So springtime is a great time to detox and cleanse. “Spring cleaning” is for both our external and internal environs. Many of us can feel this intuitively and so many cultures have traditions based in fasting during this time. It’s balancing to cleanse the body because Springtime (kapha season) is naturally a time of accumulation. The only thing is that many of us also have lives that are not supportive of taking a few weeks off to cleanse. (If your life is conducive to that, then stop reading this and start looking for flights to India to do pancha karma for 3-4weeks!)
It can be really imbalancing to do a cleanse without giving yourself the appropriate container to do this work of releasing what no longer serves you. Your life has got to align with, and hopefully support, whatever you are trying to achieve within your body and mind; you are just a reflection of the energy in your life. This is why just eating organic won’t save someone with a high stress job and lack of emotional support from health issues. Your food is a big energy input, but so are your relationships, job, climate, stage of life, financial stability, etc.
So how are all of us going to cleanse without taking time off of our work and family responsibilities? My answer is kitchardi fasting. What is kitchardi? Well, it’s been called and ayurvedic “superfood” in the latest media push, and actually, I think it lives up to that name.
Kitchardi is a stew of mung bean, basmati rice, ghee and digestive spices. The completeness score (how complete a food is in all of the elements needed by the human body–vitamins, minerals, starches, fats and proteins) of the mung lentil alone is like 80/100 (this is super rare). The 20 missing elements (like vit ADE) are supplied by the other ingredients. So this means that kitchardi gives you everything your body needs without any other foods, and actually eating kitchardi is probably giving you more of the elements your regular diet is missing.
In ayurveda, mung is recognized for its detoxifying properties, while also being rejuvenative. This is really unique because most herbs and foods that detox strip down the body tissues instead of replenishing them. So this means I can eat kitchardi, cleanse my body (and mind) while not feeling like I’m going to faint or not have the energy to keep up with my family and business. In fact, I usually feel more energized, and eat less naturally because I feel so nourished.
How do you do it? Well, here’s how I do it and you can adapt for yourself:
- eat mung everyday, mostly in the form of different kitchardi variations
- cook mung with ghee and spices in every recipe
- eat fruits (at least thirty minutes away from other food) for snacks
- add various veggies to the mung dishes and eat some steamed and spiced veggies for alternate meals
- I still have chai and herbal teas and juice as I desire
- I don’t eat anything else (except my 3 pieces of chocolate a day)
Here’s a basic recipe for kitchardi from Pranaful Chef Meredith Klein. Get creative and search online for recipes, as mung is used in a lot of different ways all over India, China and SE Asia. Vietnamese mung pudding is one of my favorite dishes. I LOVE MUNG! (Can someone make me a T-shirt with that slogan already…:))