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Kitchari (Kitcharee/Khichdi) to end the Misery

Ever heard of an Ayurvedic cleanse? No? Let's break it down. Typical cleanse-type diets involve some level of pain and suffering (for you and the people around you), are often liquid, and honestly, are so depleting to the constitution that the cleanser ends up with more problems than they started with. There may be some weight lost, but it's largely water-weight that will be regained when regular eating habits are reinstated.

Not so with an Ayurvedic Kitchari cleanse.

Unlike typical cleanses, which tend to be low in protein, the combination of beans and rice make kitchari a complete protein. Kitchari also contains adequate carbohydrates and calories to maintain blood sugar levels and provide energy and keep you feeling full.

The magic lies in the fact that kitchari is so easily digested that,

A) it is soothing to the digestive tract, giving it time to heal and "reset,"

B) the nutrients are easily assimilated, giving you nutrition far superior to that of a typical cleanse.

What does an Ayurvedic Kitchari cleanse look like?

  1. You'll make the kitchari, a porridge-like food made of rice and mung beans, delicious vegetables, and seasoned with herbs that aid in digestion.

  2. You'll eat this between one and three times a day, for one to seven days. This is being eaten by people all over the world! Everyone from the elderly and infirm, to those recovering from illness, to those wishing to reset their digestion and eating habits, and even to babies!

  3. Yes. Kitchari is so nourishing and easily digested that it is baby food in many areas of Asia.

  4. If you can't bear the thought of kitchari for breakfast, a simple oatmeal is a good choice. Follow that with your lunch and dinner of kitchari. (You'll find a simple recipe below.)

  5. If you get hungry between meals, roasted vegetables are a great choice. I would recommend that you avoid raw vegetables. These are difficult to break down, and can therefore be really irritating to your digestive tract. This is counterproductive to what we're trying to accomplish here.

  6. You will notice that you feel lighter, both in your body and your mind. Your digestion will begin to regulate, making your elimination habits much less, uh, memorable.

  7. You may lose weight.

  8. You intestines will quit hating you. It's true.

  9. You'll tuck this new tool into your toolbox, knowing that when you're sick or have enjoyed the holidays too much, when your guts are cussing you out, you can reach for your kitchari and take control of the situation.

There are many variations of kitchari. This is my favorite recipe. We'll call it...

Karen's Favorite Kitchari

You'll need:

2tsp cumin seed

2tsp black mustard seeds

1tsp fennel

1tsp fenugreek

pinch hing (asafetida)

Put these all in a small bowl together

2tsp coriander seed

1tsp turmeric

1tsp black pepper

2Tbsp fresh ginger root, diced small

Put these in another small bowl together

Next, you'll need:

1 cup tomato, diced

1 cup carrots, diced

1 cup celery, diced

1 cup yellow or green mung (or moong) dal, whole or split

1/2 cup basmati or jasmine rice

3Tbsp Avocado or Coconut oil (I do not recommend grapeseed oil)

7 cups water, bring to boil

Pour 3Tbps oil in large pot. Heat to medium and add the first set of spices. Stir for 1 minute or until spices begin to be fragrant. Add second set of spices and reduce heat. Stir to prevent burning. Cook another 30 seconds and add tomatoes. When tomatoes are soft, add mung dal, 7 cups water, and carrots and celery. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Cook at a simmer for 10-15 minutes.

While mung dal is cooking, prepare vegetables. Dice these small in a uniform-ish size so that everything cooks at the same rate. While any combination of veggies and greens will work, I try to follow this simple formula:

2 cups greens (kale, spinach, collard greens, cabbage)

4 cups other veg in at least two different colors (broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, green beans, peas, zucchini or yellow squash).

1 cup cilantro (If you are in possession of the wonky cilantro gene, please know that I am mourning deeply for your loss. Cilantro is life.)

When you test the mung dal and find it tender, stir these diced veggies into your pot. Do the phyto-nutrient dance, and give it a stir. Rinse your rice and add it to the pot. Add 1tsp of salt (knowing you'll likely need more), and stir everything well. Replace lid and cook another 10-15 minutes, until rice and veg are tender.

Grab a big bowl and serve it up! Add more salt to taste and enjoy.

Karen's Easy Morning Oats

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats

  • 1-1/2 cups water

  • 1/4 cup raisins or goji or longan berries

  • 1 cup diced fresh fruit (apple, pear, peach)

  • Pinch of salt

Optional, but highly recommended spices (these aid digestion):

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom powder

  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger powder

Place oats, fruit, water, and salt in pot and bring to a boil. Stir and cook 10-15 minutes until oats are tender. Add spices and cook another minutes. Enjoy.


Your local grocery may not have mung dal, but your local health food store might. If not, it can be ordered online. The same goes for the spices. Here are a couple of places to shop.

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