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How to Safely Use Elderberries

We hear a lot about elderberry jam, tea, juice, chutney, pie, and more—especially during flu season. Many different opinions also exist as to its safety and efficacy, however these berries have been used for centuries: The Ancient Egyptians used them for beauty products as well as to heal burns. Native Americans found that they helped with infections. Today we use them primarily to treat cold and flu symptoms.

Benefits

Elderberries actually have many more benefits than these due to their nutritional content:

  • 1 cup of elderberries contains 52 mg. of Vitamin C
  • 100 g. contains 18.4 g. of carbohydrates
  • They are high in dietary fiber
  • Berries contain phenolic acids (powerful antioxidants)
  • They are rich in anthocyanins which are natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.

Studies have shown that elderberries may help fight cancer, support the immune system, protect against UV radiation, fight harmful bacteria, help with depression, and boost heart health in that it reduces fat levels in the blood, decreases cholesterol levels, and improves blood sugar levels.

Both the berries and the flowers of the elderberry plant can be used for medicinal purposes. The berries are made into pies, jam, juice, or chutney. The flowers can be boiled with sugar to make a sweet syrup, or they can be infused into tea or added to a fresh salad.

Dangers

The biggest reason for concern in the use of elderberries is that parts of the plant are toxic and can cause stomach distress such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. While the berries and flowers are very beneficial, the branches, bark, unripe berries, seeds, or leaves should never be eaten.  In their raw state, even the berries contain some cyanide. American or European elderberries have the lowest amount. For this reason, if you are gathering your own berries, it is best to be sure that you know the plant well and are sure of what you are getting. Even at its worst, in American elderberries, only 3 mg of cyanide would be found in 100 g. of berries, which is 3% of what is considered a fatal dose in a 130 lb. person. If you purchase a commercial elderberry product or cook the berries properly, there will be no cyanide present.

Dose

Formal dosing has not been established for this berry. However, a good rule of thumb is 1 tablespoon 4 times per day. Or if you have 175 mg. lozenges, 2 of those per day should be good. If you are taking elderberry because of cold or flu symptoms, it is best to begin taking it within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms for maximum benefit.

Elderberries can interact with prescription medications, so you should contact your physician before using them in any form. It is also not recommended for pregnant or lactating women.

Image by RitaE from Pixabay

*The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and does not substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional.  Please consult your chiropractor or physician to determine whether these self-care tips are appropriate for you.

See also:

The Best Teas for Your Health(Opens in a new browser tab)

10 Surprising Benefits of Cinnamon

Most of us love the smell and taste of cinnamon. It is often associated with comfort foods that may have more great taste than health benefits. (Think cinnamon rolls!) However, many recent studies have been done showing that this spice actually has many potential advantages to our health. These are some of the findings of the studies.

  • Reduces inflammation. In a lab study conducted with 115 different foods, cinnamon was found to be the best at inflammation reduction.
  • Lowers cholesterol. Researchers had a group of 60 adults consume ¼ tsp. of cinnamon a day for a period of 40 days. At the end of the study, they found that on average, the participants’ LDL (bad) cholesterol had gone down.
  • Lowers blood pressure. Several recent studies have been done with adults who were diagnosed as pre-diabetic or who had Type 2 diabetes. These subjects were given cinnamon every day for 3 months. At the end of the study, the participants’ systolic blood pressure (top number) had gone down by as much as t points.
  • Lowers blood sugar. Several studies have shown cinnamon to lower the blood sugar of adults with diabetes.
  • Boosts brain function.  A study was done with rats who showed a build-up of a brain protein that is seen in Alzheimer’s patients. The cinnamon stopped that build-up. When the rats were put in a maze to test their memory, those who had been given the cinnamon scored higher.
  • Helps with yeast infections. Using studies done in a lab, cinnamon was shown to destroy Candida albicans, which is the cause of most vaginal yeast infections. They have not yet tested this one on humans, but it shows promise.
  • Boosts metabolism. Cinnamon contains an essential oil, cinnamaldehyde, which causes fat cells to burn more energy, boosting the metabolism.
  • Fights cancer. When cancer cells were grown in a lab, cinnamon either slowed cancer growth or entirely killed the tumor cells. This also has not yet been tested on humans but shows promise.
  • Cleared skin. Researchers found that Ceylon cinnamon can fight the types of bacteria which are known to cause acne. Studies suggest that cinnamon may boost collagen production, which would help skin to look younger.
  • Fights bacteria. Cinnamon was found to fight many harmful bacteria such as salmonella, E. Coli, and staph. The hope is that eventually they will find a way to use cinnamon as a natural food preservative.

