At BrilliantRead Media, our aim is to bring to our community some of the finest stories from the startup ecosystem. As part of this endeavour, we invited a passionate entrepreneur – Pratima Nagaraj for an exclusive interview with us. She is an Entrepreneur, Author, Holistic Health and Functional Nutrition Coach, Women’s Health Expert, Influencer, Speaker. Let’s learn more about her exciting journey, background and advice for our growing community.
Excerpts from our exclusive interview with Pratima:
We are aware of your contributions to the health industry; talk us through your background and your journey, please;
My educational background consists of B.E in informational science and MBA in marketing & strategy from Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. I worked in the corporate world for 6 years before I decided to quit my job and pursue my passion in the field of health and wellness.
I started as a Clinical Hypnotherapist and life coach and got trained in several energy healing modalities using which I helped clients worldwide with a variety of physical, mental & emotional issues. I went through my own health issues like thyroid & autoimmune hashimoto’s, endometriosis and hormonal imbalances and pill and surgery were never an option I accepted.
I kept digging for answers and my research led to functional medicine. Even though the surgery was presented as the only option for my endometriosis, or to be on a pill for my thyroid lifelong, I knew there had to be a different approach. I never gave up. By changing my diet & lifestyle and using functional nutrition I was able to reverse all my chronic issues successfully.
I got certified as a holistic health & functional nutrition coach so that I could help more women going through similar health issues who have no idea that they can actually be healed naturally, using food as medicine.
How did you discover your passion in ‘Coaching’?
I love connecting with people, on an intercultural level and I always knew that I wanted to build my business around this personality trait and my passion combined. Also, when I was going through my own healing journey, I struggled to find good health coaches/functional nutrition practitioners who could support me. This was a motivator for me to be available as that coach to other women who are going through a similar journey.
Secondly, there is an epidemic of chronic ailments among women like thyroid, autoimmune, PCOS and metabolic dysfunctions like diabetes and obesity. Most women are not aware that these can be reversed using dietary and lifestyle changes.
I was able to reverse mine naturally and as a coach, I want to bring this information and knowledge to the forefront so that as many people as possible are aware that medication is not their only choice.
How do you manage to keep going despite the challenges? What drives you? – What about your journey makes it satisfying/exciting?
There are always good days and bad days but every time I work with a client and I see their health transform completely, it serves as the biggest motivator for me to keep doing what I do.
Especially because most of my clients come to consult me as their last resort, after going to multiple doctors and specialists without a solution. I feel truly blessed and grateful each time I finish working with a client and see their health transform beautifully.
I go to bed feeling fully satisfied that I am able to help people heal their health issues and achieve radiant health through my coaching programs and empower them with the most valuable knowledge of taking care of their body.
What challenges do you face in the nutrition industry?
One of the biggest challenges currently is that there are too many fad diets/ diet trends in the health/nutrition industry which give people only short-term results but cause more harm than good in the long term.
They lead to weak immunity, nutritional deficiencies, weight loss resistance, thyroid and hormonal issues in the long run. Most people are not aware of it and educating them is essential. This is one of the reasons I started my Instagram page – to educate.
Also, our conventional medicine, even though life-saving, when it comes to chronic ailments like diabetes, PCOS, endometriosis or thyroid issues does not have an answer other than putting people on pills for life. They do not focus on digging deep and finding the ‘root cause’ of an illness.
Medications only treat the symptoms, not the cause. It is like cutting off the branches of a tree and leaving the roots intact and wondering why it keeps growing back. This is where functional nutrition is different and we follow the root cause approach through which I have been able to help hundreds of women reverse PCOS, hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s, diabetes and other chronic issues.
What are some of the strategies that you believe have helped you grow as a person?
There are quite a few that I practice in my daily life:
> Mindfulness helps me be present at this moment and not worry about past or future
> Trusting that growth/healing is not a linear process and there will always be ups and downs like a roller coaster. Just need to ride out that wave.
> Finding joy in simple and small things in life
> Always trusting my intuition and awareness irrespective or what others say (this helped me tremendously in my healing journey when I didn’t blindly believe what doctors told me)
> Focusing on self-care and filling my cup before helping others. This prevents me from feeling drained of my energy
> Being vulnerable and authentic
What projects/endeavours are you working on currently?
Until now, I was only offering private 1:1 consultations and I am seeing that more and more people are coming to for help and I am limited by time to accommodate everyone.
So, I am developing online courses/self-study programs for different aspects like thyroid healing, gut healing, hormones, weight loss etc. so that more people can benefit at the same time.
They can enrol in them anytime they want and from anywhere in the world, based on what aspect of their health they want to transform/ heal. And this way, I get to create a bigger impact on the world.
What advice would you give women who are dealing with chronic health issues like PCOS, thyroid, diabetes or autoimmune?
My top advice is – Be an advocate for your own health. Nobody else but you are responsible for your own well-being. Trust your intuition and don’t let anyone gaslight you into believing that your symptoms are not real. If a healthcare practitioner does not listen to you, find someone else who listens to and understands your problems.
Secondly, manage your stress and focus on self-care. Make yourself and your health a priority. Stress is one of the most overlooked areas and the biggest root cause of most chronic disorders. The body cannot heal when it is stressed.
If there is one advice you could give for people to live healthier and happier, what would it be?
Don’t focus on weight loss. Health is so much more than the number on a weighing scale. Improve your relationship with food and your body. In addition to eating healthy, focus on all aspects of your life like sleep/ relaxation, stress, exercise, connection to nature, relationships etc. Holistic wellness is the key.
What do you think is the future of functional nutrition? Where do you see it headed?
Functional nutrition is definitely gaining more awareness and popularity because of its root cause approach and ability to reverse chronic illnesses that conventional medicine is yet to find a solution for. According to me, functional nutrition is more about prevention than cure.
You can not only reverse a lot of chronic health issues but through proper diet and lifestyle habits, can prevent them from occurring. The basic premise of functional medicine is – “Food is medicine” and the world is slowly realizing that I hope it becomes the primary way of treating chronic illnesses very soon.