Our obsession with fads on one hand and food on the other makes us look hard at what it really takes to live a healthy, holistic life and while we're at it, why shifting focus on small goals, or baby steps as they say, is urgently needed at a time when we're hell-bent on taking shortcuts for bigger wins. And who better than Luke Coutinho, Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine Expert, to break this down for us, thanks to his new book called 'Small Wins Every Day’?
In an interesting and impactful episode of Sisterhood with Shaili Chopra, Luke Coutinho shares valuable insights from his research and practice, underlining women's health, discussing how paying attention to health needs deserves equal focus and is the way forward for the all-round development of countries.
In this conversation, globally renowned holistic lifestyle coach, integrative and lifestyle medicine expert and author Luke Coutinho lay emphasis on the significance of understanding the varied difference in every person's health needs, how food plays a major factor in determining that, and why diverse food habits play an integral role in the health of Indians.
Luke Coutinho On Power Of Food
It has taken us decades to recognise how important it is to change one’s ">food habits. Talking about the power of food in these small wins, Coutinho says, "I think nutrition or nutritional medicine, as we call it, is different for different people and the problem is not deep-fried food, the problem is the quality of the oil, and how much you’re eating."
Discussing how eating fried was never a problem in India earlier, Coutinho explains, "At the time India was eating deep-fried, we didn't have heart disease. People moved more and did major physical labour. It was until the oils changed that people started to get more sedentary."
"It's essential to address food according to the uniqueness of the person"
The one thing we have learned is everyone is different and that’s why people can’t all go low-carb and get the same results. He explains, "Some people go low carb but they put on more weight while others are carb efficient. So, were need to understand that bio-individuality is different for everyone and addressing needs around food, therefore, should be according to every person's individual needs."
The genetic make-up of the person, adds Coutinho, alongside the lifestyle and adapting mechanism in an environment also determines what kind of food suits the body, which can interestingly change with time.
The point is not to be scared of food but understanding what suits you.
A big change in a woman's body comes before pregnancy, during and after. And it’s the same thing with men as they age. Understanding hormonal health becomes extremely important in this regard and this is why small wins come into place.
Coutinho advises that instead of setting too big a target that is impossible to achieve and can often lead to a fallback, focusing on small steps is what can set the tone for long-term habit formation. "Get that one meal right, understand how you feel after that meal, how long did it keep you going in terms of energy, were you energetic or were you tired? Then move to the next meal, and then the next. If you’re trying to introduce new fruits or vegetables into your diet, start with one and get used to it. Learn how to cook it, learn how to enjoy it, and then move to the second. It's a process that differs from person to person, and that's why understanding your distinctive health needs comes into play."
Suggested reading: Women’s Health In India Deserves Urgent Attention