Clean out the Toxins and Boost Immunity
with an EASY and gentle Cleanse that does not require suffering through cravings and hunger pangs!
Now is the perfect time to begin to shift out of the damp heaviness and stagnation of winter and do some Spring Cleaning! Personally, I hate most cleanses. I just don’t enjoy the process and it sometimes makes me feel so much worse than I did before I started. Headaches, body aches and pains, exhaustion, starvation, etc.
However, I began studying and practicing Ayurveda several years ago and was introduced to the Kitchari cleanse. This is a gentle and effective mono-diet that removes the toxic build up in the intestinal lining, improves digestion, optimizes absorption of nutrients and improves the health and functioning of the whole body.
Weak Digestion = Weak Immune System
Our bodies are amazingly intelligent, and they know how to heal themselves. However, we are constantly bombarding them with toxins day after day, year after year and this can cause our self-healing mechanisms to begin to break down. Most cleanses suggest a lot of raw greens because of the high nutrient and enzyme content. Unfortunately, I know from my own experience that this can cause bloating, gas, headaches, nausea and other side effects. Although raw food may contain many important nutrients, your body can have a hard time assimilating them if your digestive system is slow and weak or filled with toxic buildup. Having a healthy digestive system is the key to properly absorbing nutrients and eliminating toxins.
Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine that has been practiced for thousands of years and Kitchari is an ayurvedic prescription for removing toxins and improving digestion. In Ayurvedic philosophy, immunity is achieved through building Ojas which is described as “the glow of radiant health”. The unfortunate fact is, most of us live a lifestyle that depletes our Ojas. We are overworking, under sleeping, not getting enough exercise and eating unhealthy nutrient deficient junk food. We are rushing, stressing, worrying, arguing, and multi-tasking ourselves into anxiety and exhaustion. The result is depleted Ojas and a weakened immune system.
Kitchari is an Anti-Inflammatory Gut Healer
Kitchari is an easy to prepare dish made of rice, mung beans and spices that are packed with health benefits. Mung beans are known to remove toxins, pesticides and other chemicals from the body and help to purify the blood. They are a good source of protein and fiber and provide high levels of essential micronutrients to nourish the body.
The rice combined with the mung beans creates a complete protein dish that provides all the essential amino acids the body needs in an easy to digest form. The spices in this dish have an impressive list of healing benefits and will improve the digestive fire (agni in Ayurveda) and stimulate the metabolism. Strong Agni is key for proper digestion, assimilation and elimination and these processes are the most important factors for health and immunity.
Spice Up Your Life for Radiant Health (Ojas)
The ingredients in Kitchari provide nourishment to all the tissues of the body and provide a boost in strength and vitality to the whole system. The blend of spices used in Kitchari are chosen not only for how they taste, but for the qualities, properties, and action they have on the Doshas (imbalances) in the body. The purpose of this cleanse is to eliminate toxins, reduce inflammation and heal the digestive system, thereby boosting the immune system and creating a powerful increase in Ojas (Radiant Health). Once you understand and experience the healing properties of these spices you can use them as often as needed to bring your system back into balance.
Ayurveda uses combinations of herbs and spices as medicine to heal all sorts of ailments in our bodies.
