Janelle: You're listening to, "Staying in the Game," a Plum Dragon Herbs podcast, where we have conversations about mindset and techniques for staying at the top of your game. I'm your host, Janelle Leatherwood. In this podcast series, we are speaking to Craig Williams, a licensed acupuncturist and practitioner of East Asian medicine in private practice in Austin, Texas. Craig is a clinical herbalist, a certified health coach, and a certified holistic nutritionist specializing in Ayurveda, TCM, and nutrition. Craig is also a certified coach in eat-to-perform, fitness, running, and sports conditioning. He has a Masters of Science in Oriental medicine and is a nationally certified instructor of Wing Chun Kung Fu. It's a pleasure to speak with him today about how the foods we eat can affect our performance and to find out which nutrition practices he advises to follow in order to stay at the top of our game. Craig, thanks so much for coming on our podcast today.

Craig: Oh, thanks so much. It's an honor to be on. I'm excited to talk to you.

Janelle: And you were introduced to me through one of our previous podcast guests, Kenton Sefcik. And so, I'm glad that he could pair us up together. Could you just take a minute and introduce yourself to the guests that are listening?

Craig: Absolutely. I'm an East Asian medical practitioner and an acupuncturist in private practice in Austin, Texas. And I'm a certified health coach, certified sports conditioning trainer and eat-to-perform coach. And so I integrate a lot of modalities together, both Chinese medicine, acupuncture, Ayurveda, the science of medicine from India, and with a lot of sports training and sports physiology. And then I'm also a nutritionist as well. So I try to target all of those different aspects in my private practice and to give the patients options for healing.

Janelle: Yeah, what are some of, like, the more common nutrition problems that you see with your patients?

Craig: Nutrition is a very important part of targeting, rebalancing a patient. I think what's happening now is a lot of patients are just confused and overwhelmed by information overload. You know, that's one of the unique things about technology now, is it has put a lot of information at our fingertips. But, unfortunately, a lot of people don't know how to interpret that information. And so they can visit five different websites and five different experts, give you five different opinions of what they think the most perfect diet is. So I'm very passionate about being a source of kind of a reference point for patients, so they can come to me with questions and we can go through all the data and kind of help clear out misconceptions and remove any kind of marketing mythos and just kind of help them find some kind of dietary plan that works for them. I often like to refer to myself as a dietary agnostic. I don't follow any particular trend of guiding. I'm extremely trained in all types of nutrition, but I often just want to find some kind of diet that is healthy, natural, and that is sustainable. Because that's the most important thing we have to do for patients in reference to nutrition, is to find them a diet that's sustainable, a healthy diet that they can stick to, that they enjoy. Because no matter how "perfect" a diet is, if a person is not happy with it, they're not going to stay on.

Janelle: So, lately, I've been focusing on just eating better rather than eliminating certain foods in my diet. What are some of the things that you really coach people, "You've got to include these in your diet?"

Craig: Yeah. No, I think that's a good point. I think two things that I tend to focus a lot and which I see happening a lot, I would say in the past five years or so in my clinical practice, is number one, we see this huge glamorization and obsession with protein. Everyone thinks protein is the miracle and, "The more and more protein I eat the better and better I'm gonna be." So, I often try to, number one, [inaudible 00:04:26] as a balanced diet, that got a balanced ratio of proteins, healthy carbohydrates, and healthy fats. It's very common for me to see patients who are just eating nothing but protein. And so I need to be sure, "Hey. Okay, that's a good step. But we need to be sure that we're having all that together."

And then that kind of leads into number two is that I find that most people just do not eat enough vegetables, period. So that's usually for me, I'm always trying to get them to, you know, a nice ratio of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats. And then, number two, I'm trying to say, "Hey, let's get you to eat more plants, and how can we do that?" And then after that, we find that balanced ratio. And then, of course, I think the third thing would be something you kind of hinted at, is I try to get people on the least processed foods they can eat. And then if we can start that, and then from there we can really even individualize it more based on medical history, food allergies, their digestive capacity, perhaps their body type, and Ayurveda, and then perhaps their seasonal availability. So, you know, it can get very complex. Nutrition shouldn't be so confusing for people.

Janelle: Yeah. I agree. And going back to what you said about eating more vegetables, so I found that if I prep my vegetables for the week, and maybe saute a whole bunch, then I can add it to the scrambled eggs in the morning, or even toss it in with the salad. Even cooked vegetables, I think, are good in a salad.

