Immune Boosting Fire Cider

fire cider

Fire cider is filled with immune boosting ingredients to help you ward off cold and flu, and it’s fun and simple to make. While there are endless variations, our favorite ingredients to include are:


  • 1/2 cup fresh grated ginger root
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated horseradish root (be warned, fresh grated horseradish is pungent and sinus-opening).
  • 8-10 garlic cloves, crushed or chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno or 1 habanero quartered
  • 1 orange, quartered and thinly sliced crosswise
  • Zest and juice from 1 organic lemon
  • 1/4 cup peeled and diced turmeric (or 1 Tbsp. turmeric powder)
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped rosemary (or 2 tsp. dried)
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped thyme (or 2 tsp. dried)
  • 1 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne powder
  • 2 to 3 cups raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup raw honey, or more to taste
  1. Place all of the vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices in a clean 1-quart jar.
  2. Add your apple cider vinegar up to the top of the jar (all your ingredients should be completely covered).
  3. Cap the jar. If using a metal lid, be sure to place a piece of parchment between the jar and lid. You will want to change this out about once a week.
  4. Shake well!
  5. Let the jar sit for 3 to 6 weeks, ideally giving it a daily shake.
  6. Strain the vinegar into a clean jar, and add honey to taste. (Stare with 1/4 cup and whisk the honey in well. If it is not sweet enough, continue to add and whisk 1 Tbsp. at a time until desired sweetness is reached.
  7. Refrigerate and use within a year.

Fire Cider can be taken straight by the spoonful (this is especially useful when you feel a cold coming on!), diluted with water or in fresh fruit or vegetable juice, drizzled on salads or used as a healthful marinade. It is delicious and warming added to a cup of herbal tea with lemon and additional honey, and fire cider can be very refreshing when added to seltzer with a splash of fresh citrus and a sprig of rosemary. You can even save the fire cider pulp and mix it in with lots of seasonal veggies for an immune boosting stir fry. Enjoy!

Creamy Thai Carrot Soup

carrotsThis wonderful warming and nutritious soup includes seasonal carrots and sweet potato. Ginger and curry spices possess significant anti-inflammatory properties, and kaffir lime and lemongrass are both digestive tonic plants.  For a spicy variation on this soup, substitute the sweet curry powder with 1 teaspoon of red Thai curry paste. Dissolve the paste in a bit of hot water before adding to the soup.


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 small knob peeled fresh ginger root, chopped fine (about 1 tablespoon)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet curry powder
1 bay leaf
2 kaffir lime leaves or a 3-inch length of lemongrass sliced into matchsticks
1 1/2 pounds carrots, scrubbed and chopped
4 cups vegetable broth or filtered water
Sea salt
1 15-ounce can of coconut milk
Thai basil or cilantro leaves for garnish


1.) Warm olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, sweet potato and garlic, and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2.) Add the ginger, coriander, curry spice, bay leaf, and kaffir leaves, and cook the mixture 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Heating the spices before adding liquid helps release their full flavor potential.

3.) Add the carrots and broth, along with an additional 2 cups of water and 2 large pinches of sea salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes, until the carrots are very tender.

4.) Remove soup from heat and discard bay leaf and kaffir lime leaves. Puree soup with a vertical blender until creamy. Whisk in the coconut milk, and if necessary heat to serving temperature, taking care not to boil the soup. Adjust seasoning and serve garnished with the Thai basil or cilantro leaves.
Adapted from a Whole Foods Market Recipe

Serves 6 to 8

Total Time 50 minutes


Comforting Slow Cooker Beef Bone Broth

With the return of the rain and the early darkness, it is the perfect weather for warm and nutritious bone broth. Bone broth is nutrient dense with a rich flavor and easy on the digestive system. With a high concentration of minerals-including phosphorus, magnesium and calcium-it is a great immune boosting option for the fall and winter season. All you need to make this delicious nutrient powerhouse are:

  • 2 carrots, chopped mediumBone-Broth
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped medium
  • 1 medium onion, chopped medium
  • 7 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 3.5 lb of beef bones
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Sea salt. I use Celtic sea salt.
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • Water

Put veggies in the bottom of a 6 qt. slow cooker and drop the beef bones on top. Add bay leaf, salt (not a whole lot, you can add more to taste when the broth is finished) and vinegar and fill with filtered water. Let stand for ½ hour so that the vinegar can begin pulling minerals from the bones. Turn cooker to low and let simmer for 24 to 48 hours. The longer it cooks, the more the bones break down and release all their goodness into the broth. When done, strain broth and refrigerate or freeze. If you don’t want all the fat, skim off after cooling. Drink straight as a nourishing tea or use in soups, etc. Enjoy!

