Kitchari And Ayurvedic Cleansing
Ayurveda is traditional Indian medicine and is one of the oldest holistic healing systems. Ayurvedic medicine is based on the idea of balancing the body using diet, herbal treatments, massage, yoga and yogic breathing. This approach has been used in India for thousands of years before the birth of modern medicine. I spent 2 months in India back in 2005 with my now husband and learnt about this system there and have been drawn to the Ayurvedic approach to healing and cleansing ever since.
My friend introduced me to kitchari cleansing a few years ago and I love this detox because it feels like a more gentle, filling but also deep cleanse. The purpose of this cleanse is to give your digestive system a rest, ensuring good elimination and absorption of food and intends to bring about balance of the physical and emotional systems. People who practice Ayurveda believe that this kind of detox strengthens our bodies and minds, bringing together balance of the doshas vata, pitta and kapha and helps to strengthen agni (digestive fire), which translates to fire in Sanskrit.
Kitchari is nourishing, easy to digest and is made up of spices, mung dal and basmati rice. It is intended to be taken as a mono diet for a few days but I quite often make this as an evening meal as I love it.
What I like about this cleanse is that you never feel hungry. It involves taking in a mono diet of kitchari for 3 - 7 days. I've done a few 3 or 5 days of kitchari cleanses and always feel really good, lighter and more clear headed after. You have to prepare ahead and ensure that you have enough ingredients in the house to make this freshly every morning. It's also a good idea to do this cleanse during a quiet time, so block out a few days in your diary and make time for rest and relaxation. You must take care of yourself emotionally too because, as with all cleanses, feelings and emotions can bubble up and you need to be prepared for this. You may also experience side effects like headaches, irritability, tiredness and mild aches and pains, so I feel that cleansing over a weekend is a good idea, to ensure that you can truly rest and make time for yourself.
Meditation, saunas, long, warm epsom salt baths, dry body scrubbing, tongue scraping, oil pulling, yoga, walking and massage are all recommended during this cleanse. Drinking plenty of water is important too, alongside lemon and ginger tea.
People report improvements of their digestion, that they feel lighter, more clear headed, energised and enjoy a general feeling of good wellbeing. I always feel all of these benefits after a kitchari cleanse.
There are many recipes for kitchari but this is a good one, which you can try (I usually make this with ghee but sometimes use coconut oil):
For lots more information about kitchari cleansing, have a look at this website:
My friend Anu owns Jivita Ayurveda, which is an organic wellbeing centre in Kensal Rise, London. Anu is an authority on Ayurvedic medicine and Ayurvedic detox, so if you live in the area, I can highly recommend her amazing treatments. Her shirodhara, which is a warm oil treatment for the head, is out of this world. The ultimate relaxation therapy.