Although many of these studies have only been done in the lab, they show encouraging promise for help in humans. This would provide a great natural product rather than needing to resort to chemicals, which may do more harm than good. In the mean time, putting some cinnamon strategically in our diets is certain to be of benefit—and delicious!

See also: http://maronewellness.com/healthy-benefits-turmeric-curative-spice/

*The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and does not substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional.  Please consult your chiropractor or physician to determine whether these self-care tips are appropriate for you.

Image by Дарья Яковлева from Pixabay

Foods to Help Protect Ourselves from Viruses

In these days of our concern over COVID-19, we all want to do everything we can to protect ourselves and our families. But it is easy to feel out of control and helpless. One big thing that you can control is what you put into your mouth. Eating immune-boosting foods will increase your chances of avoiding any illness. No food will cure any virus or guarantee that you won’t get it, but having a strong immune system will lessen the likelihood of illness coming your way. Seventy percent of our immune system resides in our gut, so keeping our gut running properly is an excellent way to keep our immune system strong.

Immune-Boosting Foods

These are some foods that have shown immune-boosting properties:

  1. Fruits. Especially those high in Vitamin C such as oranges, strawberries, grapefruit, apples, sweet cherries, berries, and plums.
  2. Vegetables. Some of the best are the cruciferous vegetables such as kale, broccoli or raw mustard greens. Other excellent veggies are spinach, bell peppers beets, and artichokes. Yellow vegetables also pack a lot of Vitamin A. Sweet potatoes and carrots top the list
  3. Omega-3 Rich Meats. Salmon and oysters are your best bet here due to their high zinc levels.
  4. Good Fats. Some of the best fats come from fish oils, avocado, olive oil and nuts.
  5. Herbs and Spices. At the top of the list are garlic and turmeric. Other good ones are rosemary and anise. Rosemary improves our gut health, and anise has antiviral properties to boost immunity.
  6. Seeds and Nuts. These are high in Vitamin E, which supports our body’s ability to fend off invading bacteria and viruses. Some of the highest in Vitamin E are sunflower seeds, almonds, Brazil nuts, and walnuts.
  7. Liquids. Good hydration helps to prevent infections and deliver nutrients to our cells. The very best liquid is, of course, plain water. Other good ones are green tea or herbal teas such as ginger or ginseng. Avoid liquids high in sugar or caffeine.
  8. Chocolate. Everyone’s favorite! This food lowers your response to stress, which is especially helpful during times like these when many of us are feeling more stress. 40 g. per day is enough.

Other Thins You Can Do to Protect Yourself and Your Family

  1. Eat less salt and sugar. These do more to deplete your body’s resources than to help.
  2. Get physical exercise. Exercise expels toxins from your body and strengthens your immune system. Regular exercise also lowers your body’s stress hormones.
  3. Avoid processed foods. These are usually lacking in nutrients and contain many toxins.
  4. Get plenty of sleep. A sleep-deprived body is a lot quicker to pick up viruses or bugs that you don’t want.

We hope you all are staying healthy and safe during this time. Please give us a call if you need more counseling about your health.

Photo courtesy of Dennis Klein on Unsplash

*The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and does not substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional.  Please consult your chiropractor or physician to determine whether these self-care tips are appropriate for you.

Enjoying Baking a Little Too Much During the Quarantine? Here are 9 Helpful Tips

With extra time on your hands lately, have you found yourself spending too much time in the kitchen during quarantine baking yummy delights? If so, here are some tips to help cut the sugar, fat, and calories so you can have your cake…and eat it too!

