule. For more information, go to Pilc’s website or and

Healthy kid snack experts share child-care strategies

Antoinette Davis shows off a Fun Fruit Kabob and Veggie Tree. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)


By Scott Scanlon – Refresh Editor

Veteran child-care provider Antoinette Davis understands what it can be like when it comes to busy parents scrambling to get to work and feed their kids at the same time.

Often, it isn't pretty.

“Huggie blue juice, cookies, potato chips. Snickers for breakfast. I’ve seen it all,” said Davis, one of three creative sources behind today’s cover story in WNY Refresh.

“Providers have to stop that at the door,” she said. “They have to tell parents, ‘You can bring a bag of apples, or oranges, or some bananas.'”

Davis has immersed children in her care in making and eating nutritious foods for more than a quarter century, with help from the Child and Adult Food Care Program, a division of the Child Care Resource Network, which steps in for thousands of children across Erie County who receive two partially subsidized meals and a snack each day – provided the food is healthy.

She got so good at it, the network asked Davis to start running the food care program about seven months ago.

Federal, state and local funds feed the program across the nation as well as regionally, said Kimberly Backey, interim executive director of the Child Care Resource Network in Erie County, which also helps license child-care centers and home-care providers, and help parents looking to connect with trained and licensed care providers.

“We all know the cost can sometimes be overwhelming to eat healthy,” Backey said, “so the food program is designed to help offset some of the cost of providing healthy and nutritious meals.”

The program is based on First Lady Michelle Obama’s “My Plate” model, in which half a mealtime plate should be filled with fruits and veggies.

“That is a must,” Backey said.

The program is available to any child-care provider or center – there are no income eligibility guidelines for inclusion.

“We do have a tiering rate that was implemented in the late 1990s,” Backey said.

In the city and several other low-income pockets of Erie County, reimbursement can go up to $105 per child per month; it is about half that in better-off communities. “Wherever the government sees low income or poverty, they get the higher rate, which is Tier 1,” Backey said.

There is paperwork involved because tax dollars pay for much of the cost. The child care network has specialists who provide technical assistance and oversight.

“We might process 2,800 claim records in a given month,” Backey said. “We have great specialists...

“This program is a benefit to parents, it’s a benefit to child-care providers,” Backey added. “When parents are dropping people off at the day-care center, or a day-care provider, they are assured that their children are receiving healthy meals.”

Lawmakers, community foundations and others who support the program see it as a way to save more money in health-related costs over time.

Kids eating the wrong foods has contributed to an obesity epidemic across the country, one in which health professionals during the last 20 years have witnessed a growing number of overweight children with adult diseases that include hypertension and Type 2 diabetes.

And the unhealthy nutrition problem runs even deeper, Backey said.

“It leads to depression, self-esteem issues,” she said. “Kids become less engaged in physical activities. They develop eating disorders. They have behavior and learning problems. It can stem from the wrong diet.”

The child gets 90 percent of his or her daily nutritional needs as part of the Child and Adult Food Care Program – and parents don’t need to worry about bringing food to a day-care setting.

“It’s a federal program, so all of us across the country follow the same nutritional guidelines,” Backey said.

Those guidelines call for healthy foods that include 1 percent or skim milk; whole grains; no more than one glass of juice per day; good proteins, with limits on processed meats to two times or less per week; and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

The program also encourages that children drink plenty of water, and steer clear of sugary cereals, baked goods and fried foods.

“We want to get the children to start off right at a young age,” Backey said. “We train our providers to make those meals so they can train the parents to carry on.”

The Child Care Resource Network in Erie County grew out of a community conference 30 years ago this month designed to find ways to better the lives of children in Western New York.

Parents and others can learn more about the network – and how to find a licensed day-care provider in their community – by visiting


Twitter: @BNrefresh

Good for the Neighborhood Program visits the Falls on Thursday

The Independent Health Foundation will host a “Good for the Neighborhood” event from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Doris W. Jones Family Resource Building (Niagara Fall Housing Authority), at 3001 Ninth St., Niagara Falls.

With a theme of “Eat Right,” the free event is designed to help participants develop healthy eating habits, and will include a farmers’ market, a healthy cooking demonstration and several health screenings.

Participants also will have the opportunity to meet with a pharmacist, so they are encouraged to bring a list of their medications and ask any questions they may have.

For more information, click here or call 635-4959.

