Ask the Expert: Fit A.F. Nutrition

Ask the Expert
Jordan Galasso
Fit A.F. Nutrition
Scranton, PA

Increase Your Productivity Through Nutrition

If you’re a business owner, chances are that the rate at which your company grows is directly linked to your own output.

It’s easy to overlook mental performance when you’re focused on eating healthy and exercising because you expect your brain to be working optimally, but this is not always the case. Over exercise, under recovery and calorie restriction can all impair cognitive ability.

There are a few tweaks you can make to your diet that will result in dramatic increases in your mental performance:

  • Inflammation is the killer of all cognitive functions. The brain has its own immune system. Microglia are immune cells in the brain whose job it is to protect the brain and spinal cord from pathogens and clear away metabolic debris. Once one of these cells is activated, it creates inflammation for the rest of its life span. These cells are activated by high carbohydrate diets, a lack of or too much exercise, chronic stress, substance abuse, and environmental toxins. Any nutritional plan of attack has to prioritize minimizing inflammation.
  • Avoid carbohydrates until your work day is over. In terms of cognition, avoiding carbs during work hours produces outstanding results for multiple reasons. Eating carbs increases the amount of serotonin that gets produced by allowing tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin, to cross the blood brain barrier easier. Serotonin is a relaxing neurotransmitter.
  • Eat fats. Your brain is predominately made up of fat. The myelin sheath, a fatty coating that insulates your brain cells so electronic signals can travel faster, can break down in the absence of cholesterol. Cholesterol comes from saturated fats specifically.
  • Prioritize polyphenols. Your body is constantly taking in free radicals, it’s the price we pay for breathing. When cells use oxygen to generate energy, free radicals are created. Excess free radicals causes a variety of issues, including cancer, arthritis, aging, autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.

Polyphenols neutralize free radicals and prevent them from doing damage. Great sources of Polyphenols include all vegetables, blueberries, pomegranates, green tea, coffee and dark chocolate.

Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce Announces 2018 SAGE Award Finalists

The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce recently announced the finalists for the 2018 SAGE Awards, the Scranton Awards for Growth and Excellence. The SAGE Awards honor outstanding local businesses for their talent, creativity and innovation. The winners will be announced on Friday, December 7, at the Chamber Gala, held at the Hilton Scranton & Conference Center.

Nearly 100 applications were received for this year’s awards.  A group of more than 40 community leaders and professionals volunteered to review applications and select finalists. The Chamber is proud to honor businesses that are making valuable contributions to the region and contributing to our overall quality of life.  The finalists, in each category, are:

• Commonwealth Health Emergency Medical Solutions
• The Dime Bank
• NET Credit Union

• Hilton Scranton & Conference Center
• Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders
• Woodloch

• Lewith & Freeman Real Estate
• Posture Interactive
• Woodloch

• Little Acres Learning Academy
• Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control
• Woodloch

• Drucker & Scaccetti
• Little Acres Learning Academy
• Pepperjam

• Fidelity Bank
• Posture Interactive
• We Talk Shirty

• Borough of Dunmore: “Hometown Hero Banner Program”
• Ronald McDonald House: “Show Your Stripes 5K”
• University of Scranton: “Downtown Scavenger Hunt”

• Electric City Escape
• Meal Prep Grind
• Quest Studio

• Meals on Wheels Community Services of NEPA
• Outreach Center for Community Resources
• Women’s Resource Center

• Horizon Dental Care
• Lackawanna College
• Tobyhanna Army Depot

• AllOne Health
• Delta Medix
• Greater Scranton YMCA

• Gertrude Hawk Chocolates
•  Pennsylvania American Water
• Thomas McLane Associates

• Horizon Dental Care
• Posture Interactive
• Tsunami Self Defense Systems

• Nikki Moser, Marywood University
• Maura Smith, Pepperjam
• Talia Walsh, Quest Studio

The recipient of each award will be announced at the Chamber Gala on December 7 at the Hilton Scranton & Conference Center. In addition, all award finalists can also win the People’s Choice Award, where the winner will be chosen by a community wide online vote, available on from Monday, Oct. 29, through Friday, Nov. 2.

