As a Holistic Lifestyle Coach – Integrative Medicine, Luke Coutinho is helping people embrace good health the right way. He tells us more in this exclusive tête-à-tête.
Tell us a little more about yourself and how you started as a health professional?
I always had an inclination towards understanding the anatomy of the body and human health. During my graduation in hotel management, I was highly focused on the subject of food science, technology, and nutrition. My interest in the same line further continued to research on nutrition and the human body. As I progressed with my career, I noticed that there was a huge gap between the medical system and the general well-being – lifestyle. My focus till then has always been on how nutrition can play a significant role in wellness but then I decided to focus more on the aspect of lifestyle coaching because I realized that there were enough medicines, diet plans, exercise plans, vitamins and supplements available but the biggest gap that existed was lifestyle. People do not change their lifestyle which is why they are unable to heal and prevent diseases. That is how I decided to be the person to fill this gap by using a medicine called lifestyle which is inexpensive, free and available to everyone. I started studying further about it, commenced with my practice and I succeeded with cancer as my main focus being immunity. I would boost immunity using natural simple foods, change in lifestyle through exercise, mindset, emotional health, and sleep patterns which resulted in a lot of healing. The word of mouth about my method actually helping people heal and prevent diseases went around which was the beginning of my career.
What do you do as a Holistic Lifestyle Coach and Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine Nutritionist?
I do not prefer being called a nutritionist, as I do not like practicing nutrition anymore. I love practicing under lifestyle as it allows me to use simplicity, basic foods, the right synergy along with simple movements and exercise, working on sleep cycles through natural methods and enhancing the emotional health of people which together contributes to lifestyle. The drug that I use is ‘lifestyle’ and Integrative medicine, which clearly means that we are not against doctors. We are not into alternative medicine either. In fact, our team has allopathic doctors, dietitians, and nutritionists as we encourage and engage the talent of everyone who is required to heal our patient. Integrative medicine doesn’t condemn other fields of medicine, it focuses completely on what the patient essentially needs, be it emotional help, medicine, chemotherapy, radiation, good food. We stitch all of these together to enable that the root cause is addressed and our patients have a possibility to heal.
Please share some easy tips for good health?
Good health focuses on four verticals namely balanced nutrition, sleep, exercise and emotional health. The body of every individual is unique which is why a single diet plan won’t ever work for different people. Therefore, people have to be mindful about what food suits their body and hence need to have balanced nutrition. Every individual needs basic movement in a day. Today, sedentary lifestyles are killing people and causing diseases. You need good quality and restful sleep at night. Balancing your emotional stress with the help of meditation, following your passion, working on relationships is a must. My basic tip would be self-discipline as I feel everything in life can be achieved through self-discipline. In today’s world, everyone knows what they should do to live a healthy lifestyle and what they should not. The only gap is that people avoid doing it. There is knowledge without action which I call as the knowledge-action syndrome. I would encourage people to work on their sleeping habits and emotional health, as sleep deprivation and bad emotional health are two of the major causes of ill health.
What kind of exercise regimen do you recommend?
Every exercise and workout that you do has to suit your body. A lot of people try running or lifting weights but it doesn’t suit them. Some people’s body responds beautifully to just walking while for some it is walking and yoga and for the rest, it is just dance. The whole idea behind exercising is movement as long as we are not sedentary. Some people do not even workout, however, it is justified because their day is so active and energetic that they actually don’t need to exercise. When you select any specific workouts like functional training, weight training, CrossFit, etc. you just have to be careful about the safety, the right kind of nutrition, and the right amount of recovery in terms of rest and sleep.
Tell us about ‘The Great Indian Diet’ and what kind of diets is best to be followed?
‘The Great Indian Diet’ talks about the wisdom of Indian food that exists in our country. Like every state has its own cuisine, we need to understand that every Indian as an individual has been best brought up on the staples that they ate. The question that we need to ask ourselves is whether the diet that our parents fed us makes us sick at that time? If no, that is exactly the diet that we should be eating today as it is a part of our genetic makeup and our body exactly recognizes it. If it did not make us sick back then, it won’t make us sick right now. What’s making us sick right now is the change in our lifestyle. ‘The Great Indian Diet’ talks about the usage of spices, vegetables, herbs and everything that exists in India to comprise a beautifully balanced diet.
