The Perfect Cleanse for Yogis: Kitchari
Ayurveda is the 5,000 year old sister science of yoga; it translates to “knowledge of life” in Sanskrit. Do you need a mental, physical or spiritual reset? Are you fatigued or feeling out of balance? Try this balancing Ayurvedic cleanse.
What is Kitchari (AKA Kichadi, Khichari or Kichari)?
This cleanse is based on a dish called kichadi or kitchari and cumin, coriander, fennel tea. Kitchari consists of split mung beans and basmati rice, with spices and herbs. It is balancing to the body, harmonious to mind and easy to digest. Try this cleanse for a day, week or even longer; just listen to your body. You can try this cleanse as the seasons change, but spring is a particularly powerful time to reset.
Tridoshic Kitchari Recipe
Half a medium onion finely diced
1 inch fresh peeled ginger, finely diced
1/4 teaspoon hing or asafoetida (reduces the gaseous nature of beans)
1 cup split mung dal
3/4 cup white basmati rice
1/2 bunch spinach (or other vegetables such as asparagus, zucchini, etc.)
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt/rock salt
4 1/2 cups water (add more water for soup-like texture or less for a drier stew)
4 tablespoons ghee
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Garnishes: parsley, lime, sesame seeds and/or cilantro
Wash the dal and rice until the rinse water is clear; drain well. Heat the ghee on medium in a pan. Add the onions and ginger to sauté until tender. Add the cumin, fennel, coriander, and hing and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the dal and rice to the mixture. Sauté for a few more minutes and add the cold water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir, and lower the heat. Simmer on low until tender with the lid on (about 20 minutes). Meanwhile, wash and chop the vegetables. Add the greens to the top of the mixture and replace the cover. Allow to steam on top for 5-8 minutes. When done, add salt and stir. Garnish with a squeeze of lime, fresh cilantro or parsley, a dollop of ghee and toasted sesame seeds.
Cumin Coriander Fennel Tea
Take 2 teaspoons each of cumin, coriander and fennel. Add them to boiling water. Turn the heat down and let simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and sip warm tea throughout the day.
Other considerations: if you are going through a divorce, moving or changing jobs, try the gentle techniques of dinacharya, instead of a cleanse.
What Your Dosha Type Means for Your Diet
Ayurveda is Sanskrit for “the wisdom of life.” Ayurveda originated in India and pre-dates modern medicine by thousands of years.
Ayurveda healing differs from modern medicine in the following ways:
- Focuses on preventative techniques, instead of merely reacting to illness as it arises
- Diet and habits are more strongly considered when diagnosing and treating
- Emphasizes on the uniqueness of the individual and finding what works for you personally
Three Types of Ayurveda Doshas
There are three types of Ayurveda Doshas – kapha, pitta, and vata. Doshas are more commonly known as mind-body types and are derived from the five elements.
While we all have aspects of each of the three doshas, for most of us, there is one dosha that dominates. You can also be a combination of two doshas, but that is less frequent. Before you learn about the characteristics of each type of dosha, determine which one(s) are most pertinent to you by taking this quick quiz.
I took this quiz with a little bit of healthy skepticism, not expecting anyone dosha to be that much stronger than the others, but for me, the traits corresponding to vata dosha are twice as strong. There are several dosha quizzes online, all of which gave me similar results.
Once you determine which dosha pertains to you, read about the strengths and weaknesses of that dosha and what dietary changes you can make to keep yourself in better alignment. While this article focuses on dietary modifications, there are all sorts of supplements, lifestyle and yoga practices that are also beneficial.