 

Sugar Replacements

 

  1. Figs.  Replace up to ½ the amount of sugar in your recipe with figs. Place the figs in a little water to soften. Drain. Then for every 8 oz. of figs, puree them with ¼ to 1/3 c. water until smooth.
  2. Dates. Dates add even more sugar than figs. Place 1 c. dates in a blender with ½ to 1 c. hot water. Puree until it becomes a thick paste. Use this to replace up to ½ of the sugar in your recipe. You may have to experiment a little in order to get the right texture.
  3. Spices. Cut the sugar in your recipe by 1/3 to ½. Then double the spices and extracts. Try experimenting with spices or extracts not mentioned in your recipe such as cloves, nutmeg, allspice or almond extract.

 

Fat Replacements

 

  1. Avocado. Peel, pit and mash an avocado to make a puree. Add 2 tsp. lemon juice. For every cup of fat in your recipe, substitute ¾ to 1 cup of the avocado puree. Avocados contain more water than butter or shortening, so you may need to decrease the oven temperature by 25% and bake your food a little longer.
  2. Beans. If you are baking something dark, such as a chocolate cake or brownies, replace some of the fat with black beans that have been pureed. The beans will not only cut down on fat, but they will add protein, fiber, and potassium. If you are making something lighter in color, canellini beans or chickpeas can be substituted.
  3. Greek Yogurt. Yogurt can be used to replace the oil in muffins. Whole milk or full-fat versions will give you the best taste. (Non-fat yogurt will change the taste and texture quite a bit. It is not recommended.) Equal amounts of yogurt can be used in exchange for the oil. Add ½ tsp. baking soda per cup of yogurt to help with the rise.

 

Other Helps

  1. Whole Grains. For every cup of white flour in your recipe, use ¼ c. whole grain flour and ¾ c. white. You may need to experiment until you get the ratio just right.
  2. Gluten. To reduce the amount of gluten in yeast breads, replace ¼ of the total flour in the recipe with oat flour. Add more yeast to help it to rise better.
  3. Egg Substitutes. Each egg can be substituted with either 2 tsp. chia seeds or 1 tablespoon of flaxseed. Add ¼ c. water and let sit for 5 minutes to soften. When using these substitutes, you will need to add ¼ o ½ tsp. baking powder or baking soda to the recipe.

Image courtesy of Hal Nguyen on Unsplash

The opposite of low-glycemic foods

The Benefits of a Low-Glycemic Diet

Low-carbohydrate, or low-glycemic, diets are always in the news. Sometimes they are even referred to as “no-carb” diets. Actually the standard American diet has become a high-carbohydrate diet. A low-carb diet, however, is what should be normal.  Three major diseases that are common for Americans are heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. For all of these, a low-glycemic diet can both prevent and correct the progression of these diseases.

Researchers have speculated that around 90% of our illnesses are due to carbohydrate metabolism problems. When excavating the remains of aboriginal people, archaeologists can tell what diet they ate by examining their teeth. Researchers found that those who ate a higher carbohydrate grain diet lost their teeth due to the extra sugar. Those from areas where a lower-carb diet was standard did not lose their teeth.

Many experts in the past have recommended replacing fats with carbohydrates. Fats were vilified as being a primary cause of heart disease. Recent studies, however, are showing negative effects of completely replacing fats with carbohydrates, especially the saturated fats that we see so frequently in processed foods. In 2009 an analysis was published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.which showed that replacing fats with carbs made no difference in the instance of heart disease. What did make a difference was replacing the saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats such as that found in olives, fish, or nuts. Adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to the diet also showed benefit in lowering risk of major diseases.

Making a Low–Carb Diet Easier

A low-carb, or low-glycemic, diet is much easier to follow if many of the sugars and starches are replaced with protein, healthy fats/oils, and low-carb vegetables and fruits. After changing their diet to these foods, people find that their cravings for sugar are eliminated. This is because they are getting into glycemic balance. Other benefits include more energy, reduced inflammation and pain, fewer food cravings (of any type), reduced cholesterol levels, reduced body fat percentages, increased concentration span, as well as others. Weight loss is also a benefit!

If you would like guidance on how to get your body into balance, please give us a call at 864-963-9304 to schedule a free consultation.

