By Anna Griffin, Editor in Chief
If you spend any time on social media and have the slightest interest in a vegan diet or living life more consciously, you will have discovered Radhi Devlukia-Shetty. Her daily posts and Stories are full of delicious plant-based recipes; things that could make even the most die-hard meat lover stop and consider the alternative. Along with her excitement for cooking, she shares inspirational and spiritual quotes, singing, dancing, her favorite Ayurvedic brands, and sweet moments with her husband, Jay. She’s a ray of light and an infectious ball of energy, who consistently brightens our Instagram feeds with her natural joy for life. Beyond her positive social media presence and pure love of food, Radhi is a dedicated follower of Ayurveda, recently completing a Certified Ayurvedic Health Counselor course. She shares this on her vibrant website, Radhi Conscious Cooking, which is founded on three pillars: Nourish Your Mind (Ayurveda): Nourish Your Body, (her recipes), and Nourish Your Soul (her spiritual journey).
Born in London to parents of Indian descent, but both raised in Africa, Radhi credits her family heritage for her inspiration, “There is a lot of fusion between those two worlds. Plus the way that I was brought up in London, and then moved to America . . . I feel that inspiration ends up coming from my journey through life, plus the experience of my family, which has been infused into mine.”
Beyond English, Radhi also speaks a mixture of the two languages she grew up learning; Gujarati and Swahili, further exemplifying her rich and diverse heritage. “I was so lucky I got so much of that culture brought into my life at such a young age. My parents really made a conscious decision with that, and although I was brought up in London and very much relate to London culture and British culture, it’s been such a beautiful thing to be able to experience my parent’s heritage too, and have that as part of me and my identity,” she shares.
Despite the current geographical distance due to Covid, Radhi is extremely close to her parents who she calls the OG’s of her family and who each have nicknames: There’s Momma Bear, Poppa Bear, and her Superstar BAA (her Grandma). Maintaining their bond, Radhi speaks to them a minimum of three times a day. “I am cooking my breakfast while my Mum is cooking her lunch, and we’re always on the phone to each other. I call her for everything and she’s actually become one of my bestest friends!” She credits her Dad as “the gentle, sweet soul in the background, who’s always listening and inputs when he wants to tell a joke,” her Grandma as one of her favorite people in the world who has inspired her with her devout spiritual practice in life, and her sister, who she has constantly admired and learned from growing up.
Spirituality is now at the core of Radhi’s life and she honors her Mum and her Grandma for inspiring her to find her own practice, “I’ve seen them practice their spirituality with so much conviction and faith throughout my life, always,” she tells us. However, even growing up watching their devout morning meditation, she was yet to feel her own connection to it. Unconvinced she was doing it for the right reasons and in an effort to understand their meditation practice, Radhi made a decision to go to a local temple and learn for herself. For a year and a half, she went to the temple at 4.30 every morning to meditate for two hours, before going home to get ready for work. Her thought was, “If I want to experience this, I need to immerse myself into it, just to see if it’s worth it. That’s really where my faith began and I haven’t stopped since.”
“I have a strong meditation practice now where I meditate for an hour and a half in the morning, and it’s the nourishment I need to be able to give to other people. I love giving to other people and I love being able to share joy with other people, but I notice without that deep foundation and without those roots, which are constantly nourishing me through my spiritual practice, I’m not able to give to people in the way I want to. What’s life without service? That’s the best thing I learned in this Vedic culture and on this path, is that everything is about service and we get so much joy in serving other people than we do in taking. Whatever we can do to facilitate us being the best versions of ourselves is such a beautiful practice and meditation to keep throughout your life.”
Moving from London to New York, Radhi discovered Divya Alter, a teacher and owner of Divya’s Kitchen, an Ayurveda restaurant in the heart of NYC, who influenced her journey. Offering to help out in the kitchen brought Radhi the inspiration she was looking for, “She’s so authentic in her practice, and I just fell in love with it. It was the first time I had found a practice that incorporates body, mind and soul as part of wellness, but not only that. It talks about the individual, and that’s what I love about Ayurveda. Ayur means life and Veda means knowledge, and it’s literally that. It teaches you the knowledge you need to keep body, mind and soul at its optimum. It’s very individual and it’s all based on nature, which makes sense. There has to be the availability of things in the world that can heal us. It’s just a matter of being able to understand our bodies and understand the things around us, to know how they can heal and how they can harm us,” she says.
Her upbringing and the diversity she was raised with inspires her cooking, influencing her recipes with a merger of East and West. “It’s so beautiful to be able to bring the spices and the healing properties I grew up eating, into the food that you’re used to here. I really think that’s been my favorite thing to do,” Radhi shares. She always says a mindful prayer after cooking and before eating, explaining, “I learned about it through my spiritual and Ayurvedic practice, which are both quite intertwined. It’s all about a practice of conscious eating and a mindful practice to do with cooking, and the end of it is the Gratitude prayer. The mindset and the energy you put into your food has the possibility to affect your body. It’s all about finding pockets of your day when you find mindfulness, and cooking and eating should be part of that.”
Her husband, Jay, has also been an important influence in her life. “I feel so lucky to be able to see how he lives his life day in, day out. He was a monk before, and that period of his life really molded who he is now. One of the things he has really taught me is about equanimity, which is a quality that is often spoken about in the Vedic culture. We go through so many emotions in our lives and so many ups and downs, and usually we try to stay in the up’s, and we get really excited when we’re excited, but when there’s low’s, we get sad and upset. It says that with a good spiritual faith and a meditation practice, we may be going through the ups and downs, but with what we’re feeling, there aren't so many waves. It’s equanimity. You flow through it in your mind and in your life, because you have perspective constantly.”
On the verge of creating a conscious revolution with her vibrant, vegan recipes and effervescent energy, Radhi’s future looks bright. Having co-created an uber chic travel bag, the Radhi Weekender, with vegan brand Samara, she is now preparing to unveil a beautiful necklace she has designed, as well as her new website. A cookbook seems inevitable, and as with all of her projects would be inspired by her passion to share her light, “I would love to do a cookbook in the future, but I am taking it a step at a time. I have been thinking about it, but honestly I just find that whatever way I am able to share the information that has transformed my life, if there are any means available I would definitely take that opportunity. I know for a fact that what has changed my life has the opportunity to do that for other people, and I would never want to feel as if I didn’t make the effort to share that in as many ways as possible. That’s definitely my goal to try and reach as many people as I can, with the information I have been lucky enough to receive.”
Watch the interview below:
Photography by Nick Onken
Styling by Deborah Lindquist
Glam by Julianne Kaye for Exclusive Artists using Lord Jones
Videography by Brian Perry, Amy Gragas
Wardrobe courtesy of Deborah Lindquist, Sari Palace, Mink Shoes, Zesttt For Life
Vegan Makeup Brushes from Antonym Cosmetics
Hand Sanitizer from Lue
With kind thanks to Alex Cuilty, Spa Relais and the Westlake Village Inn for our beautiful location