Almond Butter Granola

Bake up a batch of this almond butter granola over the weekend and enjoy it throughout the week on top of yogurt, in a bowl with dairy or nut milk, or simply by the handful. This is not only a healthy and filling breakfast or snack option;  it also makes your kitchen smell amazing while it bakes!

Makes eight 1/4 c. servings
4 tbsp. almond butter
4 tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. chia seeds
2 c. oats

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.

2. Combine the almond butter and honey in a bowl and microwave until almond butter is slightly melted (about 30 seconds).

3.  Add cinnamon and vanilla to the almond butter mixture.

4. Stir in the oats and chia seeds, completely coating the oats in the mixture.

5. Spread oats onto cookie sheet and bake for eight minutes before tossing oats and baking for another four minutes until granola is slightly brown. Let cool until granola is crunch and enjoy!


Summer Adventure & Massage

Summer is a time of rigorous activity in the Pacific Northwest. There are many opportunities for hiking, paddling, rock climbing, swimming as well as organized team sports and races. Exercise and movement of the body is great for your muscles, brain, cardiovascular system and much more. Sunshine can be a source of vitamin D and exercise in the fresh air can bring more oxygen to your blood.

With all this travel and fun and outdoor adventure, this can be the perfect time to schedule a massage.  Massage therapy can increase circulation in the skin and muscles and can increase tonicity of those muscles you’ve been working so hard the last couple months. Massage therapy is generally recommend once a month to maintain health and wellbeing. Problem areas can be addressed with regular visits and your practitioner can stay up to date with chronic issues you may be having from performing your favorite activities.

Fall always arrives too soon! Give yourself (and your muscles) a midsummer break with a massage.

Muscle of the Month: Sternocleidomastoid

Muscle of the Month

By: EriK Cannard, LMT

Sternocleidomastoid is unquestionably my favorite muscle. Not only does it have a fantastic name, its unique position in the body means it has significant effects on our daily lives. Originating at the top of the breastbone and collarbone near the midline, it attaches just behind the ear making it a major muscle in the front of the neck and one of the strongest rotators of the head. People often see their own sternocleidomastoid in the mirror but don’t even realize they are looking at a muscle. If it’s visible, it’s probably working to stabilize or move your heavy head.

The fact that it “pops” away from the neck when in use makes it a very easy muscle to isolate and massage from all sides. I have found sternocleidomastoid in most people to be very receptive to gentle compression and kneading. It often takes very little effort to achieve a significant amount of relief and relaxation in this area.

A slumped posture when working at a computer, holding a phone with your shoulder, tense winter driving and excess stress all contribute to an overly tight sternocleidomastoid. Symptoms of this muscle tension can include stiff neck, jaw pain and headache. If someone comes to me complaining of a tension headache above or behind their eyes, I can guarantee we’ll be doing some work with sternocleidomastoid.

No Bake Strawberry Pie

No Bake Strawberry Pie

By: Ashley Reed


  • Crust:
    1 cup almonds or pecans
  • ½ tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4-5 Medjool dates, pitted
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Filling:
  • 1 cup cashews (soaked 1-2 hours, or overnight)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ – ½ cup agave (depending on how sweet you want it)
  • ¾ cup fresh strawberries (if you choose to use frozen, thaw them completely first)
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/8 cup water
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • Topping
    1-2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced


Crust: Place almonds or pecans in food processor fitted with the S blade. Process until roughly crumbled. Add coconut oil, sea salt and vanilla and pulse together. Add the dates last, one at a time and pulse until the crust holds together when squeezed. If the crust does not hold, add more dates (again one at a time). Press into coconut oiled pie pan. Chill in freezer while putting together the filling.

Filling: Blend all ingredients together in a food processor or high speed blender. Pour filling into cold pie crust, top with sliced strawberries. Place in freezer for 1-2 hours until firm. Because of the coconut oil, the pie will need to stay in the fridge or freezer to stay firm. Serve cold.

