THE WELLNESS GARDEN by SHAWNA CORONADO

I love my garden I love when Spring comes because I can enjoy hours outside. Yesterday I spent 3 hours getting rid of leaves, old branches and starting to set up my garden beds.  I love Burpee for all my garden needs – they grow beautiful vegetables and herbs.
I love learning from others about gardening and loved reading this book :

THE WELLNESS GARDEN: GROW, EAT, AND WALK YOUR WAY TO BETTER HEALTH by Shawna Coronado, is the first book to show how and why gardening should be a part of anyone’s overall wellness plan.

 

The book provides practical tips, advice and how-to information, along with techniques for exercising in the garden and outdoor green spaces, as well as therapeutic garden design solutions.  There’s also information on which vegetables and herbs are more nutritive and vitamin-filled, how to grow them, along with diet tips for anti-inflammatory living. In fact, gardening can help people with chronic pain, too, as Shawna learned first-hand, living with severe degenerative osteoarthritis. With the help of her nutritionist and doctors she overcame the debilitating pain by changing her lifestyle to incorporate better nutrition and exercise, while still making gardening a central focus.  With over 115 million people gardening, those with chronic pain and arthritis will discover that they can still garden.
I had the chance to ask Shawna some questions about herself and her book —

Tell me a bit about your background

I am an author, blogger, photographer, and media host with green lifestyle living, organic gardening, and anti-inflammatory culinary who campaigns for social good. I do a lot of media work related to inspiring people to live a healthier lifestyle as an on-camera spokesperson, social media and YouTube personality. My garden, food, and eco-adventures have been featured in many media venues including magazines, newspapers, television news programming, radio broadcasting, and PBS television. I’m concerned about promoting and teaching healthy living.
In The Wellness Garden, my new book from Cool Springs Press, I detail how I have learned to use my  garden as a key tool in my battle with osteoarthritis and other chronic pain issues. This is the book that truly addresses the passion I feel about finding wellness and how I changed my life by significantly reducing my chronic pain. I give tips on nutritive values of vegetables; how to grow your own herbs and vegetables; how to use tools to garden; how to use yoga, walking, and green activities to move you towards wellness; and most importantly, how to use all that information to help reduce chronic pain. My osteoarthritis pain levels were off the charts – I could not sleep or walk upright – until I began using diet and exercise to truly make a difference. I now have 80% less pain than I did when I was diagnosed and I feel better and strong. I bring that successful story of wellness directly to you with this book. I tell you how I reduced my pain and improved the quality of my life – if I can do it, you can do it too!

 

You can learn more about me at http://www.shawnacoronado.com.

 

How long have you been gardening

 

I was raised on a farm near Kokomo, Indiana, so have been gardening my entire life. There’s not a time that I don’t remember my hands in the soil. The first thing I ever tried to grow was a cherry seed. I failed, but in failing, I kept trying. J

 

What do you love to garden

 

Everything. Mostly I like to take plants that people see as being very utilitarian and boring, then transforming them into something beautiful in an elevated bed or container garden or living wall. Plants are filled with purpose, but they are also filled with the miracle of life. Viewing them in their unique beauty is something that is therapeutic in itself.

 

Tell me how you break the book up into therapeutic, wellness diet and then how to incorporate exercise in your garden

 

(Btw love the fact that you did a book on a living wall trying to get one inside my house as well – but you propose them outside, too)

 

The Wellness Diet idea came about when I was diagnosed in 2015 with severe degenerative osteoarthritis of the spine. I learned to reduce my inflammatory condition by consuming an anti-inflammatory diet.

 

This is specifically important when you consider that according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, chronic pain affects more than 100 million Americans, more than one-third of the United States population. While “pain therapy” is sometimes very much needed in a patient’s treatment, opioids are being over-prescribed. In 2014 alone, more than 240 million prescriptions were written for prescription opioids. When considering these statistics, it became evident to me that pain medication does not cure the specific problem of chronic pain: it simply masks the symptoms. So, I consulted with a nutritionist and  discovered a surprising cure for my own incurable condition – severe degenerative osteoarthritis of the spine – without using addictive medications. I began eating an elimination diet which was anti-inflammatory.

 

Then I began daily exercise that included gardening, walking, and yoga. The wellness lifestyle is eating food that helps you to reduce inflammation, and it works in conjunction with your daily physical activity. Both are needed to improve your condition. I want to teach this experience to those people who feel trapped with chronic pain or ill health. I’ve discovered a better way to live without medications and I want to teach that principle to others. I had to teach the three components because each component is important for the success of the others.

 

 

What do you like to grow

 

EVERYTHING! Herbs, annuals, perennials, trees – you name it. Gardening is forever a process of learning what you like. I have my seasonal favorites, then a few years pass and I move on to others.

 

On page 10 you have these beautiful plants that grow upward what are those like vine plants

 

That’s Malabar Spinach and it’s growing at the residence of Rick Bayless, the famous chef.

 

What are some of the most important herbs to grow in your garden for your health

 

This is an individual thing and cannot be answered easily. I’d say for myself, “ALL OF THEM!”

 

What are three overview tips that you learned in regards to your diet that really helped you

 

In order to start with an elimination diet, the first step is to understand what your body needs. You must consult an expert to have the best success.

 

  1. Consult a doctor before you jump into a big dietary change. Build a plan together based on your health issues and concerns.
  2. Eat more vegetables, eat less red meat. My diet is essentially, no grain, no dairy, no sugar. I eat fish, eggs, and meat, but I also consume half a plate of vegetables at least twice per day.
  3. Every body is different and has different needs. I’m allergic to peanuts, but you might not have that same allergy, so you could eat those nuts while I can’t. Recognizing that and consulting with a nutritionist to help guide you can make a huge difference in your success.

 

Are there any vegetables and herbs that you can grow like a perennial and that come back even in cold winters like in NYC

 

My favorites are chives, Greek oregano, lemon thyme, and mint.

 

Why compost

 

Because if you do not compost you are wasting all that food that could be producing healthy soil for you.

 

Tell me what readers can expect from your very important charts in the book you did – I love those

 

A Harvard-based Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study is the longest modern study on dietary habits. The eating habits of approximately 110,000 women and men were followed for 14 years. Those participants who averaged more than eight servings of fruits and vegetables daily were at least 30 percent less likely to have a stroke or heart attack. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, “Although all fruits and vegetables likely contribute to this benefit, green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, and mustard greens; cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, and kale” all make important contributions to a stronger preventative diet. But which specific vegetables have more of Vitamin A or more Fiber? Or less fiber? Or more Vitamin C?

Many people would ask me where they could discover more vitamins or fiber. However, in order to discover the answer I had to put in the research time. The charts in the book list Glycemic Index, Carbs, Fiber and Vitamin Content for beans, fruits, and vegetables. If you had a condition which needed increased Vitamin D, for instance, you could look at the charts and better understand what things to grow to contribute to your diet with Vitamin D.

 

Do you have any favorite “garden “ blogs or Instagrams you like to follow

 

Too many to list.

 

On page 83 there is a tree behind the wall that is growing do you know what that might be – it is a page that is so dreamy –  I really love the photography in this book

 

Thanks! I did about 98% of the photography for The Wellness Garden (and for all my books). I believe that tree is a Weeping Norway Spruce, but it may be another variety of pine.

 

I love that you have tips on how to create a fragrant theme garden

 

What is your next project?

 

Next I plan on creating a Wellness University on my website whereby people can come and learn how to reduce chronic pain issues. I can’t wait to get started!

 

 

 

 

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