The Longevity Project: From workaday to profession and passion

Editor’s note: This is the first of the series The Longevity Project, a collaboration between The Aspen Times and the Glenwood Springs Post Independent.

Whether the lure of a ski bum winter or the appeal of a summer hiking 14ers, something about the mountains in the Roaring Fork Valley draws people from across the country in and holds them here.

Many journey to Aspen for a ski season, taking jobs in the hospitality industry to make ends meet while skiing as many days as they can fit in. While some call it quits after a single winter, others fall in love with the picturesque scenery and the tight-knit community and decide to plant their roots here.

Ellen Winter came to Aspen after graduating from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. She planned on doing one winter as a “ski bum” before moving back to pursue jobs aligned with her degree in marketing and communications.

“My first job was at Gwyn’s High Alpine, working as a server at the sit-down restaurant,” she said. “I thought I had made it in life because I was commuting to work on a chairlift, while all my friends were commuting in traffic.”

She wrapped up her first season in Aspen and headed back to Minnesota, where she got married the following summer. Her husband decided he wanted to give the ski bum winter a try, and the pair headed back to Aspen for another season.

“He worked for a bank ,and I worked back up at Gwyn’s. We just loved it,” she said. “You come for a winter, stay for a summer, and then you’re here for life.”

The Winters were fortunate to stitch their existence in Aspen with affordable housing and rentals, which Winters said was one of the biggest hurdles when it came to staying in Aspen.

After a couple of seasons at Gwyn’s, she took a job at Grassroots TV doing marketing and communications, what she went to college for.

“Grassroots introduced me to the Aspen community in such a different way,” she said. “It just made me love the community even more.”

Now she’s the marketing director for Christie’s International Real Estate, and her husband works for the city of Aspen Transportation Department. They have two daughters they are raising in Aspen and have created a network of friends through connections they found in the community.

“A lot of the jobs that I’ve had, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. And so, being in a tight-knit community, and starting in the service position and growing to know the network of people that live here and visit here allowed me to change jobs and find new opportunities here,” she said.

Ellen Winter, her husband, Jeff, her daughters Estella and Siena and dog Cocoa.

Her time in the service industry is what allowed her to create a life for herself in Aspen, as well as invaluable skills she still carries with her in her job today.

“So much of what serving is is what marketing is, which is selling ideas,” she said. “Being able to multitask and hustle, I think, has stuck with me.”

Katherine Fry is one of five panelists speaking at the Longevity event.

After graduating from the University of Denver in 1997, Katherine Fry had a job in human resources with the city of Denver lined up. A friend of hers had an interview in Aspen, and since Aspen was one city in Colorado Fry had yet to travel to, she decided to join her friend for the trip.

“I woke up in the morning, and I opened the blinds, and I was overlooking Red Mountain. And I was like, ‘I am moving here,'” she said.

She marched down to the HR department at what was then the Ritz-Carlton and now the St. Regis and got a job at the fitness center. She said she went back to Denver to let her employers know she was relocating, then she moved to Aspen and has been here ever since.

“I fell in love with Aspen completely unexpectedly and sort of uprooted my future plans because I had to live in this valley,” Fry said.

She knew she wanted to use her degree in human resources and gave herself a year to find a job that aligned with her passions in Aspen. She spent her first six months in the fitness center at the Ritz Carlton scheduling massages, cleaning pools, and maintaining the fitness equipment.

“It was just such a fun summer,” she said.

In November of the same year, Fry got a job as an HR coordinator for the Aspen Club. The Ritz-Carlton was closing, and she was determined to find a job, so she could stay in Aspen.

“I just didn’t want to leave. I was hell bent on figuring out how to stay here,” she said.

Fry’s job at the Aspen Club is just one of the few positions she held before starting her own consulting business in 2022. She worked at Design Workshop for 12 years and then at the town of Snowmass Village for six.

“I wanted to be ingrained in my community, and the town of Snowmass Village had never had an HR professional. So I sort of developed the fundamentals for them,” she said.

Last winter, Fry blew out her knee and was forced to take her first-ever break from working in human resources after having her foot on the gas for 25 years.

“I took the opportunity to say, ‘OK, what do you actually want to do? What do you love about HR?’ And I just realized I really love the coaching side of HR. I’ve done career coaching for 25 years, but I really wanted to start to narrow down and focus on that element,” she said.

Her time off allowed her to go back to school for coaching, and from that, Marble Peak Consulting was born.

Through her company, Fry helps clients transition from deficit-based thinking to asset-based thinking. With 25 years of coaching experience, her passion lies in helping humans lead and live by leveling up, individually and collectively. 

Holding multiple jobs allowed her to hone in on what she wanted to do and now. She preaches the same thing to her clients.