Spring Asparagus Risotto

Spring Asparagus Risotto

By: Leah Scott


  • 4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup shallots, chopped
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 2 oz dry white wine
  • 3/4 lb thin asparagus spears, tough ends trimmed, cut 2-inches long
  • 1-2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest for garnish


In a large saucepan, heat broth over medium-high heat. When it boils, reduce heat to a simmer and maintain over low heat, taste for salt and adjust as needed.

In a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil and add the shallots; sauté 3-4 minute. Add the rice; mix well so the rice is coated throughout and saute until the rice is slightly translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add the wine and stir until it is absorbed.

Add a ladleful of the simmering stock; stir and wait until it is absorbed before adding another ladleful stirring gently and almost constantly.

Continue this process until the rice is creamy, tender to the bite, but slightly firm in the center. Add the asparagus along with the last ladle of broth and continue cooking 5 minutes, total time should be about 25-30 minutes from the time you started. When all the liquid is absorbed, remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice, parsley and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Serve immediately and top with fresh cracked pepper, lemon zest, and extra grated cheese if desired.

Makes over 4 cups.
Servings: 4 • Size: 1 generous cup as a main • Old Points: 5 pts • Points+: 7 pts
Calories: 255 • Fat: 4 g • Protein: 9 g • Carb: 43 g • Fiber: 2 g • Sugar: 0 g
Sodium: 630 mg

Seasonal Allergies and Chinese Medicine

By: Colleen Bunker LAc

Spring is here all in the magnificent grandeur typical to Portland. Coming from the east coast, I’m am still in awe of the diversity and magnitude of the flowering trees and shrubs! Unfortunately for many of people, it’s the onslaught of seasonal allergies. Just as the weather begins to break and people want to get outside to enjoy the sun and beauty, symptoms such as sinus congestion, wheezing, running nose, itchy and burning eyes, headache and fatigue are suffered by as many as 45 million Americans.

Many people suffer year in and year out, relying on pharmaceutical medications or by simply trying to limit exposure to the offending pollens. None of these approaches are curative, not to mention the many negative side effects and risks involved with long-term use of antihistamines. Besides sleepiness, low libido, and increased appetite; infertility, anxiety, impaired thinking and depression have all been linked to standard allergy medications.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers another alternative. Acupuncture, combined with herbs, can relieve acute symptoms and at the same time begin to build a person’s Wei Qi (similar to the western immune system). In TCM, anytime the body exhibits symptoms, there is an underlying weakness or imbalance that needs to be addressed. When a person has recurrent allergies, the most common weaknesses are found in the Lung, Spleen and Kidney energies. A skilled TCM practitioner will initially choose acupuncture points and herbs to alleviate the acute symptoms, while gently supporting the whole body. The proper time to begin really focusing on the underlying system weaknesses is after the particular offending pollens have passed. At this time, support and advice will be given on diet and lifestyle habits, along with acupuncture and herbal medicine, to rebuild and support Wei Qi, overall balance and good health. With the commitment of the patient, particularly between allergies seasons, to receive regular treatment and to implement immune building lifestyle changes, seasonal allergies can be greatly alleviated and in many, many cases, healed completely.

Spring Cleanse

By: Colleen Bunker Lac

Spring Soup with Poached Eggs

As spring approaches many of us are thinking about giving our bodies a little tune-up. For most people, simply eliminating all processed foods, sugar, alcohol and caffeine for a week or so allows for a gentle detox. For a deeper cleanse, you can also eliminate grains and dairy. Just by cleaning up your diet in this way, you give your digestive system, especially your liver, a much needed break and an opportunity to gently release accumulated toxins. Focusing on simple, whole foods and drinking lots of good water with lemon for 1-2 weeks is a good is way to prep your body for a more intensive detox with fewer dramatic side effects. Ideally, if you leave processed foods, sugar and trans-fats out of your diet year round, the need for a more intensive cleanse isn’t needed. I found the following recipe on a wonderful blog called The Ancestral Chef. It has only 3 ingredients and can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner.



  • 2 eggs
  • 32 oz (1 quart) chicken broth
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • salt to taste


Bring the chicken broth to a boil.
Turn down the heat and poach the 2 eggs in the broth for 5 minutes (for a slightly-runny egg).
Remove the eggs and place each into a bowl.
Add the chopped romaine lettuce into the broth and cook for a few minutes until slightly wilted.
Ladle the broth with the lettuce into the bowls.