Craig: Absolutely.

Janelle: And it does help me feel like I'm never hungry because I'm filling my body with so many nutritious foods, you know, at each meal.

Craig: It's very important. I'm excited to hear that you're doing that. And that's one of the most important things about vegetables, is they're so nutrient-dense, and they fill you up. And so it's going to be something which you're getting a lot of micronutrients. And then it's also stabilizing your blood sugar. And then you get so many phytonutrients. I think that, like, for me, that's probably one of the reasons why you see so much interesting data from vegetarians and vegan studies, particularly when we see studies that say, you know, "Vegans have lower rates of heart disease or lower types of cancer." It's probably not so much that they're not eating meat, it's that they're eating so much vegetables. So they're getting so many phyto micronutrients in their body.

So I think that's the big thing, is I'm always just trying to find a balanced nutrition program for people that if, let's say, they're following...for example, I have a lot of patients who follow paleo diets, "That's the really cool thing right now," but a large percentage of the patients who I know who follow paleo or a keto-based diet aren't even really educated about what that really means that, you know, a paleo diet is absolutely fine with vegetables. There's totally nothing wrong. You can be completely paleo, and eat a ton of vegetables. But most people think, "Oh, paleo, that means only meat, eggs, and bacon." You know, if they are eating a large amount of proteins that we just need to balance that out with a large amount of vegetables. And that doesn't mean a raw food diet. That just means, just like you said, I loved how you said that it maybe steamed or sautéed, and you added that to your salad. You know, raw foods can be very hard for people to digest. So we're talking about vegetables that are steamed, that are grilled, that are baked. Be very creative. Food should be fun, and people should learn how to cook and see eating as a sacred act.

Janelle: Yeah. So, now, a lot of people are avoiding wheat or gluten right now, and having various gut problems and stuff. What are you seeing in that, and what are your recommendations?

Craig: That's an important idea. A large part of my practice is digestive disorders. And so I do treat that a lot. Food allergies and food sensitivities are a very important topic. However, I do think that sometimes people are going a little bit overboard on that and maybe a little bit obsessive and paranoid about it. I do think there are some significant issues with gluten, for sure. And so people definitely need to take the time to see what foods they react to and what foods they don't. But, for example, you know, we're definitely exposed to toxins every day that are much more of a concern to me than gluten.

Now, I'm not talking about people who are certified celiac. That's another story. We're talking about people who might just be "gluten-sensitive." And another very important medical point is that there are many other proteins on wheat besides gluten that they can be sensitive to as well. And so I think if they feel better not eating gluten, then that's fine. They don't have to eat it. But most people shouldn't walk around in fear of food. Most people shouldn't walk around scared of what they're going to eat. But I think practitioners should take the time to examine the digestive histories of patients and to be sure they are targeting any food sensitivities and food allergies they have. That is a very important topic. Absolutely.

Janelle: Yeah. What about losing weight or counting calories, do you think that you have to count your calories to lose weight?

Craig: That's a tricky question. As a coach and a trainer, I'm always working with clients on either weight loss, or I'm working with clients on weight gain. And so, that's something which I specialized in. And I think that we have to have a very realistic viewpoint with this. There definitely has to be some kind of accountability in counting calories to some extent. For example, in the past year, we've seen so many interesting new studies which showed that people are not honest on their food diaries, especially when they're often will say, "I'm totally eating 1,200 calories a day, not losing weight." And then when they bring those same people into that controlled environment and only give them a 1,200 calorie diet, they lose weight. And we can see they weren't aware of portion control. They weren't aware of how much they were eating. So, for me...

Janelle: Oh, it's so hard though. I mean...

Craig: It is.

Janelle: I went to the drive-in with my daughter. She had a little injury. We had to take her to the InstaCare. She's okay, but she was starving. And so I let her pick her favorite In-N-Out Burger on the way home. And I was done eating for the day because I tried to cut off my eating, like, 7:00 p.m. or after my dinner meal. And so I'm just smelling the food thinking, "Oh, this smells so good." And then luckily though, they post the calories there, and I'm like, "Dang, that would be like 900 calories for a cheeseburger and fries." So that's like two-thirds of what I'm eating if I'm trying to lose weight or something. So it is crazy how easily you could blow the calories on fastfood or whatever.