Leadership Lackawanna Awards Scholarships

From left, front row: Nicole Morristell, director, Leadership Lackawanna; Jennifer Mackey, St. Joseph’s Center; Jaka Wescott, Ronald McDonald House of Scranton; and Michelle McMaster, Fidelity Bank. Back row: Jim Kuzmak, Sanofi Pasteur; E.T. Hunter, Solar Plus; Neil Prisco, WVIA Public Media; and Carmen Brutico, Sordoni Construction Services.

Each year, Leadership Lackawanna awards scholarships to qualified candidates who need assistance paying tuition. Typically, these funds are set aside for individuals from non-profit organizations or who are sole proprietors. Due to the generosity of past donors, different scholarship funds have been established and continue to make a significant impact in our community each year.

The scholarship recipients for the Core Program Class of 2018-2019 are as follows:

  • T. Hunter of Solar Plus received the William W. and Mary L. Scranton Scholarship.
  • Jim Kuzmak of Sanofi Pasteur received the H. Leigh Woehling Scholarship.
  • Jennifer Mackey of St. Joseph’s Center received the William Rinaldi Scholarship.
  • Michelle McMaster of Fidelity Bank received the Karen O’Connell Welles Scholarship.
  • Neil Prisco of WVIA Public Media received the H. Leigh Woehling Scholarship.
  • Jaka Wescott of the Ronald McDonald House received both the Margaret Briggs Scholarship and the Government Leadership Award Fund of the Scranton Area Foundation.


Leadership Lackawanna Announces Establishment of New Fund

From left: Nicole Morristell, director, Leadership Lackawanna; Mollie Woehling; and Laura Ducceschi, president and chief executive officer, Scranton Area Community Foundation.

Leadership Lackawanna, in partnership with the Scranton Area Community Foundation, has announced the creation of the H. Leigh Woehling Fund, which honors the late H. Leigh Woehling, a co-founder and first director of Leadership Lackawanna.

The Woehling scholarship fund will be awarded based on financial need to an incoming Leadership Lackawanna participant who aspires to become an emerging leader. Although he passed away before experiencing the success of Leadership Lackawanna’s first graduating class in 1983, Mr. Woehling’s vision and determination served as one of the pillars of the organization, helping the original founding committee transform his vision into a reality. The Woehling family has continued to remain active with the organization for the past 36 years.

This fund will be housed at the Scranton Area Community Foundation and will make a permanent contribution to the life of this region.

“These funds are very important and vital to our organization because they help reduce the cost of tuition, allowing participants from non-profits, small businesses and even sole proprietors to experience our programs,” said Nicole A. Morristell, Leadership Lackawanna director. “Thanks to the creation of this permanent fund at the Foundation, Leigh’s memory will be kept alive by future generations of community leaders.”

For more information, visit To contribute to the H. Leigh Woelhing Fund, please contact Leadership Lackawanna at 570-342-7711 or contribute online and earmark it for the Woelhling fund at

Regional Penn State Alumni Offer “A Night of Penn State Jazz”

Penn State alumni representing four northeast regional campuses will be offering “A Night of Penn State Jazz” at the Alice C. Wiltsie Performing Arts Center, 700 North Wyoming Street, Hazleton, on Sunday, Oct. 21. The concert, featuring Penn State’s Centre Dimensions jazz ensemble, will begin at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for general seating.

Centre Dimensions, the premier 20-piece jazz ensemble at Penn State, performs frequently on campus and tours throughout Pennsylvania and the East. Conducted by the renowned Penn State School of Music Director of Jazz Studies Marko Marcinko, Centre Dimensions performs and works with several internationally known artists each year.

