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Staff Spotlight: Meet Carla Blea

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Healthy living was always at the core of Carla Blea’s life. “I grew up in San Diego,” said Carla. “I went to San Diego State University and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Food & Nutrition.

I worked in an acupuncture office part time, but for years my full-time job was working as an assistant horse trainer. I would work with show horses to train them for competitions, as well as taught riding instruction, safety, and horse care to clients. There’s just something so positive and life-affirming about working with animals. It fully engages you — body, mind, and spirit. When I was looking to move my career in a different direction, I wanted something that would align with that body-mind-spirit balance, as well as use my education in food and nutrition. OHI checked off all the boxes, and even better it was right here in San Diego. I joined OHI in April 2015 as part of the kitchen staff. I started in Food Prep, moved to Kitchen Supervisor, and next to Kitchen Manager. I really enjoyed learning all about OHI’s version of a raw vegan detox diet and working to prepare recipes for guests that use plant-based, mindful ingredients. When I was given the opportunity to move into the facilitator role, I was excited for the challenge. I have been a facilitator since October 2022.”

As a facilitator, Carla teaches twenty-eight different classes at OHI. “After working as part of the kitchen staff for so many years, it was a thrill to teach the food classes,” said Carla. “I teach Dehydrated Foods I & II, Fermented Foods I & II, Food Combining, as well as Juicing Instruction. I also facilitate the science classes that cover Digestion and Elimination I & II, as well as the Hands-On Wheatgrass class that teaches guests how to grow their own wheatgrass. Additionally, I teach the Orientation class when guests first arrive on Sundays and lead the Testimonials group where guests share their experiences of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual healing and wellness at OHI. I also frequently lead the prayer and word-of-the-day circles (announcements) and facilitate Vocal Toning and the afternoon Stretch class. The Stretch class is similar to a restorative yoga class – it increases circulation, improves flexibility, relaxes the body and calms the mind. It’s a great way to feel refreshed and revitalized in the middle of the day. While I love all of them, I think my favorite class is the Mind/Body Connection class. That class helps guests learn how to use the relationship between your body and mind to positively influence the state of your health. We help guests discover the difference between the conscious and subconscious mind and how positive thoughts and emotions promote healing. I find it so powerful every time I teach it.”

Carla takes delight in interacting with OHI guests in her role as a facilitator. “I look forward to the energy that each new cohort brings to campus each week,” said Carla. “It’s fascinating seeing how the program changes them over the course of three weeks, and what works for each individual. While the guests expect to learn from me, I learn just as much from them. We share so much while they are here.”

While Carla enjoys the guests, she has also forged an unbreakable bond with the rest of the staff at OHI. “The staff at both OHI locations are beyond amazing,” said Carla. “We work well together, and everyone is so knowledgeable and supportive. We are a true team in every sense of the word. It feels great to work with people that I trust, respect, and admire. We all have the guests’ best interests at heart as we hold a safe space to help them work through whatever it is in their life that brought them to OHI in this moment.”

When Carla isn’t at OHI, she’s at home spending time with her husband, Jeff, and her 1-year-old daughter, Cora. “We make all of Cora’s pureed food ourselves at home,” said Carla. “Now is the time to influence her tastebuds and palate. We want her to grow up understanding how good her body feels when she eats healthy foods so she can make smart choices for herself when she is grown. Homemade food is the healthy, delicious choice!”

Carla has simple words of advice for people considering a stay at OHI. “Be open-minded,” said Carla. “There is knowledge to gain and experiences that will change you here, and all of them can help you feel more like yourself again.

Working through the OHI program will help you figure out what’s important to you, whether you want to take better care of your body, improve your mental health, or deepen your spiritual connections. Give OHI a try. You will find true peace of mind here.”

If you have always yearned for a career where you can make a difference by helping and serving others, then contact us today(800) 588-0809