Cinnamon Twig Formula

Cinnamon Twig Formula, Gui Zhi Tang, is a commonly used formula that is useful for the very initial stages of a cold or flu when there may be mild symptoms such as sneezing, aversion to cold and wind, mild sweating, feeling feverish, lack of thirst or headache. It treats exterior wind cold and harmonizes the nutritive and defensive Qi. Most of the herbs in the formula help the digestion (fresh ginger, dates, licorice, and also cinnamon twig and white peony root), while a couple harmonize the surface (cinnamon twig and white peony root). It’s made up of mostly food type herbs, and is pretty yummy for a Chinese medicine formula.

To take the formula, prepare the herbs with hot water and drink, followed by a warm bowl of porridge.  Wrap yourself up with some blankets until you have a slight sweat. At that time, change into warm dry clothes and discontinue the herbs.

Once the cold/flu goes deeper and there are symptoms such as sore throat, thirst, high fever, cough, different formulas are appropriate.

Cinnamon Twig formula is not just for colds with sneezing, it can be used as a base formula for many conditions, including emotional vulnerability, palpitations, abdominal pain, joint pain, cold hands and feet, hot flashes, when the pattern fits.

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MegaCidin Throat Spray



MegaCidin is a combination of potent herbs and immune-boosting probiotic spores that can support your inner defenses in as little as 30 minutes! Plus, MegaCidin comes in a convenient spray bottle that you can keep with you in the car, at school, at work, or while traveling.

How does it work?

Just spray MegaCidin 1-3 times in your mouth towards the back of your throat 2-3 times per day, in order to activate your oral immune system.

The mucosal tissue inside of the mouth is rich with immune cells that can alert the rest of the immune system to invasion.

Supporting your oral immunity with MegaCidin is like enhancing your inner surveillance team so that your immune system can better identify and respond to foreign invaders.

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Introducing MegaSporeBiotic

MegaSporeImmuneSupportMegaSporeBiotic is a 100% spore-based, broad-spectrum probiotic clinically shown to maintain healthy gut barrier function.  It has been shown to clinically reduce leaky gut by 60%.

This unique all-spore formula effectively RECONDITIONS the gut by promoting microbial diversity and maintaining key health-promoting, commensal gut bacteria. MegaSporeBiotic boasts a 5-year shelf-life, does not require refrigeration, and maintains efficacy during antibiotic therapy.

MegaSporeBiotic contains Bacillus spores, which are naturally designed to survive digestion. The reason for their inherent survivability comes from their bi-phasic life cycle.

This means that the Bacillus spores can transition interchangeably from their dormant form to their active form, depending on the environment. In its dormant spore form, Bacillus will surround itself with an endospore, which is a tough, natural outer shell that protects it from light, heat, pressure, acid, lack of oxygen, and other environmental factors. This key feature is what allows MegaSporeBiotic to survive easily through digestion without the need for enteric-coated capsules or refrigeration.

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Rolling Bale Farm – Custom Lamb Cuts available

Rolling Bale Farm is offering custom cuts of organic 100% grass fed lamb. We shared a whole lamb with a friend last year and it was delicious.

They will be selling out, so get your order in now. Delivery is expected October – November. See the available cuts and price list. They will customize your cuts to your preference.

Local lamb is clean food, deeply nutritious and it is the warmest meat, which is great for Vermont winters. Support our local Vermont farmers and nourish yourself with the healthiest meat available. Save the bones in your freezer and make bone broth!

email Hilary at for fall delivery in 2022 and future years as well.

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2021 – Year of the Metal Ox

Happy Chinese New Year

Legend has it that the Jade Emperor staged a race across China to determine the order of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. The determined Ox was in the first position, but the sneaky, resourceful Rat hitched a ride on Ox’s back. Ox swam across the river and as they approached the other side, the Rat hopped off Ox’s back onto the bank winning first place, and leaving the Ox as number two.

