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Apr 2013

Springtime Cleanse to Clear Toxins and Hit your Reset Button

Seasonal Food | Detox Diet | Ayurveda | Kitchari | KitchadiThis week I’m taking my own advice and slowing down a {tiny} bit to restore, rest, and respect the seasonal shift from Winter to Spring.

 

Though the actual equinox since passed, the weather has finally shifted from cool to warm for us here in Central Florida, making this week the ideal time to hit the inner reset button.  

I draw my seasonal cleanses from the wisdom of Ayurveda, the ancient system of well-being from which yoga evolved. 

Like most common sense wisdom traditions, Ayurveda recommends cleansing {‘detoxing’} by eating light, seasonal foods, reducing  your intake of processed foods and animal products, and limiting your intake of other substances {caffeine, sugar, alchohol}.

Let me be clear, though, a cleanse is a designated time to let your body recharge. Think of it like a vacation rather than a punishment. Adjust the length of your cleanse to accommodate your life: try to work less and create more time for restive practices like meditation, conscious breathing,reflection, and yin yoga. 

Unlike harsh fasts or detox diets, during a seasonal cleanse, you eat a simple meal of Kitchari, a bean and grain dish cooked with spices and seasonal vegetables. And whenever possible, you cleanse at the change of the seasons, allowing your body to release any energetic excesses from the previous season. Although there are 4 seasons, Ayurveda frames these transitions in terms of the three doshas {similar to the Greek humors} that govern the seasons.

Kapha :: a combination of WATER + EARTH :: governs Winter + Spring

Pitta :: a combination of FIRE + WATER :: governs Summer

Vata :: a combination of AIR + ETHER :: governs Fall

As the human body is also a combination of the 5 elements, the 3 doshas are present in each of us in a unique ratio, called our prakriti {or constitution}. Regardless of our prakriti, however, we cleanse the dosha from the previous season during our seasonal cleanses.  As we are leaving Winter and coming into Spring, we will cleanse Kapha. What this means from a ‘food’ or dietary perspective is eating light meals with pungent, bitter, and astringent vegetables: broccoli, asparagus, ginger, garlic, onions, dark greens.  For the Springtime cleanse, you can prepare the Kitchari below, adding in warming spices such as cinnamon, clove, ginger, chili pepper, turmeric, and cardamom.

BASIC KITCHARI:

INGREDIENTS
1 cup basmati rice
1/2 cup mung dal {split mung beans} OR red lentils OR split peas
1/2 tbsp ghee or sesame oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds {increase Pitta but helps digestion}
1/4 tsp hing
1/2 inch ginger, finely chopped {good for calming Vata and Kapha but can aggravate Pitta: avoid this in the summer}
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red chili powder {helpful for stimulating Kapha but can aggravate Pitta}
4-6 cups water*

*6 cups water makes a porridge-like consistency

 

DIRECTIONS
Combine rice and dal together in large mixing bowl and rinse several times under running water: drain. Alternately, rinse dal first then combine with rice.

Warm ghee over medium heat in a medium saucepan. When warmed, add your seeds and spices stirring continually until seeds pop. Then add chopped ginger, any other whole spices, and onion {if using}, sauté 30 seconds.

Add reserved rice and dal, turmeric, salt and chili powder. Mix in gently.

Add water and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Cover saucepan, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer undisturbed until tender, about 30 minutes {If you’re adding vegetables, add them at this step then cook for an additional 15 minutes}.

Remove from heat and fluff with a fork before serving.

Enjoy hot.

 

For a more specific WINTER/SPRING KICHARI, take liberties with the following options::

KICHARI FOR CLEARING KAPHA :: 

GRAIN: use quinoa or barley

BEAN: mung dal OR split peas OR red lentils

SPICES: turmeric, cinnamon, clove, cumin, fenugreek, burdock root, fresh garlic, fresh ginger root

OIL: sunflower oil.

VEGGIES: onion, parsnip, fresh grated radishes, beets, asparagus, beet greens, dandelion greens, fresh chili peppers, cabbage or broccoli.

If you’d like to join me in this Springtime Kapha Cleanse, please do! Reserve 1-3 days for your restive cleanse, drink plenty of herbal teas, cut out caffeine, processed foods, dairy, and other substances. 

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