It’s time to put a new spin on traditional resolutions
G r o w t h S t r at e g i e s • H o l i s t i c R e s o l u t i o n s • R e c o n n e c t i n g
CONTENTS 03 LETTER FROM THE EDITOR 04 MAKE RESOLUTIONS A REALITY 04
06 CONSUMER CARE:
Matters of convenience
INTE RIM C HIE F E XE C UTIVE OFFIC E R
DIRE C TO R O F FINANC E
SP E C IAL SE C TIONS E DITO R
C RE ATIVE SE RVIC E S MANAG E R
08 TECH TOOLS: 10
Apps to stay on track
10 GOAL GETTERS 12
Forge a holistic path to personal growth
12 FIT FIVE:
Fun ways to workout
MULTIME DIA SALE S DIRE C TOR
Jamie Opalenik ADVE RTISING
Kelly Bulkley Kirby Earl Joe Nelson Carter Reed Shell Simonson Gayle Vitarius P RODUC TION
Ryan Brown Production Manager
14 HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES: 14
Comfort food substitutions
16 RECIPES 18 RECONNECTING
Local organizations help residents seeking socialization
FOUR C ORNERS HEALTHY LIVING
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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR I love the start of a New Year. After the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I enjoy returning to a sort of revived routine. It’s a nice change of pace to seek innovative ways to challenge myself and accomplish new goals at the start • of the year. Yes, I identify as a true, type-A goal getter. Resolutions might feel silly to some. However, others reap positive rewards from taking time to reflect and set annual resolutions. There are a few ways that resolutions can help you, too. • Time for learning. We often rush through daily life without stopping or slowing down to truly assess the impact of our everyday actions. Resolutions help you reflect on the past, present and future, to figure out what has been working and what may need to be changed to benefit your physical and mental well-being. • Practice setting goals. For some people, goals help provide direction. A goal is like a map that can advise the actions or paths one might need to take to lead a more fulfilling life. Resolutions can be fun, lowpressure goals. Consider these objectives as dress rehearsals for life’s many transitions.
working to your benefit, including personal health or relationships, resolutions can serve as the catalyst that ultimately corrects the course. Improve self-esteem and empower ment. Making resolutions and keeping them can provide a sense of accomplishment that comes with goal-setting and following through. Resolving to lose five pounds and then seeing the proof on a scale can be a powerful motivator that compels you to make other self-improvements. Accomplishing small goals also can boost self-esteem.
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Though resolutions are made at the dawn of a new year, it is never too late to set a goal for yourself. Simply setting a goal can provide a spark of motivation and the sense of direction many people need to make positive changes in their lives. In the meantime, you can read more advice on setting realistic goals that honor our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs in another fantastic issue of Four Corners Healthy Living.
• Welcome positive change. W h e n s o m e t h i n g i s n’t WINTER 2022
MAKE YOUR RESOLUTIONS A REALITY By Hunter Harrell
he pursuit of happiness and selfimprovement is at the heart of many New Year’s resolutions. Individuals planning to read more books, live an active lifestyle or travel new places are attempting to fulfill a deep desire to develop healthier relationships with themselves, and in turn, the people around them.
