August 27, 2012
Story and Photos By Mary-Justine Lanyon
As a certified dietitian—she graduated from UCLA and attended an
herbal school in Hungary—she works with clients at Carson’s
Herbals in Blue Jay on the Daniel Plan, a program that can be spiritual but is about finding the right foods that each person needs.
Each new client fills out a scorecard, making note of their
health concerns, goals, food dislikes and allergies, favorite foods,
bathroom habits, emotional health, sleep habits and whether
or not they smoke, drink, do recreational drugs or take prescription
Are you happy? they are asked. What are you passionate
about? Do you want to get well? That last question is critical,
Carson said. "Some people talk more about their health problems—
referring to it as 'my migraine' than healing. You have to let it go."
Carson has folks keep a daily gratitude list for three weeks. People report
feeling happier and less depressed at the end of the exercise, she said.
And for those people who think they have nothing for which to be
grateful, Carson reminds them they have the ability to complain, to write,
to speak, to drive to the shop. "Those are all things to be grateful for,"
Her Daniel Plan participants also keep a "daily bread" journal—a log
of everything they eat or drink. "It shocks people sometimes," Carson said.
"They don't realize what they're actually eating. And they don't want me to
see what they're eating." After a couple of weeks, Carson checks the calorie
needs of her clients. "It's higher than most people think," she said.
But as she adjusts what people eat and drink, she tries not to add or
take away more than three things at a time.
When she started the Daniel Plan last year, Carson said, she discovered
the body is smarter than the brain. She herself has lost 36 pounds
and 10 inches in her waist. This diet, Carson said, "became my new way of life."
She steers clear of soda, high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners,
Carson said. She can show people how to take their favorite meal
and make it healthy. Chia seeds, she said, go into just about everything she
makes. They are full of omegas, soluble fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates.
They were used by the ancient Aztecs, Carson said. "Runners going from
town to town would put them in their mouths to sustain them."
Carson encourages folks to eat more celery, which can act as a diuretic and lower blood pressure. Hibiscus tea, she said, will also lower
blood pressure. And eating a quarter-cup of beans three times a week can lower a person's cholesterol 35 percent in a month's time.
Her love and knowledge of herbs Carson learned from her Hungarian grandmother. "When I got a cold," Carson said, "she was quick to give
me chamomile tea and a little honey. In Hungary we would see fields of lavender as far as the eye could see."
She sells organic herbs and spices at Health Habitat, as well as custom
blends of protein powders. She does a consultation with the client,
including kinesiology, which shows her which items will make the person
stronger or weaker. Then she customizes the blend by adding different
herbs and supplements.
"You can help your body to heal itself by eating correctly," Carson said.
She also blends essential oils and makes lotions, skin oils and face
creams. "There are no chemicals or alcohol in what I make," Carson said.
She has had good success at helping people get off anxiety medications,
Carson noted. She recommends they take a variety of herbs,
including purple haze. And certain amino acids, she added, give people
a calmness while sharpening their mental focus.
On Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m., Carson offers a Cooking with Healthy
Stuff class. "I feel the need to educate people," she said. She includes a
bit about survival skills, how to cook once a week and then store the food.
"I really enjoy this class," she said.
Carson’s Herbals can be found at Health Habitat in Blue Jay Village.
The shop is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.;
Carson is there from 1:30 to closing.
Healthy Living Guide, Summer 2012 • 15
Body Heal Itself
Certified dietitian Katie Carson traces her
knowledge of herbs to her Hungarian roots.
By eating the right foods and taking the right herbs, Katie Carson believes it’s possible
to heal your own body.