BENGALURU: Ever since Bollywood superstar Hrithik Roshan revealed his go-to fitness mantra – intermittent fasting – it has taken the internet by storm. And holistic lifestyle coach Luke Coutinho, who has been a proponent of the benefits of fasting, has now come out with his book, The Dry Fasting Miracle: From Deprive to Thrive (Penguin Random House, Rs 299 for paperback).
The book has been co-authored with Sheikh Abdulaziz Bin Ali Bin Rashed Al Nuami of the Ajman royal family in the UAE, whose sister was treated for cancer by Coutinho, after which they became good friends, getting involved in various activities.
At a time when immunity boosting is the buzzword, the book is meant to be a guide for anyone looking at lifestyle changes, hand-holding beginners to fasting and helping people understand how not to make it a fad or competition.
With concepts like integrated fasting and circadian rhythm fasting, and aspects like fasting for athletes and bodybuilders having been introduced, Coutinho says, “It is more scientific and research-based. While dry fasting, as a concept, has existed for a long time, it was interesting to come across case studies and scientific papers in relation to fasting and immunity, cardiac health, muscle health, fertility and cancer, and how it makes chemotherapy more effective with fewer side effects, etc.
We also were surprised at how a simple 12-hour fasting which is in alignment with our circadian rhythm is a powerful and the most natural way to fast,” he says, adding that the book was to be released before Ramzan, but got delayed due to COVID.
Even as the fasting fad has caught the imagination of many, Coutinho emphasises that fasting, like nutrition, is customised and personalised.
“While we have multiple cases of individuals who have managed their diabetes through a 360-degree lifestyle change, including fasting, it may not suit every diabetic.
It depends on how often your sugar levels fluctuate, how advanced your diabetes is and other factors. Which is why it is so important to do what suits an individual. I recommend my clients try it and monitor their sugar or blood pressure levels, based on which a decision can be taken,” he says.
While Coutinho advocates dry fasting and intermittent fasting for the body’s natural healing and regeneration, he says he does so only because he has experienced its benefits himself.
“But fasting doesn’t have to suit every person. From my experience, it works provided it is done in an informed and mindful way by listening to one’s body. Fasting allows our body’s intelligence to take over and that knows best,” he says.
Back to basics
In the olden days, people ate early because there was hardly any light after sunset. Their next meal would only be after sunrise. This practice spread as a discipline due to its health and spiritual benefits. Today, it is called the dry fasting diet. Replicating it requires abstinence from all food and water for 12 or more hours.