Craig: That's a wonderful story. That is so true. And so for me, a large part is educating patients on the caloric density of foods. I think people just need to be aware of that. They need to be aware that if they want to lose weight. And on the same token, if I'm working with a martial arts fighter who needs to move up a weight class, if I'm working with a weightlifter who needs weight, then we need to be sure that they're eating enough. And, on the contrary, you can see that constantly. I will have a client or a patient who says, "I'm not gaining the muscle mass that I need to, but I'm eating enough." And you have to just say, "You're not eating enough." If you're eating enough, you're going to gain the weight.

So there is a little bit of that I think we have to watch. Now, you bring up a good point. I don't think that people should be like obsessed, walking around constantly counting calories on everything they eat and taking the joy out of food. I think they should also, you know...so, there's a nice balance there. So I think that's what we always have to try to educate the patient, is what is their relationship to food. That's a very important thing for me, is helping patients start to see what is their relationship with their food and what is food to them. And if we can start that conversation, then it can be very inspiring how you can see some transformations.

Janelle: Absolutely. I know. It's so hard if you're in a grumpy mood, or you're under a lot of stress to just grab chocolate or whatever. It will help...

Craig: Yes, totally.

Janelle: ...appease those emotions that you're experiencing.

Craig: Without a doubt. And you can see that, like you mentioned about fast food. You know, so many people eat still so much fast food. And it's so calorically dense, they don't realize it. So that's something we just always help them be aware of.

Janelle: Now, when we're talking about, like, losing weight though, really what most people want to do is lose fat and lean up, maybe gain muscle in the right area. So how do you make sure that you're losing fat and not just muscle mass?

Craig: That's a really good question. That's something that is a main focus on my practice, for people who are trying to lose weight, is to be sure that we're helping them gain muscle. And, to me, I'm much more interested in what we call body re-composition, and that means helping the person develop turn their fat into muscle. Not necessarily that's kind of the phrase, it's not really a scientifically idea, but what we're trying to do is we're just trying to build more muscle so that their bodies have a different proportion of fat to muscle ratio. And that typically comes through educating them on certain types of exercise. And so that's a very important thing, even particularly for women, for helping them understand how weightlifting can be very healthy for their bones, for their longevity. I see a lot of women patients don't grow up exposed to lifting weights. And so I'm always trying to educate them into that and get them healthy because, for me, fitness is about living an empowered, healthy life, and a life of independence, so that someone is strong enough, flexible enough, healthy enough, coordinated enough, that they can go throughout their lives without aches and pains, without falling and instantly having a horrible injury, and also having a better overall health. And that muscle ratio is very important, so always look to that and to work with patients. If they're trying to lose weight, we have to really look at, okay, let's look at how much muscle you have versus how much fat, and let's get a program together that we can maximize our focus in. You have to find something that the person gets a joy out of. You know, it's just like a diet. You can write out the perfect workout plan. But if they don't like that, they're not going to do it. And so, you know, so what do that means helping a patient find a CrossFit gym they like, but if they don't like that, if they don't like a certain type of exercise, help them find one that they do. You know, that's a thing. So everybody has something that kind of sparks their interest. And so, as a coach, I'm always trying to find what that exercise it is that they like that inspires them. And I think weight-bearing exercise is very important for overall health and longevity.

Janelle: How much percentage would you weight nutrition as far as, like, affecting performance?

Craig: Large part. For me, performance and nutrition go hand in hand. Now, if we're talking about sports performance, you're definitely going to have a large component of that being genetic. You know, we understand that. However, you know, we can look at something like nutrigenomics, and we know that someone's diet has a huge impact on how their genes are going to express themselves. And so, having a very healthy diet is something which can really help someone maximize their genetic tactile. And that's very important. However, I will say that two large health concerns kind of loom over my ideas with diet in the past years in my clinical practice, and that would be heart disease and diabetes. And we're seeing just rampant numbers on those two health conditions. And so I often look at diets and the patient's history and say, "You know, is this diet sustainable, and will it help lower your risk for heart disease, and will it help lower your risk for type II diabetes?" And those are very important concerns.

Janelle: Giving up soda is probably a huge component of that.

Craig: It's huge. It's funny you say that because last night I stopped at a large grocery store in Austin, Texas, which is very...you know, market is a healthy grocery store to get some dog food. And I was just shocked at how many people were just buying sodas. Everyone was just buying large amounts of sodas. You know, even if they were natural sodas, the sugar consumption is just off the charts. So that is something to concern ourselves with.

