Radhi Devlukia-Shetty Is Breaking Rules in Her New Cookbook

Updated: Feb. 27, 2024

Don't call her "Jay Shetty's wife"—or, do, but just know she has a mind of her own. Here, the Hollywood life coach's better half dishes on life at home and why she felt drawn to break from tradition in a new book.

To Radhi Devlukia-Shetty, the self-taught, plant-based cook and mission-driven entrepreneur, cooking isn’t just about the food. Food can be healing with mindful eating, cooking with nature and taking some breaks for breathwork.

Most importantly, Devlukia-Shetty says, food should be joyful. After a recent collaboration with Gap, the vegan influencer has launched her first cookbook, Joyfull, which is full (yes, the extra L is intended) of plant-based recipes in addition to meditations, breathwork exercises, skincare routines and more wellness tips. As if a cookbook weren’t appealing enough on its own, this project is clearly so much more.

Since 2016 Devlukia-Shetty has been married to podcaster, Hollywood life coach, best-selling author and former monk Jay Shetty. Here, she opens up in an interview with The Healthy by Readers Digest about why her life and marriage aren’t perfect, and the correct way to drink water. (That’s right—keep reading.)

The Healthy by Readers Digest: Congratulations on your debut cookbook, Joyfull. Everything you do has a unique spin. Tell us about the inspiration for this project.

Radhi Devlukia-Shetty: There’s over 125 plant-based recipes. But then woven through the recipes, I’ve also got tips and meditations and breathwork that I practice that have really helped me in my life. I’d say the book is an accumulation of my experience as a nutritionist, as a dietitian in the hospital, and as someone who studied Ayurveda, which uses a lot of natural and holistic approaches towards health.

Joyfull Book covervia merchant

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The Healthy: Why did you insist on including meditations and wellness tips?

Radhi Devlukia-Shetty: I wanted to include it because I believe that food is one pillar of our health. And when I thought about writing a book, I feel so grateful for the incredible teachers that I’ve had in my life that have changed my life completely from doing my yoga teacher training in New York to the Ayurvedic teachers that I’ve had.

My mom, who was the most incredible cook when I was growing up, really elevated my tastebuds because she cooked the most delicious food. It felt wrong to just include recipes because that is just one part of health. I really wanted the book to make people feel good in themselves through the food that they’re eating, through the thoughts they’re thinking, and through the practices that they’re doing every single day.

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The Healthy: Can you explain what Ayurveda is and how it’s incorporated into the recipes in your book?

Radhi Devlukia-Shetty: Ayur means life or longevity, and veda means knowledge—so it’s essentially the science of life. It’s a 5,000-year-old health system, and it uses natural and holistic approaches towards health. So really what it teaches you is, how can I understand and tune into my body? How can I understand and tune into nature around me, and how can I create an optimal environment internally and externally for optimal health?

So it teaches you about yourself. And it sounds so funny because we should be able to just know ourselves because we live in ourselves, but Ayurveda helps you to tune back in to understand our body individually. And that’s what I love about it because it essentially says if I eat tomato and you eat the tomato, our bodies are going to react differently. And I love using the word “optimal” because I truly do believe that that’s the way it does.

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The Healthy: You recently had a very popular Instagram post about how to properly drink water. It sounds so obvious, but I’d never thought about it. For those who missed the post, can you explain how to properly drink water from the perspective of your training?

Radhi Devlukia-Shetty: There’s a few tips. Drinking it at room temperature or hot makes a huge difference to our digestion. I remember recommending that to a few friends who’ve had gut issues. When they change that one thing, just not drinking ice cold water, [it] makes such a difference.

The second thing is drinking water when you’re sitting down, not standing up. If you think about gravity, the water just kind of flows right through you if you are standing. And so sitting down and drinking the water calmly, not chugging it, drinking it sip by sip makes a difference because your body’s able to really process it so you get the deeper hydration.

Also, adding in spices into your water can help so much with digestion and just helping to purify and detox your body, but very gently. I do that every single morning—I’ll boil water and I’ll add in three spices: coriander, cumin, and fennel seeds. And they are known to be the queen, like the trio of spices in Ayurveda. They really help with the digestion. They help to get rid of any toxins I’ve accumulated overnight. You drink it in the morning to help remove all of that.

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The Healthy: Those are great tips. You also practice what you call “conscious cooking.” What is that?

Radhi Devlukia-Shetty: Conscious means to just be present and to be aware of what is happening in the moment. And so conscious cooking for me has been the practice of setting an intention and putting in energy and a specific mindset when I’m creating the food in order to feed myself or the person that will be eating it more than just physical nourishment. Ayurveda talks about how our energy and the intention that we cook with has the ability to nourish not just your body but your mind and your spirit too.

Another part of the practice is saying a prayer of gratitude before you eat. There are some really beautiful studies that have been done that show when you take a moment before you eat to have a grateful mindset, and your body is in the mode of gratitude, it actually receives the food and metabolizes the food and breaks it down so much better. And so it kind of makes sense because you’re just ready and open to receive the food that’s coming to you. If you’re in anxiety or you are eating the food really fast, your digestion suffers.

The Healthy: If you’re stressed out, your body isn’t in a rest and digest mode.

Radhi Devlukia-Shetty: Exactly. I love that. Yeah.

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The Healthy: What is one self-care ritual that you refuse to skip?

Radhi Devlukia-Shetty: So apart from my meditation which is something I’ve been doing for over eight years now, I would say self-care or a self-love ritual that I’ve really appreciated over the past couple of years has been abhyanga massage, the practice of self body massage, but with warm oils. And there’s something about when you hug someone, you feel such a sense of calm and relief. And so in the same way when you end up massaging your own body.

The Healthy: You and your husband Jay are growing contemporaries who have made mindfulness more of a pop-culture mainstay. I imagine between the two of you, there’s just a lot of mindfulness in your lives—so I have to know, do you guys ever fight or is it just total bliss?

Radhi Devlukia-Shetty: It’s so funny how people perceive, like if you meditate and you live a certain way that you’re just not going to be fighting. I’m a Leo, and so I’m actually quite fiery. Jay is actually very calm. He’s calm and collected, and he’s annoyingly exactly how you would think he is. It’s me and you against the problem, and we have to figure this out together. I’m the one that suddenly explodes and I get really upset or I’ll, I’ll be quite feisty in the way that I speak. I don’t ever say things that I don’t mean, but I can be quite sassy. I’d say I’m very stubborn and you’ll either get a bit of silent treatment from me, or I’ll be really stubborn where even if I know I’m wrong, there’s a part of me that just can’t help wanting to be right.

And so I’m still learning in that area. I’m like, look, just fight with me for a second. But Jay, he stays quite calm and collected, to be honest. It’s me. I’m the sassy one.

The Healthy: It’s refreshing to know you guys are humans.