– Scott Scanlon

Families can get healthier together Wednesday at Casey Wellness Night

Students, parents and grandparents can come together on Wednesday to learn more about making healthy choices, and take several steps to make them, at Casey Wellness Night.

More than 60 exhibits and demonstrations will promote nutrition, fitness, sports and other wellness opportunities for families from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Casey Middle School, 105 Casey Road, East Amherst.

UNYTS will conduct a blood drive from 5 to 8:30 p.m. and Hearts for the Homeless will collect old or gently used shoes, sneakers and boots.

Jason Mollica will give a talk at 6:30 p.m. entitled “Current Social Networking Trends … What Every Current Parent and Student Needs To Know.”

The public is invited to this free event.

– Scott Scanlon

Grants available for farmers’ markets

(AP) – New York State wants to make farmers’ markets more accessible to low-income consumers.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo says the state will make $130,000 in grants available this year to support at least 13 traditional farmers’ markets and youth market grant projects.

Individual grants up to $10,000 will go to applicants with the best ideas on how to improve access to farmers’ markets participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, once known as food stamps.

The money comes from the “FreshConnect” farmers’ market program, which promotes the sale of locally grown food.

Catholic Health dietitian looks to lead by example

Candi Possinger, left, a registered dietitian who heads the Catholic Medical Partners nutrition program, pictured here with fellow dietitian Kendra Hennessey, says the old "Food Pyramid" way of eating has been replaced by "The Plate," which recommends a protein, whole grain and plenty of fruits and vegetables. (John Hickey/Buffalo News)

By Scott Scanlon – Refresh Editor

What’s the best way to lose weight and keep it off?

“Number one is to make sure you’re eating healthy, balanced meals. As hard as people make it sound, it’s really not,” Candi Possinger, a registered dietitian with Catholic Medical Partners, told me during an interview earlier this week for today’s “In the Field” feature in WNY Refresh.

Possinger leads an 11-member staff that has made a dent in obesity since the doctor group launched a nutrition education program about three years ago – but there is still lots of work to do.

The Buffalo-Niagara region falls higher than the national average when it comes to obesity and diabetes rates, and routinely sits at or near the top when it comes to the rate of cardiovascular disease, Possinger said.

When it comes to advice she and the staff dispenses, “We have to hold ourselves to the suggestions we’re making as well,” the staff leader said. “I can say I’ve lost 20 pounds in the last nine months.”

Her personal weight loss journey isn’t always easy.

“I’m a sweet eater, no doubt about it,” she told me. “My name’s Candi. I love sweets, cakes and cookies, things like that. I try not to bring them into my house.

“I do tell people, ‘Life is life,’ and moderation is what we tend preach, so if I go out to dinner I’ll have dessert every once in a while so I’m not bringing it home with me. If it’s in the house, I know I’m going to eat it, so knowing myself, I try not to set myself up with those issues.”

Nationally, she said, “We’ve switched from the food pyramid to the plate. If you can make that plate a little bit of healthy protein, a little bit of whole-grain carbohydrates and half your plate as vegetables, you have a nice, balanced plate.

“We have to make sure our plate is healthy and our plate is not huge, and that we eat every four to five hours at a maximum, to keep that metabolism going, and make sure we get some sort of activity every single day. That’s the answer.

“All of us, we as dietitians, sit at our desks as well. I wear my Fitbit every single day and make sure at the end of the day I have X number of steps, I’ve burned X number of calories.”

Here’s what else Possinger had to tell me about her eating habits, and obesity in the region.

What are the staples of your diet?

I’m very proud when I leave the grocery store because I rarely have items that need to go in my pantry. I emphasize buying most of my foods in the perimeter of the store, so I buy a lot of fruits and vegetables. I work a lot of hours, my husband works long hours, so sometimes I’m buying frozen vegetables, but they’re just as healthy. Every meal, I try to have at least a fruit or vegetable. Breakfast time, it’s usually fruit; lunch and dinner I always have vegetables. I emphasize protein. I always make sure at every single meal I have some kind of protein, because that is going to make me feel full for that four to five hours. Whether it’s nuts or chicken, turkey, whatever the case might be. I am a milk drinker. I eat Greek yogurt every day. I try to make my plate have a little bit of carbohydrate, a little bit of protein, and the vegetable. I try to have people think of their carbohyrdate or their startch as a side dish, not, ‘We’re having pasta tonight, what are we going to put with our pasta?’ ... If you look at the food trends, carbohydrates and startch is definitely what people tend to overconsume.