Janelle: Okay. So let me ask you, I'm sure you've had lots of people like this, but who comes to mind when I ask you about somebody who was ready to kind of give up on their training goals and, you know, they just couldn't stay in the game, so to speak? What were some of your tips for helping those people stay in the game of life and athletics and health in general?

Craig: That's a good question. I mean, that's a large part of coaching is to find out what is that spark inside of each person which inspires them to pursue excellence, and particularly with athletes. You know, athletes often tend to be obsessive in nature already, you know. A lot of athletes, it's kind of easy to do. They'll do whatever you tell them to do. They'll eat whatever you tell them to eat. They just perform. They're self-starters, as we've been saying, coaching. But a lot of people tend to lose that drive, and they lose that motivation. And particularly, if we think something about weight loss in there, maybe people are really excited for a month or two months, and they start to kind of fall off. And so I think, what I always try to do for patients is to find out what is the fundamental, most basic reason that they want to be healthy.

I'm a competitive athlete. I've always been my entire life. To me, sports performance, it's something I'm very passionate about. But, honestly, at the end of the day, what I get the most satisfaction out of training is just the sense of health it brings me. Just the comfortableness in my body and the experience in nature, running an experience of being healthy if I win a race, or if I win a fight, if I'm doing Kung Fu That's just fun. I'm more interested in helping a person enjoy the actual process than to be obsessed with outcomes. I think that's a great metaphor for life, is we should enjoy the process, the growth, instead of just always waiting for the outcome, waiting, you know, when is the special thing going to happen. Like, special things are happening every day, we just need to open our eyes to it. And so, I try to help people find that, and that could be in a lot of different ways. You know, it can be using motivational interviewing, it can be helping a person adapt their training schedule, maybe they're actually doing some kind of training that just doesn't fit their body, or maybe their body's changing, and their diet has to change. I think that's another important idea, is that we change. As we grow, we change. That's a big concept in Chinese medicine, is that we always have to be aware that our bodies are changing. And so what maybe worked for us in our 20s is not going to work for us in our late 30s. If we know that, then it can be very inspiring and very empowering to, you know, always kind of redefining what we're doing and always keep finding satisfaction and not fall into a rut. I think that's the key.

Janelle: Yeah. What are some of your favorite success stories?

Craig: I think, for me, when I look at my patients and clients that I work with, probably the most exciting success stories would be people who, number one, have totally transformed their perception of their diet and their relationship to food. That, to me, is very exciting. When I see people get excited about eating healthy or get excited about cooking and then they kind of carry that maybe even into their families, that's very inspiring to me. And then I also get very inspired when I see people who get healthy and then want to keep getting healthier. That's something very inspiring. A big part of Chinese medicine and Ayurveda is to prevent disease, you know, help people stay strong so they don't get sick. Anytime we can motivate someone to stay healthy, and to invest in their long term health, that's very rewarding to me. I love helping. For example, it brings great joy to me to maybe use acupuncture to help stop migraine headaches, or to use Chinese medicine and acupuncture to help someone with irritable bowel syndrome. But I'm also more excited if someone's migraine goes away after their acupuncture, and then they say, "As a result of this, I'm so excited now. I'm going to invest in some other types of things to make myself healthier." That to me is rewarding. That's my favorite success stories, is people who've found some kind of balance, and then kind of re-awaken their joy for life, then it becomes kind of contagious to their family, to their friends. So that's really inspiring to me.

Janelle: And how did you get so involved in coaching and health practices? Like, have you always been this way, or did you have your own health crisis?

Craig: No. I kind of credit my mother. She was a health nerd back in the '70s. And so I grew up just kind of immersed in a healthy world. As a young age, I had a deep fascination with Chinese culture, and Kung Fu, and martial arts. And that kind of just naturally led into the study of Chinese philosophy, and Chinese medicine, and traveling to India and Tibet. And so, for me, it's always been just my life path. I've never had any health conditions. And so I've been very, very blessed to that way. And so I can consider it kind of my path to just kind of carry that information on to help people live empowering lives.

Janelle: And you told me offline that you practice advanced Wing Chun Kung Fu, and also you do iron palm training. Has that always come easily for you?

