Warming Ayurvedic Kitchari

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

IT’S TRI-DOSHIC

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.

GUT HEALING

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

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INGREDIENTS

  • 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

  1. 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.

  2. Add in the rice and mung dal and stir for another thirty seconds, making sure they’re coated with the spices and oil.

  3. 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.

  4. Once the mixture is boiling, add in the sheets of kombu or dulse and reduce to a simmer.

  5. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the rice and dal have absorbed most of the liquid.

  6. Add your heartier veggies (broccoli, carrots, cauliflower) about halfway through the cooking process and stir leafy greens in at the end.

  7. When the kitchari is finished, dispose of the dulse/kombu.

  8. I like to top my kitchari with cilantro, avocado, and tahini paste. Enjoy!

With love and light xx

Juicer-Free Green Juice!

Juice! It's a 3.4 billion dollar industry and the "juice cleanse" craze has taken over our society. With some bottles going for $10 a pop, it's an expensive habit that lures people in with aesthetically-pleasing packaging and weight-loss focused slogans. I've never been too keen on juice bars; why spend all that money when you can make it at home?

Just creepin' in the reflection.

Just creepin' in the reflection.

I've been incorporating this green juice into my mornings for the past couple of weeks and now I'm addicted. The best part is that you don't even need a juicer! Juicers are messy, clunky, take so much extra time to clean and set up, and demand counter space that is not readily available in a tiny apartment.

This juice is zingy and slightly spicy from the ginger, which is anti-inflammatory and boosts immunity (I always add extra because I'm a ginger fiend but feel free to dial it back if it's not your favorite). It's also low in sugar and keeps the blood sugar levels stable. Often times, folks begin their day with sugary cereal or yogurt, which can cause a huge spike in your insulin. For all my ladies out there struggling with hormonal breakouts/acne, high blood sugar is directly connected to acne; higher blood sugar in your body means more of the hormone insulin which means pesky breakouts. I've noticed a huge difference in the overall appearance of my skin as well as the amount of breakouts I get from when I started drinking this juice daily.

Drinking this juice in the mornings also gets things movin'. If you're someone who struggles with constipation, incorporating this juice into your diet will help eliminate toxins and keep your body more regular. The cucumber and celery in the juice keeps the skin hydrated. Back to hormonal breakouts, if you're constantly covering your breakouts with creams and potions in attempt to dry them out, you're not giving the breakouts a chance to heal. Keeping your skin hydrated (and letting it breathe!) is crucial for clearing up those blemishes. Even if you're not struggling with breakouts, glowy, hydrated skin is the best kind!

BENEFITS

  • Anti-inflammatory. 
  • Boosts immunity.
  • Stabilizes blood sugar levels.
  • Decreases hormonal acne.
  • Gets your digestive enzymes flowing. 
  • Hydrates.
  • Increases energy.

Lets get to it!


Ain't nobody got time to strain lemon seeds.

Ain't nobody got time to strain lemon seeds.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4-5 ice cubes
  • 3 cups filtered water
  • 5 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 4 inch nob of cucumber, chopped
  • 2 inch nob of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 a green apple
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Big handful of parsley
  • Optional: 2 inch piece of fresh aloe vera, peeled and chopped (extra skin food!)

HOW TO MAKE

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a high-speed blender (I recommend a Vitamix or NutriBullet) and blend for about 1 minute. There will be some froth so you can either wait a couple of minutes or scoop it off of the top with a spoon if you're impatient like me.
  2. Pour into a glass and enjoy! 

*Note - this juice does contain some pulp since the ingredients are kept whole. If you're not a fan of pulp, you can simply strain the juice through a nut-milk bag and it will be much more smooth!

*Note - this recipe makes about 5 cups of juice. I drink the whole batch every morning, but you can certainly divvy it up and enjoy it throughout the week, instead!

I hope this juice leaves you feeling energized, refreshed, and rejuvenated!

With love and light xx

Mad About Matcha

Happy Sunday everyone!

I'm sharing this to give you all the 411 on matcha - where to buy it, how to use it, and why it benefits you. 

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I've never really been a big caffeine person.