Here are some of the medicinal properties of the ingredients in Kitchari:
Organic Coriander Seeds
- Improves digestion
- Relieves gas
- Helps with urinary or digestive disorders
- Increases Agni (digestive fire)
- Improves absorption of nutrients in the digestive tract
- Calms muscle spasms
- Reduces inflammation—even shown to help with rheumatoid arthritis
Organic Cumin Seeds
- Stimulates agni (digestive fire)
- Decreases gas
- Helps with indigestion
- Flushes out toxins
- Relieves congestion
- Contains antioxidants and iron
- Soothes inflamed mucous membranes
- Improves elimination
Organic Fennel Seeds
- Strengthens the digestive fire
- Stops cramping
- Increases mental alertness
- Relaxes the digestive tract
- Increases the burning of fat
- Aids in moving lymph
- Helps regulate blood pressure
- Reduce water retention
- Reduces constipation, indigestion, IBS and bloating
- Reduces asthma symptoms
- Helps purify blood
- Preventative against cancer of the skin, stomach and breasts
- Improves eyesight
- Great for acne
Organic Cardamom Powder
- Rich in antioxidants for anti-aging benefits
- Boosts immune system
- Supports respiratory health
- Reduces cold and cough symptoms
- Stimulates the secretion of digestive enzymes
- Has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties
- Fights streptococcus, candida that cause gastrointestinal infections
- Supports kidney and bladder Health
- Supports healthy blood glucose levels
- Promotes healthy metabolism
- Support healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels
Organic Turmeric Root
- Reduces arthritis symptoms
- Boosts immune function
- Helps support cardiovascular health
- Helps prevent and treat cancer
- Helps manage irritable bowel syndrome or IBS
- Prevents and treats Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases
- Builds Immunity
- Reduces Body Pains
- Boosts Skin Health
- Aids Weight Loss and Digestion
- Good for Liver Health
Organic Ginger Root
- Reduces pain and discomfort in joints
- Helps with nausea
- Relieves Gas
- Facilitates elimination of wastes
- Clears the microcirculatory channels of the body
- Facilitates better absorption of nutrients
- Stimulates digestive fire to improve digestion
- Helps clear mucus
- Soothes nerves
- Improves circulation
Organic Coconut – Raw Unsweetened Flakes
- Helps boost metabolism
- Aids in fat elimination
- Aids in detoxification of the body
- Balances and soothes the digestive tract
- Improves digestion and absorption of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals
- Aids in the removal of free radicals that cause premature aging
- Restores oxidative tissue damage
- Supports immune system health
- Acts as an anti-viral, antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic agent
- Good source of healthy medium-chain fatty acids
- Improves insulin secretion and symptoms associated with diabetes
- Reduces the risk of heart disease and improves good cholesterol (HDL)
Organic Bay Leaf
- Anti-Cancer properties
- Protects against oxidative stress
- Protects against bacterial infections
- Helps alleviate flu symptoms and reduce fever
- Slows the aging process
- Speeds wound healing
- Optimizes the digestive process, stimulates digestive juices, reduces gas
- Reduces inflammation
- Alleviates respiratory issues
- Helps manage diabetes
- Helps remove toxins from the body
- May reduce celiac symptoms
Organic Cinnamon Sticks
- Helps alleviate cough and phlegm
- Prevents growth of acne causing bacteria
- Good for skin and complexion, relieves dry skin
- Enhances blood circulation
- Promotes hair growth and strengthens hair roots
- Reduces triglycerides
- Balances blood sugar
- Lowers LDL cholesterol
- Reduces symptoms in type 2 diabetes
- Dramatically improves digestion and absorption
- Acts as an anti-bacterial agent that heals infections in the GI tract
- Relieves sinus headaches
- Helps eliminate waste from the body
- Aids in the proper function of the digestive system
- Boosts the digestive fire
- Relieves pain in the colon
- Soma Salt Reduces inflammation
- Himalayan Pink Salt good for all constitutions
- Sea Salt is heating and increases digestive fire, improves circulation
Organic Lemon Juice
- Provides the sour taste
- Stimulates Agni (digestive fire)
- Helps relieve Gastritis pain
- Relieves Cough
- Helps with indigestion
- Relieves thirst
The Miracle of Self-Healing Begins Now!
In preparation for the cleanse, I recommend minimizing or removing some things from your diet for at least 1 to 3 days before your cleanse. I usually start to taper off on a Monday and then begin my cleanse by Friday. The great thing about this cleanse is that it’s an easy reset and will conquer any cravings you are currently struggling with. If you’ve been craving sugar after every meal or craving too much caffeine, this will give you a clean slate and inspire you to eat healthier and get more exercise.
