Today there are so many “health foods” and “superfoods” marketed towards health conscious people, yogis, and athletes that it can be confusing to know what maca, goji, chia-seed, gluten-free, raw cacao, antioxidant rich, dairy-free, organic food to choose from when you peruse the aisles of your favourite health food store.
What is great about Ayurveda is that it is simple, has stood the test of time (over 5000 years), and is founded on basic principles that can be applied to everyone no matter what age and stage of life.
According to Ayurveda, all disease can be traced back to having roots in the manovaha srota, the mind, and the early signs and symptoms in the digestive system. Unfortunately we have been taught to believe that a little gas, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea is “normal”. Well, these signs and symptoms may be normal but they certainly aren’t natural. Even mild and transient symptoms in the digestive tract left to their own devices may eventually flourish into more serious symptoms and manifest as disease over time.
Cleaning up your digestive tract will not only prevent disease and other health problems down the road but will also give you: more energy, clearer thinking, better sleep, improved immunity, and relief from potentially embarrassing social situations when you have to abruptly excuse yourself and run to the loo.
One of the best ways to give your overtaxed digestive system a break is to eat kitchari, an ayurvedic superfood. Kitchari is a tridoshic (good for everyone) food that can be adjusted according to the season or for your individual constitution. The basic ingredients in this one-pot meal are white basmati rice and mung beans. These ingredients form a complete protein and are very easily digested. Added to the pot are spices to help kindle your agni, digestive fire, as well as yummy veggies for good nourishment and health.
This powerful dish is the staple for an Ayurvedic cleanse diet but can also be used anytime you feel your digestion is going out of whack. Eating kitchari is like pressing the reset button and allowing your digestion to return to a state of proper functioning and ease.
This is just one suggested recipe. Feel free to adjust and get creative with it. Here’s to simple eating and your health!
Tridoshic Fall Kitchari (3-4 servings)
2 TBSP ghee (clarified butter)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
Half a medium onion finely diced
1 inch fresh peeled ginger, finely diced
1 cup split mung dal
1 cup white basmati rice
About 2 cups mixed veggies of your choice (seasonal root veggies and greens)
1 tsp sea salt/rock salt
6 cups water (may add more water for a more watery soup kitchari)
TIP: Soak beans/rice overnight for shorter cooking time and easier digestion
Wash beans and rice until rinse water is clear. Discard water and set rice and beans aside. In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat the ghee on medium and add the onions to sauté until sweet and tender. Add ginger, cumin, fennel, and coriander seeds and sauté for two or so more minutes. Add rice and beans and sauté for a few more minutes. Add the water, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir, lower heat and simmer on low with the lid on for about 20 minutes. While kitchari is cooking, wash and chop the veggies/greens. Add to the mixture, stir in and cover. Allow to ‘steam’ for about 8-10 minutes. Add salt and mix in. (If you are using veggies that take longer to cook than greens (squash or yams for example), add to mixture 5 minutes before the greens and other veggies).
Garnish with a squeeze of lemon or lime, fresh cilantro or parsley, a small dollop of extra ghee and toasted sesame seeds or toasted sunflower seeds.
Glynnis and Madhuri are Ayurvedic Practitioners and co-authors of the upcoming book: Illuminating the Way to Your Irresistible Life, through Yoga and Ayurvedic Practices that Work. They offer seasonal on-line Ayurvedic Cleanses and Rejuvenation Programs.
Website: Glynnis and Madhuri