“When people have regained their health, are no longer suffering, and are then referring their friends to me, that is rewarding on a deep level.”
For our final feature of Wellness Month, we had the chance to talk with Carrie Ballas of Boulder Integrative Health. Carrie told us about her background in nursing and how she was drawn to functional medicine to help people live fulfilling lives. Keep reading for her advice on how to manage stress and diet to stay happy and healthy. Want to learn more about wellness? Check out our previous features with Rebecca Baack, Debbie Steinbock, and Emma Straight.
What piqued your interest in wellness? Were you interested in healthy living from a young age, or did you find it later on?
I really wasn’t aware of what “health” meant growing up. My mother cooked “well-rounded meals” and we didn’t do the “Wonder Bread “ thing, but there was little education about how to eat nutritionally or that what I could be eating had hormones, chemicals, and toxins in it! Yuck!
I went into nursing because I love connecting with people and I felt this career would help me improve patients’ health and wellbeing. However, after working in the hospitals for many years, I realized that I was seeing people at the end of their illness cascade and we were barely keeping people alive. People didn’t have the resources (or maybe even desire) to truly be healthy. Therefore, I decided that in order to help people make a true change I needed to move my influence to the front lines and offer a different approach to getting well and staying well. I was also seeing how horribly we fed patients in the hospital and at that point, I was starting to gain more knowledge about our environment and food and the influence that has on our health. Once my eyes were opened, there was no turning back.
How do you personally define wellness?
I personally define wellness as a balanced state of being; emotionally, physically, and as a feeling of vibrancy inside and out.
What’s your favorite way to practice wellness daily?
My gratitude practice. I was gifted The Magic by Rhonda Byrne years ago, and after doing a month long gratitude practice I felt so abundant and positive that I have now incorporated this into my daily life. I wake up and say gratitude for the day and even the smallest things that bring me joy, pleasure, and assist my life. If I am feeling things are slipping with that practice, I will go back to the book and commit to a month of gratitude practice again. It can be the simplest things that bring us joy! When we have more joy and thankfulness in our lives, we put out more positive energy that continues to spread into the world and reverberates back to us again.
What do you think the greatest wellness tip you could share with a younger version of yourself is?
Eat more mindfully by slowing down, chewing your food, eating more fibrous vegetables every day, and always eating organic. Don’t sweat the small stuff, as nothing is ever perfect. Life is beautiful within its imperfections.
For those who aren’t familiar with your industry, how would you explain what you do?
Functional medicine is an approach where you try to find the root cause of what is causing an imbalance in someone’s body and you help them work to achieve homeostasis again. This process is layered and it takes a curious mind to try to peel back the onion, but when you do, the reward is beautiful!
As a Nurse Practitioner, I can use many modalities to help people achieve this balance. I educate on how changing lifestyle can be impactful in many ways while incorporating healthier eating habits or taking proper supplements and nutrients to regain health. I remove the ”triggers” that are causing diseases, such as infections, toxins, microbes, parasites, fungus, mold, and more! Once the cobwebs are removed there is so much more room for a healthier mindset, which sets people up to make healthier changes overall.
And stress! We have to talk about stress and the massive implications this has on our health. It’s probably the number one reason for disease and it’s getting worse, not better collectively. I have important conversations with people every day on this very topic and am thrilled when I see people taking it to heart and finding more peace internally.
How did you get started at Boulder Integrative Health? How would you describe your experience?
I moved to Boulder after starting to work in a Functional Medicine office and decided it was time to make my own decisions and stop being told what and how to do things. I love the autonomy one can have as an NP and I have a hard-working Midwestern ethic, so I knew I could do anything if I put my mind to it. I started Boulder Integrative Health in 2008 and haven’t looked back! It’s been a wild yet rewarding ride.
What’s one thing about your profession you want everyone to know?
If you have not seen a Functional Practitioner for your health, even if only looking into prevention, please give it a try. You will be surprised how the old “allopathic” model is simply not serving our needs as a society and in keeping us well and it’s so much better to have a well-rounded holistic approach to your health. Yes, it will cost you money out of pocket because you will spend at least an hour with the provider, but the reward is great and you are worth it!
What have been some of the most rewarding moments in your career in wellness?
There haven’t been single moments but a collection of moments and rewards. When people have regained their health, are no longer suffering, and are then referring their friends to me, that is rewarding on a deep level. I work hard every day to serve people so they can become the best version of themselves, so they can go out into the world and make it a better place for us all!
Some answers have been edited for length and/or clarity.
Boulder Integrative Health uses integrative and functional medicine to treat a variety of conditions, including weight gain, food and environmental allergies, gastrointestinal disorders, and sleep disorders. Carrie uses her background in family medicine to combine traditional and holistic healthcare methods to help her clients diagnose, treat, and proactively prevent a wide spectrum of issues. Visit Boulder Integrative Health’s website to learn more about the services offered.
At Jlounge, we know that wellness isn’t just skin deep. We’re proud to be featuring a few of our favorite wellness practitioners in the Boulder community this August to connect our clients with new ways to become their healthiest and happiest selves. To learn more about our mission and services offered, please visit our website at jloungespa.com. Want to treat yourself to glowing, healthy skin this month? Book a facial with one of our talented estheticians!