Radhi Devlukia-Shetty© Alanna Hale

Radhi Devlukia-Shetty’s Cookbook Packs In The Goodness Of Ayurveda

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Sonal Nerurkar

Whether she’s whipping up a bowl of plant-based goodness, spreading affirmations to advocate for self-improvement and self-love, sharing timeless wisdom to tackle health issues, or simply goofing around on camera, Radhi Devlukia-Shetty is undeniably captivating. Love and light radiate from her, down to the heart-dot over the ‘I’ in her name. Perhaps it’s those warm hazel eyes? “Sunshine in human form,” is how one of her Instagram followers describes her, and we’re delighted to bask in all that goodness.

Radhi Devlukia-Shetty©Alanna Hale

So, does Radhi just wake up ready to bust out those dance moves? Over the phone, she laughs at the thought. “Some days are days for dance moves, some days are days for crying … it goes one or the other,” jokes the Los Angeles-based content creator and holistic well-being expert, who has just published her first cookbook, JoyFull. Dancing to the beats is the ultimate morning mood elevator and it can also be a therapeutic outlet. “I see dancing as meditation for the mind,” she explains, as it helps her move stagnant energy and excess emotions through her body.

Looking Back For A Better Future

Though it may be hard to believe, Radhi didn’t always possess such a sunny outlook. Growing up in Watford, UK, to parents of Indian descent who were raised in Africa, she recalls being a difficult teenager. “Everything was a ‘no,’ my mum couldn’t get things right, and I was always so annoying to her. We struggled to see eye to eye,” she shares.

It was only after college, where Radhi earned a degree in nutrition and dietetics, that they were able to cultivate a friendship that transcended the mother-daughter dynamic. “I started seeing the value of everything she’d given me as a child and how precious that was. It made me so much more grateful for the relationship, which has become really wonderful,” she reflects.

JoyFull is deeply rooted in this heritage, which Radhi came to embrace and cherish. While her formal Ayurveda training began with Divya Alter of Ayurveda restaurant Divya’s Kitchen in New York, followed by a degree in Ayurveda Health Counseling from the California College of Ayurveda, her education began much earlier. As a child, Radhi’s mum would give her and her older sister Deepa ajwain when they had coughs and apply turmeric patches to their cuts, practices that are the basis of healing in Ayurveda. “I thought, wow, we’ve been doing this for years and years, passed down from my grandma to my mum. All of that is so much more relevant than we believe it is and so much more useful than a lot of the new things that are coming out,” she states.

Radhi’s core belief centres on this message: what you eat — along with your daily habits and the thoughts you think — has the power to completely transform every aspect of your health. JoyFull, a comprehensive collection featuring over 125 plant-based recipes and mindful cooking, eating and living practices, expertly distills this message for the lay reader through Radhi’s understanding of Ayurveda. The logic feels intuitive, so it’s not surprising when the self-taught chef tells us it’s all drawn from practices she has incorporated into her own life over the years. The habit of sharing online and hearing from people — ‘oh wow, this really did help!’ — has helped her tremendously in finding the right language. She hopes the book will enhance people’s understanding of their bodies. “We need to tune back into our bodies, understand them, and not relinquish power over our health to others,” she passionately exclaims.

Radhi Devlukia©Alanna Hale

Six years ago, when Radhi’s journey on this path began, she wasn’t sure if she was ready to take on the ambitious project of writing a book. Her spiritual teacher, His Holiness Radhanath Swami of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), reassured her by saying, “Knowledge is useless unless it is shared.” With his encouragement, her doubts were set aside.

How Radhi Found Her Spiritual Tribe

Spirituality forms the bedrock of Radhi’s existence today, infusing her life with profound richness. Her parents and grandmother (Ba) serve as a beacon of inspiration. “They’ve all been very connected to their spiritual practices from a young age, and so they’ve always helped me to see, to navigate life in that way,” says the young seeker, whose journey into spirituality began with meditation sessions at a local temple.