a community college student. Researchers found that those who shared their goals with the doctoral level assistant reported feeling more committed to their goal and in fact performed better than participants in the other groups. Researchers concluded that individuals who share their goals with people they respect are more likely to
As long-term goals, resolutions can be challenging to keep. The hectic pace of daily life can make it difficult to find time for new activities or routines. Individuals who want to see their resolutions through to the end can try implementing some self-improvement strategies to achieve their goals. • Share your goals with others whom you respect. Resolutions might involve intensely personal goals. But did you know sharing those goals with people you respect can have a profound effect on your ability to achieve them? A study from researchers at Ohio State University examined the effects of sharing target goals with others. In the study, which was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, 171 undergraduates were asked to move a slider on a computer to the number 50 as many times as they could within a given time frame. After doing this, they were asked to do it again but this time they were asked to set a specific goal regarding how many times they could do it within the allotted time. Someone identified as a “lab assistant” then went to check on their goals, but the assistants were presented differently to different groups, and one group was not checked on at all. One assistant was well-dressed and introduced as a doctoral student, while the other was casually dressed and identified as
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commit to those goals than people who keep their goals to themselves. • Start small, but don’t stay small. Setting small goals can actually help us implement the dramatic changes we feel we need. Research indicates that incremental goals can provide the early motivation people often need to achieve larger, longterm goals. However, researchers at Peking
University in China discovered that, while incremental goals helped people make more early progress, that progress waned if they did not eventually transition to their larger goals. Individuals can use their early successes to instill the confidence that makes them believe they can achieve their larger goals. • Change your perception of setbacks. After the first challenge or failure, many allow a New Year’s resolution to fall by the wayside. For example, someone who aspires to lose 20 pounds may be trying to lose one pound per week for 20 weeks running. If an individual fails to lose that pound in a given week or gains weight instead, that setback may compel an individual to abandon the larger goal. But instead of seeing and even accepting that setback as a sign of failure, individuals should see it was a learning experience that can ultimately help them achieve their larger goal. In the weight loss scenario, individuals who fail to lose a pound in a given week can examine their habits over the previous seven days. Identifying why an incremental goal was not achieved can also reassure individuals that they will know how to avoid those same pitfalls in the future, building confidence and self-esteem. Self-improvement strategies can help individuals making New Year’s resolutions see those resolutions through to their successful conclusion.
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR 2022? EMMA MILLAR
“I’m planning on finally making all the doctor appointments I’ve been postponing because of COVID. And I want abs!”
“I want to keep up my meditation, lessen my stress and anxiety, and work on my life/work balance.”
“Pray, but keep walking. Stay in the current. Keep the pace, but shed the anxiety.”
“Keep up my COVIDcultivated slower pace and tap more into my creative side! And of course all the normal health goals like eating right and keeping my exercise balanced.”
“To be OK with hiking my bicycle up the steep stuff, “pizza-ing” my skis down the ski slopes, and finding fun adventures that push my limits just enough.”
ZAC ROBINSON “I would like to introduce more intentional exercise and training. I would also like to bravely get to the dentist for the first time in years and see what priorities they would have in there.”
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MATTERS OF CONVENIENCE By Hunter Harrell
s the novelty of the New Year wanes, time will continue to test a person’s commitment and dedication to resolutions. However, it can be nearly impossible to achieve a goal without the right tools. Whether resolutions relate to your personal or professional life, consider investing in items that can make implementing new habits more convenient. ORGANIZATION AIDS Organization may not be the focus of your resolution, but don’t discount the effects of an aid. Calendars and planners can help people stay ahead of important dates and track progress of various tasks. From grocery shopping and meal planning to social gatherings, project deadlines and much more, a journal or notebook can serve as an affordable organizational tool.
KITCHEN TOOLS Whether the goal is to do more cooking at home, eat healthier meals or learn new recipes, having the right tools can make or break the experience. Time can be an enemy of crafting a nutritious meal. Luckily, some appliances and gadgets, such as quality cutlery and slow cookers, for example, can reduce both preparation and cooking time. Alternatively, subscription services help customers save time by eliminating grocery shopping. Consider a quality cookbook for testing new recipes and additional guidance on making food healthier choices. Before selecting a recipe book, try browsing the book for helpful resources, including
For those with a desire to clear a messy home or office setting, test a variety of functional baskets and bins, cool canisters and cups, or dividers, drawers, hooks, shelves and storage totes. Adding decorative items that better contain clutter ensures there is a place for everything, and every thing is in its place. (Thanks for that tip, Mom!)
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measurement conversion charts or acceptable ingredient substitutions. To save more money and waste less food, invest in reusable cloths and containers that keep food fresh to extend the life of certain ingredients. Keeping the kitchen organized can also help streamline grocery shopping and meal planning.
