Heal your digestion and cleanse your insides with this Ayurvedic Kitchari recipe.
In our modern fast food focused world it is important than ever to detox and reset our bodies from time to time. This is especially true for our digestive system because if our digestion is sluggish that will have a direct effect on our liver and our energy levels. Signs of sluggish digestion include:
- Bloating / digestive discomfort
- Feeling foggy in the head
- Food cravings
- Inconsistent bowel movements or difficulty passing
- Feeling tired or leathargic
- Headaches / migraines
When it comes to detoxing the body there is there is one specific Ayurvedic recipe that can effectively detox the body, called Kitchari. According to my dear friend Dylan Smith, Ayurvedic practitioner based in Bondi Beach, kitchari (pronounced Kich-ah-ree), has long been used to nourish babies and the elderly, the sick, and the healthy during special times of detox and cleanse on the body-mind-soul level. This simple porridge-like blend of lentils, rice and spices, is a comfort and health food that has many nourishing and cleansing benefits. Everyone should eat Kitchari at least a couple to a few times a week to reset digestion and nourish your body and mind.
Let’s get to know the ingredients that make Kitchari a super healthy dish:
Split yellow mung beans along with a long grain white, basmati, or red rice and a blend of traditional Indian spices.
Choice of Rice
White Rice is easier to digest because the husk has been milled off. While brown rice supplies more nutrients, the husk makes brown rice a little harder to digest. During cleansing, it is important to be gentle on an already compromised digestion. Generally brown rice is also okay. Red Rice is the best choice because it is most easily digested and is high in B12.
Why Split Yellow Mung Beans?
These are the only legumes that are “vata balancing.” This means that, unlike every other type of beans or lentils, they will not produce any intestinal gas. They naturally are much easier to cook, digest, and assimilate.
Complete and Perfect Protein
The combination of rice and legumes have been a stable around the world for thousands of years, and for a good reason. All the essential amino acids that we need are provided by both of these together, making it a complete protein. Generally when you mix grain and legume/lentil, you get complete protein.
Kitchari for Cleansing
During a cleanse, it is essential to have adequate protein to keep the blood sugar stable and the body burning fat.
One of the most common reasons people have trouble with cleansing is due to unstable blood sugars made worse by the detox process. Look at a liquid fast for example, people are asked to drink only water, juice or veggies. For many, this type of fasting can be a strain and deplete blood sugar reserves. Then people get really hungry, irritable, and end up with a low blood sugar headache or crash. The body cannot shift to fat metabolism and detox the fat cells if the body is under stress and strain as a result of a difficult fast.
Stress = Fat Storing
No Stress = Fat Burning
So when you are cleansing to detox heavy metals, preservatives, chemicals, pesticides and environmental toxins (which are stored in your fat cells), make sure you do not strain! Same goes with exercise.
“No Pain No Gain” is a myth and is actually counter-productive.
Fat burning is not just to loose weight, that is just a side effective. Burning fat enhances mood stability, good sleep, increases cognitive function, less cravings, balances acidity and maintains stable and calm energy levels throughout the day.
During a cleanse you can eat kitchari daily, even for 2-3 meals a day. If you do this, you sure can change it up by adding in veges or some lean meat.
Kitchari to Heal Digestion
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 percent of the body’s serotonin produced in the gut, it is clear 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 rest while being provided the nutrition needed to heal the gut and nourish the body.
Ayurvedic Kitchari Recipe
2. Strain mung & rice, add approx. 1.5 cup of water in pot and cook. (May need to add more water as you go.) I like mine quite dry, – almost fried rice consistency – but if you prefer a more traditional kitchari with a soft and stewy texture you can add up to 4 cups of water. In this case boil the rice + dahl for 30 minutes until the moong dahl beans are be completely dissolved.
3. In a separate heavy-bottomed pan, add ghee on medium heat. Do this when the mung+ rice is nearly finished cooking (after approximately 5-10 mins max. This depends on heat and how long you soaked the dahl + rice. Make sure you don’t overcook it as it becomes mushy).
4. Sautee cumin, fennel, curry leaves, fresh ginger and any other herbs (not powdered herbs) in ghee until the seeds start to pop.
5. Add onion & garlic (chopped finely) and cook until slightly golden.
6. Add pan-fried herbs to dahl and rice and mix well, infusing the spices in the dahl and rice.
7. Add your “final spices” – turmeric + pinch of black pepper + salt +asafoetida (hing).
8. Gently stir to combine (without breaking up the rice) and continue to cook for a couple of minutes.
9. Garnish with fresh lemon, salt and fresh coriander.