Let me first disclaim that I am by no means and Ayurvedic health professional, just a gal who likes to research wellness and add some things into my routine if they work.
Kitchari (pronounced kich-uh-ree) is a traditional cleansing food of Ayurveda, the ancient, holistic health science of India. It has long been used to nourish babies, the elderly, the sick, and the healthy during special times of detox, cleansing, and deep spiritual practice. With a combination of basmati rice, split mung dal, and warming spices, this dish is comforting and satiating. Every so often, I make a giant pot and do a kitchari cleanse - that’s right, nothin’ but bowls and bowls of kitchari for several days. It gives my digestive system a chance to reset and cleanse. Unlike juice cleanses, kitchari is delicious, nourishing, and keeps me full throughout the day.
benefits of eating kitchari
This warming dish is balancing for all constitution types. Not sure your specific dosha? Find out more about that here.
EASY TO DIGEST + NOURISHING
The combination of basmati rice and mung dal provides all the essential amino acids needed to form a complete protein. The protein content of kitchari supports stable blood sugar levels (crucial for us hormone-balancing gals!) so that energy and mental clarity are balanced during the cleansing process. Taking a mono-diet of primarily kitchari for several days gives the digestive system a chance to reset because the diet is so simple.
REMOVES TOXIC BUILD UP
Mung dal has an astringent (dry) quality which has a natural pulling action that helps remove toxic build up from the intestinal lining. This particular pulling action is much gentler than the harsh or abrasive “scraping” that can happen with cold or raw foods, particularly raw vegetables. Once the toxins are loosened from the body, it’s essential that they are properly eliminated. Split mung dal provide 15grams of fiber per 1 cup serving, thus making it easy to move the toxins through the G.I. tract and out of the body.
With 95% of the body’s serotonin produced in the gut, it’s clear we process our stress through the intestinal wall. Chronic stress will irritate the intestinal wall and compromise digestion, the ability to detoxify through the gut, and cope with stress. During a kitchari cleanse, the digestive system can heal. This gives the body a chance to reset and restore.
REMINERALIZES THE BODY + ANTI INFLAMMATORY
I’ve been particularly enjoying this kitchari cleanse during my menstrual phase because of the anti-inflammatory properties and the ability of the dulse/kombu to remineralize the body. During menstruation, our bodies lose a fair amount of iron and zinc which can be easily reintroduced into the body through the addition of seaweed. The addition of turmeric in this recipe also provides some wonderful anti-inflammatory properties, great for decreasing those pesky period cramps. It’s no secret that heat is a wonderful way to alleviate cramps, and I find that eating warming foods and dishes while menstruating decreases my cramps substantially.
warming Ayurvedic kitchari
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
1 cup split mung dal
1 tablespoons avocado or coconut oil
1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground mustard seed
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin seed
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
5 cups filtered water
2 sheets of kombu or dulse (or any seaweed)
Veggies of choice - I like to use broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and kale
HOW TO MAKE
In a heavy-bottom dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat and add in your spices, stirring for about thirty seconds to wake up the spices.
Add in the rice and mung dal and stir for another thirty seconds, making sure they’re coated with the spices and oil.
Add in your liquid (you can omit the veggie broth if you don’t have it, but I find it adds a nice flavor), and bring to a boil.
Once the mixture is boiling, add in the sheets of kombu or dulse and reduce to a simmer.
Cook for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the rice and dal have absorbed most of the liquid.
Add your heartier veggies (broccoli, carrots, cauliflower) about halfway through the cooking process and stir leafy greens in at the end.
When the kitchari is finished, dispose of the dulse/kombu.
I like to top my kitchari with cilantro, avocado, and tahini paste. Enjoy!
With love and light xx