 

 

*The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and does not substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional.  Please consult your chiropractor or physician to determine whether these self-care tips are appropriate for you.

 

Image by Michelle Maria from Pixabay.

a glass of milk

Could “Low Fat” Be Making You Gain Weight

Back in the 1960’s agribusiness and the medical establishment began to instill fear into Americans about the fat in our foods. There was no scientific documentation to back up their claims. It all started as a solution to a problem.

 

When the farmers got milk, they skimmed off the cream to make cream and butter. What was left was just a waste product once the fat was gone. What could they do with this? Rather than throwing it away, they decided to give it to the farm animals as a cheap way to feed them. What they discovered was that this low-fat or even fat-free milk actually made their animals fatter! This was a welcome, but unexpected result of their decision.

 

Later, they switched gears and began fattening their animals with soy and corn and touted this new “low fat” milk as a “slimming” food for humans (at a much higher price than they could get for it as animal food!) No wonder that our population has become more and more obese. A study was conducted at Tufts University over a 15 year period. They compared people who consumed full fat dairy foods with those who had eaten lower fat versions. The result of their tests showed that those who ate the full-fat foods had a 46% lower risk of becoming diabetic. Women who ate the full fat had an 8% less chance of becoming obese than those who ate low-fat dairy.

What Removal of Fat Does to Dairy

 

Milk, in its natural state is very high in sugar. When the fat is taken out, milk is left with a much higher concentration of sugar as well as a higher protein content. The excess protein is more than the body can utilize at one time, so it produces even more sugar. The lactose can then create an insulin effect.

 

Another problem with low-fat foods is that, without the fat, the fat-soluble vitamins in them are not able to be assimilated by the body. For example, without fat to activate the Vitamin D, the calcium in the milk cannot be absorbed. Consequently, low-fat milk has been associated with an increased risk for osteoporosis.

 

Often, to boost the flavor, additional skim milk powder will be added to low-fat milk products. It is then heat processed which oxidizes the cholesterol. It is when cholesterol becomes oxidized that it becomes pro-inflammatory by releasing Interleukin 6, the major inflammatory factor in atherosclerosis.

 

The End Result

 

This not only applies to milk but also to any dairy, especially milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese. Since the middle of the 1900’s, when low-fat dairy came into vogue, we have seen people move from whole foods naturally high in fat to foods which have radically changed our diets:

 

  • Our consumption of starches and sugars has risen exponentially
  • We have seen an increase in the number of heart attacks
  • Strokes are much more common
  • Diabetes is on the rise.

 

So the take-away from this is not to be afraid of putting good fats into your diet. If you keep at a good weight and are burning the number of calories you consume in a day, your body actually needs those fats. We don’t need to be afraid of them after all.

See also:

The #1 Addiction in America May Surprise You

5 Tips to Help You Eat Less and Feel Better

7 Tips for Success in Your Weight Loss This Year

*The information in this article is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition and does not substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional.  Please consult your chiropractor or physician to determine whether these self-care tips are appropriate for you.

Image by Devanath from Pixabay

Sugar: The #1 Addiction

The #1 Addiction in America May Surprise You

The biggest source of addiction in America isn’t cocaine or marijuana. It is sugar. Most of us would not admit to being “addicts,” but we may have succumbed without realizing it. Ask yourself these questions:

 

  • Do you have a hard time stopping once you have started eating a sweet snack?
  • Do you crave simple carbohydrates such as pasta, white bread, or pastries?
  • Do you find yourself eating sugary foods even when you don’t want to?
  • Do you have a stash of sweets that you hide from others?
  • Do you find yourself making extra trips to the store or coffee shop to load up on more sweets?
  • Are you tired all day?
  • Do you have memory issues?
  • Do you find yourself reaching for fat-free items? (Most fat-free items have replaced the fat with sugar for added flavor.)

 

Studies done with animals have shown refined sugar to be more addictive than morphine or heroin, and it can be 8 times more addictive than cocaine! Sugar addiction has also been linked to food intolerances as well.