Begin limiting the following:
- Refined sugar, and foods that contain corn syrup and other processed sweeteners
- Flour products such as cookies, pastry, cakes, doughnuts
- Canned and Highly processed foods
- Cold and Raw foods such as raw veggies, salads
- Cold cereal, granola
- Frozen smoothies (fresh smoothies and juices without ice are fine)
- Fried Food
- Candy and Chocolate
Eat whole fresh organic foods, mostly cooked from scratch, avoid cold leftovers from the refrigerator. Eat easy to digest foods such as veggie soups, fresh steamed veggies like broccoli cauliflower carrots zucchini. Roast veggies such as brussels sprouts, asparagus, sweet potato or butternut squash. Use cooked grains like quinoa, barley, farro, millet or rice. Eat lots of fresh whole fruits and berries. You can make baked apples or pears with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger and sweeten with maple syrup or honey for a delicious desert.
Eat with the Cycles of the Day
Each day of your cleanse you can prepare some fresh oatmeal for breakfast and then make a batch of Kitchari which you will eat for both lunch and dinner. You can make enough for 3 days and keep it in the refrigerator if that’s easier for you, however I prefer to make a fresh batch daily. Your lunch should be your biggest meal of the day and have your dinner no later than 6 pm. This is an Ayurvedic Dinacharya (daily routine) practice of eating with the cycles of the day. Lunch is the time of day when the Sun (fire) is highest in the sky and this is believed to be the time that your digestive fire is the highest, enabling you to digest a larger amount of food more efficiently. Try not to eat anything after 6pm, your digestive fire weakens after this time. Ideally you would have breakfast at 7 am, lunch at noon and dinner at 5 pm.
Take a teaspoon of Tahini and 6 Golden Raisins before each meal and in between meals to stimulate the digestive process and lubricate the digestive tract. This will help eliminate the fat-soluble toxins as well as excess cholesterol in the body. Tahini is high in alkaline and high in minerals which will help strengthen the immune system. Tahini has more protein than milk and is loaded with B vitamins and Vitamin E, which will help with brain function and energy during the cleanse. Tahini is also an excellent source of calcium. Golden Raisins are also high in calcium, minerals and antioxidants loaded with health benefits and will insure against constipation during the cleanse.
Add Some Fuel to the Fire
Try not to overeat. The rule in Ayurveda is to keep your stomach at least ¼ empty. This includes liquids. It is also recommended that you avoid drinking cold drinks with meals. This will dilute your digestive juices and put out your digestive fire. This is the big mistake most of us make every day. We drink cold beverages with our meals. In Ayurveda you drink between meals but never or very little with your meal. The maximum you should drink is ¼ of your stomach capacity. Following this rule, after a meal your stomach is ½ food, ¼ liquid and ¼ empty. After learning this practice it became a healthy habit for me and I now eat this way all of the time. It’s easy once you practice it a bit.
Between meals it’s good to sip Fresh ginger tea. Ginger is a heating spice that stimulates your digestive fire. We want to keep our fire hot throughout the cleanse by only drinking hot or warm spiced teas and no cold beverages. Drink as much water as you like, however hot water is best or you can have it at room temperature.
To make Fresh Ginger Tea use a piece of organic ginger root about the size of your thumb and slice it into strips (no need to peel), boil it in 5 cups of water for 5 minutes on med heat, then reduce heat to low for 10 minutes. Strain and put in a thermos and drink throughout the day. If it tastes too spicy you can add a little honey.
Another option for increasing the effectiveness of the cleanse is to make up a batch of CCF Tea. This is a classic Ayurvedic detox tea made with Coriander, Cumin, and Fennel. This combination of spices builds the Agni (digestive fire) and stimulates the lymph to release toxins and flushes toxic waste out of the body.