EXERCISE EQUIPMENT Though resolutions that deal with physical fitness and exercise are very popular, these goals are also abandoned often. In fact, last year, the team behind the fitness app Strava deemed Jan. 17 as “Quitters Day” after user data suggested fitness motivations began to decrease. But with the right equipment, anyone can improve their exercise
experience. Investing in the proper apparel, footwear and safety gear for your activity is a good start. Don’t forget a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated during your workout. Gym memberships may help some individuals stay motivated. For others, having equipment at home, such as ab wheels, jump ropes, kettlebells, resistance bands and pull up bars, can help them diversify their workout routine, any time, anywhere. Don't waste valuable time trying to achieve goals without the right tools. Set yourself up for success by gathering the necessary education and equipment to establish a better routine.
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APPS CAN HELP YOU STAY ON TRACK By Jennaye Derge It’s the beginning of a new year, which means many people will be scrambling to implement changes in their habits and routines. There are different tools we can use to stay on track. Why not make it simple and keep everything organized and available at the tip of your fingers? Consider downloading applications to your smartphone to set yourself up for a successful year. Here are a few examples. 8FIT
Let’s face it. Though fitness and health are some of the most popular goals, they are also the ones that we break the most. It takes a lot to keep our health on track, and 8fit is an app that includes the full gamut of variables. It not only offers on-demand workouts, but also meal planning, nutrition guidance and recipes.
The new year is a great way to hit refresh on your finances. While a Microsoft Excel sheet can help users manipulate formulas to budget and plan, Mint is an app that works wonders when it comes to crunching the numbers.
After the last two years, we could all use a little help regulating our mental health. Moodnotes app is unique from other mood calming apps in that it helps track your mood to understand why you may feel the way you feel. The app uses Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) to help users think about how to increase happiness, reduce stress, feel calmer, deal with fears and analyze their mood.
When users first launch the app, the program asks about your habits and goals, such as whether you want to lose weight, get in shape or gain muscle. It then gives you an attainable, holistic plan. The paid pro version includes a variety of classes, including yoga and high intensity workouts and the pro meal plans have short preparation times. Bonus: they actually look pretty tasty, too. Users can track nearly any food or activity, and users receive medals for reaching their diverse personal goals. The pro version includes the bulk of the features, but costs a pretty penny. Luckily, there are also apps to help you keep track of finances.
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Mint is meant for the average consumer. It helps users monitor and analyze personal finances, customize a budget and track spending – even the expenses you forget about like streaming subscriptions. Mint pays attention to spending and alerts users when an upcoming bill is due or an overdraft fee occurs. Users can connect their bank account to the app, which is great for those who want to set it and forget it. And users can rest easy knowing the app is equipped with multilayered data encryption to safely secure private information. It’s also free, which makes sense for staying frugal. The onslaught of ads can be kind of annoying, and users can’t connect a joint account. Otherwise, this is a great app for keeping finances on track.
Each personalized plan sets goals using in-app mood journaling, articles to read and a Thinking Trap analysis, which helps users become more aware of triggers and emotional traps. It also houses resources, including breathing techniques, a guided grounding exercise, a log for tracking “good” and “bad” habits, a personal diary for rating feelings, a “Catastrophe Scale” for gaining perspective on problems, open forums for discussion with other users, and a selection of motivational material. Because the app was developed by design experts and clinical psychologists, your privacy can be assured.
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FORGE A HOLISTIC PATH TO PERSONAL GROWTH By Hunter Harrell
t the beginning of a New Year, it’s clear to see how easily days slip into months, and months into years. Does the stroke of midnight bless some fortunate souls with the magic they need to reach their resolutions? The truth is each day is like any other: full of choices. Each year, various professionals from athletes and personal trainers to psychologists and wellness coaches (and writers, hello!) offer advice for people who set resolutions. But it’s often vague, which can be conflicting. For example, setting a measurable goal is a great tip. But what if an individual is more obsessed with making progress than recognizing how the change affects their lifestyle, relationships and well-being? Our daily energy isn’t unlimited. It takes effort and energy to achieve new goals, which can make many people feel like they are failing in other parts of their life. Looking at change or resolutions as a holistic practice rather than a win or lose process can help us to enrich our lives and achieve personal growth. Often, resolutions are framed around our worst habits. Instead, some goal getters, like me, offer another approach to popular resolutions: be more mindful of the opportunities ahead. Choices are challenging. Goal getters see those choices and challenges as opportunities to grow. A resolution is simply a more well-contrived plan to make better choices. If we understand the goal, start small, gather support, expect challenges and embrace failure as a learning opportunity, resolutions can help us face change with grace and perseverance.
