My name is Charmaine D’Souza and this is the story of my journey as an entrepreneur. I am a naturopath nutritionist and a qualified dietician. I started my career in 1990 and I have completed more than 3 decades in this field. I’ve practiced dietetics in a number of hospitals and taught nutrition at Sophia College and Jaslok hospitals College of Nursing whilst also practicing privately.
During my 2nd internship program at the S.L Raheja Hospital I realized that patients would not adhere to a restrictive diet plan even though their health/ life depended on it. They would come to the OPD, nod their heads when we requested them to eat healthy…and go out and eat bhel, samosas, kulfi etc from the food stalls right opposite the hospital gate!!
That’s when I knew I had to do something different. So I went ahead and studied naturopathy and started devising herb and spice mix recipes which my patients could get made at their own homes.
These therapeutic mixes could then be incorporated into the diet plan.I then set up Good Health Always Consultancy, a Pvt Ltd company along with my husband and with the grace of God, I’ve not looked back. Subsequently I wrote 2 nutrition books, Kitchen Clinic and Blood Sugar & Spice as well as co-authored The Good Health Always Cookbook with my daughters, Charlyene and Savlyene. All three books have been published by Penguin Random House India.
Years later I met a cousin whom I had lost touch with and she shared a story which gives me goosebumps. Apparently my dad’s dad (who had passed away many years before I was born) was a naturopath and this cousin would spend her summer holidays at our grandfather’s home. The highlight of her stay would be the daily, early morning trips to a forest in Mahim where he would pick fresh herbs. She would then help him carry the herbs home and would get an ice lolly in return. She clearly remembers how grandpa would carefully measure out different combinations of the herbs to dispense off to his long line of patients. So to quote her “It is all in your genes” And here I was thinking I was the innovator!!!
People who have influenced and motivated me?
At the start of my career, my H.O.D. and chief dietitian at the Raheja hospital, Dr GD Koppikar, influenced and mentored me. She was instrumental in seeing that I continued my dietetic practice even after I had started teaching nutrition in various colleges.
Any aspiring entrepreneur needs to get inspired. But what if you want to be a trailblazer? To innovate? To do things differently…in ways that have never been done before? And to succeed not just temporarily but for a long long time…so that you can build and pass on your legacy to worthy successors? Whom do you look upto then?
What I’m going to say next is without an iota of pomposity. With the Grace of God, I have been my own taskmaster, my own competition, my own motivator. Over the years, despite all the ups and downs, I’ve been consistent, positive, astute, oblivious to naysayers while being mindful of negative chatter.
I say this here in order to drive home a point to all those wanting to start a career…do not wait for someone to push you, to motivate you, to decide for you. Do not wait to find someone to emulate…you probably have no idea of what it took them to get to their position. So just believe in yourself, be you and stay true.
The support of your spouse, children and other family members is key.
“Charmaine did her internship under me when I was Chief Dietician at SL Raheja Hospital. I was able to gauge her commitment and dedication way back in 1990 and she imbibed good practices of nutrition. I am proud that she has worked hard to reach where she has today. She justifies my considering her as my star pupil.”
– Gourpriya D. Koppikar R.D., Consultant Dietician, Bombay Hospital
My future plans
At GHA we have been mentoring a number of young people interested in starting ventures in the healthy food space. These youngsters are confident, intelligent and so full of innovative ideas.
My daughters Charlyene and Savlyene are both nutritionists who started their own company SaCha’s TheraSpice in Jan 2018. Their products range from hot and cold compresses, shoulder wraps, knee wraps, ankle wraps etc which have different blends of herbs and spices for therapeutic use.
They also have a range of herbs for hair care and some artisanal chemical-free soaps and body butters. They are also trained and certified yoga therapists. I work with different combinations of herbs and spices for my clients to make their own spice mixes. They work with different combinations of herbs and spices in their therapeutic products.
“Good health belongs to those who invest in themselves to achieve it.”
Stay happy, stay motivated, stay blessed with good health…always!!!