I’ve never had a coffee habit that took me weeks to kick or any addiction to other caffeine sources. I would occasionally get a latte to-go at a coffeeshop that was laced with processed sugars and the only time I drank soda was mixed with alcohol. 

I find that coffee, similar to alcohol, is a very social thing in our society. People meet for coffee at all hours of the day, cap off their nights with an espresso (genuinely confused how those folks fall asleep…), or grab coffees for coworkers. Even when I didn’t want to be drinking coffee, I’d find myself ordering one here and there because I was usually with someone else doing the same. The power of peer pressure.

Some people drink a cup of coffee and feel perfectly fine. Others, including myself, find it very hard to digest. After I would finish a cup, I would experience nausea, sweating, irritability, jitters, acid reflux, indigestion, increased heart rate, clammy hands, and was easily startled.

Not an ideal situation first thing in the morning or during any hour of the day for that matter.

I switched to hot, herbal teas a couple of years ago and haven't looked back since.

MORNING MATCHA RITUAL

There’s nothing I love more then a slow, sweet morning. 

Getting to enjoy my rituals and not rushing to pull myself together before leaving for work or yoga is heavenly and helps set the tone for the rest of my day.

I began seeing matcha popping up all over my Instagram feed awhile ago and became curious about this green potion. It looked so inviting and cozy so I decided to give it a shot with a recipe I found online. This particular recipe included salt (why…just why?) and I remember immediately spitting it out after my first sip. I thought it was disgusting so I set matcha on the back burner for a bit.

But, I continued to find myself being drawn towards matcha. I knew there had to be a recipe out there that I would enjoy if so many people were raving about it. I found a salt-free recipe, gave it a whirl in my blender, and it was delicious.  

Since I deal with Generalized Anxiety Disorder as I talked about previously, I got a little weary of reintroducing caffeine into my system because I didn’t want it to cause mood swings or any type of hormone imbalance. I’m pretty in-tune with my body so I observed any side effects matcha might have had on my body after my first cup and was pleasantly surprised. I still felt calm, my mood was elevated, I didn’t break a sweat, and I was ready to take on the day. 

I also think it's worth noting that I don't drink matcha every single day and I don't rely on the caffeine in matcha to function properly. I like to have one cup about 4-5 times a week and I don't find that I experience any withdrawal symptoms if I don't have it.

SO, WHAT IS MATCHA?

Matcha is a green tea powder made from a specific tea leaf that comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. White and black teas also come from this particular plant, but matcha is harvested from plants covered and grown under shade for 20 weeks which boosts their chlorophyll levels, hence the vibrant green hue.

Matcha has been used for centuries in Japan as a sacred ceremonial drink, whereas today you can grab a matcha beverage at any trendy neighborhood coffee shop whenever you’d like. 

HEALTH BENEFITS

This vibrant green powder packs a powerful punch and has been proven to:

  • Sustain energy and produce a lasting calming effect. Matcha contains L-Theanine, a non-dietary amino acid that assists in boosting alpha waves in the brain, which works simultaneously with the caffeine from the green tea to produce a sustainable calming effect. Since matcha is ground into a fine powder, it provides the entirety of the Camellia sinensis plant’s benefits unlike traditional green tea that you would steep in hot water.
  • Improve mental clarity. The L-Theanine found in matcha has been found to reduce anxiety levels and enhance your overall mood by promoting a natural state of relaxation while simultaneously improving your mental alertness. 
  • Protect you from harmful free radicals. Matcha contains high levels of antioxidants in the form of catechins, flavonoids, and polyphenols. These powerful antioxidants protect your body from harmful free radicals AKA the pesky guys that are responsible for aging, tissue damage, cancer, and some inflammatory diseases. Just one cup of matcha has the same amount of antioxidants as ten cups of regular green tea!
  • Boost immunity. Those powerful antioxidants found in matcha are also responsible for helping your body fight diseases and infections, thus boosting your body’s natural immune defense. Matcha also contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which helps boots immunity and promote overall wellness. The EGCG also plays a big part in fighting harmful bacteria in the mouth that can cause staining in the teeth, cavities, and bad breath. 