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EMOTIONAL WELL -BEING
MOVE Remember feeling young and restless? That’s because exercise improves energy levels in addition to reducing stress and tension. Try more leisurebased activities to approach fitness resolutions with more passion or purpose. Your strategy can be as simple as enjoying more impromptu bike rides and hikes, or parking a few more paces from the store or office.
HYDRATE Drinking water is vital for a healthy complexion. And your skin isn’t the only organ that suffers from dehydration. Every part of the body needs water to function properly. How much water one needs depends on activity level, location and current health status. Carry a reusable water bottle at all times and set alarms to consume and refill if needed.
NOURISH Food-focused resolutions are just as popular as exercise-based goals. For some, the goal of a diet is simply eating more healthful meals, while others hope to lose weight as well. When it comes to sustainability, choosing a diet plan doesn’t always work. Instead, strive to eat more unrefined, unprocessed, organic and locally-grown whole foods.
REST Data from the CDC shows that nearly 70 million Americans report sleeping less than the recommended 7 hours a night. Quality rest could be the missing key to your health routine. Start by sticking to a more consistent schedule, and practice going to bed when you feel tired, even if you feel it is too early.
Isolation has impacted us all. It’s no secret that spending additional quality time with our friends and family is top-of-mind. Socializing and strengthening relationships can improve your mental health as well as lower stress levels and inflammation. Embrace variety in communication methods and set aside time to exchange experiences and support loved ones.
Expressing ourselves through creative outlets is crucial for development. Studies show that participating in creative projects, even as we grow older, improves cognitive abilities and alleviates stress. It can also give your self-esteem and social life a little boost. Build. Draw. Knit. Paint. The possibilities are endless, but the rewards are fulfilling.
Living in the digital age provides us access to an increasing amount of knowledge and information. So, of course, it’s easy to learn something new every day. However, it is important to also be intentional about processing new information. Prioritize practicing new skills and implementing what you learn in other practical parts of your life.
Resolutions can also help individuals prioritize the activities that bring them pleasure. Some people are all work and no play. However, incorporating recreational activities into your daily routine is important for discovery and empowerment as well as physical health and mental well-being.
Reading improves language, communication and critical thinking skills, in addition to expanding perspectives. By engaging with literature for leisure, readers can improve focus, refine conversational skills, gather knowledge and inspire creative thinking. One strategy that leads to success is setting aside designated time to read – even if that is in increments of 10 to 20 minutes.
While traveling is a luxury and a privilege these days, studies show that for some, traveling can have healing effects. Resolving to travel more doesn’t always mean booking extravagant trips. It can be as simple as browsing shops in a nearby community or hiking a new trail. Interacting with new people and places expands confidence and perspective.
From time to time, disconnecting can be just as effective and important as connecting. Taking time to unplug from technology can help people remove distractions, improve concentration, regulate emotions and prevent burn out. Give the brain time to process feelings and information by reducing time spent on social media or using screens.
Conscious consideration of actions, beliefs, desires and motivations is a necessary step to learning more about ourselves and our relationships with others. When we slow down and take time to interpret our observations and experiences, we respond in more healthy and positive ways. Whether meditating or journaling, take moments to absorb and assess your well-being.
FUN WAYS TO WORKOUT By Hunter Harrell
workout is similar to a winter snowflake – even in ideal conditions, no two are the same. A one-size-fits-all solution for staying in shape doesn’t usually stick. When it comes to fitness, falling into a familiar routine can diminish the desire to stay devoted AERIAL ARTS & ACROBATICS In Southwest Colorado, residents don’t need to quit their day job to join the circus. There’s a school that specializes in training performers with circus-inspired workouts that include acrobatics, aerial arts, handbalancing, juggling, stilt-walking and more. Students build both confidence and strength through challenging full-body workouts in a safe and supportive environment, while improving body awareness and perseverance.
