Kitchari, also spelled “khichadi”, is an age-old Ayurvedic detox delicacy from India, the land of mystery and diversity. A meal cooked from a simple combination of white basmati rice, spilled mung beans, and a mixture of spices, it is a standout cleansing food in the modern era of dietary trends. Apart from being a great source of body detox, kitchari is a common meal that you will come across at dinner tables and lunch menus of many Indian households.
Contrary to the Indian concept of kitchari being comfort food, the West categorizes it as a health food with cleansing and nourishing effects of its own. Each ingredient used to prepare kitchari has a specific role to play. Mung beans are a great source of purifying blood while providing proteins and nutrients to nourish the human body. Rice is one of the most easily digestible food choices while the added spices enhance metabolism.
Speaking of benefits, let us look at a few essential benefits derived from a kitchari cleanse.
Benefits of Kitchari Cleanse
1. Easily Digestible
Kitchari is traditionally made with white rice, which is easy to digest for babies and adults alike. If you are looking forward to giving your digestive tract a break from the daily quota of spicy food, a mono-diet of kitchari is what you need.
2. A Complete Source of Protein
A healthy combination of mung dal and rice makes kitchari a complete protein diet that has all the necessary amino acids required for the body. These ingredients when consumed individually lack one or more essential amino acids that cannot be produced by our body on its own. The balanced protein content in kitchari is beneficial for maintaining blood sugar levels in the body as well as striking a balance between mental clarity and body energy during the cleansing process.
3. Improves Metabolism
Metabolism or “Agni,” as referred to in Ayurvedic terms, is always the key to good health. A healthy metabolism ensures proper digestion, assimilation, and absorption of nutrients from the food we consume. Kitchari is prepared with a combination of spices that can be customized as per your own taste, thus balancing and nourishing the metabolic activity of your body.
4. Removes Toxins from Body
When body toxins are liquefied and loosened, their removal becomes essential. The split mung beans in the kitchari have enough fiber constituents to remove harmful toxins from the body by flushing them out through G.I tract.
How to Prepare for a Kitchari Cleanse?
An effectual kitchari cleanse can be done via a simple regular regime which includes:
- Determine the number of days you want to carry out the cleansing process.
- Eliminate foods that cause imbalance from your diet chart, a few days before you begin with your cleansing regime.
- If possible, incorporate kitchari as a part of your diet for all three meals in a day.
- Have plenty of warm water and herbal teas throughout the day.
- Drink warm water with a squeeze of lemon early in the morning followed by a glass of lukewarm water to clear out your system.
- Indulge in an ample amount of self-care and give your body enough rest.
- If you want to eat something after consuming kitchari, opt for fresh seasonal fruits or some grains cooked in ghee.
What Should You Do After a Cleanse?
After completing a three-day cleansing cycle, there might still be remnants of toxins in your body. However, through the cleansing phase, the body accustoms to the pattern of a clean diet and becomes a bit sensitive to the consumption of processed food. It is important thtat you make a slow transition back to your normal diet routine to preserve the impending benefits of the kitchari cleanse.
Choose a simple diet for a couple of days and then move on to slowly diversify your food menu. Having junk food is a strict NO during this period. It has been observed that subjecting your body to a prolonged period of cleansing alters the relationship of your body with specific food patterns. Thus, it is important to be patient with the changing dietary patterns in the subsequent days.
Tips for a Successful Kitchari Cleanse
Churn a new batch every day
Fresh food is always a great way to keep you motivated. Cooking fresh kitchari on a regular basis keeps the freshness of the food you consume intact. Thus, you get to savor the taste as well as the energy of the food.
Make use of seasonal veggies to prepare the kitchari
Use organic vegetables to prepare the kitchari, as these have lower levels of toxins and pesticides as compared to the regular ones.
Keep yourself motivated
Keep reminding yourself daily about your intentions behind opting for the kitchari cleanse. It is a scientifically proven fact that the body automatically reacts to the energy generated through your thoughts and intentions. Remind yourself that your body is precious.
Spread the Word
Involve and educate more people about kitchari cleanse and its benefits. Moreover, getting your friends involved in your cleansing routine is always a great idea to keep the routine intact. While you might indulge in a few cheat days when on your own, added motivation ensures ultimate success.
Though a common food item in Indian households, it is becoming increasingly popular in the West. With more people recognizing the health benefits to be derived from a kitchari cleanse, this simple and nutritious dish is becoming a favorite among health-conscious individuals.
Want to learn more about Ayurveda? Check out our other blog posts!
Recipe photo courtesy of Emily Kate Roemer