This followed a period in her life, during university, where she struggled to connect. “I never felt like I quite fit in,” Radhi recalls. Many typical university activities, like drinking, held little appeal for her. “It sounds like such a small thing but actually university life is based around that to such an extent that it does separate you if you’d rather go for dinners and movies than party,” she explains.

Radhi Devlukia-Shetty©Alanna Hale

Before Radhi left for school, her mother had given her a copy of the Bhagavad Gita. “She said to me, whenever you feel lost or confused, just flip through it, and it will help you in some way.” Radhi was in her second year of college when she first opened it, and felt immediately comforted, calling it “a place of home”. After college, she discovered the spiritual community she craved at her mother’s local temple. “It was the first time I felt that I had found my people,” she reminisces.

Among them was her future husband, Jay Shetty, then a tonsured, tattooed monk at the temple. Reportedly, Jay’s sister suggested they get together after he left the monastic life. The two married in 2016 and moved to the US. Jay’s 2020 book Think Like A Monk catapulted him to global fame; in fact, it was on the New York Times bestselling author’s social media pages that we first encountered Radhi. The couple appear to complement each other beautifully — she embodies playfulness when he radiates depth, and vice versa. For Radhi, Jay remains a touchstone, “a beautiful reminder to do everything with deeper meaning and purpose,” she writes in the book of the celebrity life coach with whom she shares a $8.4-million Hollywood Hills home.

Fans of the cute couple may have noticed they are doing fewer social media posts together, limiting it to promoting their wellness teas and other business endeavours. Radhi says this shift is intentional. “It’s such a nice thing to keep to yourself, there’s a sacredness to it,” she says of her relationship. “I don’t appreciate people commenting on our life together. When I was sharing a lot, it gave people open space to have opinions about it, so now I’ve minimised the amount that I share.”

She feels similarly protective about her family. “The more eyes on something, the more energy gets taken from it,” she explains. And yet, JoyFull is brimming with anecdotes and recipes Radhi has sourced from her parents, Ba and extended family (her brother-in-law Sandeep’s eggplant bacon recipe is inspired!). Despite living on different continents, the family continues to share an unbreakable bond. Radhi says her daily FaceTime sessions with her mum, which include a joint prayer session with Ba, are her “fuel”. “Whether it’s a five-minute ‘hi-let-me-see-your-face’ or simply exchanging ‘love yous,’ that is what keeps me going.”

Busting The Myth Of The Perfect Holistic Life

Describing herself as a “perpetual student” and “serial seeker” in the book, Radhi admits that as a content creator, it’s tiring to live up to the ideal of a perfect holistic life. “The hardest thing to navigate is people’s perception of whether you’re genuinely happy all the time in your life when it’s not true. I cry a lot,” she reveals. Admitting to feeling lost in others’ expectations and initially creating content she thought others wanted to see, she eventually shifted to sharing authentically.

Radhi Devlukia Shetty©Alanna Hale

It’s always a delicate balancing act on social media. For instance, how does someone advocating for mindfulness like her manage her role as a content creator striving to enhance engagement? This is where Radhi’s spiritual life comes into play, highlighting the importance of detachment from the outcome. “I’ve never been into numbers and stats,” says the influencer, whose Instagram post on the correct way to drink water has amassed over 4.2 million views to date. “I view things as temporary — if this doesn’t succeed, I’ll create something else.”

At the heart of her new book lies the concept of choice: the affirmation to be full of joy. Radhi’s advice for those struggling to embrace it? “Take a moment to sit down with yourself and reflect on what you’re truly feeling. Then, ask yourself: What genuinely brings me joy in my life? Not what I think should bring me joy or what others say should bring me joy, but what truly brings me joy,” she advises, highlighting the belief that these questions can help “tip the balance” towards joy.

Simple yet thoughtful — just like her book.

Photography Copyright © 2024 by Alanna Hale. Reproduced by permission of Simon Element, and imprint of Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved

This article has been adapted for the website from the March 2024 issue of HELLO! India. Grab your copies here.