 

The Domino Effect

 

Another interesting side of eating high-sugar foods is the domino effect. According to a recent study published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating sugary food triggers the nucleus accumbens, the part of the brain the controls reward and craving. Not only does this trigger affect your eating habits at the current time, but it also seems to affect behavior at the next meal. This leads to hormonal havoc. The blood sugar raises the insulin level. This then blocks the satiety hormone leptin. Cortisol levels are also increased, which causes you to crave more comfort foods. The high cortisol during sleep increases ghrelin, the hunger hormone, so the next morning you are more likely to reach for a quick sugar fix for breakfast. And the whole cycle begins again.

 

Eliminating sugar, however, is not easy. According to Mark Hyman, MD, director of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine,

 

There are 600,000 processed foods in the marketplace, 80 percent of which have added hidden sugar. The average American consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, mostly hidden, and the average teenage male has 34 teaspoons a day (more than two 20 ounce sodas). One serving of Prego tomato sauce has more sugar than a serving of Oreo cookies. Sweetened yogurts can have more sugar than a can of soda.

 

The Addiction Can Be Broken

 

Many people who have been addicted to sugar have been able to defeat it in just a few weeks with the right strategy. People find that their taste buds come alive again! They are able to taste flavors that they had missed for a long time. If you would like to be free from your sugar addiction, please give us a call at 864-963-9304. We would love to help you improve your health.

 

See also:

Functional Medicine: What Is It?

Refined Sugar: What to Use in Its Place

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

functional health

Functional Medicine: What Is It?

A 49-year-old man was experiencing cramps, high blood pressure, fatigue, anxiety, and had trouble sleeping. He went to the doctor and had the routine blood work done. Everything came back normal. Since he was not able to find a good solution to the symptoms he was experiencing, he chose to try the principles of Functional Medicine. The practitioner had lab work done. This showed his unique biomarkers which revealed the deficiencies in the major systems of his body.

His Functional Medicine report showed that his body needed more magnesium than the average person. After seeing the results, he increased his magnesium intake. Within just a few days, his fatigue had vanished. The dark circles under his eyes were gone. His blood pressure readings were lower. He began to see his blood sugar stabilizing. With these changes, he felt much better in just a short time.

Each one of us is as different as our fingerprints. We each have unique biochemical characteristics. Two people can experience the same symptoms, but it may be different imbalances in their bodies which are contributing to those symptoms. Using Functional Medicine is like listening to your body talk directly to you. It helps you to find the deficiencies in your body that you need to bring it back to full health.

5 Basic Principles of Functional Medicine

  • Each one of us is a unique individual.  This includes our genetic makeup as well as biochemical makeup. Functional Medicine treats the individual, not the disease.
  • FM is science based.  Science is learning that each system of the body is interconnected with every other system. By viewing the various systems as an integrated whole, FM recognizes that a symptom in one part of the body may be a manifestation of an underlying issue in another part.
  • Your body has an innate intelligence. Once any interference is eliminated, your body has the ability to regulate and balance all of its systems.
  • Your body has the ability to heal and prevent most of the diseases of aging.
  • Health is more than absence of disease; it is a state of immense vitality.

Mainstream medicine is trained to diagnose and then find medications to match the disease. The goal of Functional Medicine is to help patients with chronic illnesses find the most effective options with the fewest side effects. We work to find the root cause of your symptoms or disease and use holistic or alternative medicine approaches to help you reach optimal functioning.

Call us at 864-963-9304 for a free consultation today.

Photo courtesy of Pineapple Supply Company on Unsplash

9 Tips to Help Prepare Healthy Meals FAST!

After a long day at work followed by your kids’ soccer practice, it can be really tempting to call out for pizza rather than putting something nutritious on the table. Nutritious food just seems to take a lot more time to prepare. With these tips, though, you may find that a healthy meal can be a lot easier than you think!

