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.
Alternative Medicine Part 2: Ayurvedic Medicine
Twenty — even 10 years ago, if a patient wanted to explore unconventional treatment options, they were on their own. Traditional health professionals generally didn’t encourage alternative medicine or treatments, discouraging departures from allopathic treatment models such as drugs and surgery. But as the efficacy of non-traditional treatment models, such as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) mentioned here in part one, ayurvedic medicine, massage and chiropractic adjustment, naturopathy, diet and natural supplementation — even homeopathy and sound therapy, is being validated by research, new branches of medicine are emerging.
Integrative, Functional, Complementary, and Alternative Medicine
The “integrative” medical model developed during the early 1990s, but was formalized when the National Institute of Health (NIH) created the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). This classification covered non-conventional treatment and research, and was the beginning of a slow recognition of alternative systems. Integrative models include consideration of a patient’s lifestyle, body, and mind, and how to promote well-being for the whole person rather than just diseases and their symptoms.
“Functional” medicine refers to holistic and alternative medical practices intended to improve overall functions of the body’s systems, and explores individual biochemistry, genetics, and environment to determine underlying causes of disease.
According to the NIH, “complementary” medicine combines non-mainstream practices with conventional treatment in a coordinated way. This has helped drive acceptance of alternative therapies such as TCM, diet, and nutraceuticals, or supplements.
Alternative medicine is any practice that falls outside conventional systems, and is not combined with traditional treatments. For example, if a patient chooses ayurvedic medicine, dietary changes, and supplementation to treat their cancer, and excludes conventional therapies, they have entered the realm of alternative medicine.
Exploring Alternative Medicine Models
In recent decades, relatively obscure healing modalities have emerged as treatment options. Some are ancient, such as TCM, Ayurveda, herbalism, and shamanic energy medicine. Others, such as osteopathy, homeopathy, naturopathy, and chiropractic, arrived in the 19th and 20th centuries. Most recently, biofeedback, structural integration, aromatherapy, energy medicine practices such as reiki and sound wave therapy, music therapies such as singing bowls, and mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) have found enthusiastic patient support.