JPG-Year-Of-The-Ox-2021-8x102020 feels like a year that was hijacked, like the Rat hijacked the Ox. The 12th of February 2021 brings the energy of the Ox  – the Ox is an Earth element animal and 2021 is a Metal year.

The Ox is known for being patient, stubborn, hard-working and deliberate, yet flexible. The image of the Ox slowly plowing the fields is representative of the Ox energy. We can deliberately make a clean slate for ourselves and start fresh.

This Metal Ox year we will want to find balanced between hard work and determination – and – rest and rejuvenation. We need to be flexible and go with the flow, while also being persistent and patient as we work towards our goals little by little. Build stamina but don’t burn yourself out.

Cooperation and communication are important this year. Pause, listen, observe. Pay attention. This includes listening to your own voice and intuition.

Ox years:  2021   2009   1997   1985   1973   1961   1949   1937   1925   1913

Goals and Intentions for the Year of the Ox

Plant your seeds (intentions), work the soil a little each week, be patient, and see what grows and is ready for harvest by the end of the year. Be choosy about what you sow, so as to keep it manageable.

Plant some seeds for your own self-care. If your goal is to improve your health, exercise routine or diet, take it slow and make it sustainable.

Read about Eating Well in the Year of the Ox

Slow and steady wins the race this year!

Wishing you rewarding 2021 and good health, happiness and prosperity for you and your family.

Let’s go 2021!





Here’s a few articles I’ve written recently that you may be interested in:

Moxa Season – Time to Build Qi and Blood

Nourishing Winter Cleanse

Anti-inflammatory Diet, Nightshade family and Elimination Diet

Nutrition Resources

Phu Cuoc Fish Sauce – the Good Stuff



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Eating Well in the Year of the Ox

ZxxxJFXdQ6qD4HtziZBcdA_thumb_c1f3The Ox is an Earth animal according to the 5-element cycle of Chinese medicine. The Earth element relates to the Spleen/Stomach and digestion and assimilation of nutrients. In this cycle Earth generates Metal, which relates to the Lung and breathing. Focus on taking care of yourself by eating well and including breathing exercises or relaxed deep breathing in your daily routine.

Worry and rumination negatively affects the Spleen/Stomach and digestion – don’t get stuck thinking about something endlessly. Put it out of your mind unless you can make a decision – then decide and move forward. This is not always easy to do, but practice and it will get easier. It helps if you are taking care of your Spleen/Stomach energy by eating hearty, warming, nutrition dense foods and avoiding sugar. The relationship between worry and digestion is clear in Chinese medicine; both are related to the Earth element, Spleen/Stomach and damp accumulation.

How to Eat Well in the Year of the Ox

Eat warm cooked foods, whole foods, don’t over eat, limit raw, cold and damp foods. Avoid sugar and limit dairy as they contribute to dampness. Too much grain can also lead to damp accumulation. Eat warm hearty meals with plenty of protein, especially bone broth, soups and stews.

Meat and seafood: Lamb, grass-fed beef, liver, chicken (especially dark meat or breast with the skin), turkey, salmon, trout, sardines, herring, tuna

Root vegetables: Sweet potato, carrots, parsnips, rutabaga

Shiitake mushrooms, green beans, swish chard, cabbage, kale, winter squash

Pungent vegetables: Garlic, leek, onion, shallots

Warming spices: Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, coriander, clove fennel, anise, star anise, rosemary, thyme, sage, basil

Fruit: Figs, raspberries, blueberries, pomegranate, cherries, dates, raisins, pear

Nuts: Walnuts, pistachio

Butter, ghee, walnut oil

Oats, rice congee


Chew! Digestion starts in the mouth, so give you digestion a break by chewing well, ideally 30 times.