I always pack snacks. Mondays, I work 12 hours, so I always need to make sure I have things ready to go. The snacks have a little protein, as well. I’ve fallen in love with some of these great protein granola bars. They’re great go-tos. Nuts. Greek yogurt is another common snack. Sometimes, whole grain crackers and cheese.

How does obestity among Catholic Medical Partners patients break down geographically by age, race, sex and income? Do any of those things matter?

We definitely see a higher rate of obesity in lower-income populations. Age, unfortuately, doesn’t seem to matter. We’re starting as young as 2-year-olds and we’re seeing it in our 90-year-olds. Where we used to be able to say obesity is much more prevalent in adults and Type 2 diabetes is much more prevalent in adults, we’re seeing it so much earlier on in adolescents and children.

One thing to highlight, research has spoken that if somene is obese as a child, the liklihood of them being obese as an adult is astronomical.

Race, we definitely see African-American, Hispanics and Natives with higher levels of obesity. As disparate as it was in the past, it’s not enough to really talk about now. It’s a problem that’s across the spectrum. Even gender-wise, it’s very much 50-50.

Programs like yours are still a relatively new phenomenon. You were in the first dietetics class at UB 14 years ago. So this is something more and more people in the medical field seem to recognize as an issue?

Absolutely. The partnership between doctors and dietitians, especially over the last 3½ years as I’ve been able to witness it, has been unbelieveable. You wouldn’t have seen it 10 years ago. Now you see it everywhere. You go to the grocery store, you see it. You go to the doctor’s office, you see it. You see it in the school system. There’s so many things that are fusing nutrition and health into our population. I think we’re finally seeing the payback on it.

Who shares the credit for the 40 percent drop in obesity rates for children aged 2 to 5 over the last decade?

A lot of people. The credit first and foremost has to go to the parents and the family. Whoever’s giving them the information, they’ve taken and run with it. They’ve instilled new habits and information in that household. Where that information has come from, I want to give credit to dietitians. I think we have to give credit to pediatricians. I think we have to give credit to grocery stores for their health promotion. We have to give credit to community action. There’s some meetings and committees that I’ve sat with in Erie County where we’ve said, ‘How can we look at community centers, How can we make our communities more walkable?’ There’s so many things going on behind the scenes that people don’t even realize that have an impact.

Who shares the blame for the troubling rates in all these other age groups?

Everyone always attacks the food industry. I don’t want to attack them, but I want to say they’ve listened to supply and demand. We’ve asked for more convenient items because we don’t have a lot of time in our lives. We’ve asked for bigger portion sizes because we’ve started to get used to it. We’ve asked for longer storage time in our households because we don’t want to throw anything out, so that means let’s add more sugar and salt to items.

I think we definitely need to have some work in that area. I think the proposed new food labeling will help (See a related story next Saturday in WNY Refresh). If we can get the food industry behind this and have healthier options that are different and fun, that can continue the trend.

Where does personal responsibility come in here?

Without a doubt, there is personal responsibility. Patients come in with a lot of excuses. ‘I can’t make changes because of this.’ ‘I didn’t eat well because of that.’ ‘My husband doesn’t eat healthy so I don’t eat healthy.’ It comes to a point where you have to take personal responsibility and say, ‘You know what, my health is most important to me. I want to be healthier for myself, I want to eat healthier myself because I want to live longer.’

We spend a lot of time with motivational interviewing, getting people to understand the ‘why’ behind the food. People need to understand the why behind their food choices. ... It takes them a session or two before they come to the realization, ‘You know what, I’m an emotional eater.’ They need to have that self-awareness because that’s when the personal responsibility can come into play.


Twitter: @BNrefresh

Protein packs on muscle for LA Fitness juice bar owner

All Juiced Up! owner Vinny Di Re Jr. keeps his metabolism high by eating, and drinking, protein several times a day. (Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News)

By Scott Scanlon – Refresh Editor

The Buffalo Diet – pizza, pasta, chicken wings – brought Vinny Di Re Jr. into the world of the overweight in the years he owned his former company, Vincent’s Heating and Cooling of Williamsville.

He was 5-foot-10 and 235 pounds in 2007 when he decided to change his look and enter the world of bodybuilding.

He lost 70 pounds in a year, and put on loads of muscle.

In the years since, Di Re has settled quite nicely, thank you, into packed frame of a little under 200 pounds. He’s discovered he can maintain his weight as long as he puts in lots of time at the gym most of the year and sticks to a nutrition plan that involves plenty of protein a half-dozen times a day.

