Kitchari is medicine

“Let medicine be thy food and food be thy medicine.” - Hippocrates of Cos, Greece, 460-377 B.C.


With so many fad diets flooding your mind with ideas like “all carbs are bad for you” or “you need more protein,” it can be confusing to know what to eat to reach your health goals or how to maintain them moving forward. The truth is every “body” is different and may need different sources of nutrients at different times. 


If you feel tired all the time, struggle with intense cravings, have trouble focusing the mind, suffer from sleeplessness, or just cannot seem to get your digestive system working properly, a simple, yet powerful kitchari cleanse can profoundly improve how you feel. It works to not only clean your digestive system, but the process focuses on bringing balance into your life so you can maintain a state of harmony in your mind and body. 


A kitchari cleanse is not a fad diet or intense fasting, it’s part of a lifestyle based on the principles of Ayurveda that provide the foundation needed for long-term success. Ayurveda is a 3,000 year old system of medicine based on the idea that establishing and maintaining balance and ease in our bodies creates and maintains longevity and good health. It is the most complete form of holistic medicine practiced in the world today. Ayurveda recognizes that each individual is unique and considers all aspects of the human being - emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual. 


What is kitchari?

Kitchari is an Indian comfort food that combines split mung beans and white basmati rice to create a perfect protein containing all nine essential amino acids. Eating such a healthy, nutritious food source during a cleanse helps keep the mind clear and the energy levels high while eliminating the deprivation or mental anguish you may experience during a fasting cleanse. 


The mung beans in kitchari contain fiber allowing for healthy elimination, but since they are split, they are also very easy to digest. In fact, in India, kitchari is sometimes given to babies as their first solid food. Eating a monodiet for a period of time (meaning only eating kitchari) gives your digestive system a rest and allows your body to focus on eliminating toxins in your body. Since kitchari also has an astringent or drying quality, it sticks to the toxins allowing them to be more easily removed from your body. Kitchari is suitable for all body types and can be made in an endless number of variations.


Benefits of a kitchari cleanse

Even if you believe your diet works well for you, you would still most likely benefit from a kitchari cleanse since there are many factors outside of food that create toxins in the body. Whenever there is any imbalance in our organs, minds, muscles, or joints, toxins are stored in our cells. Things like how you manage stress, a lack of routine, how and when you eat, or even just improper food combinations can drastically impact how you feel. 


A kitchari cleanse helps you:

  • Gain a better understanding of your particular energetic makeup.
  • Learn how to eat to create ease and balance in your body.
  • Detox the mind/body in a nourishing way allowing for better clarity and more energy during and after the cleansing process.
  • Bring balance into your life (ayurvedic principles in diet, sleep, daily routines, movement, etc.)
  • Enjoy a deeper connection to the divine by regulating the mind/body.


Eating based on your energy

Our constitution, or what type of energy we are made of, consists of three doshas. In Ayurveda, doshas are the energy patterns that flow around our bodies, governing our thinking and behavior. Every individual has energy from all three doshas, but typically one or two are more predominant. Once you know your constitution, which you will learn when you participate in a cleanse, you will gain an understanding of which foods and activities increase or decrease these different doshas in order to create and maintain balance. 


Imbalances lead to disease

In Ayurveda, any imbalances in your system are considered “dis-ease” and may result in disease in the body and mind. In fact, all mental or physical diseases are the result of some form of imbalance. Ayurveda uses natural techniques and herbs such as those used in a kitchari cleanse to create harmony between the mind, body and spirit leading to a long, healthy life. A focused kitchari cleanse is recommended at least twice a year for most people, typically in the fall and the spring. 


It’s all connected

Just like unmanaged stress and anxiety can manifest in the body through your digestive system, your gut also affects the mind. Gut health has been linked to causing several mental illnesses, including anxiety and depression. By cleaning up the excess toxins in your gut, you may be able to improve your mental state. And when the mind is calm, you are able to meditate much more deeply. Removing excess negative energy can also allow the brain to access creativity, improve memory and give you more peace. 


Our fast-paced, short-cut lifestyles are not cheap or easy. They take a toll on our bodies and minds. Ayurveda provides a natural approach to make simple changes to your lifestyle that leave lasting results. Profound healing can occur by simply adding kitchari to your diet on a regular basis. Your body is a temple. Without health, there is no wealth. 


“Health is wealth. Tune yourself with nature. Observe the laws of hygiene. Enjoy immortal bliss.” - Swami Sivananda

One thought on “Kitchari is medicine

  1. Sujata Rali

    What are you supposed to do for the ‘Khichari Cleansing’? How many days and what routine do you follow.

    • Madalasa

      It’s up to you for duration but I’ve found most people who do cleanses do at least 5-7 days, though I knew of someone who did it for 9 months (simply because her body felt so good). Eating it twice daily is sufficient and follows the intermittent fasting practices in Ayurvedic medicine—though it would still be beneficial for 3 meals/day.

  2. Priti Mackinnon

    Some good simple recipes for diabetics patients.

  3. Joanna Dalietos

    Why not post a recipe??

    • Madalasa

      I’ve used this a few times:
      For 4-6 people

      •1 cup rice (optional to soak in advance—recommended for brown rice)
      •1 cup Moong dahl (soaked for at least a few hours)
      •12 cups water
      •1/4 cup ghee or oil
      •Veggies (anything you’d like: zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potato, kale, spinach, carrot, celery, cilantro…)
      •2 tsp turmeric powder
      •2 tsp black mustard seeds
      •2 tsp coriander seeds
      •2 tsp cumin seeds
      •2 tsp fennel seeds
      •2 tsp ginger powder
      •1 small/medium thumb of fresh ginger, grated or minced
      •Salt and pepper to taste

      1) Cook ginger, carrots, and celery (and any other hard vegetables) in ghee/oil in a large pot. Cook for ~5 mins. Add in drained Moong Dahl (and rice if using brown), stir into the ghee mixture for 2-3 mins.
      2) Add in water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Simmer for 20-30 mins until all is soft inside the pot.
      3) Meanwhile, dry roast spices in a pan until lightly browned and aromatic. Then grind or blend to make into powder.
      4) Add in remaining veggies except your greens. Cook until those are soft. Stir often to make sure mixture is not burning. If needed add more HOT water if the mixture is too dry. Should be a thick stew-like consistency.
      5) Remove from heat, add greens. Allow to sit for a few minutes. Garnish with cilantro.

  4. Luz

    Excelente información en beneficio de nuestra Salud integral!!!

  5. ann phelan

    I participated in a 5 day Ayurvedic training. It was magical

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