Health coach Neelam Daswani is the founder of PureHealth, a consultancy that provides tailored health plans for clients of different lifestyle and dietary needs. She lets us in on the keys to a healthy modern life.
Tell us more about your background. How did you get into nutrition?
I am a Japan-born Indian living in Hong Kong and the founder of boutique PR agency Purebuzz. Two years ago, my dad ended up in ICU post-bypass surgery, and I found myself embracing a more holistic approach during his recovery. This difficult time also motivated me to return to school, and I became a certified Health Coach through the Integrated Institute of Nutrition (NYC). I learned how medicine is only one part of one’s healing journey and how food and a holistic 360 approach is key to staying healthy and most importantly happy! I’ve been practicing for closer to two years now.
What are five key elements, in your opinion, for optimal health/nutrition/lifestyle?
Sleep hygiene is crucial to rejuvenate the mind. Maintaining adequate amounts of quality sleep is essential to optimal health and well-being. If you are feeling run-down, struggling to focus, or feeling irritable for no clear reason, you may want to look into your sleep patterns. In a fast-paced environment, many people forgo sleep and overextend themselves to catch up on work and other responsibilities.
As a society, we have become unhealthier over the decades and are now faced with metabolic dysfunction and insulin resistance. We must focus on enriching our diets with healthy proteins, fasting, and fibre, and eat for our health on a day-to-day basis. Hidden sugars are found in all packaged goods, so we must understand where they are and the addictive nature of sugar — as it is the cause of most diseases.
I encourage my clients to be more mindful of what they are consuming and use food as medicine while optimizing their gut health.
Medicine and meditation share the same root word: to HEAL (medi). It takes eight weeks to change the brain’s function. Mindfulness reduces cortisol or stress levels. Breathing slows us down and brings us to the present.
Exercise releases the happy hormone, endorphin. I encourage my clients to have exercise goals, not weight loss goals. You cannot exercise your way out of a bad diet, and 30 minutes a day of a combo of resistance or cardio is all you need to stay healthy.
You need to be around positive people. You are who you give your energy to. You are the product of your five closest friends, so choose them wisely!
What exactly is a health coach?
The role of a Health Coach was born out of the necessity to bridge the gap between patients and healthcare, providing individualized support and a more holistic understanding of how to nourish our bodies and minds. We are an accountability partner, to help make modifications to not just one’s diet but lifestyle, outside the doctor’s office and in the real world. Simply put, the world needs more Health Coaches!
What do you do for self care?
I always try to give my body a rest after a weekend long of indulges. I aim to go 20 to 22 hours without eating and have an early dinner early in the week. My energy levels peak post and I feel much lighter and stronger. The purported benefits of fasting and intermittent fasting (IF) include: boosting immune function, increasing mental and physical energy, boosting metabolism, reducing inflammation and so much more.
I aim to go for a gong or crystal singing bowl healing session once a week. Scientific evidence suggests that certain forms of sound therapy prompt damaged humans DNA strands to repair themselves.
I also take 10 minutes out of my day daily to meditate. I most prefer to do this at around 3 to 4pm in the middle of my day. lt helps me reset, re-charge for my day ahead. My son knows I’m a better and nicer mom post-meditation!
My self care is being in nature alone: it is so healing. I am able to rebalance and feel restored. The Japanese Shinto belief of worshipping and coexisting with nature resonates with my beliefs.
Forest Bathing or watching the sunset by the beach are some of my favorite activities. There is something about nature that soothes, relaxes and heals your entire being. The combination of oxygen-rich air, beautiful visuals, relaxing sounds and the overall positive vibrations that you pick up from the surroundings all confirm that the universe has got my back.
Last but not least, two massages and or facial a month are a must!
Do you have a practical pose for our readers to try for themselves?
Here’s a Legs Up The Wall pose. Try this simple restorative and powerful practice once a week while listening to a podcast. It is believed to help: ease stress, calm your nerves, relieve swollen ankles, varicose veins and headaches, and improve digestion.