“If you are mindful, you know what your body needs, it makes living a healthy life more effortless,” says Luke Coutinho.
One of India’s leading holistic lifestyle coaches in the field of Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine, Luke has been advocating a back-to-nature approach to health. His new book Back to the Roots: Celebrating Indian Wisdom and Wellness, which he co-authored with Bollywood actress Tamannaah Bhatia, delineates important health tips derived from Indian traditions.
In this interview, Luke talks to us about his book and doles out mantras to help stay healthy. Excerpts...
What are a few major health concerns that you have commonly seen amongst people?
Acidity, constipation, poor emotional health (and disturbed sleep as a result) are some of the most common concerns I come across amongst people in my day-to-day practice, and I have been observing this ever since I started practising in the field of Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine.
Almost every third or fourth individual that I consult experiences acidity or constipation, and this condition is plaguing millions across the world. What is concerning is that, because of the quick fixes sold in the market, people have started to live with acidity and constipation, not realising the dangers they pose in the long run.
Tell us a bit about writing your latest book with Tamannaah.
Tamannaah and I have known each other for several years, and worked together on her health and wellness goals before we even started thinking about this book. It has been a lovely experience writing this book together.
There is so much to learn from Indian culture alone, and most of us haven’t explored it enough. This inspired us to write our latest book, where we have unearthed Indian traditions and backed them up with scientific and anecdotal evidence. This book is filled with remedies, facts, logic, and simple things one could do to address health concerns.
The process of writing this book worked out smoothly for both of us despite the pandemic and the lockdown. We did not rush through any of the steps and went with the flow. Instead, we started conceptualising the book almost two years ago, and took time to write our pieces.
Given the hectic routine of an average individual, what do you suggest can be the way forward to inculcate health and wellness?
If your health isn’t given high priority, it will not be important for you; it’s as simple as that. Even the busiest person on this planet can make time for their health. If someone has time to spend on social media, they have time for health.
I often say that you can never be the best employee, boss, partner, father, wife, mother, or daughter, if you aren’t giving time to fill your cup first; and for that, one needs to focus on nourishing themselves, even if it’s in the smallest way possible. Take Yoga, for instance. Even 15 minutes daily [Yoga practice] can go a long way.
Can you list a few mantras one can follow?
My mantra is to keep it simple. The body is unique, so every day is different, and so are its needs. For example, today, your body might need more carbs, and tomorrow, maybe less. So one needs to find out what works for them. Listening to your body and cultivating mindfulness is another mantra.
Reset your lifestyle
1. REDUCE SCREEN TIME: “Cut down on time spent on social media. This is my first prescription for someone dealing with a mental health concern. While social media is categorised as a source of entertainment, it can also trigger mental stress,” shares Luke.
2. SLEEP WELL: Luke mentions that while it might feel difficult to put yourself to sleep when mentally disturbed, getting sleep is critical to building emotional resilience. “Our mental capacity to handle anything is significantly less when we are sleep-deprived,” he adds.
3. EXPRESS YOURSELF: Brushing your feelings under the carpet and bandaging them with distractions like binge shopping, eating, or socialising isn’t the solution, mentions Luke. “Choose a person you could confide in. Sometimes, even if there are no words or suggestions to give, just a warm embrace and a healing silence are all a person might need to feel cared for,” he says.
4. EXERCISE: “It is better if you can take your walks in nature as its role in healing is scientifically proven today,” says Luke. Exercise is one of the most underutilised antidepressants, and it can help calm your mind down, and boost a sense of self-worth.