Follow this easy recipe to make CCF Tea:
- ½ Teaspoon Organic Coriander Seeds
- ½ Teaspoon Organic Cumin Seeds
- ½ Teaspoon Organic Fennel Seeds
- 4 cups of spring water
Boil the water and seeds over medium heat for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to simmer for 5 minutes. Strain the water to remove the seeds and pour into a thermos to keep warm. I like to combine the two recipes personally. I just add the ginger to the water with my seeds and prepare it all together. I make a big batch and keep it in the refrigerator and heat up a cup at a time when want it. At first I thought the taste was a little weird but now I love it. It makes me feel good to be consuming something warm and spicy that’s good for me. Again, add a little honey (after you brew it; do not add honey to boiling water) if it seems too spicy for you.
Circulate, Detoxify & Nourish
Exercise is also recommended to stimulate blood flow and circulation throughout the body and facilitate the elimination of toxins from the blood and lymph. Exercise just enough to break a light sweat, do not overdo. Try going for an early morning walk outdoors at a brisk enough pace to stimulate a sweat. You don’t need to sweat profusely, just dampness on the forehead, armpits, or back of the neck is enough. You just need to stimulate the sweat glands. Also take a hot bath, hot shower or steam bath or use a sauna to help the body sweat. Try to do one or more of these activities for at least 20-30 minutes each day.
Nourish yourself. Get a massage, facial, craniosacral therapy or acupuncture treatment. Walk barefoot on the beach. Breathe deeply. Take a gentle flow yoga class or restorative yoga. Many of the studios are offering online classes now, so you don’t even need to leave the house. Read an uplifting book or listen to soothing music.
Pay attention to what you are taking in. Avoid negative energies such as TV or movies with violence, crime, intense suspense, etc. These will cause you to feel negative emotions which will release stress hormones into your body. Spend time in the garden or go to a park and picnic under a tree. Do things that open your heart and nourish your soul.
Goodbye Toxins! Hello Radiant Health!
There are many different versions of the Kitchari Recipe and you can find them easily with a quick google search. I am sharing with you my favorite, which I have made many more times than I can count. This is a delicious blend of ingredients that includes all 6 tastes, which is another lesson learned from this ancient practice. Ayurveda believes that in order to have balance in our body and mind, we need to include all six tastes in our meals. Each individual ingredient (food and spice) has an individual quality, energy, action and effect on our being. The six tastes are Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter, Astringent and Pungent.
This is one of the reasons Ayurveda is considered “The Science of Life”. Ayurveda looks at the 5 elements; Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether, the cycles of the day, the seasons, and the climate and tries to live in balance with all of these qualities and energies. We each have a constitution (Prakriti, Dosha) that is made up of a combination of these elements and each person has their own individual combination. In order to balance the energies, you need to find where you are out of balance, what elements are being affected, and then bring them back into balance. One way to facilitate balance is to reset the digestive system with healthy medicinal meals that contain all six tastes. So, let’s get started!
Here is the GROCERY LIST.
Buy everything ORGANIC, you don’t want to add more pesticides when you are trying to detox:
- Split Yellow Mung Beans or Sprouted Mung Beans
- White or Brown Basmati Rice (white is easier to digest; brown has more fiber)
- Coriander Seeds
- Fennel Seeds
- Cumin Seeds
- Turmeric Powder or Fresh Turmeric Root
- Ground Cardamom
- Fresh Ginger Root
- Ceylon Cinnamon Sticks
- Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
- Bay Leaf
- Fresh Cilantro
- Fresh Kale or Spinach
- 2 Lemons
- Coconut Oil
- Organic Low Sodium Vegetable Broth (or homemade)
- Fresh Vegetables (choose 2-3, avoid nightshades)
Vegetables may be added to your dish or served on the side. Consider carrots, sweet potatoes, celery, broccoli rabe, butternut squash, beets, green beans, cauliflower, rutabagas, yuca, kohlrabi, or radishes. I usually do sweet potatoes roasted with Garam Masala Seasoning with mine (recipe below) and I serve them on the side. However, you can choose any vegetables you want as long as they are fresh and organic. You can roast them, steam them or cook them in the Kitchari. Avoid frozen or canned as the necessary enzymes and nutrients are depleted during processing. Avoid nightshades due to the fact that they have a natural built in pesticide called glycoalkaloids which can affect the nervous system and cause inflammation in the body, exactly what we are trying to combat.
