Monday, February 28, 2011

Immune Boosting Foods

Strawberries- Compared to other berries, strawberries have the most vitamin C.  Consuming 1 cup will provide 50% more vitamin C than the daily recommended amount.  Vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells which are important for immunity to colds and other viruses.  It also increases collagen production which is necessary for maintaining healthy skin.

Kifer - Kifer is full of live probiotic bacteria.  It is made by inoculating milk with a mixture of yeasts and bacteria.  Yeasts and bacteria enjoy living in the intestines where they alter the pH to a level that is unfavorable to harmful microbes.  Kifer is different that yogurt.  Kifer is made with milk, yeast and bacteria while yogurt is made with milk and bacteria.  Kifer is the preferred product according to your intestines.

Kale - Kale is preferred over other orange vegetables because it is a richer source of beta carotene and has high levels of vitamin C.  The body converts beta carotene to vitamin A which helps increase white blood cell production.  Vitamin A also lines the respiratory and digestive tracts where defense begins against pathogens.

Oats - Oats contain the components of zinc and  beta-glucan.  Putting these two together creates an active immune fighting agent.  Steel cut oats are the best over old fashioned rolled oats.

Almond Butter - Almond butter packs in more vitamin E than peanut butter.  Vitamin E is necessary for normal functioning of the white blood cells.  Almond Butter is also a good source of monounsaturated fat.

Beans - Beans are a source of protein that is high in soluble fiber.  The University of Illinois scientists found beans increase the production of anti-inflammatory protein that strengthens the immune system.  Beans also contain flolate and Vitamin B which also boost the production of new immune cells.

Matcha - This is a japanese tea.  Matcha contains high levels of catechins which studies have shown can help halt the replication of influenze viruses.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Coconut oil uses

1.  Good for the skin.  Coconut oil is great for dry or aging skin.  Also great for sun exposed skin.  Coconut oil helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkes and will not irritate the skin and can also help with skin problems such as psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema.
Mix together 2T unrefined cocconut oil, 1 T raw honey and 2 drops vanilla, peppermint or sweet orange essential oil.  Use this on your face as a moisturizer or evening repair cream.  This recipe can also be placed on the entire body.  Enjoy!

2.  Stress Relief.  After a long day, massage a drop of coconut oil onto the forehead in a circular motion.  The scent of coconuts is soothing to the mind and will help lower your stress level.

 3.  Digestion.  Coconut oil contains saturated fats that have anti-bacterial properties.  These properties will help control, parasites, and fungi that may cause indigestion and other digestion related problems such as irritable bowel syndrome. The fat will also aid in the absorption of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, making you healthier all around.

4.  Fitness.  Coconut oil stimulates metabolism and improves thyroid function.  These properties help to burn off fat and increase muscle growth.

5.  Healing.  To protect a scrape, place a small amount of oil on it.  The oil will form a thin layer to protect it from bacteria and viruses.  It will also help speed up the healing process in bruises.

6.  Hair Care.  Place coconut on the scalp for dandruff and on the hair to increase shine and moisture.  Leave it on for about 30 minutes and then wash it out.

7.  Baking.  Use cocnut oil in place of butter or shortening in your cake or cookie recipe.  Coconut oil improves good cholesterol and reduces bad cholesterol and helps keep blood sugar levels stable.

8.  In place of butter.  Use coconut oil on your toast in the morning instead of butter.  How about melting it on your vegetables in place of butter?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)

Stretches and relaxes the spine
Increases the flexibility of the spine, hamstrings, calf muscles and shoulders
Nourishes the brain with an increased blood supply
Improves concentration
Start in a plank or push-up position with knees off of the ground.  Then slowly begin to raise your hips toward the sky. Your feet are hip distance apart and your hands are shoulder distance apart.  Be sure fingers are spread and weight is on all 4 corners of the hands.  Relax your head neck and shoulders and breath.  If your spine is rounded in this position, bend the knees slightly so the back will be straight.

