Black Hawk Ambassador Luke Hines
Black Hawk Ambassador Luke Hines
Up Close and Personal with Luke Hines
A dog, a stick blender and lawn bowls may seem unlikely tools to launch a lifestyle and culinary career, but they are the force behind one of Australia's leading health protagonists and prolific food authors Luke Hines. From a professional perspective, Hines says dogs saved his sanity; the blender underpins his cooking franchise, whilst success at lawn bowls showed a disillusioned boy anything was possible.
He is the epitome of the energetic lifestyle he espouses, the guy you know you've seen somewhere and, his passion and positivity are contagious.
Fans of reality TV will recognise Hines as a contestant on season four of My Kitchen Rules (MKR). Armed with a few recipes, bravado and a love of nutritious food, Hines and buddy Scott thrived and survived cooking's "bootcamp" to finish runners up.
Far from being the first loser, the boy from Bondi, gained confidence and the motivation to build a one-man fitness, food, and lifestyle juggernaut.
As a child, he was overweight and bullied. Dubbed 'Buddha', he had his tummy "rubbed for luck" and was never the first picked on any AFL or soccer team. "It was so embarrassing, I hated sport," recalls Hines. "Can you imagine going to a private boys’ school and being hopeless at sport."
Hines got his comeuppance from an unlikely source. Whilst he couldn't catch, run, or kick, this kid was good at lawn bowls. He claimed the school's MVP award and came to the realisation he didn't have to like football and soccer to be fit.
With school behind him, Hines had time for introspection. It was time for change. Unhappy with how he looked and felt, Hines set off on a campaign to shed weight. Before he knew it he was hooked and back studying as a personal trainer.
“Although I started out to lose the excess weight, I soon discovered how much happier I felt and how much stronger my mental health was. And exercise and eating well became the most incredible antidote to some of the struggles I had been through,” says Hines
“Reclaiming my own health really kick started me into turning fitness into a career! I trained as a personal trainer, worked my way up the ranks and eventually opened my own business in Bondi doing 1:1 and group sessions,” says Hines, who can count Angelina Jolie as a client.
However, Hines was not satisfied, he wanted to know more. Movement he discovered was only piece of human health puzzle. He then set his sights on food, and how it powered his body! In a quest to know more went back to “school” to study human nutrition.
With an emphasis on eating nutrient rich foods, he experimented with vegan, paleo, grain free, dairy free, and low carb eating. He felt good, but from a holistic viewpoint sensed he was still not getting the full picture. It was then he made the vital connection with the mind.
"So much is in our heads," he says. "I believe you can't be truly well until you have the balance of nutrition, movement and mindset. When people exercise and eat well, they think better and feel better."
“As a functional nutritionist, I am really passionate about supporting and transforming the health of humans,” says Hines.
When it comes to ingredients – quality, nutrient density and taste are not negotiable.
Interestingly, he doesn't preach nor advocate any one dietary regime exploring many in his books. He's not a grinch when it comes to sweets; he BBQs anything; and loves vegan. He readily admits to being his own crash test dummy and, laughs at the suggestion his mother had anything to do with his culinary education or MKR success.
"Mum did not teach me how to cook. She had four growing boys and was very much into quantity over quality. Her speciality was tuna on baked potatoes," recalls Hines.
Behind every good cook is a bench overflowing with gadgets, knives, and cookers with unpronounceable names. Hine's humble hero is the stick blender. Given his 13 cookbooks, and thousands of recipes, you can appreciate his affection for the time saving appliance. Manners might maketh some men, but the stick blender, with its whipping, chopping and mixing capabilities keeps this guy motoring in the kitchen.
“I like to keep it simple and, I can’t do without the stick blender. It makes pancakes, mixes drinks and is great for cakes.”
With the average human eating 89,000 meals in a lifetime, Hines foresees a bright food future, one filled with more books, podcasts and even his own holistic cooking program.
The mind is always ticking. But it’s not all lights, camera, action! Hines ferociously guards his mental and physical health. When out of the limelight he’s a pyjama wearing hermit who likes to be in bed by 8pm each night. “I am quite an introvert,” Hines says. “I don’t like large openings and parties – yet I have this extrovert career.”
Hines’ downtime allows time for reflection and indulgence in his other passion: two energetic, sanity saving, hounds Chia and Kira.
The pair are Hines’ inspiration, his motivation, and his best friends. His life has been shaped by a string of four legged friends who have kept him grounded through his troubled teenage years, recent bushfires and COVID lockdowns.
“I can’t imagine not having a dog.”
They’ve made a profound impact on my life and mental health. My dogs have been a best friend though all my different struggles in life.
“During COVID and bushfires I was so fortunate I had my dogs healing and calming energy to see me through. They were an excuse to get my daily steps up, and excuse to stay motivated and keep moving, and such incredible comfort when things felt really tough.” He says animals have an innate way of tuning into their owners’ energy and knowing what is needed, whether it’s a cuddle, a kiss, or a kick in the butt to get moving.
So how does a pumpkin loving ‘Insta’ chef marry his passion for clean, nutritious food and the personal tastes and needs of his carnivorous canine pair? “There’s the famous saying, ‘We Are What We Eat?’ So if something isn't good for us, and doesn’t benefit our health, then we should try to avoid and eliminate them from our diet! We need to do the same for our dogs” says Hines.
As a picky eater with a nutritional focus, Hines is fastidious about the source and quality of his food, and the same goes for his dogs.
“What I love about Black Hawk is I know where the food has come from. I know it is fresh, real and not fake and that gives me peace of mind for what I am feeding my girls.
“I try to shop local and support local producers, and I love that Black Hawk has created a local food bowl of sorts where they source their ingredients for food traceability and reduced food miles. As a Black Hawk ambassador Hines feels honoured to be a pet owner, who takes pride in giving back to his dogs, for all the love and mateship they have shown him.
“I have found when we look after our pet properly, we feel better about ourselves,” says Hines. “There is pride to be had in looking after your pet right, and I celebrate that pride, and hope to lead by example.
“Black Hawk has a famous mission statement: Every ingredient matters. As a functional nutritionist, I couldn’t agree more!”