“No matter what age you are, you can completely refresh your life. You can completely risk you know, re-invent yourself; it’s just never too late,” she said. “I think that’s so exciting.”

Her advice for someone moving to the valley who wants to make a life there is simple: It’s all going to work out.

“Sometimes, we get caught in patterns of deficit-based thinking. So, being mindful of our thoughts, understanding the power of our brains, and choosing thoughts like, ‘It’s going to work out’ is powerful,” Fry said.

The Longevity Event: Aging with Purpose

Presented by The Aspen Times and Glenwood Post Independent in partnership with Renew Senior Communities and TACAW, the Longevity Project is a bi-annual campaign to help educate our readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. The June event will look at how to navigate big life transitions, while maintaining, or regaining, purpose.

When: Tuesday, June 6.
Where: TACAW, The Arts Campus at Willits
Time: 5 p.m., Meet and Greet; 5:30-7, panel discussion
Tickets: Can be purchased online at

365 Health health fair comes to Carbondale Saturday

365 Health is holding the Festival De Salud health fair in Carbondale on Saturday.

One of 43 health fairs sponsored by 365 Health in different locations throughout Colorado during the spring, the fair will offer community members access to a number of tests including:

  • Blood Chemistry Screening ($45)
  • Blood Pressure Screening (free)
  • Blood Type ($40)
  • Breast Screening (free)
  • Complete Blood Count Screening $35
  • Diabetes Risk Assessment/Education (free)
  • First Aid (FREE)
  • Height/Weight/Body Mass Index (BMI) (free)
  • Hemoglobin A1C Screening ($35)
  • Colon cancer kits (free)
  • Prostate Specific Antigen ($50)
  • Testosterone ($55)
  • Vitamin B12 ($30)
  • Vitamin D Screening ($65)

Pharmacists and medical care providers will also be on deck, available to answer any health-related questions community members may have.

A non-profit organization that has provided health screenings at health fairs since 1980, 365 Health Public Relations Specialist Virginia Garcia Pivik said the fair gives residents an opportunity to check their health in a cheap and easy manner.

“We have been doing this for over 40 years and a lot of people have been able to recognize underlying conditions thanks to these events,” Pivik said. “We have saved thousands of lives by providing equitable preventative health screenings during the thousands of health fairs that we have held over the years.”

The fairs, which were halted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, are starting to come back little by little, Pivik said. Hosting up to 125 health fairs during the spring seasons prior to the pandemic, Pivik stated that 365 Health is doing what it can to bring back the American standard for medical attention.

“During COVID-19, Americans delayed or avoided their routine preventive health care,” Pivik said. “We are trying to be part of those national and international efforts to try to help people come back to the routine standards to make sure they are taking care of themselves.”

The health fair will take place from 8-12 p.m. on Saturday at the Third Street Center, 520 S. 3rd St., in Carbondale. While walk-up screenings will be available, those planning on attending are recommended to register ahead of time at

Basalt family starts memorial fund with AspenOUT to help LGBTQ+ youth struggling with mental illness

On April 2, Jack Raife of Aspen died by suicide. He was 18 years old.

He’s remembered by his family as someone who went about life with an unapologetic sparkle. He was born in Aspen and raised by two loving parents in Basalt. His sister, Makena, 21, described him as her best friend.

On Saturday, Jack’s family held a memorial service honoring his life and their love for him. Family and friends gathered at Aspen Glen to celebrate his life, releasing (biodegradable) balloons in his honor after a service celebrating his life.

Kathy Potter, Jack’s mother, is dedicated to turning her pain into power by starting the Jack Raife Memorial Fund in partnership with AspenOUT. The memorial fund will provide scholarships to queer youth in need of long-term mental-health resources. Jack came out as gay when he was in seventh grade. As of Saturday evening, the fund had raised more than $40,000.

“We’re going to turn our collective pain into power. And that’s what Jack would want. Turn our pain in to power. That has become my personal mission for not just Makena and me, but for all of us in this terrible loss,” Potter said to the crowd gathered to remember her son.

Friends and loved ones shared memories of Jack during the service. And between speakers, everyone bopped along to Mariah Carey’s holiday hit “All I Want for Christmas is You” — one of Jack’s all-time favorite songs.

He was a gifted pianist and would perform with Makena in their living room – and even once at Belly Up in 2020. Strong female belters like Adele and Whitney Houston were Jack’s songstresses of choice.

“Literally the most dramatic songs you can think of, those were our songs,” she remembered with a giggle.

Makena said her brother was the funniest, most flamboyant person she knew. Still, Jack endured a years-long struggle with mental illness.
Courtesy image

Makena said her brother was the funniest, most flamboyant person she knew. Still, Jack endured a years-long struggle with mental illness. The family left no stone unturned in seeking treatment for him.