This pose is helpful for insomnia, expands the chest,  gives the heart and digestive system a break in the antigravity position.  Gives the abdominal organs a gentle massage and is helpful for insomnia. 

Age Spot Remedies

Age spots show up as we age especially in caucasian descent.  Age spots appear due to over exposure of the sun.  Especially when the sun is high in the sky.  The best way to avoid age spota is to wear sun screen at all times when your skin is exposed to the sun.  Here are a few ways to help fade age spots:

Sour cream:  Place a dot of sour cream on the spot.  Half rinse it off and wipe off the rest with a soft tissue.  Follow with moisturizer.
Sour milk:  Wash your face with sour milk on a regular basis.  The lactic acid will help peel the skin without drying it.
Lemon Juice:  Apply lemon juice to the dark spots with the tip of your finger.
Honey:  Mix warm honey with a small amount of wheat germ.  Spread the mixture on your face.  Allow it to sit for about 5 minutes and then wipe it off.
Horseradish juice or vinegar can also help lighten dark spots.
Yellow Mustard:  Mix grounded yellow mustard with milk.  Apply to the face and leave on for 5 minutes and then rinse off.
Onions:  Rub sliced red onoins on age spots twice daily until all spots have faded.

Give some of these a try and let me know how it goes!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Homemade bath salts

3 cups Dead Sea Salt
15 - 24 drops of your favorite essential oil
1 tbs coconut oil for moisture

Place 1/2 cup of mixture into your bath water each time you take a bath.  I have tested this recipe and my bath feels and smells great!
Here are other things you may place in the salts.

coffee grounds
dried milk
dried flowers
dried mint leaves
liquid glycerin soap for bubbles

Please pose any other ideas you may have.  Enjoy the ones I suggested!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

This is my favorite yoga instructor!  These are good for those of you who are expecting and who have given birth.  I feel yoga is for every body and everyone should give it a try for at least 6 months.  Not just one class!

Upavista Knasana (The Straddle)

increases flexibility of the inner thigh
Stretches and strengthens the back
Improves mobility in the hip joint
Benefits the reproductive organs

If you have blood pressure or a heart condition, either remain in the position with your spine extended at a diagonal to your legs, or bring your elbows only to the ground and keep your head above your heart.

Sit on the floor with your legs open to the sides and knees are straight.  If your back is rounded in a seated position, place a pillow beneath you to help lengthen the spine.  Leading with your chest, and without rounding your spine, slowly move your upper body towards the floor until you are in a comfortable stretch.  Be sure your breath is soft and fluid.  Hold for about 10 breaths.  This pose should be done after your muscles are warmed up.

Easter Coconut Bon Bons

15 oz sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup butter
2 cups confectioners' sugar
12 oz grated coconut
24 oz semi-sweet chocolate
4 Tb shortening

Mig tog condensed milk, butter, sugar and coconut.  Cover with wax paper and chill for 24 hours.
Melt chocolate with shortening.
Roll coconut into balls or egg shapes and using a fork dip the balls into the chocolate.
Drop on wax paper to cool and dry.

I buy the coconut from the local Food Coop.  It seems to have the best taste and is grated finer than grocery store coconut.  Enjoy!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Savasana ( corpse pose)

This is everyone's favorite pose.  This pose can be used to start a yoga class.  It is always practiced at the end of a yoga class especially after a more vigorous yoga class.  It helps to restore and balance the body and mind at the end of class.  The pose is also useful in relaxing a nervous body.  This pose can be done alone but should not be used for meditation purposes as you may fall asleep.  Here's what you do:

Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed.  Lay your mat on the floor and maybe place a soft blanket on top.  You may want to find a bolster for under your knees, eye pads and maybe a neck roll.  Put on some quiet music without words.  Or maybe a nature noise that helps you to quiet down.  Now close your eyes, clear your mind, and enjoy the nxt 5 - 20 minutes of pure bliss. 
Afterwards, roll onto your side and allow your body to slowly come back to awareness.  Then slowly rise and take a few deep breaths to replenish the oxygen in your body.  Congratulations!  You now completed savansana.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Baddha Konasana ( The Butterfly) Pose (hips, sacrum lower leg tension)