Craig: Yeah. You know, I think that, since I started training martial arts at a young age, I started Kung Fu and martial arts when I was 11 or 12 years old, and I started running when I was 11 or 12 years old. So I'm almost 50 now, so it's been a lifetime of that. So I have the background, the training to do a little bit more advanced iron palm training, which is the hardening of the hands. And, to me, that's a very fascinating part of using Chinese medicine in conjunction with martial arts. It's very yin and yang, very beautiful expression of that.

Janelle: Yeah, what is like your normal daily health routine?

Craig: For me, it would definitely be...I think, I definitely am...probably my days are kind of set around my training. I have a little bit of independence with my private practice that way, but I wake up usually around 5:30 a.m. And I'll do usually some type of run, and then usually, after that, go to my practice. And then other days, one day a week, I'll have some weight training in the gym. And then there might be another day during the week, which I have a stretching specific thing. And then usually every night, I'm either teaching or practicing Kung Fu. And so it's kind of...yeah, I live a pretty active lifestyle. I also enjoy, you know, riding my bike as much as I can. So but it's just all about balance. All of that is kind of integrated into my life, into an overall program. I don't live at the gym. I think it's more just an active lifestyle for me. And so that's something which I always try to see people, just show people, too, that it's just about more living an active lifestyle and finding something you feel passionate about.

To me, I'm very passionate about running. I'm very passionate about keeping my body healthy and exploring how that improves my relationship to the world and in my mind. And the healthier my body is, the more mentally healthy I feel. I think that's a big important thing for us to show people.

Janelle: Now, you mentioned that your mom taught you good nutrition and health practices. Was she involved in Chinese medicine?

Craig: She was not. She was just really interested in health. And she was really interested in kind of what the natural foods world was in the '70s, which was, you know, that was I grew up on carrots instead of chocolate, and, you know, not sugar, no sugar at all different times. And so I was very lucky with that. And so, just more of an appreciation for natural foods. And to this day, my mother is 83 and completely independent, completely strong, fit, and she's kept that way through her diet and exercise. And so it's very inspirational. So I always kind of...although I've had many inspiring coaches and mentors in my life, I fundamentally would have to thank my mother for the biggest inspiration.

Janelle: Yeah. Well, then how did you get involved with Chinese medicine?

Craig: That's interesting. I was in college, and I got three undergraduate degrees before I went into pre-med. One in English literature, one in religious studies, and one in philosophy, and then I went pre-med. But when I was studying religious studies and philosophy, I was focusing on China and India. And so I was very fascinated with their cultural and the philosophical backgrounds and their medicine. And then, at that time, I was studying herbalism with Michael Tierra. And Michael Tierra, at that time, was one of the few practitioners of Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine in America. And so I became just deeply fascinated with Chinese medicine and Ayurveda. At the time, I was only studying Western herbs. And so I think that when I was in my early 20s, that's when I knew that Chinese medicine and Ayurveda were going to be the path I was going to take. And then, at that time, this kind of dates me, there was only one place to study Ayurveda in America, and that was in New Mexico, at the Ayurvedic Institute with Dr. Lad. And he's still there. And then, at the time, there were a couple of Chinese medical schools then. Then after studying in America, eventually I went on to India to study. I found teachers in India and Tibet and specialized a little bit more on the background and the philosophy of India and China.

So it's kind of been formed on my practices. But I have a great love for Western herbalism too, and I have a great love for functional medicine and integrative allopathic medicine. So I think all types of medicine fascinate me. Yeah. I think that integrative approach is something which I always find fascinating and always keeps me inspired.

Janelle: So it sounds like at some point in your pre-med studies, you shifted to Chinese medicine or Indian medicine as well.

Craig: Yeah. I think I just really loved the way that it was making connections with all my studies, and Kung Fu, and Chinese philosophy and their vision of health. That was more interesting to me than crisis medicine. I think Western medicine is amazing for crisis medicine, surgery, ER medicine, things like that. I think that to me is where they shine. Probably the weakness of Western medicine is that it tends to treat everybody the same. And Chinese medicine says, "No, everybody's disease experience is unique. We treat the patient and not the disease." And so I think that has a lot...so, you know, we could take that idea and really kind of form a truly integrated healthcare system by using both, by using both systems.

