I’m not someone who can stick to a cleanse – I’ve tried my fair share, from juice cleanses (I always feel like I need something to chew by the end of the day), to the leek broth diet (I’ve never peed so much in my life), and the worst one of all, the Master Cleanse (the word “hunger rage” comes to mind). Many people debate the actual necessity of a ‘cleanse’, since you body has its own methods of filtration (your liver & kidneys, for example), and while I can understand that, I can also understand wanting to give your body a break from eating certain things – and that’s why I am loving the three-day kitchari cleanse.
Kitchari (also Khichdi or Khichri) is used in Ayurveda – it’s a simple meal made of yellow mung dal and basmati rice, cooked with ghee and a handful of digestion-aiding spices. This easy-to-digest food gives our digestive system a break while providing easy assimilated nutrients. The mung dal beans have tons of proteins and complex carbohydrates that will help stabilize blood sugar, and the rice is easy to digest. The spices spark the digestive fire (aka agni), and the ghee helps to lubricate the system and aid with digestion. Adding a bunch of chopped vegetables can also provide additional nutrients and a boost of flavor and texture. Simply, you make a big batch and then eat just this for three days.
Before you get scared away by the idea of a cleanse, this one is by far the easiest one I’ve done, mostly because it’s a no brainer and you actually have something textural variety. I think this one is the kindest to your body – and being kind to ourselves is one of the best things we could ever do to improve our physical and mental health!
Basic Kitchari Recipe
adapted from Kripalu.org
2 C yellow mung dal beans
1 C white basmati rice
2 T ghee (or organic coconut oil to make it vegan)
2 tsp each black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric powder, and black pepper
1 tsp each cumin powder, coriander powder, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds (cinnamon optional in winter)
3 green cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
3 C of chopped, organic, seasonal vegetables such as spinach, cauliflower, carrots, or kale (avoid nightshades)
1 C chopped fresh cilantro, optional
Rinse and strain the mung dal beans several times, or until the water runs clear. Heat the ghee or oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add all the seeds and toast until the mustard seeds pop. Add the bay leaves and powdered spices, and mix together. Stir in the rice and beans. Add 8 cups of water, cloves, bay leaves, cardamom pods, and chopped vegetables. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook at least one hour, until the beans and rice are soft and the kitchari has a porridge-like consistency. Serve warm with fresh cilantro on top, if desired.
Have you done a kitchari cleanse? Tell me about your experience in the comments below!