KEY TOOLS & INGREDIENTS

  • High speed blender. I'm currently using a Vitamix which is the real MVP of blending, but it is quite pricey. I've used a NutriBullet before with success, but be extra careful as I've read some reviews of people's NutriBullets exploding from the hot liquid. Always blend hot liquids with caution and never, ever put boiling water into a blender, you'll set yourself up for a third degree burn.
  • Tea kettle or small saucepan. Unless you can heat your liquids up with magic.
  • High quality matcha, duh. There are a ton of different matcha brands out there and some can get quite pricey. I'm using Ippodo Matcha right now and I'm really enjoying it. If you're new to the matcha world, I would definitely recommend finding a cheaper brand so you don't have to spend $50 on a 40g container not knowing whether or not you'll enjoy it. Mizuba Tea Co. has some affordable options as well as Whole Foods. Always check the ingredients list when searching for matcha online, a lot of brands can add fillers so make sure it's 100% matcha and preferably sourced from Japan. Quick note, I store my matcha in the fridge to prolong the shelf life and keep it fresh!
  • Coconut butter. The stuff that makes a matcha latte so creamy and dreamy. I don't use any nut or seed milks in my matcha latte, so coconut butter is essential to create maximum frothiness. You can always add half water, half milk of your choice to your matcha recipe if you really want to up the creamy factor, but I just find that it's an unnecessary extra step in the mornings. Coconut butter also provides a healthy dose of fat which prepares the stomach lining and can eliminate some of those not-so-pleasant feelings that result from drinking plain green tea or matcha on an empty stomach. I love the Artisana Coconut Butter.
  • Adaptogens. First off, these are not necessary. But, why not pack your matcha latte with a little more healing power and health benefits? If you're not up-to-date with the recent adaptogen craze that's taken the wellness world by storm, they're a specific group of healing plants that support your health and adjust your body to natural stressors. There are so many adaptogen options out there, but I typically stick no more than three adaptogens in my lattes. My favorites are ashwagandha (soothes the nervous system and boosts mood), reishi (supports immunity), triphala (supports digestion), and cordyceps (brain power while supporting the liver and kidneys), but I encourage you to do some research and find some that speak to you. Sun Potion has great options that are worth the investment. 

EVERYDAY MATCHA LATTE

Serves 1

  • 16oz hot (160°-175°) water
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut butter
  • 1 teaspoon matcha 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ashwagandha

(Note: if you prefer for your latte to be a tad sweeter, you can always add 1/2 a teaspoon of maple syrup, a few drops of stevia, or 1/2 a teaspoon of honey if you’re not vegan)

  1. Bring water to a boil in a tea kettle or saucepan and let cool for a bit before placing it in your blender.  
  2. Add all of the other ingredients into the blender and blend on high for 2-3 minutes for maximum froth potential. Pour into your mug or tea bowl and enjoy!
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HORMONE-BALANCING MATCHA LATTE

Serves 1

  • 16oz hot (160°-175°) water
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut butter
  • 1 teaspoon matcha 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ashwagandha
  • 1/2 teaspoon maca 
  • 1/2 teaspoon reishi 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

(Note: if you prefer for your latte to be a tad sweeter, you can always add 1/2 a teaspoon of maple syrup, a few drops of stevia, or 1/2 a teaspoon of honey if you’re not vegan)

  1. Bring water to a boil in a tea kettle or saucepan and let cool for a bit before placing it in your blender.
  2. Add all of the other ingredients into the blender and blend on high for 2-3 minutes for maximum froth potential. Pour into your mug and enjoy!

GINGER-TURMERIC MATCHA LATTE

Those nails doe

Those nails doe

Serves 1

  • 16oz hot (160°-175°) water
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut butter
  • 1 teaspoon matcha 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ashwagandha
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

(Note: if you prefer for your latte to be a tad sweeter, you can always add 1/2 a teaspoon of maple syrup, a few drops of stevia, or 1/2 a teaspoon of honey if you’re not vegan)

  1. Bring water to a boil in a tea kettle or saucepan and let cool for a bit before placing it in your blender. 
  2. Add all of the other ingredients into the blender and blend on high for 2-3 minutes for maximum froth potential. Pour into your mug and enjoy!

Leave me a comment letting me know if you tried out one of these lattes! 

With love and light xx