“He was just too good for this world,” she said. “I know he’s at peace, and that’s what matters to me.”

AspenOUT is a non-profit organization based in the Roaring Fork Valley that provides support and services to the LGBTQ+ community.

Kevin McManamon is the executive director. He said that just because Aspen and the valley seem like a progressive place does not mean queer youth always feel totally safe.

“National news makes it really hard for kids to be who they are,” he said, referencing anti-LGBTQ+ legislation introduced across the country.

He said it is hard to fully capture the scope of young queer people in the valley, as many wait to come out of the closet until after they leave their family homes. But for anyone struggling, he encourages them to reach out to AspenOUT for help connecting someone in need with therapists specially trained in LGBTQ+ issues.

According to Mental Health America, an estimated 50 million people were experiencing mental illness, with close to 5% experiencing severe mental illness in 2020.

Mental illness can impact anyone. However, individuals who are experiencing poverty, victims of abuse, those with disabilities, and individuals in marginalized communities are at higher risk for suffering from mental illness, according to the World Health Organization.

According to The Trevor Project, one of the largest mental-health organizations and suicide-prevention services for LGBTQ+ youth, “rates of suicidal thoughts have trended upward among LGBTQ young people” between 2019 and 2022.

In their 2022 survey of nearly 34,000 LGBTQ+ youth ages 13-24 across the United States, they found that 45% of LGBTQ youth considered attempting suicide in the past year.

The organization has a crisis line that is available 24/7 and a peer support network for queer youth between the ages of 13 and 24 years old.

Sarah McGuiness, a therapeutic and educational counselor who spoke at Jack’s service, told The Aspen Times that it’s important to check in on your loved ones, even those who do not show signs of mental illness.

“I think that the most important piece for people to understand is that — if they’re struggling — there is help available,” she said. “Whether you find it online, down the street, at school or through your doctor’s office, it doesn’t matter. It is available,”

She said she recognizes that checking in with friends and loved ones regularly and advising them to seek professional help when necessary is incredibly important; but for some, it won’t prevent a suicide from happening. No one is at fault.

“Suicide is a highly impulsive behavior,” she said.

Years of research shows that “suicides tend to be fairly impulsive acts during short-term crises,” and “can be caused by multiple factors that sometimes may not be perfectly clear to the public or even friends and family,” according to Vox.

However, suicide is preceded by mental illness. And there are plenty of resources available to those who are struggling.

If you are considering suicide, seek help through the national suicide prevention lifeline at 988.

The Colorado Crisis Services can be reached by dialing 844-493-8255 or you can text “TALK” to 38255.

Local Mental Health Resources

Aspen Hope Center

A crisis center that offers short term and long term mental health support.

Contact: 970-925-5858 and

Mind Springs Health

Offers broad scope, community mental health support

Contact: 970-201-4299 and Mental health support line, 877-519-7505.

Aspen Strong

Connecting all of the mental health resources together, including a list of all valley providers, in one place.


Mid Valley Family Practice

Mid Valley Family Practice offers behavioral health services, including mental health and substance abuse treatments.

For more information, visit their website at 

Doctor’s Tip: Constipation can be a big deal

Constipation is defined as fewer than three stools a week, hard or lumpy stools, excessive straining when passing stools, and/or a sense of incomplete evacuation.

It can occur in people of any age, including children. It’s is more common in women than men, occurs in at least 15% of young and middle-aged adults, and in one-third of older adults. It’s responsible for three million doctor visits and 100,000 E.R. visits annually. Laxatives are among the top selling over-the-counter medications.

The most common causes of constipation are inadequate fiber intake, failure to hydrate adequately, and sedentary lifestyle. Cows’ milk and other dairy products are an important cause of constipation in children. Certain medications can contribute, including narcotics, calcium channel blockers, and calcium and iron supplements. Diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome and hypothyroidism (“low thyroid”) can cause constipation. Structural abnormalities including tumors in the rectum and colon can also be a cause, and it is particularly important to rule out obstructing tumors in new-onset constipation.

Constipation can result in the following complications:

  • Hemorrhoids — protruding veins around the anus than can cause pain and bleeding
  • Fissures — painful tears in the lining of the anus
  • Hernias, from increased abdominal pressure when straining on the toilet
  • Heart attacks or strokes (especially hemorrhagic strokes caused by rupture of a blood vessel in the brain) related to sudden increase in blood pressure when straining to have a B.M.
  • Impaction, where stool has to be removed from the rectum manually
  • Rectal prolapse, where part of the rectum protrudes from the anus

Position matters when having a bowel movement. The rectum makes a sharp bend just before the anus, called the rectal-anal angle, which is good for preventing stool leakage but bad for having a bowel movement. The angle is more acute when people are sitting upright on the toilet, and is particularly problematic when lying down in a hospital bed using a bedpan. Squatting straightens out the angle, and in many parts of the world people still squat while having a B.M. In modern Western societies where everyone has a toilet, leaning forward helps straighten the rectal-anal angle.

