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It has been a crazy couple of years, and we all are yearning for a sense of normalcy. In the New Year, it’s normal to want to reset from the indulgences of the holidays and the past year. Maybe you are thinking about doing a dry January just to reset from all the celebrations or just to take a break from alcohol for a while.  Maybe you are just looking to start fresh by eating better. Maybe you’re committing to improving your health by exercising regularly.

For those looking to reset their nutrition, there is a food gut reset or cleanse that you can do and it has been done for many years in Ayurvedic medicine.  It doesn’t involve fasting and it is helpful in removing toxins from the body.  The food used to reset is called Kicharee.  It can be eaten for 2-3 meals over the course of at least 3 days.  It’s a mixture of mung dal (split mung beans) and white basmati rice over greens.  It is recommended that you eat it for all three meals for 3 consecutive days.  The toppings that are used with it are based on your constitution or dosha.

What is a dosha?  If you don’t know your dosha, you can take the quiz at this link: https://chopra.com/dosha-quiz

Your dosha can help manage things that may be in excess in your body.  In Ayurvedic medicine, getting things back into balance can help to improve your overall health and well-being.  Agni in Ayurvedic medicine is considered the golden key to health.  When Agni is good, it means that proper digestion, assimilation, and absorption is taking place in the gut. Weak or imbalanced Agni means malabsorption and the accumulation of ama or toxins.  The protein content in Kicharee helps to maintain blood sugar and improve mental clarity through the gut/brain connection.  White rice is the starch of choice because it is often more easily digested for most people.  Legumes tend to be difficult for many people to digest, but lentils and mung beans are often easier to digest.  Spices like ginger, cumin, coriander, fennel, and even salt help to create Agni.  Because kicharee is made with spices that can be tailored to your constitution, it nourishes and balances Agni.

Regardless of the dosha, Kicharee helps to balance the gut, and thus the individual, by assisting in the breakdown of amino acids, the stabilization of blood sugar, and the introduction of spices to manage intestinal permeability—that is, managing how well your intestines absorb nutrients.  It’s important to eat these foods together and with the appropriate combination of spices so that the proteins break down appropriately with the meal.

Kicharee Recipe Instructions

1:1 ration of mung beans to white basmati rice

1-2 inches of fresh ginger root

1 onion, red and chopped

Cloves of garlic – to preference or can omit for excessive data

spices to taste: start with 1/2 tsp and increase as needed

            cinnamon sticks

            coriander powder

            turmeric

            fennel seeds

            whole cumin seeds – Indian not Spanish

            black mustard seeds

            pinch of asafetida

Directions:

1.  Heat the oil in a cast-iron pan.  Temper the following spices

            whole cumin seeds

            asafoetida

            fennel seeds

            black mustard seeds

2.  Roast the onion and the ginger mixture in a cast iron pan until brown

3.  Add turmeric and continue to roast for 2-3 minutes

4.  Add water to deglaze the pan

5.  Blend or crush the garlic and add to the onion mixture

6.  Add the onion/spice mixture to the mung beans and rice.  Let the kicharee simmer for 30 minutes.  Add hot water to adjust the consistency.

7. Garnish with the following:

            chili peppers (dampens vata and kapha)

            spicy raw onion chutney (dampens vata and kapha)

            chopped cilantro (dampens pitta)

            raita (balances vata and pitta; increased kapha)

            lemon slices (balances all three doshas)

            sea/black salt (balances kapha and vata)

            seaweed (increases kapha and reduces vata and pitta)

            baby kale (dampens Pitta and Kapha)

            arugula, (dampens pitta)

            spinach (dampens pitta)

            ***cooking greens can help balance vata)

            ***kapha all spices are appropriate

            ***vata avoid pungent or cayenne

            ***pitta fennel and coriander – cooler spices are best

If you didn’t take the dosha test, you can still benefit from a Kicharee cleanse.  If you have a minute, it might be good for you to take the quiz to help you understand a little more about yourself.  Ayurvedic medicine has been in use for thousands of years and dosha information can also be a predictor of health issues and disease patterns.  By understanding your dosha, you can utilize the best garnish for yourself and it may also give you some insight into your own personal food tolerances and intolerances.

As always, we have one added disclaimer with the informational value of our posts.  If you have issues with any of the foods listed here, it is important to discuss the appropriateness of kicharee with your doctor.

Written by Stephanie Muntzer, MPT, PYT, RYT200, CPI, SFMA, FMSc

References:

https://chopra.com/dosha-quiz

https://goop.com/food/recipes/ayurveda-how-to-eat-for-your-dosha/

halepule.com. Simple Ayurvedic Recipe: Eat Your Greens. Myra Lewin, October 11, 2017.

Garner, Ginger.  2017.  Manual for Professional Yoga Therapy.  Level III course

1 Comment

  • Viviana Hicks
    Posted December 9, 2022 at 2:15 pm

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