Radhi Devlukia-Shetty on the Joys of Mindful Living and Her Debut Cookbook 'JOYFULL' (Exclusive)

"Even if you only know how to cook three dishes, cook those three dishes with spices from all different parts of the world and it will feel like a whole different meal," Radhi Devlukia-Shetty tells Green Matters.

Bianca Piazza - Author

Feb. 28 2024, Published 9:51 a.m. ET

Headshot of clinical dietician and plant-based cook Radhi Devlukia-Shetty
Source: Courtesy of Camryn Eakes

As a clinical dietician, plant-based cook, Ayurvedic health counselor, and wellness influencer, Radhi Devlukia-Shetty believes in the holistic and spiritual power of food.

"I can nourish their mind, their body, and their spirit through this food," Devlukia-Shetty tells Green Matters in an exclusive interview. "When it's cooked with so much love, you feel it. It's not the recipe, it's about what they've poured into it."

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Devlukia-Shetty also maintains that vegan food can elicit joy, even naming her debut cookbook — which released on Feb. 27, 2024 — JOYFULL.

With over 125 plant-based recipes that incorporate fragrant spices reminiscent of her mum's cooking (including garam masala, curry powder, and asafoetida) and adaptogenic ingredients (specifically in her dreamy Moon Milks), JOYFULL encourages mindful eating and living via intentional cooking and breathwork rituals.

Jacket cover of clinical dietician, nutritionist, and plant-based chef Radhi Devlukia's 2024 cookbook 'JOYFULL'
Source: Excerpted from JOYFULL: Cook Effortlessly, Eat Freely, live Radiantly. Copyright @ 2024 by Radhi Devlukia-Shetty. Photography Copyright © 2024 by Alanna Hale. Reproduced by permission of Simon Element, and imprint of Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.
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In a Zoom interview with Green Matters, Radhi Devlukia-Shetty shared her personal veganism journey, sustainable living habits, and the inspirations behind JOYFULL. Read on for Devlukia-Shetty's exclusive Green Routine!

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for length and clarity.

Radhi Devlukia-Shetty smiles in front of a pink background TheWrap Presents Power Women Summit at The Maybourne Beverly Hills on Dec. 5, 2023 in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Source: Getty Images

Radhi Devlukia-Shetty attends TheWrap Presents Power Women Summit at The Maybourne Beverly Hills on Dec. 5, 2023 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

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GM: What initially prompted your veganism journey over a decade ago? What motivates you to continue?

RDS: My older sister read the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. I wanted to do everything she did. I was like, "I'm vegan." And she was like, "No, read the book, and then decide why you're vegan." I read the book and I was mortified.

I'd been vegetarian my whole life. I grew up in a Hindu family, an Indian family where all of our generations have been vegetarian. And when I learned about how the animals were treated in the dairy industry, I was like, "Absolutely not." Cheese was the last thing I gave up. I did it one thing by one thing, but my mum made it so easy. She was like, "I'll find substitutes."

I've only eaten at vegan or vegetarian restaurants for about six years now. If I think about eating something cheesy, my mind is like, "Is it really worth it for what the animal had to go through?"

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GM: What’s your No. 1 tip for new vegans?

RDS: Give yourself grace, you don't have to go from from zero to 100. Give yourself a year for your body to adjust, for your mind to adjust, for you to find substitutes you like.

Don't go straight to mock meats. Find things that are naturally plant-based that'll be beneficial to you in terms of nutrient value. I think the key is making sure you have an abundance of spices in your cupboard to allow you the variety you deserve.

GM: What are some of your favorite sustainable living habits you and your husband, Jay Shetty, have adopted?

RDS: Simple things, like taking my own bags to grocery stores. I don't buy any plastic Tupperware, I only buy glass. And I started using the hydroponic grow system Lettuce Grow. A lot of herbs come in boxes or plastic bags, and instead, you can grow your own.

Instead of Saran Wrap, I've got those reusable silicone things. And whenever I have guests, if I don't want to wash up and I want to use disposable, I'll use bamboo plates and cutlery. I probably could get a lot better to be honest!

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Radhi Devlukia-Shetty and Jay Shetty smile on the red carpet at the Los Angeles Premiere of Amazon MGM Studios 'This Is Me...Now: A Love Story' at Dolby Theatre on Feb. 13, 2024 in Hollywood, Calif.
Source: Getty Images

Radhi Devlukia-Shetty and her husband Jay Shetty attend the Los Angeles Premiere of Amazon MGM Studios 'This Is Me...Now: A Love Story' at Dolby Theatre on Feb. 13, 2024 in Hollywood, Calif.

GM: How did the name of your debut cookbook, JOYFULL, come to be?

RDS: The day after I signed my book contracts, I was sitting in my meditation and I was thinking, "What do I want people to feel?" The one thing that I tried to thread through everything is joy. That word screamed out at me. Not just the word, but the color of the book. It had to be this beautiful yellow color that mimics saffron, tumeric, and all the spices that I love.

Also the recipes — you do not have to choose between food that tastes bad and food that brings you joy. You always think "to eat healthy, you have to eat food that tastes bad." But you don't have to do that, and I hope the recipes depict that. I've incorporated all the things in my life that have increased joy so deeply through my daily practices, wellness rituals, and food.

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GM: What are your favorite recipes in JOYFULL?

RDS: My Mexican lasagna! You get veggies, beans, carbs, everything you need in one dish. And the flavors are so good.

In the breakfast section, there are these veggie frittata muffins, but I make it into a quiche instead. I'll do a pastry layer at the bottom and I add my spinach, peppers, different herbs and spices, and pour that on top. Then I throw vegan cheese on top and bake it. It's foolproof and rich in protein.

GM: How does your plant-based lifestyle and new cookbook correlate to your thoughts on the climate crisis?

RDS: I think that it's less to do with what people want to do and more to do with education. As soon as I read Eating Animals, there was no way to unsee that, unhear that, unlearn that. I do believe that fear is not a maker of change. When you scare people into things, or when you shove it down their throats, it creates fear. If anything, people will just want to hide what they do and not actually change.

I think the best instrument of change is through education, love, and living. A lot of my spiritual teachers don't tell you what to do, they just live it.

"Green Routine" is a series from Green Matters that invites notable people in the environmental space to share the efforts they make to live more sustainably.

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