MARTIAL ARTS Learn self-defense techniques while increasing confidence, flexibility and strength with martial arts. Though martial arts require incredible dedication and practice, there are many diverse disciplines to engage every level of athlete and fitness enthusiast, including Karate, Taekwondo, Jiu Jitsu, Aikido, Fencing and more. In addition to promoting physical fitness by burning fat and building muscle, martial arts instills confidence through successful skill-building.
DANCE From ballroom and ballet to hip-hop and tap, dancing is a full-body cardio workout in disguise. A single 30-minute dance class can
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to training. On the other hand, engaging activities and group classes can be truly great motivators. Trying a fun, specialty fitness class is one way to move the body, and find a more sustainable workout regimen.
help participants burn as many calories as they would jogging. Dancing engages muscles in the core, arms, legs and back. Learning choreography not only raises the heart rate, but it strengthens muscles and memory.
GYMNASTICS Consistent training is the key to boosting cognitive and complex motor skills. Practicing gymnastics in a safe environment can increase balance, coordination, flexibility, speed and strength. As gymnasts flip and twist through training, they build their body awareness and boost their confidence. Research suggests that participating in gymnastics routines reduces the risk of injury in other sports.
ZUMBA Aerobic exercises keep the cardio-vascular and circulatory systems healthy. Zumba is a fitness program that incorporates aerobic exercises and different styles of dance with interval training. Follow the beat of the music to find the benefits, which include building endurance, decreasing blood pressure, and maintaining a healthy weight.
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FOOD & NUTRITION
REIMAGINE COMFORT FOODS Lighten caloric load, boost nutrition with these simple comfort food substitutions By Celestia French
ELCOME WINTER! Do the chilly temperatures outside inspire anyone else to snuggle up with a bowl of their favorite comfort food? While the idea has appeal, many comfort foods are laden with extra calories, sugar, sodium and other inflammatory ingredients that can have a negative impact on our waistlines, compromise our immune systems, take a toll on our heart health, and set us up for mood swings and sugar crashes. And there’s nothing comforting about that.
...MANY COMFORT FOODS ARE LADEN WITH EXTRA CALORIES, SUGAR, SODIUM AND OTHER INFLAMMATORY INGREDIENTS THAT CAN HAVE A NEGATIVE IMPACT... 14
FOUR CORNERS HEALTHY LIVING
So what do we do instead? Here’s a roundup of some of our favorite cold weather comfort foods that we can enjoy guilt-free year round. Try these simple ingredient swaps and cooking hacks to optimize the nutritional profile of your favorite winter fare without skimping on the flavors or textures you love: 1. Prepare foods with healthier fats. Swap the hydrogenated vegetable oils for organic (when possible) unhydrogenated plantbased oils such as olive, canola, safflower and sunflower oil. Opt for organic grass-fed butter or coconut oil instead of shortening when possible.
2. Use less fat. Sometimes you can use applesauce or black beans in place of some of the fat for baking your favorite desserts like cookies and brownies. 3. Cut back on sugar and salt in your recipes, or use better versions. A few better sweetener options: maple syrup, honey, molasses, or monk fruit and stevia-based sweeteners (these last two examples also won’t hijack your blood sugar). Use Himalayan or sea salt in moderation, which have a much better mineral profile than regular table salt.
4. Sneak more veggies into your dishes for a better nutritional punch and a bit of extra fiber. Try blending them into cream-based soups or tomato sauce, chop them small to add to your favorite stuffings and casseroles. 5. Swap white flour found in baked goods with gluten-free flour mixes, whole-grain flour or oats to boost the fiber content. 6. Replace heavy cream and butter with olive oil and broth in mashed potatoes. And another mashed potato hack: replace some or all of your mashed potatoes with steamed and mashed cauliflower. 7. Skip the veggie and tuber casseroles and opt instead for the baked, roasted or steamed version of the veggie with a drizzle of olive oil or a little pat of grassfed butter and a pinch of sea salt.