Eat warm foods. The process of digestion involves breaking food down into a warm soup in the Stomach, then the Spleen can do its job of extracting nutrients. This is one of the reasons that soup and stew is recommended as the most Spleen/Stomach-supportive meals. In Chinese medicine we advise against chilling the Spleen/Stomach. If you only like iced beverages and cold foods, you may have an excess heat pattern.

It is still winter, so eating well for the Water Element and Kidney energy is still relevant. Bone broth is key here.

If you want to want to maximize your nutrition and/or reset your eating habits, try a Nourishing Winter Cleanse.

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Nourishing Winter Cleanse

Any time of year can be a great time do a Nourishing Winter Cleanse to nourish your gut, immune system, blood stream and whole body while eating only the cleanest fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, meats, fish and bone broth. These healthful eating tips can be useful even if you are not up for a full cleanse.

By eating deeply nourishing foods, and not eating foods that cause inflammation and toxic build-up, we can nourish our muscular-skeletal, gastro-intestinal and blood systems, reduce systemic inflammation and bolster our immune system. The immune system starts in the gut. A healthy gut lining means fewer toxins are getting through your gut lining into your blood stream where they can wreak havoc in your joints, arteries, brain, everything!

A healthy gut can process the food you eat efficiently, assimilating the nutrients our body needs and transforming them into the Qi and blood which is the basis for our defensive Qi, aka immune system.

The Spleen is one of the main organs of digestion according to Chinese medicine, and is responsible for transformation and transportation of food. The Spleen likes warmth. Too much raw and cold food is too cooling for the Spleen, especially up here in Vermont in the winter! The Nourishing Winter Cleanse is exactly the opposite of a raw food cleanse. So, a cleanse doesn’t necessarily mean juice fast or raw food diet. Read More »

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Meal Planning for Nourishing Winter Cleanse

Meal planning

On the weekend cook extra so you will have plenty in the fridge for lunch or dinner for the upcoming week. Here is an outline of what

Roast chicken or Lamb

Use bones to make bone broth

Roasted mixed vegetables and/or roasted sweet potatoes

Read More »

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Anti-inflammatory Diet, Nightshade family and Elimination Diet

Anti-inflammatory Diet

The goal of an Anti-inflammatory diet is to reduce inflammation in your body by avoiding foods that increase the toxic load in your body. Inflammation potentially leads to health conditions from tendonitis to heart disease.  Avoid mainly:

-       Sugar, specifically cane sugar

-       Bad quality oils, specifically vegetable seed oils, such as vegetable oil, corn oil, canola oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil.

Over-heating better oils that can’t handle high heat alters their molecules into a trans formation, thereby turning them into bad quality oil. Trans fats, which are common in processed foods, are the worst fats you can eat. Trans fats and bad quality fats cause inflammation in the body and specifically in the arteries – the body tries to protect itself  by coating the arteries with cholesterol.

Avoid bad quality oils in general, not just during a cleanse.

-       Grains, especially processed into flour – wheat, corn are the worst ones for our gut lining.

Grains are more of a filler food to help us feel satiated than a nutrient dense food. That said, there are some vitamins, minerals and fiber found in grains that are beneficial, especially for older men. The starchiness of root vegetables has a different effect than that of grains. Eat roots instead!

-       Beans are very starchy and act very much like grains in the body. Both grains and beans contain lectins (see below).

-       Junk and fake food, additives, preservatives, artificial coloring, dyes, high-fructose corn syrup, stabilizers…

-       Nightshades, in some cases – tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, white potatoes, tobacco, ashwaganda, goji berries.


Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, white potatoes, tobacco, ashwaganda, goji berries –are in the Solanaceae family and contain an alkaloid called solanine. A famous non-edible nightshade is Belladonna, aka Deadly Nightshade, which contains very high amounts of solanine. The edible nightshades obviously contain much less solanine, but some people experience joint pain or arthritis attributed to a build-up of this toxic alkaloid.

