Fitness guru Luke Coutinho donates to Paytm’s COVID relief drive fund to meet oxygen crisis

The celebrity nutritionist and holistic lifestyle coach, who specialises in Integrative Medicine, is offering free health and wellness programmes to families hit hard by the pandemic

May 03, 2021 / 01:24 PM IST
Luke Coutinho, a holistic lifestyle coach

Luke Coutinho, a holistic lifestyle coach

When celebrities with a conscience get into the voluntary mode, it gives the cause a good name.

Nutritionist Luke Coutinho has donated Rs one crore to mobile payments and financial services company Paytm, for procurement of oxygen concentrators.

The shortage of oxygen concentrators is one of the biggest issues that the country is facing due to the current, seemingly unstoppable spike in COVID-19 cases.

To address this subject, Paytm recently started an initiative called 'Oxygen for Life' to raise Rs 20 crore through donations to supply concentrators for oxygen plants across India.

This caught Coutinho's attention.

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"I knew Paytm was helping with oxygen concentrators and that's what I wanted to do. While a lot of people are doing food, I think it can be managed. But oxygen, we can’t live without it for three minutes. So, I called Vijay (Shekhar, founder of Paytm) but he was unable to answer so I messaged him. Next day, it was all over Twitter," Coutinho told Moneycontrol over a call from Goa where he is currently based.

Ask Coutinho why he specifically chose Paytm, he says, "I chose Paytm because it is transparent and I know Vijay personally. And the cause matched with what I wanted to do. Also, what I like about Paytm is you can donate and if an organization needs oxygen you can put in a request. So, it is easy and not fragmented. This is why I could make the decision in a split second."

At the time of writing this article, Paytm has raised over Rs 17 crore out of the Rs 20 crore the company had planned through their initiative. In addition, 1,365 oxygen concentrators have been requested on the platform so far.

Luke Coutinho- a healer-helper

Coutinho, who has been helping people in different ways in these troubled times, wanted to do more.

"I was going through a lot of our patients that we treat and I realized that entire families were getting wiped out. I spoke to my wife and daughter and they didn't think twice about the amount I had decided to donate. So, I went ahead and got in touch with Vijay Shekhar (founder of Paytm) who I know."

Along with his donation, Coutinho is offering free services to people through the Luke Coutinho Holistic Healing Systems Pvt. Ltd in 2017. The company offers health and wellness and cancer care programmes, among others. The platform has a range of experts available including dieticians, certified nutritionists, lifestyle coaches and allopathic medical practitioners.

In addition to the free services, he said that "all of my medical doctors are on the frontline. My entire team of doctors and nutritionists are answering queries 24x7 through social media."

All about Coutinho

Coutinho is a holistic lifestyle coach in the field of integrative medicine, a medical stream which focuses on the lifestyle of people and not just the illness.

He has been conferred the ‘Fit India Champion for Lifestyle and Wellness' for the Fit India Movement, a programme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019.

He has also authored a range of books including 'The Great Indian Diet' with actress Shilpa Shetty and 'The Magic Weight-Loss Pill' with actress Anuskha Shetty of Baahubali fame, among others. He is also the co-founder of GOQii, a digital healthcare platform.

A student of hotel management from IHM Goa, Coutinho's favourite subject was food science and nutrition. To know more about nutrition and exercise physiology, he studied nutrition and fitness at the Gold Coast Training Academy (GCTA) in Australia.

After coming back to India, Coutinho noticed the gap. "While people were taking medicines and training in gyms, no one was changing their lifestyle," he said.

That's when he decided to help people correct and change their lifestyles through integrative medicine.

Food for fitness

A pioneer in integrative medicine in India, Coutinho is now working on another aspect--- food.

"We are trying to build a sustainable food chain. Currently, I am working on an ethical food platform where people can go and buy food which is verified. We call it You Care. Any product which gets listed on the platform is certified and there is a whole team of clinical dietetics, nutritionists and food science technologists who work closely with the philosophy of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)."

While Coutinho says that there wouldn't be too many products on the platform because each product goes through a lot of screening, the platform will offer everything to do with lifestyle. This includes oils, fresh produce, milk and even sustainable clothing like cotton, he points out.

"A lot of people are reaching out to us to get listed but we are taking time as we have to do verifications. Platform will be live in the next couple of days. And it will be a pan-India launch," he points out.

Engaging more with education

After wellness and food, Coutinho has also entered the education space. In association with Lifeness Science Institute (LSI), he will be offering under-graduate and postgraduate courses in Integrative Nutrition and Dietetics.

Coutinho and his team is teaching doctors, nurses and pharmacists. "We have affiliation with the Mumbai University on Integrative Medicine and Lifestyle. There are 140 students who are learning currently."

Keeping people fit through social media

Along with food, wellness and education, Coutinho continues to guide people through social media where he constantly talks about nutrition as well as emotion.

With over two lakh subscribers on YouTube and 345,000 followers on Instagram, Coutinho never forgets to share tips on staying healthy. From sharing content on sleep and nutritious food to dealing with death and grief, the fitness expert is trying to help people understand the importance of mental health and strong immunity.

"Unfortunately, it took a pandemic to make people realize the importance of the immune system," said Coutinho. But it is never too late, he adds. He’s sure got a point.
Maryam Farooqui
first published: May 3, 2021 01:22 pm

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