 

Meal Planning Tips

 

  • Plan ahead. Sit down once a week and plan your meals for the next week. Take into account those day which are going to be especially busy, and plan something simple for those days.
  • Do your grocery shopping once a week. After you plan your meals for the week, write out a grocery list for all the ingredients you will need to prepare those meals. This will save tons of time by avoiding those extra trips to the store to pick up those items needed for a last-minute meal.
  • Prep your produce all at once. Find a time shortly after you bring the groceries home to do any necessary dicing and slicing necessary for the week’s meals. Measure out the amounts you will need for each recipe and label the container. Or have a “Monday” container, a “Tuesday” container, etc. that you will use each week for that day’s chopped produce.
  • Be sure that you keep your pantry and freezer stocked. Keep staples on hand. When they get low, put them on your grocery list. When you open a box or jar of any item you use regularly, put it on your list so you will be sure to have it when the opened item is used up. Be sure the things you are stocking are healthy—beans, whole grains, whole-grain pasta, frozen fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices.
  • Double up. When you make a recipe, plan on doubling or tripling the recipe. You’ll have a meal for that day and more to put in the freezer for a quick, already-prepared meal another night.
  • Take advantage of the simplicity of a slow cooker. The ingredients can be dumped in the slow cooker in the morning,. When you get home, a nice, warm meal will be waiting for you.
  • Use shakes. For really busy days, find some good smoothie recipes, and have a healthy smoothie as a meal replacement.
  • Some types of food are naturally easy. Tacos, stir-fly, or pasta dishes are usually quick to make. Find several variations of these to keep it fresh.
  • Have some “go-to” meals. Make a list of the quick healthy meals that you have prepared that your family especially enjoyed. Keep those ingredients on hand so you know you always have something you can put together to keep nutritious meals on the table.

 

Please let us know if these are helpful to you or if you have additional tips to add that have worked for you. We’re all in this together to keep our bodies healthy!

 

See also:

Use the Color Wheel to Plan Your Menu

Meal Maker: A Tool to Make Cooking Easier

13 Tips to Help You Keep Your “Healthier Eating” New Year’s Resolutions

Eating Healthy Even Through the Holidays

21 Days to a Clearer Mind and Increased Energy!

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

grow-your-own

8 Vegetables to Plant This Spring

If you want to improve the nutritional quality of your food, there is no better way than to grow it yourself! You know the produce is fresh, and you can control the quality of the soil it grows in. Since spring is just around the corner, it is time to be thinking about what to plant in that garden. Here are some ideas for some vegetables and when to plan them:

 

Arugula

This plant adds a nice zest to dishes! The seeds should be planted as soon as the soil is workable. They will grow fast—you should have a harvest in 3-4 weeks. You can replant it every 2 weeks until the weather becomes too hot.

 

Beets

There are many varieties of this vegetable. You can venture into new territory and try a yellow or white variety instead of the classic red. These provide an early summer harvest. They like a bit of nitrogen-rich fertilizer to help them along.

 

Broccoli

Broccoli is filled with anti-oxidants and is a nutritional powerhouse. It can be transplanted as early as 4 weeks before the last frost date (which in our area is April 15). Broccoli will take 50-100 days to harvest.

 

Carrots

Who doesn’t love a great snack of carrots! The seeds can be planted as early as two weeks before the last frost date. Plant them deep in loose soil. If you want baby carrots, they can be harvested in 30-40 days. For full mature carrots, they will require 50-80 days.

 

Peas

Peas come in several varieties: English, green, sugar, or snap. It might be fun to experiment and try all of them! These can be planted 4-6 weeks before the last frost date. Approximately 55-70 days later, you should be ready to reap your harvest.

 

Lettuce

This vegetable can be grown at any time. Begin your planting as soon as the soil is workable. It prefers partial shade, so it will grow in areas where some other things won’t do as well. Lettuce is sensitive to cold, so if we have a cold snap, covering them with blankets can protect them.

 

Onions

No matter which type you prefer, these can be planted early. Onions do best with time-released fertilizer.

 

Radishes

These can be planted in between other veggies, because they don’t require much room. They need well-drained soil, and no feeding is necessary. Radishes grow quickly, so check them often. They should be picked once they are an edible size to avoid becoming bitter. Plant them as early as 4 weeks before the last frost.

 

What are you going to plant this season? Anything unusual? We’d love to hear your gardening stories—they’re an inspiration to us all to get our hands in the dirt!

 

See also:

http://maronewellness.com/3-tips-for-pain-free-gardening/

http://maronewellness.com/more-tips-for-pain-free-gardening/