Following are other ways of preventing or managing constipation:

  • Eat more fiber — found only in plants (animals have bones that hold them up, plants have fiber). During evolution, pre-humans and early humans ate at least 100 grams of fiber a day; now the average American eats much less than the recommended 30 grams a day. It takes a few to several days of eating fiber regularly before it starts to work.
  • Hydrate adequately — drink enough water to keep the color of your urine clear to light yellow (note that B vitamins can cause dark yellow urine).
  • Eating eight to 12 prunes a day is an effective and safe way to treat constipation. Plums, apricots, cherries and mangos either in dry or natural form also work.
  • Regular aerobic exercise helps.
  • The gastric-colic reflex refers to the urge to defecate when the stomach is full after eating a meal, so if you have a problem with constipation take advantage of this by having a B.M. after eating.
  • Then of course there are laxatives, but don’t use them regularly because that can result in “laxative dependance.”

Dr. Feinsinger is a retired family physician with special interest in disease prevention and reversal through nutrition. Free services through Center For Prevention and The People’s Clinic include: one-hour consultations, shop-with-a-doc at Carbondale City Market, and cooking classes. Call 970-379-5718 for appointment, or email

Doctor’s Tip: Overuse of antibiotics

Dr. Greg Feinsinger

Sulfa antibiotics were first used in the 1930s. Penicillin was discovered in 1928 and first used as a drug in the early 1940s. This class of drugs revolutionized the practice of medicine, and subsequently several additional antibiotics were developed. 

Antibiotics have saved millions of lives. For example, it is now rare for people to die from bacterial infections such as bacterial pneumonia, kidney infections, blood infections, wound infections and meningitis. However, largely because of overuse of antibiotics in humans and in farm animals, some bacteria have developed resistance to available antibiotics. 

An article in the December issue of the American Family Physician journal notes that “antibiotic resistance is among the greatest public health threats today. The CDC estimates that more than two million antibiotic-resistant infections result in at least 23,000 deaths annually in the United States.” 

Furthermore, antibiotics can have side effects such as allergic reactions, which can sometimes be fatal. In addition, antibiotics destroy good bacteria such as health-promoting bacteria in the gut microbiome, and it can take a year after a course of antibiotics for the microbiome to fully recover. You might have heard of C. diff, a harmful bacterium that can overwhelm the gut when “good” bacteria are destroyed. 

Antibiotics treat bacterial infections but have no effect on viruses, such as those that cause illnesses like the common cold, influenza and COVID. The average adult gets a few viral infections a year, and the average child more. Typical cold symptoms include low-grade fever, head and body aching, nasal congestion, sore throat and cough, which usually resolve in 7-10 days. 

Unfortunately, colds are often treated with antibiotics, even though they are useless for this condition. The American Family Physician journal article notes that “studies show that up to 10 million antibiotic prescriptions per year are inappropriately directed toward respiratory tract infections” caused by viruses. One recent study of 15,000 outpatients with acute URIs (upper respiratory infections) found that 41% of patients prescribed antibiotics did not have an indication for them. 

There are three primary reasons that inappropriate antibiotic use continues to occur:

1. Patient demand: Often patients demand antibiotics and become upset if they leave the office without a prescription for one.

2. Physicians often take the easy way out: Unfortunately, there are pressures on physicians these days to see a lot of patients quickly, and the easiest way to get a patient out the door and move on to the next patient is to write a prescription for an antibiotic, rather than taking the time to explain why antibiotics are inappropriate.

3. Eighty percent of antibiotics in the U.S. are used for farm animals. Conscientious farmers only use antibiotics for sick animals with bacterial infections, but factory farms often use them routinely and inappropriately to “prevent illness.” 

If you just have a sore throat, especially if you also have swollen, tender lymph nodes in your neck, you should have a test to see if you have an infection caused by the streptococcus bacteria, which should be treated with penicillin to avoid rheumatic fever and glomerulonephritis (a kidney disease). Other symptoms that could indicate something serious and which should lead you to seek urgent medical care include difficulty breathing, swallowing or talking; chest pain; high fever; stiff neck; or shaking chills. 

If you have typical URI symptoms noted above, there is no reason to see a doctor, and certainly no reason to take an antibiotic. If you develop red flag symptoms listed above, this could mean a complication such as pneumonia, and you should seek immediate care. Also consider getting checked out if you have less severe symptoms lasting much over 10 days. 

For aching or low-grade fever, acetaminophen is the safest thing to take. Be aware that OTC cold and cough meds often cause side effects that are worse than the cold symptoms and should generally be avoided. 

