A stroke convinced him of the healing power of food and led him to start Aarogyahaar
Currently bootstrapped, Rajan Mahendra's Hyderabad-based Aarogyahaar focuses on ‘reversing diseases’ by helping people lead a healthier life through nutrition guidance and psychosomatic counselling.
At a Glance
Founder: Rajan Mahendra
Year it was founded: 2014
Where it is based: Hyderabad
Problem it solves: Helps people in leading a healthier life
Funding raised: Bootstrapped
Great ideas are born out of life-changing experiences, they say.
When 34-year-old Rajan Mahendra was diagnosed with a transient ischemic attack (a stroke), the incident not only grounded him for the next six months, but also put him on a host of medications for the next 10 years.
While he was on the road to recovery, he started setting up MyHealth Pharmacy, a pharmacy chain in Hyderabad. It was at around this time that he developed arthritis as a side effect of the heavy medications he was on.
Rajan says, “The sudden onset of arthritis made me realise that medicines were causing me more harm than good. This motivated me to sell my stake in the pharmacy chain and get out of the medicine business completely. I started reading about food and the immense power it has to reverse almost any disease.”
By the time he was 44, he had healed himself completely, without any medication, and wanted to spread his new-found information with the world to help people. This was when Aarogyahaar (formerly called Healtheeliving) was born.
Set up in 2014, Aarogyahaar focuses on helping people lead a healthier life through nutrition and psychosomatic counselling. The startup, currently bootstrapped, claims to reverse the ill-effects caused by diseases, and says it has worked with over 13,000 clients since inception.
Rajan says, “Our mission has been to educate the general public about the harmful effects of overuse of medications and how they lead to further complications.”
Talking about the challenges, he explains, “Our biggest challenge has been to change people’s mind and make them understand the importance of a lifestyle change. With exposure to various misleading advertisements, people are made to believe in certain ideas such as use of refined sunflower oil will help reduce heart problems, which in reality, is completely false.”
Rajan says, “Regular talks at apartment complexes and informatory talks at clinics (where doctors are empaneled with us as our medical advisors) have helped us overcome these challenges.”
How does it work?
Aarogyahaar offers nutrition consultation packages. It offers three-month and six-month plans, priced at Rs 7,000 and Rs 10,000 respectively.
The company initially conducts an in-depth consultation with a dietitian, where they try to understand the subscriber’s current lifestyle. The consultation will be around four key areas such as:
Current lifestyle (wake-up time, meal timings, work schedule)
Eating habits (likes/dislikes, allergies)
Health parameters (reports, medical levels)
Medications (medicines you are currently on)
Post that, a health plan is sent to the subscriber. This comprises:
The daily meal schedule (for 3 days a week, and repeated for the next 3 days)
Precautions to be taken regarding medications
One-liners for psychosomatic counselling
Rajan says, “A dietitian is assigned to every subscriber, and every week there is a call scheduled with the dietitian. These calls are meant to monitor the subscriber’s progress over the week, provide mental support to achieve the desired result, and help them in providing a new diet plan for the coming week.”
The company aims to achieve complete removal or a significant reduction in the dosage of medicines given and aims to achieve good health for the subscriber, free of all medical parameters.
The subscribers are also asked to make changes in their daily eating habits by including cold-pressed oils, desi cow ghee, etc., in their diet for the desired results.
“They come back to us, asking where to find such products as they are not available in the market. To tackle this, we have also developed a supply chain of these products. We provide the list of products available with us at the time of sending the initial plan, and the subscriber can place an order when required,” he says.
Rajan has built the company’s core team by recruiting nutritionists who have just passed out of college and trained them. At present, Aarogyahaar has a seven-member team, comprising mostly nutritionists.
On the revenue front, Rajan says, “We are a cash-positive company and have been profitable for the last three years. We have had more than 13,000 clients so far, and have worked not only on corporate projects but also on government-sponsored projects like with the Telangana Police Force.”
The company has developed a network of doctors in the city, who refer their patients when they feel medicines are not working well for them. It also claims to have been able to successfully reverse 56 diseases in this period.
Rajan says, “We have also been able to scale up our products vertical and are currently doing a minimum of Rs 1.2 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh in sales per month. We have identified multiple source of food products and are helping local producers scale up their operations.”
According to a report by Grand View Research, the global nutrition and dietary supplements market is expected to reach $278.02 billion by 2024, at a CAGR of 9.6 percent from 2016 to 2024.
What sets them apart?
“There are a lot of nutrition startups, but most of them are focusing on weight loss and fitness. We, on the other hand, have made it a point to position ourselves as a ‘disease reversal’ destination,” Rajan says.
“We have developed protocols for each and every disease that we work on, and have seen excellent results. We do work on weight-loss and overall fitness, but our main focus has always been on reversing diseases. We strive to be the first point of contact for all our subscribers, and try to cure every small illness without medication,” Rajan adds.
The company is on the lookout for prospective franchise stores across India. “We have recently opened a franchise store in Hyderabad, and are in talks to open another in Pune. Our plan is to open franchise stores, and impart our knowledge to various individuals by helping them run the business on their own,” Rajan says.