As a massage therapist I hear a lot about hip and sacrum pain.  The pain can mean many different things but here is a pose to help relieve the discomfort:  This pose can also help with any menstrual tension.
Sit on the floor in a comfortable position.  If your back is rounded due to tight hamstrings, place a pillow beneath you until you can sit up straight and comfortably.  Bend at the knees and bring the soles of the feet together.  If your knees are too high, and you are feeling knee pain. place pillows underneath each bent leg to support them.  Hold onto your legs at the ankle.  Slowly begin to fold forward over your bent legs.  Hold the pose for about 10 breaths after you have warmed up.  When you are done with butterfly pose, feel free to straighten the legs as in staff pose to relengthen the hamstrings.

Employment Opportunity

Simple Pleasures is currently looking for one or two yoga instructors who have a compassion for yoga and are looking for a bright future in the yoga community. It would be beneficial to be working toward a 200 hour RTY certification with Yoga Alliance. We are looking for teachers to teach a 3:30 or 4:00 class and also Monday evening classes. Instructor should also be able to fill in at night if other instructors are not able to teach. If interested, please contact Christina at 608-780-7909 or e-mail her at

E-mails are not always answered daily.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Partner Yoga Workshop

Saturday, February 26 from 10:00am - 12:00pm  $15.00 for one or $25.00 for two people

Couples yoga is like Hatha yoga in which two people support each other in yoga pose sequences. This is a fun class to try whether it’s someone with who you plan or hope to share your life with, or a new friend you’ve just met in class.  It's a great way to get to know one another.  This yoga class is not your typical yoga class that has a flow to it.  There will be a short warm-up and then we will transition from pose to pose as our partner supports and allows us to feel each pose like we never have before.

Working together with a partner can  help you move beyond your own self-limiting thoughts that tell you that you can or can't do yoga.  It's a fun way to introduce yourself to yoga if this will be your first yoga class.
Come with an open mind and heart — not with a sense that this is going to fix something, but a willingness to learn and grow together by sharing and connecting through yoga.
Try not to be too serious while you are here.  You are here to learn and grow but also to have a fun and eventful workshop.
Sign up today while space is available!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Chocolate Face Mask & Exfolliant Recipes

First exfolliate and wash the face before applying the mask.  Enjoy!


2 teaspoons of corn flour

1 egg white

Mix the two ingredients and apply on the face. Wash off after 15 minutes or until dry. While washing, use circular motion so that you can exfoliate the skin and help the circulation of its deeper layers. First apply warm and then cold water.

Chocolate Face Mask

•1/3 cup cocoa

•1/4 cup of honey

•2 tablespoons of heavy cream (sour cream will work as well)

•3 teaspoons of oatmeal powder

Mix all the ingredient until the mass in consistent. Apply on the face, gently massaging it so that oatmeal can start exfoliating the dead skin cell layer. Leave it on for about 20 minutes and rinse off with lukewarm water.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pepto Bismol mask (try this out)

Pepto Bismol Face Mask Instructions:

Pepto Bismol contains salicylic acid, and so it makes an excellent facial for oily skin and is a great cure and home remedy for acne! It will also help brighten the skin with it's exfolliant properties.

1. Put some Pepto Bismal onto a cotton ball.

2. Apply the Pepto Bismol to your face until it is covered in a thin layer.

3. Let your face mask dry for at least 15 minutes or until a hard paste forms.

4. Wash off your face mask with lukewarm water.

Peptol Bismol’s active ingredient is bismuth subsalicylate, an antibacterial that also has exfoliant properties, but much less so than salicylic acid. Salicylic Acid is a beta hydroxy acid commonly used in skin care for it’s exfoliating and anti-acne properties.
Here's another great CD!  Check it out!