Updated: Nov 10
Over the last two weeks, I went on vacation with family and ditched my normally high-vibe diet for restaurant meals laden with gluten and sugar, which was wonderful at the time but I sure was surprised to see that I gained 8 pounds in the process! It sounds shocking but I know it's just inflammation that I can turn around with a 3-day Ayurvedic Kitchari Cleanse.
Kitchari has been my go-to cleanse for years, ever since first making it at a cooking class in Rishikesh, India. It's extremely nourishing and I even credit this meal with saving my life! For four years, I didn't know I had a cancerous bladder tumor but I craved this porridge and ate it several times per week. I'd intuitively load it up with tons of mustard seed, which I later found out significantly slowed the growth of cancerous bladder tumors in lab rats and prevented the invasion of tumors into the bladder muscle wall. Miraculously, when my tumor was discovered after 4 years of symptoms and multiple misdiagnosis, it was the size of an egg but still hadn't invaded the muscle wall! It was removed and I was spared an all-too-common and devastating trajectory of chemo and radiation. Talk about food as medicine! Kitchari is also loaded with other anti-cancer compounds like ginger and turmeric.
My favorite meal, kitchari (kichari, kichidi), is an Indian porridge made from beans or lentils, rice, and spices that has been used for centuries as both food and medicine to nourish babies, elderly, pregnant and postpartum women, and anyone with compromised health. It is also used as a form of cleansing in Ayurveda (a system of health originating in India that truly uses food as medicine). Here are some of its benefits
So nutritious! The combination of rice & beans contains all the amino acids to form a complete protein as well as dietary fiber, anti-aging and cancer fighting antioxidants, & essential vitamins & minerals such as iron, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, folate, copper, zinc and various B vitamins. Spices involved reduce inflammation, flush toxins, increase circulation, boost immunity, help digestion and absorption of nutrients.
Easily Digested! When made with split yellow lentils and long grain white rice, it does not cause gas. It is often used as part of a mono-diet cleanse to give the digestive system a break so it can strengthen and flush toxins from the body without weakness.
Easy to Make! But please, use all organic ingredients to avoid introducing new toxins.
And so, without further ado...
Click here for a quick video on how to make Kichari. Recipe below video box.
Ayurvedic Cleansing Kitchari
Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 8 bowls
3 Tbsp ghee or coconut oil
2 tsp brown mustard seed
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp fennel seed
8 cups water
2 cups yellow moong dal (these are split yellow lentils and can be ordered online)
1 cup basmati or other long-grain white rice
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
extra ghee or coconut oil to garnish
limes for garnish
cilantro for garnish
In a large pot over medium-low heat, add ghee or coconut oil.
Once melted, add mustard, cumin, and fennel seeds. Give a quick stir and let sizzle for about 30 seconds. If you have an electric stove, you may even temporarily remove the pot from heat for about 30 seconds - 1 minute during this step. Seed aromatics open up in oil but fennel seeds burn easily so please be mindful here.
Add water, dal (lentils), rice, turmeric, ginger, coriander, salt, and black pepper. Give it all a stir to incorporate and raise the heat to high.
Once boiling, cover and reduce heat to low (simmering) and cook for 30 minutes.
Remove from heat, give it a good stir for a porridge-like consistency and serve! Garnish individual bowls with another teaspoon of ghee, a sprinkling of cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime. I like mine nice and bright so I use half a lime per bowl but season to your own tastes!
Cilantro is a wonderful addition to this meal since it is a chelator, which helps to detox heavy metals from the body.
Ghee is traditional ghee but it can be substituted with coconut oil for vegans.
Store it in the fridge for about 3 days.
Freeze it! Will last about 2 months. Thaw it, then add a little water to the pan to reheat it.
If you make this recipe, let me know what you thought in the comments section! And, if you'd like to stay in the loop with recipes, workshops, retreats and events, sign up for my newsletter below.