Deep cellular nutrition, adequate exercise, Quality sleep and Emotional detox - Tapping into these four pillars can help us create the right external and internal environment and enable the intelligence of your body to kick in, and contribute to prevention, recovery, and healing – Luke Coutinho
I am neither a God nor a Guru. I am not a healer or a doctor or a cult leader - The advocate of clean living and author of several books on health and lifestyle, Luke Coutinho announces on his website. The practitioner in the field of Integrative Lifestyle Medicine and Life Coaching has been working towards creating an ecosystem that fosters healthy lifestyle; Luke Coutinho has been curating various health and disease management programs.
His most recent book ‘Back to the Roots’ with Tamannaah Bhatia is about aligning oneself with the way our ancestors lived, which is in alignment with nature including the way we eat, live, think – and every aspect of living.
Luke Coutinho grew up in different countries worldwide due to his father’s work before finally settling in Goa. “We always had a culture of fitness, and health where we are encouraged to play outdoors, be amidst nature and eat healthy food. We were six siblings, and it was always fun. We fought a lot, but there was so much fun in that. We rarely ate out.”
He adds, “As for my studies, I pursued science, arts and then hotel management, and that is where I got introduced to food and nutrition, which became my favourite subject.”
Luke first began by consulting patients on meaningful holistic and lifestyle changes. And, through this journey he saw that there was a need for good quality food, and wellness products that are safe and economical.
You Care Lifestyle, the online market place for clean living was born out of this need. "We couldn't find an honest platform as our line of work needs it, so we created one. Food can only work as medicine if it's pure and honest. To develop products that assure purity and honesty, we got in touch with farmers and genuine dealers, carefully reviewed the information on their products, and did our research.” It has everything from fresh food, to groceries, branded wellness products to fitness essentials. What started with a few brands has now grown to include 400 plus vendors with similar values and vision.
“Having worked with thousands of patients, I have learned that time and awareness are two things that can help anyone change their lifestyle,” Luke states.
Excerpts from an interview with Luke Coutinho:
When did you decide you wanted to practice and work in the wellness industry?
My journey began when I saw a gap in people's lifestyles in the corporate world where their lifestyles were getting bad to worse, despite them achieving so much success in their careers, fatter salaries, comfort, travel, etc. The higher the positions like VPs and CEOs, the faster their health deteriorates. It was also puzzling because it's not that there was a shortage of good nutritionists, dieticians, gyms, coaches, supplements, and foods. So why were people getting more and more sick? The answer to this was - lifestyle. I moved ahead and entered the field of Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine to fill that gap.
I also observed how people adopted allopathy (which is absolutely fine) without addressing the root cause behind experiencing symptoms like acidity, headache, constipation etc., and overlooking the side effects of medicine since every drug has it. It can be balanced, negated or at least made less harmful for the body with the proper nutrition.
Food is often blamed for what is caused due to bad lifestyle, overeating, and using substandard and cheap quality oils and ingredients - Luke Coutinho
I slowly started to observe that this was a common gap across all age groups, from kids to senior citizens.
Around 8-years ago, my focus was on immunity, which was long ago, even before the pandemic, because most people feel sick because of weak immune systems. Immunity and lifestyle practices that enhance or compromise it has been the foundation of our work and will continue to be that way.
You have always advocated traditional eating practices – What do you have to say about Indian eating habits – traditional vis a vis new age?
There is immense wisdom in Indian eating habits, from eating food with hands, having a balanced diet, sitting crossed-legged on the floor, to chewing mukhwas post meals. Traditions inspire my practice because I am amazed by the health of our ancestors and grandparents. Some diseases were unheard of back then. They were indeed doing something right. Now we have comfort and technology, which is excellent, but it has also slowly started ruling and dictating us and suppressing our rational minds. We gradually forgot our tradition's ancient wisdom and began to look for evidence-based science and medicine. While this may be required, it's also blinding people to use common sense. You will find my philosophy reflected in my curated products as well...a mix of traditional and new-age ingredients and techniques providing a complete product for you.
Even though wellness as a concept has gained importance. There is a whole lot of noise and clutter. How does one look through the chaos?
The main reason we came up with the idea was to create a platform that would define wellness. There is a lot of hype and fads surrounding health, and people seem more scared than informed. With this in mind, we developed a platform that helps them make informed decisions without worrying about hidden chemicals, preservatives, or harmful chemicals. We have a team that thoroughly inspects these products before they are released to the public. We do this so that a customer doesn't have to worry about quality which is often hidden behind layers of deceptive marketing, and can trust us for the entire product line. Do you know why? Because we do the same thing for our clients and my family and friends.
What is the most commonly misunderstood aspect as far as Indian Cuisine is concerned?
That it's oily and unhealthy and lacks all the nutrients. Food is often blamed for what is caused due to bad lifestyle, overeating, and using substandard and cheap quality oils and ingredients. Food cooked with synergy between two ingredients and within the framework of nature is healing in every way. There is great power in our Indian Cuisine because it is built on many studies and is backed by our roots.
What is your eating routine?
I follow the Circadian Rhythm way of eating because it works for me. There are days when I fast and days when I do not. I listen to my body and honour its dynamic needs. However, I always try to finish my last meal close to sunset.
How does the concept of 'lifestyle medicine' help in gaining mental health, which is one of the most neglected areas of routine healthcare services?
What is mental health for you? And why do we separate it from physical health! Health per se, as a definition, means physical and mental wellbeing. So, you are not healthy until you have a balance of both. I believe for a quality lifestyle; you need to ace these four pillars – Deep cellular nutrition, Adequate exercise, Quality sleep and Emotional detox. Tapping into these four pillars can help us create the right external and internal environment and enable the intelligence of your body to kick in and contribute to prevention, recovery, and healing.
The foundation of the You Care lifestyle is built on these four pillars based on the same philosophy.
You almost always have a co-author for your books – how did you choose them?
My co-authors have always been people, who I have worked with on specific changes they wanted to bring around their health and life. My books are always based on real-life examples, and every co-author of mine is inspiring and setting examples for the world in their own powerful ways. That is how we connect and discuss how their message can be put in a book and shared with the world.
Where is India faltering that it's so low on protein index
It's a big myth that Indian Cuisine is low on protein. Our ancestors ate clean and simple and yet never felt short of protein. Even wrestlers and pehelwans, who would do kushti in akhadas never felt the need to procure protein supplements or chase western diets despite spending so much physical energy. They would eat hardcore Indian and traditional diet. So what has changed? Yes, protein is a vital component, and animal protein is class A protein, but vegetarian protein can be sufficient for an average healthy individual if planned well. It isn't just about adding protein but also making sure it's bioavailable, broken down well with the right amount of stomach acids, and assimilated. With this whole chase behind protein, we are missing out on more important aspects like digestion, assimilation and bioavailability. A simple dal-rice combination gives us a complete protein. Khichdi is another protein-rich food option; pulses, legumes, beans, dairy and dairy products (if they suit you), nuts, seeds and sattu.
What is that one ingredient you would advocate people must indeed include in their daily diet?
Apple Cider Vinegar: People usually think it's good for weight loss, but its benefits are beyond weight loss. We typically recommend our clients for reducing stomach acids, thereby aiding overall digestion. And finally, your gut is everything; it is the epicentre of your health. Besides that, it also works as a great prebiotic, which serves as a fuel for probiotics.