THE KITCHARI CLEANSE
For anyone that feels ungrounded, unsettled, anxious or out of balance, then this cleanse is a MUST for you! 3 days of nothing but Kitchari. That’s 9 bowls of mung beans and rice, 3 days of oil pulling, abhyanga & tongue scraping, a ridiculous and incredible amount of sleep and of course, an outpouring of tears.
I love to eat and I love to eat GOOD food! Food that is nourishing, wholesome, delicious and nurturing. Food that makes your body sing and your insides feel embraced with love. I’ve tried juice cleanses, fasts and all that jaz. I definitely don’t disagree, but when looking for something that was going to love me from the inside out, I looked no further than an ayurvedic cleanse.
Ayurveda is the sister science of Yoga. It’s a 3,500 year old philosophy that concentrates on the proper functioning of our digestive system. It looks at the elimination and assimilation of food as well as the metabolic energy, agni, that governs our digestive system. When our digestive system isn’t functioning properly we are more susceptible to disease and illness. Western medicine now backs this wholeheartedly with research indicating that there are as many neurotransmitters in the gut as there is in the brain and that stress occurring in our brain directly impacts on our gut. Our gut health plays a huge role in the physcial, mental and emotional state of our bodies. An ayurvedic cleanse recognises this and eliminates the intensity of multiple foods to allow the digestive system to rest and welcome the miracle of self-healing.
Kitchari is the primary meal. Each ingredient plays a specific role in the process. The mung beans are blood-purifying and provide protein and nutrients to nourish the body. The rice is easily digestible, the warming spices kindle the fire in our belly and the ghee lubricates the system allowing for a smooth passage of digestion.
Whilst this may sound like heaven on Earth, eating Kitchari for 3 days is no easy feat. Just like any detox you are welcomed with a range of symptoms & emotions that can be rather intense. I experienced exhaustion, heightened emotions, fogginess, body aches and disorientation. Most mornings I struggled to get out of bed and meditation for the first few days was difficult. I cried, I was frustrated, I became restless, I got angry, I was indecisive and I was disorientated. I was feeling! But that’s the beauty of a cleanse, you are enticed to feel EVERYTHING! Everything releases to make space for the new. It’s a healing process.
Whilst society has gone into a craze of juice fasts and fasting, all with this underlying tone of losing weight, this cleanse is all about nourishing and nurturing the body from the inside out. It will deeply ground you, leaving you with a happy gut and a state of contentment. I highly recommend to anyone that is wanting a nourishing reboot and a time to self-nurture. This cleanse warmed my insides and embraced me with love from the inside out.
- Drink a glass of room temperature water.
- Scrap your tongue 3 to 4 times. Make sure you don’t go over your taste buds, just the flat part at the front of your tongue. If you don’t have one, they’re super cheap, $10 from your local health food store.
- Boil the kettle and pour yourself a glass of warm water with lemon. Drink slowly
- Start to prepare the kitchari (see recipe below) for 3 meals. Note: try and prepare the kitchari daily to maintain the agni and properties of the nutrients
- Whilst kitchari is cooking, take the time to practice yoga & meditation. Gentle slow movements connecting with the breath. This is a time for rest & nurture, not vigorous power vinyasa
- Throughout the day drink warm water with ginger & lemon. Make sure you are drinking lots of water as you move through this detox process
Throughout the day
- Drink warm water with ginger
- Eat as much kitchari as you like but don’t overeat
- Try and stay off social media
- Limit all social engagements
- Go for a walk in nature
- Take time to rest
- Have a warm hot shower or epsom salt bath
- Perform abhyanga. Massage your body with sesame oil moving from the outer limbs towards the heart. Leave on your body for 30 minutes. During this time practice restorative yoga or meditate. Vipariti Kirani (legs up the wall) is a fantastic practice for this time of day.
- After 30 minutes have a shower and scrub the sesame oil off your body. Note: Do not leave on for longer than 30 minutes or the oil will turn rancid.
- Heat up the kitchari for your evening meal. Do not microwave.
- Soak your mung beans for the following days kitchari
- Half an hour before bed take 1/2 to 1 tsp of Triphala powder (can be purchased here )
- Try and get an early nights sleep.
NOTE: Eating a mono diet of kitchari for an extended period of time can cause constipation. This cleanse should be followed by a flush using either prune juice or Epsom salt in water depending on the strength of your digestive track.
** This recipe was borrowed and slightly adapted from OhHolyBasil!
• 1 cup yellow split mung beans washed and soaked at least 6 hours, preferably overnight,
• 2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil
• ½ teaspoon mustard seed
• ½ teaspoon cumin seed
• 5 cardamom pods
• 1 cinnamon stick
• ½ teaspoon turmeric
• pinch asafetida, if available (you buy this from your health food store)
• 6 cups water
• 2–3 cups root vegetables (Stick with vegetables that are in season. I enjoyed sweet potato, zucchini, peas and turnip)
• ½ bunch of kale
• 1 lime, juiced
• 1 cup basmati rice, preferably soaked for one hour, otherwise rinsed
• 1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
• 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
• 4 cardamom pods
• 2 cups boiling water
• cilantro leaves
• melted ghee
Whilst most kitchari’s are one pot, I liked the option of two so I could play with the portion sizes of each. The rice by the way, is UNBELIEVABLE!
1. Drain and rinse the mung beans in a fine sieve
2. In a medium pot, heat the ghee or coconut oil, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, cardamom pods and cinnamon stick over medium heat until the mustard seeds begin to pop.
3. Add the turmeric, asafetida and mung beans, stirring frequently for about a minute.
4. Add the water and bring to a boil.
5. Reduce to a simmer, partially covered and cook for about 45 minutes or until the mung beans have broken down.
6. Add the root vegetables and salt and cook for 15 minutes more, until they are quite soft.
7. Add the greens and cook for 5 minutes.
8. Turn off the heat and add the lime juice. While the dal is cooking, make the rice.
1. Drain the rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse a couple of times.
2. Heat the ghee or coconut oil, cumin seeds and cardamom pods over medium heat and cook for about 30 seconds.
3. Add the rice and cook, stirring frequently for a minute or two more, until the rice is well toasted but not yet browning.
4. Add the boiling water and boil the rice, uncovered for five minutes.
5. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer until all of the water is absorbed
4. To serve put some rice into a bowl and ladle the dal over top of it.
5. Garnish with cilantro, lime juice, and melted ghee, if using.
In ways of ayurvedic cleanses this one is pretty straight forward. For those wanting something a little more intense, head to Banyan Botanicals and purchase an ayurvedic kit. Otherwise start with this and see how you go. If anything just the process of slowing down, resting and nurturing your body will work wonders for your nervous system, digestive tract and general health & wellbeing. Enjoy!