And I will say this, I do see a large problem in Chinese medicine circles and also Ayurvedic medical circles is that there is a large disregard to health and fitness, physical fitness. And I think we really have to look at exercise and nutrition as the fundamental foundation of any medical system you do, whether you're practicing allopathic medicine, or whether you're practicing Chinese medicine, or whether you're practicing Ayurvedic medicine. You have to have a lifestyle which is helping you stay healthy and fit even before you take those modalities. And so that's a big thing. I think that practitioners need to educate themselves a little bit more about the role of physical fitness in the treatments, and the practitioners need to educate themselves more about the role of nutrition. And I think if we can do that, then we'll see even much larger, you know, improvements.

Just like a cardiologist, if that cardiologist helps resolve a heart disease issue, they still need to be sure the patient is living a lifestyle which is going to help their heart to be healthy. You know, it doesn't matter how amazing the surgery was. Once they're done with the surgery, then they have to go live their live. And same thing with acupuncture. Acupuncture is amazing, and Chinese medicine is amazing, but we have to help the patient know that what they're going to go home and eat, what they're going to go home and do, also a huge part of their healing and imbalance. And so I think I wish more practitioners would start to think of that, and that is a huge part of my practice, and my training, and my background, is health and physical fitness, is in what large percentage of that that plays in our health and vitality.

Janelle: And how do you incorporate herbs into your life and in your nutrition? Do you apply herbs topically or do you digest herbs in various forms of food or whatever?

Craig: I think all above. Yeah, I'm a big fan of using herbal teas, also liquid herbal extracts, and then also just herbal tablets, if that's what we need. But I'm also big into using topical application of herbs. And then I'm a huge fan of using herbs in cooking and turning food into medicine. So, to me, I use all those different angles and find a way that we can give patients the tools they need, the things they're going to take and do and to heal quickly.

Janelle: I think it would be fun to post a favorite recipe of yours, if you wouldn't mind.

Craig: Oh, I'd love to. It'd be wonderful. I would be more than happy to do that.

Janelle: Yeah. When I'm putting together the show notes, maybe I can find a recipe like for soup, or herbal tea that you like, and we can share that with our listeners.

Craig: That'd be wonderful. Absolutely. Absolutely.

Janelle: And now you mentioned to me that you have experience using Dit da jow, which is something that Plum Dragon specializes in.

Craig: Yes.

Janelle: How do you feel, like, that works for you and your training?

Craig: Jow is probably...for myself, that's one of the greatest, you know, consistent herbal therapies that I use just because with martial arts and long distance running, and just iron palm training or fighting can be quite damaging to the body. We know that. And so I use a lot of jow preventatively on my hands from my joints, from my knuckles, from my fingers. So I never get any arthritis or any pain. And then I use it a lot on my ligaments and tendons as self-massage just to help myself recover. And then it's a very important idea, is that I use this preventatively. I use it every day, no matter what, and that is a key part, is prevention. I don't wait until I'm hurt to use the jow. I don't wait until I'm hurt to use the top...I'm always just really on top of preventative care. And, as an athlete, that's a very important thing if you want to be physically active as long as you can, yeah.

I'm 50 years old now, and I train harder than I did when I was 25. But I also train smarter, you know. I know what to do. You know, in 25 years, we've learned a lot about health and fitness and sports conditioning. And so it's very inspiring to me. And I've also been lucky to never have any traumatic injuries where, you know, sometimes you just get hurt no matter what you do. You might be running and you step on something and slip, or you're doing some martial arts and someone accidentally hits you or, you know. So I've been lucky not to have that happen. So I've been blessed in that regard. But I'm really a big fan of prevention. I call it investing in your health. We have to invest in our health. If we don't invest in our health, then eventually something's going to happen. There's a really funny statement that a friend of mine's allopathic doctor said to me one time. And he asked me if I had any health problems, if I was on any kind of medications, and I said no. And he said, "Oh, that's really rare that you're in your late 40s and you don't have any health problems." And he said, "Ah, the arrogance of the unafflicted." And he said, "Something will eventually happen." And we laughed. And that was a very allopathic viewpoint.

It's also a very serious viewpoint. You know, it's like, yeah. I mean, that really affected me. I thought, "Yeah, I never want to become arrogant just because I don't have an affliction." I always want to be self-conscious and say I'm very lucky to be healthy. But one of the responsibilities of being healthy is to keep it healthy and [inaudible 00:36:43].

Janelle: Exactly.