“This is what works for me,” Di Re told me earlier this week for today’s “What are you Eating?” feature in WNY Refresh. “Everybody’s different. I’ve seen people try different diets. One thing works for one person and doesn’t for another person. Everybody’s body reacts differently.

“I still get my cheat days where I eat what I want,” he added. “I don’t deprive myself (all the time).”

Especially on Sundays, when he visits his mom for dinner.

“I’m Italian,” he said. “I’ve got to eat pasta.”

Just not every day.

Di Re said his fitness and nutrition plan has worked even better for him since early last year, after he won the right to open juice bars in the new LA Fitness gyms across Western New York.

His All Juiced Up! shops are tucked into the chain’s locations in Buffalo, Clarence and Niagara Falls and he said he soon will set up nooks in two new planned clubs. His 20-ounce shakes contain up to 40 grams of protein and cost $6.25, except on Wednesdays, when they’re $5.

“I enjoy walking into a gym every morning,” Di Re said. “People are here for one reason only – to improve themselves and feel better – so it’s a positive energy. When you’re helping people achieve their goals, it gives you a better feeling about what you’re doing.”

He worked up his business and menu signs with help from 3G Grafix Printing in Amherst, including his signature “Banana Man,” who touts arms almost as big at Di Re’s. He looks to get facing Banana Man tattoos on the back of his arms in the coming months.

Here’s some of what else he told me during our interview earlier this week in the Elmwood Avenue LA Fitness site:

How did you lose the weight?

High protein, low carbs and the last three months of dieting before the bodybuilding show was zero carbs, which included working out six times a week, cardio twice a day.

It’s got to help to have a business in LA Fitness.

Yep. I spend 10, 12 hours a day in the gym, mostly working.

Over time, you’ve figured out a way to keep your metabolism high. How?

I’m probably snacking every three hours and I have the advantage that a lot of my snacks are protein shakes. Being in the business, I probably consume three or four shakes a day. You’re getting a regular infusion of protein, so that’s keeping up your metabolism ... and the only sugar is the natural sugar in the fruit.

Talk about the shakes.

We start out with a puree. The Vanilla Berry Parfait, for instance, is a four-berry: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and acai. The company that makes the puree takes all the berries and throws them into a machine, skins, seeds, everything. When I buy it, it’s like a paste, so I have to mix it with water to dilute it. A scoop of granola, a scoop of vanilla and two scoops of protein. Some of our shakes we take an orange and take the orange zest, the skin, which goes in there, too. That’s where a lot of the nutrition is.

We use a bio-whey protein; that’s our standard protein. It’s a good, clean protein. If someone is lactose intolerant, I have a soy protein. We also have a high performance protein called Elite Zero. It has zero fats, zero carbs, zero sugars. It’s a little more expensive because it’s a cleaner protein.

Talk about your typical eating day.

Breakfast is oatmeal and protein. I take three scoops of oatmeal, mix it with milk, a scoop of protein dissolved in and I throw some berries on it, or honey.

Within the hour, I’m back at the gym taking in a shake. The shake I do in the morning is the Body Builder. It’s 8 ounces of milk, 40 grams of  protein and a banana. I drink that about 9:30 in the morning.

I don’t exercise until 6 o’clock at night. Between my three stores, I’m running around, so my time to myself is between 6 and 8 at night.

Lunch is usually about 1 o’clock: broccoli dipped in Italian dressing and chicken breasts. My mid-afternoon snack is another shake, the Blueberry Monster. That has blueberries, bananas, pineapple juice, 40 grams of protein and oatmeal. I use the bio-whey protein. I’m not counting my calories right now.

For dinner, to be honest with you, I eat a sub. I like Firehouse (subs). I like the meatball subs. They have eight different subs. I start with number one and the next night I’ll have the two. So when I get there, they know me. They ask, ‘What number are you on?’

I eat my sub before I work out, and after I work out I have another shake. It’s usually the shake of the month.

Every day, you have at least 120 grams of protein in shakes alone?

Yes, I snack, too, on a protein bar. You’re supposed to consume a gram of protein a day for every pound of body weight (for bodybuilding).

(He stays at about 200 pounds most of the year, but cuts back significantly on his gym time most of June, July, August. He will eat a bit more pizza and wings then, too. “I might gain a couple of pounds,” he said, “but I get right back into it in the fall and my body picks up right where I left off.”)

