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Kitchari: The Ayurvedic Soul Food

Written by , December 12, 2017 in Food & Nutrition

A Saatvic detox diet is sacrosanct with most Ayurvedic treatments. The aim of a detox diet is to cleanse the body and rejuvenate it. Most people know tend to associate detoxing to green juices, lemonades and fresh salads. But that’s not all.  Today we explore Ayurveda’s most healing and detoxing food, the Kitchari.

In Ayurveda, a healthy digestive system is the core of a healthy body. Proper digestion, assimilation and elimination of food by the body is of utmost importance. The digestive fire called agni must be strong enough to digest and assimilate the food and provide energy to the body. When these functions do not happen correctly, the body tends to become weak and is prone to diseases.

The word “Kitchari” literally means a mixture. The main ingredient of a kitchari detox is rice, moong beans, ghee and some aromatic spices. Though the recipe calls for moong beans, you may also add red lentils instead. As per the recipe, basmati rice is used as the main ingredient. Though not specifically mentioned, you are expected to use brown or whole rice, as white rice is unhealthy. If you are unable to find brown basmati rice, you may use quinoa, millet or brown rice.

Kitchari is a one pot meal. Ghee/oil is used to season the spices and rice and moong beans are added along with water. This mixture is then cooked till mushy, and the kitchari is ready. The mixture of rice and moong beans is considered to be easily digestible and helps purify the body and eliminate the toxins from it. Moong beans are alkaline in nature and assist in purifying the blood as well as satisfy the protein requirement of the body. The spices kindle the agni and the function of ghee is to impart lubrication for a smooth passage.

There are several benefits of a Kitchari detox diet. These include:

  • Enhances the digestive capacity and removes toxins from the body.
  • Eliminates heaviness and congestion from the body and mind.
  • Balances the tridoshas and increases the Sattvic nature in the individual.
  • Enhances energy and health along with a boost in self-confidence and motivation levels.

Kitchari is traditionally eaten three times a day during an Ayurvedic cleanse. Kitchari fasting involves a mono-diet. Ayurveda believes that our body has the ability and power to heal and cleanse itself. When the body and its systems are resting the miracle of healing begins and rejuvenation happens. The purpose of kitchari is to provide that rest to the digestive system.

With the mono-diet, the digestive system has to digest only one kind of food throughout the day. Hence it need not produce multiple enzymes used to digest different types of food. This gives rest to the system, to cleanse and heal itself. Kitchari resets the whole system. The best part is, everyone can consume kitchari (no matter which dosha type their bodies are). Hence, kitchari is called tridoshic, as it balances all the three doshas.

How to do the Kitchari Cleanse:

1. Begin with eliminating foods that cause imbalance a few days before the cleanse. This includes alcohol, caffeine, sugar, meat, processed foods, etc

2. Start you day with a water flush. For this drink 4-5 large glasses of water, on an empty stomach and vomit it out. Make sure this is performed between 6 and 7:30 am.

3. This is followed by a salt water flush to cleanse your colon . For this mix salt in water that is boiled and cooled (lukewarm) until you get a tear-consistency.

4. Prepare fresh batches of Kitchari daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For breakfast, garnish with a little salt , For lunch, add some salt and pepper and for dinner, include a small bowl of mixed vegetables.

5. During the kitchari cleanse, no other foods must be consumed. This inlcudes tea or fruits.

6. If consuming Kitchari 3 times a day is tough, you can replace one meal with a Red rice kanji.

7. Make sure you get plenty of rest keep yourself nourished with good thoughts and actions.

It is advised that the Kitchari cleansing process must not be done more than once a month.

So get going! Heal and rejuvenate yourself with Kitchari!

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