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

The Best Vegan Pesto Recipe

I whipped up this pesto recipe one night as I was scrambling to make dinner and had some basil in the fridge that needed to be used up. I threw all the ingredients in a food processor and audibly gasped when I tasted it - it’s freaking delicious! I try to always have a fresh batch on hand, swapping out the nuts to benefit whatever cycle I’m in. 

Sautéed spinach, flax tempeh, and purple cabbage with Banza chickpea pasta and walnut pesto - yum!

Sautéed spinach, flax tempeh, and purple cabbage with Banza chickpea pasta and walnut pesto - yum!

Basil is packed with antioxidants and antibacterial properties, and provides a healthy dose of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, and magnesium. It’s also an important medicinal herb in many traditions and has been used in Ayurvedic herbal treatments for thousands of years.

The addition of nutritional yeast, or nooch, in this recipe adds a nutty, cheesy flavor among a slew of health benefits. Nooch is packed with B-complex vitamins (super important for vegans and vegetarians to incorporate into their diet) and contains folates, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, selenium, and zinc. It’s one of the tastiest superfoods! Just one dollop of this green sauce is a tasty, nutritious addition to any meal - not to mention it hardly takes any time to whip up.

Toast with smashed avocado, walnut pesto, and hemp seeds

Toast with smashed avocado, walnut pesto, and hemp seeds

Vegan Pesto Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup fresh basil, packed
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (can sub with almonds or pine nuts)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • Salt + pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup avocado or extra virgin olive oil

Optional: 1 clove of garlic or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Optional: 1/4 cup hemp seeds (aid in digestion/additional protein)

HOW TO MAKE

  1. Place all ingredients except oil into a food processor and blend until combined.
  2. While the food processor is running, slowly drizzle in your oil of choice until desired consistency. You can add more or less oil depending on how thick you’d like it to be.
  3. Place in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to a week. You can also freeze the pesto into ice cube molds to prolong the shelf life and make for easy meal prep! Just pop as many cubes as you'd like out and add to a skillet with your favorite ingredients.

Add a dollop to your favorite pasta, sautéed veggies, salad, or avocado toast - I literally put it on everything. Enjoy!

With love and light xx