8. Instead of biscuits, try whole grain skillet cornbread. You get more nutrients and more fiber than their white-flour-based counterparts. 9. Focus on fruit and squash-based desserts like pies and crumbles instead of nibbling on cookies and cakes. 10. Love ice cream? Swap it with sorbet for a chilly dessert that has fewer calories, or if you’re feeling industrious, you can make your own delicious “ice cream“ by throwing a few frozen and chopped bananas, a splash of almond milk, and a pinch of cinnamon into your food processor and blending until creamy. 11. Love noodles? Try zoodles (zucchini noodles) or swoodles (sweet potato noodles) instead. Or, if you can’t stomach ditching
a starchy noodle entirely, look for bean and lentil-based noodles that are packed with protein and fiber. 12. Swap some or all of your alcoholic beverages with mocktails! You might be surprised at how satisfying sparkling water with a twist of lime and a splash of fresh juice or kombucha can be. There are so many incredibly delicious and flavorful ways to create non-alcoholic beverages that won’t leave you feeling terrible the next day. Cheers to that! Finding simple swaps for your favorite winter comfort foods can help people accomplish food and nutrition resolutions. Whether preparing an entire meal, bringing a side item to a potluck or whipping up a quick snack, these nutritious substitutions add quality to comfort foods that everyone can enjoy.
RECIPES BREAKFAST BANANA PROTEIN PANCAKES 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon ¼ teaspoon salt 2 large eggs 1 large very ripe banana 40 grams vanilla protein powder
CROCK-POT CHILI 1 can (15 ounces) black beans 1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans 1 can (15 ounces) sweet corn 1 sweet potato, peeled, cubed 1 medium onion, diced 2 cloves of garlic, minced
Directions: First, crack the eggs, separating the white and the yolk in different bowls. Beat the egg whites on high for about 2 minutes, until they form soft peaks. In the bowl with the egg yolks, add the rest of the ingredients and beat until smooth. Gently fold in the onethird of the egg whites into the mixture at a time until everything is carefully combined. Heat a skillet 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes 1 tablespoon chili powder 1 teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon oregano 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 cup vegetable stock
CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE 1 medium zucchini, shredded (1 cup) 2 eggs ½ cup coconut sugar (can substitute with brown sugar) ⅓ cup maple syrup 1 (5.3 ounces) container vanilla yogurt 1 teaspoon vanilla ¼ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled 1 ½ cups almond flour ½ cup oat flour ½ cup cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder) ¼ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 cup chocolate chips 1 teaspoon coconut oil Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an
FOUR CORNERS HEALTHY LIVING
over low heat and scoop ¼ cup of the mixture into the skillet per pancake. Cook pancakes for one to two minutes on each side. This recipe makes about 8 pancakes total. For topping, take one-third cup of Greek yogurt mixed with a tablespoon of honey, and add fresh fruit as desired.
Directions: Place black beans, kidney beans, sweet potato, onion and garlic in a slow cooker. Add crushed tomatoes, and sprinkle the seasonings and mix to distribute evenly. Pour in the vegetable stock, and then turn the slow cooker on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Serve with desired toppings – like shredded cheese or cornbread.
8-inch by 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Shred a zucchini and squeeze out excess moisture with a cheesecloth or dish towel. Measure one cup of shredded zucchini and add it to a large mixing bowl. Add eggs, sugar, maple syrup, yogurt and vanilla, then whisk until combined. Add ¼ cup melted and cooled coconut oil to the mixture and stir well. Add almond flour, oat flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Mix gently until combined, then fold ½ cup chocolate chips into the batter. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes. Allow cake to cool for 30 minutes in the pan before removing and adding topping. To make the topping, add ½ cup chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon of coconut oil into a microwave safe bowl. Stirring in 30-second intervals, melt the chocolate in the microwave. Pour on the cake and evenly spread. Serve with fresh strawberries.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
RED CHILE ENCHILADAS
Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the sauce mixture and simmer for 15 minutes.
1 can (28 ounces) whole, peeled tomatoes, remove excess liquid 1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced 2 cloves garlic 2 fresh, dried red chile pepper 1 teaspoon cumin Salt and pepper to taste ½ tablespoon canola or peanut oil 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken 12 corn tortillas 1 cup shredded jack cheese Fresh cilantro for garnish
Spread one-third of the sauce across the bottom of a baking dish. Using a damp kitchen towel, wrap the tortillas and microwave for 30 seconds until hot. Combine the chicken with one-third of the sauce in a mixing bowl.