What are the other staples of your diet?

I choose lots of chicken. Turkey is my second protein, red meat about once a week. I get the fruits from the shakes, but I do a banana a day, right before I work out. It gives me a boost of energy. It’s a good source of potassium.

How did you start this business?

I sold my (heating and cooling) business and decided to take six months off. Then I hear LA Fitness was coming into town. I went to their presale center on Transit Road and when I walked in, there was a sign at the window that said, ‘Business Opportunity.’ It was for the juice bar. So I called the number, sent my paperwork in for an application and I was awarded the license agreement for Western New York. I lease space.

What was it like getting things up and running? Had you done any juicing before?

Never. I was in the heating business my whole life and this was completely brand new. I was one of those guys that worked out and wasn’t into protein shakes.

Do you feel any differently after a year of incorporating the protein shakes?

I feel great. I’ll be 44 in June ... and this is the best I’ve felt in a long time.

What has the business been like?

Being brand new, it was lots of trial and error. We were trying different shakes. I’ve figured out after a year now what’s working, and I’ve got some new products in. Your staff is very important, too. You’ve got to make sure you have the right people working for you. I have four people at each store.

What tend to be the most popular sellers?

The Peanut Butter Cup. The Strawberry Slam is the most common shake for people who’ve never had a protein shake before. It’s strawberries, bananas and protein. Everybody loves strawberries and bananas.

The Veggie Fusion shakes caught my eye.

Those are vegetable shakes made with freeze-dried spinach and kale, avocado, beets. Each scoop of spinach or kale, it’s two servings of vegetables, so a lot of the shakes have four servings of vegetables. They start off with a pineapple-based puree or a butternut squash or a carrot-orange. It gives you a fruity taste, so you don’t taste the vegetables. We use all the skins, all the pulps. All those nutrients stay in.

Have you seen business grow since LA Fitness bought the BAC coed clubs in December?

I’m just into my second year, so the only thing I’m looking into is January and February from this year and last year, and business is up. I’ve seen an increase in people from the BAC coming through the door.

I see the list of bottled waters that you sell. Is there anything besides those and shakes that you sell?

We sell the add-ins along with the protein that we use. We have people who buy the freeze-dried spinach and kale and have started making their shakes at home. For a bag, it’s $35; they can buy the puree itself for $20 a jug.

How did you come up with the juice bar name?

It all came together working on a Saturday afternoon with Bobby over at 3G signs. We had the banana first. We came up with him, then the name.

What do you see in the future?

There’s two more stores opening this year. One is on Niagara Falls Boulevard and Sheridan; that’s the Amherst store. The other is in Hamburg on Milestrip and McKinley.

Have they asked you to go into any of the former BAC coed locations?

Not yet.


Twitter: @BNrefresh

ADA’s Tour de Cure set for June 7

The 2014 Buffalo Tour de Cure has announced a fundraising goal of $415,000 for its signature cycling event. The ride, scheduled for June 7 this year, raises money to support the American Diabetes Association.

Each participant, riding either individually or within a team, is asked to raise a minimum of $200.

 “A large amount of the money raised by the Buffalo Tour de Cure stays in Western New York and helps more than 140,000 people affected by the disease right here in our community,” said Mark Eagan, Tour de Cure manager for the American Diabetes Foundation.

The race helps the foundation host 6,500 children at diabetes summer camps; guide more than 175,000 newly diagnosed people through living with diabetes; trains more than 2,200 school staffers to assist children with diabetes; helps 1,400 individuals facing discrimination challenges; and supports 18,000 researchers and clinicians seeking the latest discoveries and breakthroughs.

This year’s ride will start and finish at Niagara County Community College in Sanborn. To register or for more information, click here

- Scott Scanlon

Free seminars this week will focus on healthy living

Take Shape For Life and the Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo will host two free informational health seminars this week as part of the Get Greater Buffalo Healthy Initiative.

The gatherings – part of a larger effort to stamp out obesity, metabolic syndrome and depression in the region – are open to the public, though advance reservations are required. The first will take place at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Eggertsville-Snyder Public Library, 4622 Main St.; RSVP at; a second gathering will take place at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Clarence Public Library, 3 Town Place, Clarence; RSVP at

“The public is invited to discover the ‘Habits of Health’ needed to discover their own healthy body, healthy mind and healthy finances,” said Dr. Jonathan Yalowchuk, chiropractor, motivational speaker and author of “Your Action Potential.” He will be among the speakers.

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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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