When award-winning entrepreneur, integrative nutritionist, and lifestyle Coach Luke Coutinho first made his foray into the field of wellness, he harboured a dream very close to his heart.
As he worked relentlessly to transform the lives of those with cancer with the power of lifestyle through his programs, free ebooks, and videos, he dreamed of building a centre that would become a haven for the less privileged folks with cancer.
A place where those with cancer from low-income families and struggling with hand-to-mouth existence could receive holistic care by integrative and lifestyle medicine experts at Team Luke, under one roof.
The idea was to support their healing from all aspects – Nutrition, Activity, Sleep, Emotional Health while looking
after them during and post-chemotherapy and radiation, without the patients having to spend a single penny out of their pockets.
Seven and a half years later, Coutinho is one step closer to this vision as he announces the launch of a one-of-its-kind initiative, Cancer Care – Aap Ke Liye by Team Luke.
If you have had the opportunity to look at the repertoire of Team Luke’s tremendous success with cancer cases, you’d know that patients from across the globe despite having access to the best treatment centres in the US or UK flock to them.
And with good reason. Most of this can be attributed to their unique and effective approach of looking at cancer from a holistic lens and focusing beyond medicine.
While medicine has its place in cancer to save lives, the team’s emphasis is helping these patients align their lifestyle in a way that brings out their body’s intelligence to heal itself.
They do so by working on aspects like fasting, circadian rhythm living, and the five systems of healing — angiogenesis, DNA protection, stem cell regeneration, gut microbiome, and immunity.
Speaking about the inception of the idea behind this new initiative, Coutinho shares, “When I saw the tremendous suffering and hardships many of our cancer patients went through, I visualized that one day I would treat cancer patients in need free of cost.
I had been speaking with my core team about executing this in the next few years. But a few days ago, I thought, why wait for five more years?
In our interactions and experiences with cancer patients from low-income groups, we identified a big gap.
While many of them would come to charitable trusts and hospitals to start chemotherapy, many of them dropped out of the system due to financial restraints, loss of hope, and the lack of right guidance beyond medicine.
And so, our program will bridge this gap by identifying genuine cases in need of assistance and handhold them throughout their treatment, whether it is six months or a year.”
Many of these patients, Coutinho explains, are unaware of how simple affordable lifestyle changes — from the way they eat, their exercise levels, nixing vices like smoking/ drinking, quality of sleep, and stress levels — can help them manage their disease.
He further elucidates how those enrolled in this program will get 30 minutes of exclusive free consultation per month throughout their treatment with Team Luke’s highly skilled and registered senior nutritionists.
“In these exclusive consultations, we will assess their case histories, reports and give them customized and free resources like meal plans, yoga, breathing exercises, meditation, life coaching, and emotional counselling,” shares Coutinho.
What more? These customized plans and content packages will be available in regional languages to aid understanding and help the patients inculcate these changes in their everyday lives.
“In addition to this, we will also help them manage the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy and guide them on ways to boost their immunity.”
The program will work with 400 patients a month in the initial phase, understand their backgrounds and study patient behaviour to fine-tune their quality and delivery of service.
While the operations will be helmed by Natashya Phillips Coutinho, logistics and administration will be manned by Satish Kurapaty.
Delivering their expertise on affordable holistic nutrition and cancer care will be Integrative Nutritionists and Lifestyle experts, Sneha Shah, Prachi Acharekar, Deepika Rathod, and Shimpli Patil.
While Meal Planning Analyst, Priyanka Vithlani, will create customized food plans, yoga expert and holistic life coach Taarika Dave will lead the yoga vertical.
Social entrepreneur Narendra Firodia will be responsible for content translation in regional languages and brand expert Vaishali Mehta will lead design.
When asked what sets this program apart, Coutinho adds, “Over 9,000+ hours of consulting with people from across the world, we have firsthand witnessed the role lifestyle can play in managing cancer.
Most scientific journals link over 60 to 80 per cent of cancers to a poor lifestyle. And so, we want to use our expertise to find this missing link in the lives of people who need it the most.
I believe that experience is the best teacher. When we combine it with knowledge, it becomes the most powerful instrument to transform lives, especially of those in the margins.”
He adds, “Most patients who benefit from our initiative will already have a primary doctor. So, our focus will be working with them on the four important pillars of lifestyle — the right nutrition, movement, sleep, and emotional health.
We will give them hope, love, education, and everything beyond medicine. Because we firmly believe that improving their emotional health is a very important part of recovery.
Our nutritional advice will not rely on expensive supplements but using locally available foods.
Similarly, we will help them alter their mindset and bring behavioural change by using lifestyle as our tool and holistically supporting them on their cancer journey.”
What are the steps that the team will take to validate the authenticity of each case? The lifestyle coach adds that his team will partner with NGOs and hospitals to screen every incoming application.
During the program, Luke’s team will track the progress of every patient in-depth through their 30-minute monthly calls.
This will not only continue until the end of the treatment but also three months after it. The focus post-treatment will be rebuilding the body and boosting immunity.
The team will also host free webinars every month to motivate and inspire patients, break down technical know-how into edible bits, identify problem areas, and provide practical solutions.
The medium of connecting with these beneficiaries will be WhatsApp and direct phone calls. Over time, the team also hopes to amplify the impact of this program by encouraging well-wishers to step in and sponsor annual care packages for those in need.
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Here’s hoping this tribe of changemakers grows from strength to strength and that this program touches the lives of thousands.