Please explain your philosophy of four pillars of good health?
My philosophy is very simple. It firstly talks about balanced nutrition which talks about people not having to go on extremes. Of course, if one is trying to get out of a disease, extremes are necessary, but the body requires balances like nature. We are all products of nature. We look at a balanced diet as long as we are getting what our cells need. We focus more on lifestyles, not overeating, chewing food properly, making food work as synergy in the body which means a smart combination, eating at the right time and a bit of fasting. The second pillar is exercise. Your work out should be holistic, something that works on your bone health, flexibility, mobility as well as your brain health which is meditation. The third pillar is sleep which is not about the quantity but mainly about the quality of sleep. We need to ask ourselves- Do we wake up feeling rested? Are we able to get through the day without overly doing on stimulants like coffee and tea? The fourth pillar is emotional health which all of us need to invest in. It includes giving up certain things that don’t matter, working on relationships that make us unhappy, meditation, prayer, having good hobbies, socializing the right way, having the right company, etc.
Please explain how the use of natural foods along with a change in lifestyle helps alleviate medical conditions.
Whenever we have any medical condition or the body is sick to heal, we give medicines to the body. Every medicine has a side effect and is actually depleting some of the vitamins, minerals, certain protein or making some changes in the body. Through natural foods, we try to fill that gap and regain that balance into the human body. So, natural foods are basically fuel to the cells. All sickness starts off from a cell, so it is important to get the right energy to the cell through food. That I show natural foods really help us in alleviate symptoms, boost immunity, prevent and heal disease.
What does RESET – Holistic Living Concepts do?
RESET is a Holistic Living Concept, which includes a workout space, yoga, meditation, nutritional counseling, physiotherapy and everything you need, to have a holistic approach towards your health under one roof. Presently, there is a massive need for wellness in an integrative way. Reset has a set of professionally trained individuals to help people reach their fitness and wellness goals in a holistic manner. The team also helps people to understand that they have the ability to reset their lifestyle at any given point and make changes for a better and healthy living.
What is the ‘Holistic Health Store’ all about?
As we use food as ‘Medicine’, we have several patients approaching us from all across the country with a query about sourcing the good food. So, we started reaching out to the farmers and vendors of the country and created a platform to support the farmers and vendors who have made available the finest quality products to fulfil our lifestyle requirements. Holistic Health Store does not sell anything. We connect people directly with vendors, eliminating the middle man. It is just a listing space. The intention behind creating this Holistic Health Store is purely to share my recommendations of products that I feel are really good and can contribute towards holistic health and living in terms of their health benefits, nutritional value and quality of the products.
As a cancer care specialist, you have been instrumental in helping patients suffer less through chemo and radiation – please tell us more.
As a cancer care specialist, when we get to understand the anatomy of the body, the immune system, the side effect of every medicine in detail, we are able to balance it by putting back into the body what the medicine, chemo and the radiation has depleted or depleting. Patients have to seek emotional counseling because these treatments are very harsh and when the mind has fear you can never heal. So it is a combination of mind-sets, belief systems, emotional healing coupled with the right foods to manage side effects and right movements as blood circulation is really important for the healing. A lot of rest is necessary as many patients are unable to sleep because they have fear in their mind, they have pain so we look at managing pain and helping them with their sleep. So the healing process needs to have a 360-degree approach and holistic in every way.
Does fasting help?
Absolutely! Fasting, when done the right way and not made into a fad can be very therapeutic for health, prevention, healing, weight loss, cancer, and other ailments. Fasting is a scientific way, where you shut down the digestive system and allow all that energy to be diverted towards the healing of the body. It is very sad that a lot of people consider dry and intermittent fasting as a fad. But it is never supposed to be a fad and we need to respect the fasting and building cycles for it to work.
What books are you currently working on?
We are about to release a book called ‘The magic weight loss pill’. I am coming up with this book with Anushka Shetty. I am also working on a book which focuses on children’s health with Shilpa Shetty. One more book which will be released soon is called ‘Back to roots –The Healthy Indian’. The same will talk about the basic Indian customs and lifestyles which have existed in our traditions. We are trying to bring these basic Indian customs and lifestyles back for people, to feel proud of our country and use it to understand that health care in the right way is not difficult. A book on cancer called Beyond Medicine is in the pipeline too.