The students, recognized among the top in the University music program, perform a challenging repertoire of modern and classic jazz, as well as originals written by the director. This highly selective ensemble is open by audition to Penn State undergraduate and graduate students in all majors.

Chancellor Gary Lawler commented about the upcoming program. “We are looking forward to this exciting evening of jazz from one of the premier groups within the Penn State family. The Alice C. Wiltsie Center in Hazleton is the perfect venue to enjoy an evening in the arts. It will be truly an event not to miss, and we thank our alumni groups for making this all happen.”

Admission is $15 per person and $10 for students or members of the Penn State Alumni Association.  For a reservation form and information, go to Questions may be directed to the Penn State Hazleton Alumni Office at 570-450-3560.

In addition to the alumni organizations at Penn State Hazleton, Schuylkill, Scranton and Wilkes-Barre campuses, the Penn State Alumni Association (PSAA) is sponsoring this event.

“Alumni groups allow us to extend the Penn State experience throughout the lifelong relationship that we maintain with our alumni. In particular, the groups associated with our northeast campuses are a tremendous asset to the Penn State Alumni Association,” says Paul Clifford, PSAA CEO. “Events that involve our alumni and feature talented students and faculty highlight our academic quality and showcase Penn State pride.”

Penn State Scranton Launchbox Opens in South Scranton

Penn State Scranton is expanding its efforts to promote innovation and economic development in northeast Pennsylvania by combining the resources of Penn State with local businesses, economic development organizations and entrepreneurs.

The Scranton LaunchBox was officially opened on Tuesday, October 2, with a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by Penn State President Eric Barron and Penn State University and local campus officials, as well as regional economic development and public officials.

It is a pre-incubator/accelerator that will help advance local entrepreneurial concepts to business plan development using the resources of Penn State. To date, and even before its official opening, the program has already helped several local entrepreneurs. One of those entrepreneurs, Asia Wallace, has opened a cupcake business with help from Penn State Scranton.

The new facility will be housed at 611 Cedar Avenue until design work is completed on its future permanent location inside the adjacent People’s Security Bank.

The Scranton LaunchBox is a no-cost startup accelerator and co-working space designed to provide early-stage startup companies with the support and resources needed to build a sustainable business and a viable plan for growth. It is open to community members and those affiliated with Penn State.

The Scranton LaunchBox was planned in conjunction with United Neighborhood Centers (UNC), the Scranton Area Foundation, People’s Security Bank, the Scranton Community Foundation, Women In Philanthropy, the Small Business Development Center at the University of Scranton, the Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise at Wilkes University and DX Dempsey.

University Present Eric Barron spoke during the Scranton LaunchBox dedication, along with Penn State Scranton Chancellor Marwan Wafa, Penn State Scranton Advisory Board President Louis Ingargiola and United Neighborhood Center Director Michael Hanley, while several other local dignitaries also participated in the official ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“The LaunchBox will provide access to Penn State Resources, including but not limited to:  labs and equipment at Penn State Scranton, faculty consultants, students as entrepreneurs, students as interns for product or market development support, research capacity, intellectual property guidance, technical assistance, and technology transfer support for commercializing and licensing,” Wafa said “We will also provide access to comprehensive one-on-one business development and support services.”

Last year, Penn State Scranton was awarded a $50,000 seed grant from the Invent Penn State Initiative to develop the Scranton LaunchBox. It is now one of 14 innovation hubs located in Penn State campus communities across Pennsylvania.

LaunchBox is a signature program of the Invent Penn State Initiative, a Commonwealth-wide system to spur economic development, job creation, and student career success. Invent Penn State blends entrepreneurship-focused academic programs, business startup training and incubation, funding for commercialization, and University-community collaborations to facilitate the process of turning ideas into viable products and services.

Invent Penn State blends entrepreneurship-focused academic programs, business startup training and incubation, funding for commercialization, and University-community collaborations to facilitate the process of turning ideas into viable products and services.