In summary: Antibiotics can be lifesaving if you have a bacterial infection, but are ineffective against viral infections such as the common cold. Don’t put pressure on your doctor to prescribe them, and if an antibiotic is appropriate, don’t demand a “big gun” antibiotic when a less strong one will do. If your provider does prescribe an antibiotic, question whether it is really necessary. 

Dr. Feinsinger is a retired family physician with special interest in disease prevention and reversal through nutrition. Free services through Center For Prevention and The People’s Clinic include: one-hour consultations, shop-with-a-doc at Carbondale City Market and cooking classes. Call 970-379-5718 for appointment, or email

Doctor’s Tip: 22 tips for losing weight

It’s the time of year when many people are thinking about New Year’s resolutions. One of the most common of these is losing unwanted weight, particularly after gaining a few extra pounds over the holidays. Following are 22 tips, from Dr. Michael Greger’s evidence-based 2020 book “How Not to Diet.”

1. EAT FOOD LOW IN CALORIE DENSITY, such as vegetables, fruit, and unprocessed grains — which also happen to be loaded with health-promoting fiber and micronutrients.

2. NUTS AND SEEDS are an exception to No. 1. Nuts are high in calorie density, but a handful a day contributes to optimal health. Nuts cause satiety (a feeling of fulness), so that fewer calories are eaten after eating nuts. Seeds are also calorie-dense but unsalted sunflower and pumpkin seeds sprinkled on salads don’t contribute very many calories, and help absorb fat-soluble vitamins. A tablespoon of ground flaxseeds a day reduces inflammation and provides healthy omega-3 fat.

3. EAT LEGUMES DAILY. Beans, lentils, chick peas, and split peas make you feel full, so you will eat fewer calories the rest of the meal. Furthermore, they feed the health-promoting bacteria in your gut microbiome, which in turn produce chemicals that cause satiety, resulting in less calorie intake for hours following eating legumes.

4. AVOID HIGH CALORIE-DENSITY FOOD such a animal products (including seafood), and added oil.

5. AVOID ADDICTIVE FOOD, such as salt, sugar and fat (the latter is often hidden in the form of added oil).

6. AVOID PROCESSED FOOD such as anything made from flour — doughnuts, pastries, cookies, cake, chips, most crackers (Wasa brand is an exception), and cereal that comes in a box.

7. WATER BEFORE MEALS: Drink 2 cups of cool or cold, unflavored water before each meal, which will cause you to eat fewer calories during the meal.

8. EAT A CUP OR BOWL OF LOW CALORIE VEGETALBE OR LEGUME SOUP BEFORE EACH MEAL, slowly with a teaspoon, which causes satiety so that you will take in fewer calories during the remainder of the meal. Another option is to pre-load meals with a salad with a low calorie, oil and sugar-free dressing (recipes found on the internet).

9. VINEGAR: 2 teaspoons before each meal causes satiety, so you will eat less. Furthermore, it decreases blood sugar and insulin levels. Using vinegar as a salad dressing is one approach — if you’re going to drink it, dilute the acidity with water.

10. EAT MINDFULLY — don’t get distracted by your phone, tablet or TV during meals.

11. EAT SLOWLY — spend at least 20 minutes eating each meal, which allows hormones to kick in that tell you you’re full. Chew your food well, and don’t drink your nutrients (smoothies enable people to unconsciously ingest a lot of calories quickly, before realizing they’re full).

12. BLACK CUMIN SEEDS (Nigella sativa) 1/4 teaspoon (buy on internet) have been shown to aid weight loss. One-half tsp of regular cumin with lunch and dinner does the same thing.

13. GARLIC POWDER — at least 1/4 tsp daily has been shown to reduce body fat.

14. GROUND GINGER — at least 1 tsp daily — reduces body weight, especially if taken in the morning.

15. BAKER’S, BREWER’S, OR NUTRITIONAL YEAST — 2 tsp a day facilitates weight loss.

16. STAY HYDRATED by drinking enough water or other calorie-free beverages to keep your urine clear to pale yellow. Avoid artificial sweeteners, which are associated with weight gain.

17. DE-FLOUR YOUR DIET: As Dr. Greger says in his book, grinding grain into powdery flour causes it to lose the fiber and resistant starch needed to feed the health and weight loss-promoting organisms in the got microbiome. Furthermore, flour enters the bloodstream rapidly, causing harmful blood sugar and insulin spikes.

18. FRONT-LOAD YOUR CALORIES: Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper. Dr. Greger explains that “because of our circadian rhythms, food eaten at night is more fattening than the exact same food eaten earlier in the day.”