Nightshades also contain a protein called lectin, which is found in grains and legumes as well. Lectins are toxic but generally only harmful when eaten in excess, though they can build up over time to symptom-causing levels. Lectins in nightshades, grains and legumes can have a negative effect on the gut lining and hence the immune system. Autoimmune diseases – diabetes, arthritis – gut flora imbalances, ulcers, allergies, sinus and throat issues are among the issues that an over-abundance of lectins may contribute to.

Cooking lectin-containing vegetables helps reduce lectins, as does peeling potatoes, since the peel contains a high proportion of the lectins. Avoid green potatoes and tomatoes in particular, since they also contain many more lectins.

Nightshades are a family of foods that people are sometimes reactive to. In the case of nightshades, it is not so much of an allergy, but more of a toxic overload. Once you cleanse yourself of the toxic build up, joint pain is often relieved. You can eat nightshades again, but know that they may not be the healthiest of vegetables for you, so try not to over-do them.

I highly recommend that if you want to take a month off of eating nightshades, do so during the winter or early spring before your garden, or CSA, is overflowing with irresistible tomatoes and peppers.

For more info check out this article about the nightshade family or here for a complete list of nightshade foods.

Here is a short and interesting article from medical journal about lectins

Elimination Diet

The goal of an elimination diet to find out if you are allergic or sensitive to any foods and those foods may be causing symptoms. For example, dairy, gluten and eggs are a few foods that people are commonly allergic or sensitive to. The Clean Program utilizes the elimination diet.

The goal while cleansing is to reduce obstacles to improving your health – inflammation and toxins – and for your symptoms to reduce or go away. I have noticed that if I am having tendonitis (from cooking and lifting heavy cast iron pans, usually), about 10 days into a cleanse it goes away. Take note of your symptoms (digestive, allergies, congestion, pain…) and see what happens.

By taking potential troublesome foods out for 3 weeks or more, then putting them back in your diet one by one you can see if your symptoms are triggered. When you put the food back in your diet, you will want to eat a good amount of that food (maybe 3 times a day) in order to get a clear picture. Then wait at least several days, if not a week, before adding a second food back into your diet.

Nightshades are a family of foods that people are sometimes reactive to. In the case of nightshades, it is not so much of an allergy, but more of a toxic overload. Once you cleanse yourself of the toxic build up, symptoms such as joint pain is often relieved. Eat nightshades moderately in the future.

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Nutrition Resources

IMG_0539Here are some books and websites that I highly recommend if you would like to learn more about nutrition. I have utilized these resources in the past several years and they have only deepened the knowledge I gained during my undergraduate studies in Nutrition at Bastyr University in Seattle.

Bad research, politics and crony capitalism has led to a lot of misinformation about what is healthy and what is not. Unfortunately, this information seems to have crept into our subconscious and therefore makes the truth seem illogical. What? Animal fat is good for you? I thought fat was bad…

The information in these books is not new, really. This is more or less how our ancestors traditionally ate — before there were profits at stake — before Procter and Gamble started making Cisco as an alternative to animal fats in 1911. Since then public has been (mis)educated by marketing.

That said, in the last ten years  has become more mainstream that animal fats are indeed healthy and fake fats are detrimental to our health. I am so happy that many of my patients and a lot more medical doctors are in-the-know.

Here is a few of my favorite resources to share with you.

Death by Food Pyramid by Denise MingerDeath_by_Food_Pyramid_1

Vegetarianism Explained: Making an Informed Decision by Natasha Campbell-McBride MD

Gut and Physiology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell-McBride MD

Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell-McBride MD

Put Your Heart in Your Mouth by Natasha Campbell-McBride MD

Here you can buy the above books by Natasha Campbell-MdBride and the below two books by Sally Fallon and Thomas S Cowan.

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

Fourfold Path to Healing by Thomas S. Cowan MD

Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shannahan MD and Luke Shanahan

Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself  and Clean Gut by Alejandro Junger MD

Weston Price Foundation

Whole 30

Paleo diet

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