RADHI DEVLUKIA-SHETTY just got a DM from one of her 1.2 million Instagram followers. She reads it to me: “You’re in my city! My friends just ran into you at lunch!” We’ve just finished lunch at a trendy Denver vegan restaurant (she was “born vegetarian” and transitioned to veganism after reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s New York Times bestseller Eating Animals) where we were approached by two 20-somethings. They’re hoping to snag a selfie with the 31-year-old Ayurvedic ambassador and plant-based chef whom they recognized from the Internet. “We’re huge fans of you and Jay,” the girls confess, leaning in close despite the pandemic to capture photographic evidence of this chance encounter with their Internet crush.
Jay is Devlukia-Shetty’s husband, Jay Shetty, a life coach, author of the best-selling Think Like a Monk, and host of the On Purpose Podcast. When they married five years ago, Jay was already well on his way to international fame as a media personality touting motivational messages of purpose and positivity. In the early stages of their marriage, Devlukia-Shetty says she was most known for being “Jay’s wife,” but she’s making a name for herself as a culinarian and Ayurvedic virtuoso offering recipes, clean-beauty rituals, and wellness tutorials through her social media channels and on her website. She created the latter during the pandemic as a way of sharing her purpose and legitimizing the work she’s putting out into the world.
You wouldn’t know it from her videos, where she’s silly, vibrant, and confident, but Devlukia-Shetty says that she only recently let the constant nag of imposter syndrome fall by the wayside so she could step into the true expression of her dharma: serving others by sharing her own gifts that she learned through her family heritage, nutrition and dietetics degrees, and Ayurvedic schooling.
Perhaps it was partially because she was bullied as a child, teased for the way that she looked, that she grew into an insecure adult: “I lacked self-awareness. I never felt I knew enough about anything to teach it,” she says. “I didn’t trust my own work or abilities. I always believed other people could do it better.”
That is, until a meditation teacher told her, “You know, we’re all just bridges.” “When I heard him say that, I thought, ‘That is so beautiful.’ I don’t need to be an expert or the best in anything—all I need to be is a bridge to share what I’ve been so fortunate to experience. Not as a complete expert, but hey, I’m on the bridge with you so you can be introduced to these concepts, and I can help lead you to an expert who knows more than I do.” Once she started living that philosophy, she says, she became comfortable sharing what she’d learned with her audience online—and offering practical tips for people to use it in their own lives.
Devlukia-Shetty’s most popular video is one that fans continuously reference when they stop her in the checkout line or on the street to tell her that she’s changed the way they drink water. According to Ayurveda, water should be consumed at room temperature while sitting down—and not within 30 minutes of a meal. When you drink standing up, Devlukia-Shetty says, gravity causes water to flush through the body without time to nourish the organs and tissues. But the tip from the video that has made the greatest impact on her audience? Drinking it at room temperature, preferably after it’s been boiled. Boiling water changes its composition and helps it reach the state of sukshma (penetrating), which makes it more hydrating, more cleansing, and aids indigestion. “Everybody’s like, ‘That has made such a difference!’” she says.
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