19. DON’T EAT AFTER 7 P.M., AND FAST FOR 12 HOURS BETWEEN DINNER AND BREAKFAST in order to be in sync with your natural, daily biorhythms. If you brush your teeth right after dinner, you will be less apt to eat later.

20. EXERCISE: Any exercise helps, but at least 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise such as brisk walking is important for optimal health and weight.


22. SLEEP: Get 7-8 hours of good sleep a night.

Dr. Feinsinger is a retired family physician with special interest in disease prevention and reversal through nutrition. Free services through Center For Prevention and The People’s Clinic include: one-hour consultations, shop-with-a-doc at Carbondale City Market and cooking classes. Call 970-379-5718 for appointment, or email

Editor’s note: This column was updated to correct the year of publication of “How not to Diet.”

Torres column: Follow the clues to successfully lose weight

I never had money …

I started working and became independent when I was 14 years of age. I got many jobs and work in different fields. Some of those jobs were fairly paid and others I made a good amount of money.

It did not matter how much money I made, somehow I ended up broke. In my seasonal jobs I managed to save up $5,000 for the off season, but soon I would find myself borrowing money to pay my rent.

It was not until I started to read about how to become financially free that I could finally have enough money to invest. Such investments have yielded me good returns that now I make money without working. Plus I had more free time to do the thing I love to do.

How did I come from being broke to be financially free? Very simple — success leaves clues that we can all follow if we spend the time searching in the right direction.

My relationships have failed many times …

I am not proud of what I am going to share with you right now, but it is fair to share my successes with my failures. I had four serious unsuccessful relationships. I made many mistakes — dating the wrong person, not knowing how to communicate, not maintaining my relationship and many others.

It took me some time to work on myself before I could date the right person. Now I have been married for a year and I can tell you my relationship is magical. Of course there are negatives and positives in my new marriage, but now I can see my mistakes, work on them and finally I gave myself the time to choose the right partner.

How do I manage to come from broken relationships to have a happy marriage? Very simple — success leaves clues that we can all follow if we spend the time searching in the right direction.

I did not know how to deal with people …

I have been taken advantage of by friends and business partners. I have been emotionally touched in a negative way by friends. I did not know how to negotiate with people and really I did not know how to deal with people.

I never knew how to make people feel special. I did not know how to control my emotions and understand others. I did not know how to control my thoughts and my human desires.

However, I learned how to deal with people and now I run a couple of businesses, I help people reach their fitness goals, lose weight and improve their lives. People’s negative comments do not bother me and I learned to detect people who are going to help grow.

How did I come from being an adult child to a successful health coach? Very simple — success leaves clues that we can all follow if we spend the time searching in the right direction.

I don’t know how it feels to be out of shape …

When I was younger, I liked to drink, smoke cigarettes and party at night. I would eat junk food and do recreational drugs here and there even though I was not a fan of it. I did not care about how much I slept or what foods would consume. I did not exercise.

Of course when I was younger, I did not feel much pain or get ill often. But, since I interviewed many people, I know many people who had the same lifestyle I had. They are now feeling the effects of the bad habits they were practicing.

Thank God I chose to start exercising when I was nineteen years of age. I stopped drinking, smoking, doing any type of drug and I started to pay attention to the food I was eating. Since then, I have become stronger than ever, and every year I lift heavier and I feel more in shape.

When I was 20, people who were 30 told me to wait until I turned their age. When I was 30, people who were 40 told me to wait until I turned 40. This year I am turning 40 and people are telling me to wait until I am 50 to start feeling all the stress I put my body into.

I am not 50, but I have heard that song before. Also what I know is that exercise and growing muscle naturally, keeps the body young. Eating healthy and not putting chemicals in our bodies also helps us to stay young.

How did I manage to never gain fat and stay in shape into my forties? Very simple — success leaves clues that we can all follow if we spend the time searching in the right direction.

I am going to get the point of this article. Losing weight and being in shape is very simple. Just like I struggle in many areas of my life and turn my life around, you can do the same with your weight. Follow the clues that success leaves for you.

There are people who have done the same thing you want before you. Here are some ways you can find those success clues:

Other people have the knowledge. Ask for advice.

There are professionals who can help you. Hire one who can get you there faster.

There are many books on weight loss and fitness. Buy the best books, study them and put the knowledge in practice.

You can only succeed if you fail. Get going and start making changes in your life. Find out what works and doesn’t work.

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. Change something in your life and wait for the results to happen.

Birds of a feather flock together. Start hanging out with people who are practicing the behaviors you need to acquire to lose the extra weight.

There are so many clues you can follow, but don’t just sit there and expect to lose weight. Get active, get going, get urgent and start now.

You can find the clues if you get busy looking for them …

Sandro Torres is owner of Custom Body Fitness in Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs and author of the books “Lose Weight Permanently” and “Finding Genuine Happiness.” His column appears monthly.

