Spring Cleaning for Your Whole Being
Spring Cleaning for Your Whole Being
Spring is here! Everything’s popping up, sprouting out, and coming to life in all of its brilliance and fecundity, and while I’m certainly excited, there’s still a sluggish part of me that wants to resist leaving my quiet winter cave. In the past, to help me shift my internal landscape, I’ve tried cleanses, and I’ve felt starved, and I’ve panicked, and they didn’t last and didn’t help. But I wanted to do something to ease the discomfort of the seasonal transition and refresh my system, and when I found the simple, nourishing Ayurvedic kitchari cleanse, I knew I was home.
The kitchari cleanse, derived from the ancient Indian health system of Ayurveda, can help guide one’s digestive system back to its natural, balanced state in just three days, and is appropriate for all constitutions. Kitchari nourishes and cleanses the body with a mono-diet of white rice and mung beans. This allows the body, mind, and spirit to actually rest and renew, whereas the feeling of starvation that often accompanies other cleanses can induce stress and send the body into a counterproductive survival mode, causing it to store toxic fat rather than get rid of it.
Mung beans are alkalizing and detoxifying, and when combined with white rice, form a complete protein. Warming spices feed the digestive fire, and ghee (butter from which the milk solids have been removed) lubricates the system, allowing for smooth assimilation. If you are vegan and find kitchari drying (a sign of this is constipation), add coconut oil in lieu of ghee.
A few additional things to consider:
- If you can’t stomach the idea of beans and rice for breakfast, it’s perfectly okay to substitute a cooked grain like oatmeal or quinoa. If you’re like me and can’t seem to survive without snacks, try to leave at least two hours between meals for digestion, and then eat stewed fruit like apples, figs & apricots, or blanched almonds. (Feel free to email me for recipes/instructions, or with any questions regarding the cleanse).
- Consider your environment while cleansing. Do your best to create peaceful surroundings to support this important time of restorative self-care. Be mindful and use this time to express quiet gratitude for your nourishment & health. Take candle lit Epsom salt baths. Massage yourself with oil. Indulge in loving you.
- Additional cleansing can be achieved with the use of triphala, an Ayurvedic detoxifying & replenishing herbal blend, which is available in tablet or powder form at health food stores or online.
- Drink plenty of room temperature or warm water (with lemon, even better!) and herbal teas, especially detoxifying teas like dandelion root, & digestive teas like ginger root
- Do only gentle exercise during the cleanse, like yoga and walking. Don’t strain yourself physically, as your body is already working hard to make the most of the simple nourishment you are giving it.
- You may experience mild cleansing symptoms such as headaches & fatigue as toxins leave your system. Make sure to drink plenty of water to support the process.
- Give yourself a day (or more!) after the cleanse before adding back things like coffee, alcohol and meat.
The basic recipe:
1 cup split yellow mung beans, soaked overnight
1 cup white basmati rice (rinsed & ideally soaked for an hour)
3 Tbsp ghee or coconut oil
2-3 cups root vegetables (sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots, etc), sliced or chopped evenly
½ bunch leafy greens (kale, collard greens, swiss chard), de-stemmed & sliced thin
½ tsp yellow mustard seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground ginger
8 cardamom pods
1 lemon or lime, juiced
½ tsp sea salt, or, to taste
6 c water for beans
2 c boiling water for rice
lightly toasted sesame, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds
lime lemon juice
- Drain & rinse beans. In a pot, heat 2 Tbsp ghee or oil with mustard & cumin seeds, & 4 cardamom pods until seeds begin popping. Add & stir coriander, ginger & beans until coated. Add 6 cups water & bring to boil. Reduce to simmer & cook for about 45 minutes, until mung beans are mostly cooked. Add root vegetables & salt & cook for 15-20 minutes. Add greens & cook 5 minutes. Turn off heat & add citrus juice.
- While cooking beans, drain rice. Heat 1 Tbsp ghee or oil with cardamom pods in rice pot for about 30 seconds, then add rice & stir for 1 or 2 minutes, until lightly toasted but not browning. Add boiling water & boil rice for 5 minutes, uncovered. Cover & reduce to simmer for about 10 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.
- Serve beans over rice, topped with garnishes, including more melted ghee or oil if desired.
- Give thanks. Take your time. Enjoy!
Reiki, Reflexology, & Polarity Therapist; Detox/Lifestyle Coach; Personal Chef
I am a Reiki, Reflexology, & Polarity Therapy Practitioner, as well as a Detox/Lifestyle Coach & Personal Nutritional Chef. I also love to dance, sing, read, write & rollerskate!