Updated: Jun 19, 2020
By Deni Spirovski - Yoga Teacher | Holistic Educator, Kandala Yoga
Do you ever feel like you just need to hit the reset button on your body and mind? It’s like things feel totally out of sync and no matter what you do, you can’t seem to bring them back into balance. Here’s some good news - there’s a remedy for that in Ayurveda and it begins with a big bowl of warm lentils and rice. It’s called Kitchari.
Kitchari is a balanced meal that is both detoxing and nourishing for your mind-body. It is often prescribed as part of a seasonal cleansing therapy known as Panchakarma. “Pancha” means 5 and “karma” means actions or procedures. This is because an authentic cleanse that has been tailored to your needs would entail 5 procedures such as Abhyanga (massage), Basti (enema) and Swedana (herbal steam). You would also be recommended some special medicinal herbs along with a specific Kitchari recipe that is going to support your constitution (see my last blog post to learn more about the doshas and Ayurvedic constitution). Kitchari is a sattvic meal which refers to the balanced effect it has on your whole being. This basically means that it doesn’t stimulate or remove energy from the body or mind. Sounds just like what the Ayurvedic doctor ordered, right?
Even without knowing your specific constitution or having access to the extra procedures such as the herbal steam, you can still take part in this reset by switching up your diet to eat Kitchari for breakfast, lunch and dinner for anywhere between 3 days to 10 days. To ensure that you don’t create any sort of imbalance, you would want to follow a recipe that is tridoshic (this means that it is nourishing for all constitutions) - stay tuned. When you do this simple act you enable your body the chance to recalibrate and heal. Remembering that whatever you do to the body, you also do to the mind.
While you’re giving yourself this time to rejuvenate, take the benefits even further by practicing a bit of gentle yoga everyday, drinking loads of water, cutting out caffeine and looking after your sleep hygiene. Another beautiful and important act you should consider incorporating is Abhyanga which I mentioned above. It’s simply a daily self-massage that you do with some gently warmed oil that helps to move toxins from the body and is incredibly soothing for your nervous system. Try doing this about 30 minutes before your shower using an oil such as jojoba or coconut oil. Start by massaging from the feet and working your way all the way up to your head. Pay particular attention to your joints and don’t let any part of the body be missed. It sounds simple enough but the effects of Abhyanga can be really profound and it definitely is something you don’t want to skip when doing this little reset. In Ayurveda, it is considered the greatest act of self-love. How beautiful is that?
But, let’s get to the recipe we have all been waiting for. So here it is, my recipe for Kitchari.
May your mind, body and soul be happier for it. Happy eating!
If you’d like the full 3 Day Ayurvedic Cleanse (it’s FREE and it includes the practices, a full shopping list and extra recipes) you can head to the link here.
1/4 cup lentils (soaked overnight if possible and then rinse thoroughly and strain)
1/4 cup basmati rice (rinsed thoroughly and strain)
1 tbs ghee or extra virgin olive oil (to keep it Vegan)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp whole coriander seeds (cracked in a mortar and pestle) or ground coriander seeds
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek (scant)
1 small piece of cinnamon bark
1/4 tsp ajwain seeds
1/2 onion finely diced
1 inch freshly grated ginger
1 small clove of garlic grated
3 cups of water
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
A pinch of cracked pepper
A pinch of asafoetida or hing
1/2 cup of vegetables of choice (optional)1/2 tsp of Himalayan pink salt or Celtic salt
Warm up your oil or ghee in a saucepan on medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds (if using ground coriander, add in at step 2 instead), cinnamon bark, fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds and stir until fragrant (around 30 seconds).
Add the ajwain seeds and the ground coriander and continue to stir for another 20 seconds.
Add the onion and stir for a couple of minutes before adding the grated ginger and garlic. Continue to cook until the onion is soft.
Add the washed and strained lentils and rice to the saucepan and stir for 1 minute. Stir in the turmeric powder and stir to combine.
Pour in the water and add the asafoetida, freshly cracked pepper, vegetables (if using) and salt. Bring the water to a boil and reduce to a gentle simmer.
Simmer slowly on low heat until the rice and lentils are cooked and the kitchari has thickened (around 20 minutes). Keep adding 1/4 cup of water if the water gets low and you feel the rice and lentils still need more cooking.
Serve warm with fresh coriander if you would like.
Enjoy and may your body, mind + soul feel all the better for it.