Doctor’s Tip: What about eggs?

The purpose of a hen’s egg is to provide the nutrients necessary to develop a baby chick. Eggs are packed with protein, fat, cholesterol, vitamins and minerals. However, as Dr. John McDougall — one of the giants in plant-based nutrition — puts it, “An egg is the richest of all foods, and far too much of a ‘good thing’ for people.” For example, a whole egg has 272 mg. of cholesterol, close to the recommended daily allowance. Eggs also contain cholesterol-raising saturated fat.

It’s frustrating when one month we’re told by the media that a food like eggs should be avoided, and then the next month we’re told they’re OK. The reason for these confusing and frustrating flip-flops is usually that Big Food does its best to sow seeds of doubt about established science when science shows that their product is unhealthy. This is the same tactic used by the Big Tobacco a few decades ago.

Here’s a real-life example of how it works:

  • We know that after eating an egg, triglyceride and cholesterol levels go up for a few hours, and we think this is when harmful plaque is formed in arteries.
  •  The American Egg Board hires research scientists willing to sell their souls and perform a study with a pre-determined outcome that supports their product.
  • The study involves giving study participants an egg, having them fast overnight, and then checking their cholesterol — long after the post-meal rise has subsided. At that point, cholesterol levels are the same as before the egg intake, and the study claims that eating eggs doesn’t raise cholesterol. Of course, the dangerous post-meal rise isn’t mentioned.
  • Food and science writers are usually not sophisticated enough to figure out what’s going on (it’s hard enough for physicians to determine whether studies are valid).
  • Over 90 percent of “scientific” papers on food are now done by industry-sponsored scientists.

Neal Barnard, M.D., founding president of PCRM (Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine) recently reviewed the health problems linked to eggs, which include elevated risk of:  1. strokes; 2. heart attacks, particularly in diabetics; 3. type 2 diabetes; 4. prostate cancer — especially the aggressive kind that spreads.

Michael Greger, M.D., cites evidence showing increased risk of additional health problems associated with eating even one egg a day:  1. asthma in children; 2. inflammation (due to arachidonic acid), the root of many chronic diseases; 3. cancer of the breast, mouth, colon, and bladder, lung and ovary.

Then there are the environmental issues associated with any kind of animal products compared to plant foods. And if you watch the documentary Food, Inc., you will be shocked by the animal rights abuses associated with factory-farm egg production. Crumbled tofu makes a good substitute for egg whites, for example in making tofu scramble. If a baking recipe calls for eggs, substitute ground flaxseed and/or unsweetened apple sauce.

Dr. Feinsinger is a retired family physician with special interest in disease prevention and reversal through nutrition. Free services through Center For Prevention and The People’s Clinic include: one-hour consultations, shop-with-a-doc at Carbondale City Market and cooking classes. Call 970-379-5718 for appointment, or email

Torres column: Don’t live your life like a beheaded chicken

Have you asked yourself what it is that you want from life? Is your answer specific and clear?

I recently went to Florida with my wife and we had to hire many Uber drivers for transportation. We talked to many of them while others were indifferent.

I heard many stories. One of the drivers moved from New York. He said that his family wanted a more calm life. He mentioned that he also worked as a taxi driver in New York. He bought an expensive Cadillac because in New York those cars are the money makers. Many people request luxury cars as taxis. However, it was not the same in Florida. In Florida, the money makers were the hybrid family cars because of the Family Parks.

He knew what he was doing, so I learned that it is good to research what is in demand in each state in case I have to move.

Most of the Uber drives we hired, they do Uber as a second job, another thing I learned. They make extra money when they are bored, they need money or it is a busy season.

However, I also talked to a guy who moved from Venezuela. His name is Roman. Roman told me about his family issues and how his dad is still in Venezuela. He was not sure if wanted to stay in the USA or move back to Venezuela. So I asked one simple question that got him thinking. What is it that you want from life? He could not answer the question, but it got him thinking.

As Roman and I talked, he reminded me when I was unhappy and lost. I wanted to go back to Mexico because I was not happy in the USA. I did not like the culture, I missed my friends, the parties and the way we live in Mexico. I lived unhappy with my location for around eight years.

It was not until I found myself that I noticed that it was not the place that made me miserable. It was me. Many people go back to their country and come back to the USA again because they are still unhappy in any place.

Once I found myself, I studied why I wanted to go back to Mexico and the truth is that I wanted to go back because I missed my past. I was stuck in my past. I did not really miss Mexico. I missed my friends, partying and having no major responsibilities as I have here. I wanted to go back to continue living my liberal life.

However, once I found myself, I found my purpose and finding my purpose gave me the peace to live anywhere God puts me because my purpose is my happiness.

