Hi guys! I'm so excited and grateful to be able to share with you my 3-day Kitchari cleanse! Here I'll go over what Kitchari is, the benefits, directions, and my results.
I've always wanted to do a cleanse but have never been interested in any cleanses I've come across (juice cleanse, water cleanse, etc) until learned about Kitchari. I've always been into Ayurveda and truly believe in the science behind it and that's why Kitchari resonated with me so well!
There are 3 constitutional types in Ayurveda, called doshas: vata, pitta and kapha. They are elemental forces that are at work in nature, in our bodies, and in our minds. To put it simply, vata is air, pitta is fire and kapha is water. Each one of us is born with a specific combination of the doshas as our baseline constitution, called our prakruti. Our prakruti determines what will imbalance us and what will support us. Our present day imbalance is called our vikruti and it is generally what Ayurvedic medicine is treating, balancing the elemental forces that are too high, thus creating imbalance and disease in the body.
Ayurvedic practitioners swear by Kitchari for its ability to balance all of the doshas and its ability to promote healing, digestive health and overall well being. Have you been indulging in unhealthy foods and need to clean up your digestion? Kitchari. Are you recovering from an illness or feeling a little sick? Kitchari. Need a fresh start with a clear mind? Kitchari. It is one of your most powerful tools for clearing out the old in order to make way for the new.
What is KITCHARI?
Kitchari (pronounced kich-uh-ree) is the traditional cleansing food of Ayurveda. It is a combination of split mung beans and white basmati rice with plenty of spices such as mustard seeds, cumin seeds, ginger, turmeric, natural mineral salt, and asafoetida. Kitchari is balancing for all constitution types (if you don't know your constitution, take the Ayurvedic Profile™ quiz). The combination of rice and mung dal provides all the amino acids needed to form a complete protein. Kitchari is super easy to digest and a food that is gentle enough for babies, the elderly, and people who are really sick. Kitchari also improves Agni. Agni is referred to as the metabolism in western terms. Good agni means we are able to digest, assimilate, and absorb nutrients from our food. Weak or imbalanced agni means malabsorption and accumulation of ama, or toxins. The mung beans are known for their ability to remove toxins, specifically insecticides and pesticides, from the body. Mung beans are also an amazing source of protein and the barley provides ample carbohydrates and fiber! White rice is used because it's easy to digest. The combination of beans and rice has been a staple around the world for ages because it is the best complete protein. For cultures that have subsisted on a plant-based diet, this marriage between beans and rice is often what allows their diet to be nutritionally sustainable. During a kitchari cleanse, you are eating this complete protein three meals a day, so there is no starvation response whatsoever.
In India, kitchari is often the first food for babies, not only because it is so easy to digest, it also heals and soothes the intestinal wall. With 95% of the body’s serotonin produced in the gut, 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. Eating only kitchari allows the digestion to be at rest during the cleanse, providing the nutrition needed to heal the gut and nourish the body. This meal is balancing for all three doshas in Ayurveda.
Benefits of a 3-day Cleanse:
Improves digestion and metabolic function.
Supports the maintenance of a healthy body weight.
Nurtures an improved sense of energy, vitality, and enthusiasm for life.
Fosters clarity and groundedness in the mental, spiritual, and emotional spheres.
Encourages a balanced sleep cycle.
Promotes improved overall health.
Removes natural toxins from the body.
I collaborated with Banyan Botanicals and did my cleanse using their Kitchari Kit!
1 cup basmati rice
½ cup yellow mung dal
2 tablespoons ghee (I personally skipped the ghee)
6 cups water
The Kitchari Kit has all the basic ingredients you'll need to get started and makes it easy!
Wash rice and mung dal and soak overnight. Drain soak water.
In a medium saucepan warm the ghee (unless you're plant based you can skip this step). Add the Kitchari Spice Mix and sauté for one to two minutes. Add rice and mung dal and sauté for another couple of minutes. Then add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil.
Once the kitchari has come to a boil reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until it is tender (approx. 30–45 minutes).
If you are adding vegetables to your kitchari, add the longer cooking vegetables, such as carrots and beets, halfway through the cooking. Add the vegetables that cook faster, such as leafy greens, near the end.
Add more water if needed. Typically, kitchari is the consistency of a vegetable stew as opposed to a broth. A thinner consistency is preferable if your digestion is weak. You will notice that kitchari will thicken when it cools and you may need more water than you originally thought.
Garnish with fresh cilantro and add salt to taste (optional).
*The following spices may be used in place of Kitchari Spice Mix:
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 small pinch of asafoetida (hing) powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
4 thin slices of fresh ginger root
-The evening before you start the cleanse you will want to soak your mung beans and rice for the following day.
-Upon rising, scrape your tongue with a tongue scraper, if you have one. (They are quite inexpensive and I suggest purchasing one for your cleanse!)
-Prepare a cup of warm water and lemon and drink it while you begin to prepare your kitchari for the day.
-While your kitchari is cooking you can do some gentle yoga or spend some time in meditation.
-Bless and offer your food up before eating. There is a Sufi saying: "If a person eats with anger, the food turns to poison."
-Take epsom salt baths. The sulfates in epsom salts help to draw out toxins and heavy metals from the cells. Plus it is also a really good way to get your relax on.
-Jump on a trampoline! It will help to flush your lymph of trapped waste. It is also the most fun!
–Abhyanga or self oil massage is an important part of the daily Ayurvedic routine. It lubricates the joints, nourishes the tissues, increases circulation, calms the nerves and moves the lymph, aiding in detoxification. To perform abhyanga you will take sesame or coconut oil that has been warmed and slowly massage it into your body, working from the extremities, towards the heart. You can do it right before your shower and then bathe, using soap where needed, but otherwise letting the oil continue to soak in. You can read a more in depth description of abhyanga here.
-Try to eat your final meal before 7pm to give plenty of time for digestion before sleep.
-Create a relaxing environment for your detox. Devote the days you are cleansing (I did a 3 day cleanse) to self-care. When you're home, create a soothing atmosphere. Light candles or palo santo, take baths, meditate, listen to calming music. Try to limit your time in front of screens and instead read something inspiring, spend time in nature or do gentle yoga. This isn't the best time for vigorous exercise. Your body is working really hard already, trying to make use of the propitiousness of what you are giving it. Gentle exercise like walking and gentle yoga will, however, help to keep things moving, energetically and physically. Socially, try to keep company that will be uplifting. Going out with friends and watching them eat enchiladas and drink beer while you eat kitchari is probably not the best idea.
I loved knowing what I was going to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 3 days (hehe)! This is the first real cleanse my body has ever gone through and I absolutely loved it! The spices in the kitchari made me feel AMAZING. I felt mentally clear through all 3 days and also had great digestion! I felt as if I had healthy bowel movements (TMI sorry not sorry) which I was having issues with before hand. After finishing the cleanse, you’ll want to reintroduce foods slowly as well. Stick to simple meals, plant-based if possible.
For women, don't schedule a cleanse while you're menstruating, as your body needs extra nourishment and care during this time.
Now you're ready for your own 3 day Kitchari Cleanse! :)