Craig: Yeah. So that's where I find most of my inspiration, just to prevent the problems, and then I really try to help people understand how to prevent something from happening. You know, we can fix it when it happens, but then I also want to try to teach people just to not have to deal with it in the first place.

Janelle: Right. And it is so amazing that these herbs can keep people from having to use painkillers, and that they help condition and prevent injuries as you said in the first place.

Craig: Yes. That's a huge part. I wish practitioners would kind of talk about that more. I think sometimes alternative medicine/integrative medicine, natural medicine, however, we want to phrase it, it gets too allopathic in the sense that it gets to target...it's like condition-centric. Like, everyone's looking for, like, the magical Chinese formula for this condition, or the magical acupuncture point for this condition. And I think what we should be looking for is just, how can these herbs just boost overall health? How can it help a patient recover from certain conditions?

Janelle: How to have everything in harmony in the whole body.

Craig: Exactly. To me, that's much more exciting than just trying to find in a microscope what special herb is going to cure all types of diseases. That's great research to do. And it's interesting. But Ayurvedic medicine evolves from thousands of years of not doing that into this beautiful system. And I just don't want to see that system lost in the shuffle.

Janelle: Yeah. Do you have any, like, quick tips that you could share with anyone who just wants to maybe incorporate some of your philosophy for health and nutrition?

Craig: Yeah. I think that on a fundamental level, people have to be moving. You know, there has to be some type of movement in their life. A big idea in Chinese medicine and a big idea in using Dit da jow is the idea of blood stasis, and we want to move from blood. And that's one of the ways we stay healthy, is by removing our blood. They need to find some kind of movement that inspires them and makes them happy, whether it's walking, dancing, martial arts, Tai Chi, yoga, running, whatever, as long as it's something that gets them moving. I find most people just are not moving enough, physically. And then number two is they have to find things which keep them mentally stimulated. People really need to find things that mentally keep them moving. What keeps them mentally inspired, because just as we can have physical blood stasis, we can have mental psychological stasis.

So I'm always trying to get people to move physically, and I'm always trying to get people to be inspired mentally, like find something that inspires you, read things that inspire you. Too many people spend too much time just reading negative information.

Janelle: Oh. How true.

Craig: We see that nowadays, is there are people who are obsessed with negative news stories. And that's always going to be there. There's never going to not be a negative event in the world. So we know that. We must always fill our mind with inspiring words and inspiring ideas. And we must always surround ourselves with people that inspire us and keep us positive because the world is very challenging.

Janelle: Absolutely.

Craig: We have to think about what we eat physically, but we also have to think about what we eat psychologically. And so that's a big idea that I kind of always try to instill in all my patients, is you might take a food inventory, but I say, "Well, what are you eating mentally? What's the majority of things you watch? What are the majority of things that you read? What are the majority of things that you hear? That's all going to affect your state of mind."

Janelle: Yeah. Oh I love that. That's really good. Great tips. Thank you.

Craig: Oh, it's my joy. Thanks for having me on it.

Janelle: Absolutely. How can our listeners get in touch with you?

Craig: Yeah. There's a lot of different ways they could...I'm pretty accessible. They can go to my website, which is ayurvedaaustin.com, but they can also Google Craig Williams, Chinese medicine. That's easy to find. And I also write a column for "Acupuncture Today." And they can easily find me in articles. I think the new issue is just out today. And I am on the cover for an article for acupuncture and summer heat. So they can find all my articles on "Acupuncture Today" under my columns there.

Janelle: Awesome.

Craig: Yeah. They can find it in their different ways. And so perhaps, we can put a link to that in the show notes.

Janelle: Yes. I will definitely do that.

Craig: Perfect.

Janelle: That would be great. Thank you. Thanks so much for your time. I really appreciate you coming. And this has been really informative for me. I love that tip that you gave about finding something that's mentally stimulating. Not just physically, but, you know, we need to find something that inspires us.

Craig: Yes. Thank you so much. I'm so glad you enjoyed that. Your questions were amazing, and I had a blast talking to you. Thank you so much.

Janelle: Thank you. And thanks to all our listeners for joining us today. For more great tips from Craig Williams, be sure to visit us at plumdragonherbs.com. We will post show notes and ways to connect with Craig, along with sharing some of his favorite herbal recipes. And if you liked this episode, we'd love for you to share, comment, and follow us on YouTube, iTunes, and everywhere else you like to listen. This makes a huge difference for us, and we really appreciate when you do. Until next time.

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