As Roman and I continued talking, he noticed the reason why he wanted to go back to his country. The reason was his dad. His dad does not want to travel to the USA and he is happy in Venezuela. So Roman started to think about what he can do to see his dad more often and convince him to come to the USA. Roman wants his family together. That is what he wants.

This is the real question we all should ask ourselves every morning we wake up. What is it that we want from life? Once we answer this question, we can have a daily plan to really live life and don’t just act like a beheaded chicken all over the place without going anywhere.

For example, many people work for money without really thinking how they would use the money. They just use the money for traveling, goods, partying and others. But they don’t think about how money is really not the end of their goal. Money is only a tool to use to acquire other things that contribute to our genuine happiness.

Other people just live and eat without thinking about the consequences of their behavior. I drive very often by a famous fast food restaurant and I see a long line of cars each time I drive by and I wonder how many of these people really care about their health and if they have the knowledge to make better choices. But the reality is that it is convenient and cheap. Nevertheless, I bet people’s “wants” is not to get sick and overweight, but that is what they are practicing.

Just like Roman did not know what he really wanted, to move back to his country or not, you may be in the same situation. Roman did not want to move. He wants his family together. It seems that they prefer to be in the USA than being together in Venezuela. 

If you start your day knowing what you want from life, the possibilities of you making the right decision is bigger than just waking up and going with the flow and destiny. 

Sandro Torres is owner of Custom Body Fitness in Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs and author of the books “Lose Weight Permanently” and “Finding Genuine Happiness.” His column appears monthly.

Guest column: Finding the right addiction treatment for you

As we often say in addiction treatment circles, awareness is the first step to change. The process of someone becoming aware of their addiction problem can be tiresome and challenging, and people can experience a plethora of consequences before they are willing and ready to accept help. We sometimes call this “hitting bottom, “an experience that can look very different from person to person. This process is difficult enough on its own but is made worse by the fact that people often do not know where or how to access the support needed to heal from their addiction.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), around 10% of adults in the United States have a substance use disorder at some point in their lives. Of that 10%, 75% do not receive proper treatment. This coincides with the fact that the meaning of the term “proper treatment” is not always immediately clear.

There are thousands of different programs, each with their own unique specialties, methodologies, populations and price points. Some programs take insurance, but insurance coverage varies based on a plethora of factors. Some programs only work through private pay options, which can range from relatively affordable, to extremely expensive.

As with most things, you generally get what you pay for, but not always. Whether private pay, insurance based or some combination of both, each program will differ in its commitment to best practice standards, as well as professional ethics. Some programs are unethical and engage in practices that are both immoral and damaging to the populations they serve. Some of the stories you hear about treatment programs are incredibly disturbing and include incidents of abuse, financial exploitation, false advertising and insurance fraud.

Help is available
If you or someone you know is in crisis, there are 24/7 hotlines and resources locally and nationally:
Aspen Hope Center: Call 970-925-5858.
Aspen Strong:
A Way Out:
Colorado Crisis Services: Call 1-844-493-8255 or text “TALK” to 38255.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call or text 988.

There are also plenty of ethical, effective and competent treatment programs across the country that truly help individuals achieve recovery. Determining which is which is a matter of doing one’s homework and knowing the right questions to ask. The treatment program should be able to forthrightly explain their approach, methodologies, commitment to professional ethics, pricing and process for working with insurance. They should be willing to be held accountable through regular contact with you and should be happy to accept feedback. They should also be honest about both their strengths and weaknesses and should be willing to refer you to another program if you do not align with their admissions criteria.

Look for accreditations from major agencies within the behavioral health field, such as accreditation from the Joint Commission or Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). You should also be looking for memberships in professional organizations, such as NAADAC (the Association for Addiction Professionals) or NAATAP (National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers). If possible, ask members of your social circle about treatment programs they have had experiences with.

This vetting process is where hiring a professional can be incredibly beneficial. You should vet the provider in the same way you would a treatment program. If you trust them, they can help guide you in finding a program that is ethical, effective, and the best fit for your situation. Hard-won experience can be the most helpful in navigating such a complex system.

Many people in our valley simply do not get the support they need to heal and thrive. The current system for accessing care can be difficult to navigate to the point that people either give up or settle for care that is not appropriate for their needs. However, addiction is a very treatable illness, and support is out there. Ask lots of questions, seek clarification on things you don’t understand, do your own research, and seek support from a professional if you can. In that way, you can find the support that will best fit your needs and your life.

Henry Maxwell is an addiction counselor, consultant, coach and interventionist working in the Roaring Fork Valley. He has worked in several different settings within the addiction treatment industry, starting as a technician at a community mental health detox. In his free time, he enjoys creating art, exercising and riding his 1999 Honda Magna motorcycle.