Ayurvedic Kitchari Recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Makes enough for 3-4 servings depending on portion size
- 1/2 Cup Split Yellow Mung Beans soaked overnight (or already sprouted mung beans)
- 1/2 Cup Rice
- 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
- 3 Cups Vegetable Broth
- 1/2 tablespoon of Fresh Grated Ginger
- 2 tablespoons of Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
- 1/2 cup of Spring Water
- 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 1/2 tsp Coriander Seeds or Powder (seeds have a very strong flavor, I like it, some don’t)
- 1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder or 1 tsp of Fresh Grated Turmeric Root
- 1/4 tsp Ground Cardamom
- 1 Bay Leaf 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 1-2 tsp Mineral Salt to Taste
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro
- 1-2 wedges of Fresh Squeezed Lemon or Lime (to taste)
- 2 Kale Leaves, stems removed, torn into bite sized pieces or a handful of fresh spinach leaves
- Optional: 1-2 cups of chopped vegetables of your choice
Rinse the rice and mung beans and set aside.
In a small glass or measuring cup mix the grated ginger with the coconut flakes and water and set aside.
Using a 3-quart pot melt the coconut oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot add the cumin, coriander, fennel, turmeric and cardamom to the pot and cook until sizzling and fragrant (1-2 minutes).
Now add the ginger and coconut mixture along with the bay leaf and cinnamon stick and cook for 2 minutes.
Now add the rice, mung beans and vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
Once you have a good rolling boil going you can add your chopped vegetables (optional). Bring back to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover with a lid. Set timer for 30 minutes.
Now is the time to prepare your vegetables if you are serving them on the side.
Check your Kitchari occasionally and add extra water if needed. If you want a more soup like consistency you may need to add more liquid. Otherwise it should be more like a porridge consistency.
After 30 minutes stir in the salt and taste to see if your rice and mung are soft. If you used white rice and sprouted mung beans your dish should be just about done. If you used brown rice and split mung beans, you may need to cook another 10 minutes.
Now add your chopped kale or spinach and cook for another 5-10 minutes.
Lastly, top with fresh cilantro and squeeze of lemon or lime juice and serve.
Sweet Potatoes Roasted with Garam Masala
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 2 tsp Garam Masala Powder
- 2 Tbsp melted Coconut Oil
- 1/2 tsp Mineral Salt
Preheat oven to 400
Wash potatoes and cut into wedges. Place in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with the garam masala, coconut oil and salt. Toss well to coat wedges with the spice and oil. Place on a baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes. Turn over with spatula and cook another 10 minutes. Serve with Kitchari.
I hope you enjoy this cleanse as much as I have throughout the years. It’s actually so easy to stick with and the results are amazing. It will motivate you to take better care of yourself on a daily basis and give you the jump start you need to improve your overall health and wellbeing. Ayurveda played a huge part in my own recovery from 30 years of addiction and depression which had taken such a toll on my physical health that, at 48 years old, I felt like I was living in a 90 year old body. My healing journey began in Bali in early 2012 where I met an Ayurvedic doctor who showed me how to heal myself. In a few short months, I completely recovered and have been pain free for almost 8 years. I hope this inspires you to learn more about these ancient practices that heal the Body, Mind and Soul and teach you how to live a beautiful, joyful and healthy life!
Many blessings to all,
Founder of Villa Kali Ma