Directions: Combine the tomatoes, half the onion, the garlic, chile pepper and cumin in a blender and puree until smooth. Season the sauce mixture with salt and pepper.
Arrange a few generous tablespoons of sauced chicken in the tortilla and gently roll it up. Place the filled tortilla seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat this step with the remaining chicken and tortillas. Cover enchiladas with the remaining sauce and top with cheese. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cheese is melted. Serve topped with remaining onion and cilantro.
LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS HELP RESIDENTS SEEKING SOCIALIZATION By Jennaye Derge
eople experienced loneliness before the pandemic. But loneliness is more than just being alone. You can be surrounded by people and still feel a lack of connection, authenticity or trust with those around you. That disconnected feeling increased tenfold in the last few years, making it more and more difficult to open up once we’ve distanced ourselves, but according to experts, it’s imperative that we try.
group Creating Connections. “It impacts heart disease, and it increases the possibility of stroke. In the mental health realm, it’s associated with depression and suicide. It actually shortens your lifespace anywhere from 8 to 15 years.”
Those who were lonely before COVID-19 and those who became lonely during the last few years are finding it harder and harder to reach out, but fortunately for Durango, we have a few groups already working to teach us how.
Many studies in the United States have found that social isolation increases a person’s risk of premature death with causes spanning from heart disease, stroke, dementia and suicide.
“It’s as dangerous or more dangerous than smoking 15 cigarettes a day in the long run,” said Lynn Westberg, the organizer with local
Since the start of the pandemic, people have had to grapple with isolation like never before, and stay-at-home orders exacerbated the problem.
Creating Connections, a La Plata Neighbors Creating Connections Colorado Initiative – a chapter of the Community Health Action Coalition – was formed specifically to help combat mental health issues in connection with loneliness in La Plata County. The group’s goal is to give people the resources and opportunities to learn how to connect themselves and others to
BUT LONELINESS IS MORE THAN JUST BEING ALONE. YOU CAN BE SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE AND STILL FEEL A LACK OF CONNECTION, AUTHENTICITY OR TRUST WITH THOSE AROUND YOU. 18
FOUR CORNERS HEALTHY LIVING
the community. “We’ve really encouraged people to reach out in their neighborhoods or in groups that they belong to and identify people who might be lonely. That doesn’t mean they’re alone necessarily, but they just don’t have any real connections in their life,” Westberg said. It can be easier said than done, admits Westberg. “It takes that first step in actually believing you’re not the only one out there who’s having trouble, then taking a step to trusting people enough to connect in some way.” Seniors Outdoors! Is another great way to take that first step; figuratively and literally. The 24-yearold organization hosts year-round activities and educational opportunities to folks 50 and older who want to stay active in health and the community. One report provided by the CDC states that onethird of adults 45 and older feel lonely, and nearly
one-fourth of adults 65 and older are considered to be socially isolated. To combat these numbers, Seniors Outdoors! holds club meetings once a month, on the second Tuesday of each month, and has at least two outings a week including day hikes, backpacking, biking, snowshoeing, skiing and more, helping folks get outside, have fun and stay connected. Fun is what it’s all about for another nonprofit organization in town that wants to create genuine connections. The Hive is a community gathering place located in Downtown Durango, opening its doors to folks aged 8 to 88-plus. The nonprofit program is designed for disconnected teenagers and adults to have a safe space to meet like-minded individuals and have fun. One of those teenagers, Donald Hacker, has been involved with The Hive since it opened in 2019. He instigated a youth advisory board called the
Board of Rad and Determined Students or “BORDS.” Because of his involvement, and the creation of BORDS, Hacker, who is 15, stated that he feels much more ingrained in the Durango culture. “Now, being more a part of my community than I used to be, I tend to learn about what’s going on, more than I ever had before,” Hacker said. “It’s helped me become less spiteful to the rest of the world around me.” Getting involved can be tough. Taking that first step is definitely the hardest. But thanks to some of our regional organizations combating loneliness and helping us stay connected, the first step is just a little bit easier.
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