Benefits of Khichadi For Cleansing

Benefits of Khichadi For Cleansing

Khichadi (or Khitchari, or various other spellings you’ll see for either choice) is pronounced kich’-uh’dee or kich’-uh-ree.  The spelling with the “d” comes from the Sanskrit pronunciation of “r” (gently tapping the tongue).  Khichadi is a traditional Indian dish which is often the first solid food babies are given, because it’s nourishing, soft, easy to digest, and tasty.  It’s also often given to the elderly or sick, for the same reasons.  In Ayurveda, it’s eaten during cleansing, and is thought to encourage spiritual growth.  It’s a regular part of the Indian diet and also considered a comfort food in India.

Khichadi can be made a variety of ways, depending on the purpose.  The basic ingredients of kitchadi are rice and beans.  Rice and beans together create a “perfect protein” combination.  Our bodies can create 10 of the 20 proteins we need for great health.  The others are called “essential amino acids”, and we get these through the foods we eat.  Animal proteins have all 10 essential amino acids, but plants must be combined to be “complete proteins”.  Rice and beans work together, each providing what the other cannot, to create a “complete protein”.  For example, rice lacks lysine, and beans are a good source of lysine.  Beans lack methionine, tryptophan, and cystine, and rice provides these to balance out the meal.

When cleansing

For cleansing, white basmati rice and yellow split mung beans are used.  White Basmati rice doesn’t have the hull (as brown rice has) which makes it especially easy to digest during a cleanse, when metabolism tends to slow down and digestion is crucial.  Split yellow mung beans (“mung dahl”) balance Vata dosha (air and space) which makes them the best beans for avoiding gas.  In addition, the hulls fall off when they are split, making them especially easy to digest.

During a cleanse it’s crucial to get enough protein.  Otherwise, blood sugar becomes unstable, causing headaches, hunger, weakness, and irritability.  It becomes hard to stay on the cleanse, and the cleanse can feel uncomfortable and even stressful.  There’s no need for these symptoms on a cleanse; remember, if you’re uncomfortable physically or emotionally, you’re not truly practicing Ayurveda.

Cleansing Khichadi Heals The Gut

Eating a mono-diet of khichadi during a cleanse not only provides enough protein, but also helps heal the gut.  It gives our digestion a chance to rest.  We allow our intestinal walls to heal.  Because we are comfortable, satisfied, energized, and content, we produce seratonin (95% of which originates in the gut) and therefore continue to feel at ease throughout the cleanse.

By “mono-diet” I mean that khichadi is eaten for every meal during the main week of the cleanse–however, each serving can have variety depending on the spices used each time it’s prepared. It doesn’t always look or taste the same.

Cleansing Khichadi Recipe*

Ingredients (single serving)

1/3c white Basmati rice

2/3c Mung Dahl (beans)

Filtered water to cover (if needed, add more as it boils to keep it soupy)

1 T ghee

1 tsp each: cumin, turmeric, ginger root, crushed mustard seed (depending on your dosha)

1.  Soak beans overnight.  

2.  Add them and rice to filtered water.  

3.  Bring to boil then lower temperature and allow the pot to simmer.  

If using mustard seed, saute it in ghee until it pops, then add remaining spices and stir to make a paste.  Otherwise, just saute spices in ghee to make paste.  Add paste to boiling mixture.  

For cleansing, mixture should be soupy when eaten.

Everyday (literally!) Khichadi

On a day-to-day basis, for those with very strong digestion and no “ama” (undigested matter), brown rice is fine, as are buckwheat groats, or even amaranth.  Green whole mung beans, once they are soaked overnight, can also be used when digestion and metabolism are not immediate concerns. For variety, yellow split peas or Chana Dahl can also be substituted for Mung Dahl.

Varying the vegetables and spices is one way to keep khichadi interesting (I eat it almost every day for lunch).

Some veggies are lighter and more cleansing than others.  Among the best for khichadi are the following: cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, artichokes, asparagus, celery, bok choy, green beans, garlic, green peas, okra, kale, and watercress.  Combinations are better than just one veggie.

More ideas for spices that enhance digestion include cilantro, curry powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom (depending on your dosha).

You might also experiment by adding nuts, such as cashews (Vata), almonds (Vata or Pitta), walnuts (Vata), and pine nuts (Vata).  You can also experiment by adding raw sesame seeds (Vata), pumpkin seeds (Vata or Kapha), or sunflower seeds (Tridoshic).  Buy unsalted seeds and nuts for khichadi.

Everyday Khichadi Recipe

Make steps 1-3 as above.  Then, add spices and ghee directly to simmering mixture.  

Chop 1c veggies from those listed above and add them to simmering mixture shortly before the water absorbs.  (if you use carrots, put them in during boiling phase).  Cook briefly; just long enough for veggies to begin to soften.

Add a handful of seeds and/or nuts that are good for your dosha.  Remove from heat when water has fully absorbed, and enjoy! 

*Since you received your Body Constitution Analysis (aka Dosha Quiz) when you signed up for this newsletter, I’m assuming you know your dosha.

Next Step:

Introduce yourself to everyday khichadi, adding a combination of the veggies, nuts, and seeds you like best.  Enjoy!

And consider joining me for the Ayurvedic-based spring cleanse which will begin on the New Moon that follows the vernal equinox (the traditional start-date for the spring cleanse).

Email for more information.

Omnivore, Vegetarian, Vegan–Which Is Best For You?


An Ayurvedic Perspective

According to Ayurveda, everything in the universe has one of three gunas (qualities), known as satvic, rajistic, and tamasic.  Satvic means “pure”, balanced.  Rajistic is energetic, active.  Tamasic is dark, inert. People exhibit gunas: we may be enthusiastic about an idea (satvic), but begin to obsessively strive toward the goal (rajistic), and then we may become exhausted and lethargic due to burnout (tamasic).  The gunas in foods change as well; the ripening apple is rajistic, the perfectly ripe apple is satvic, and not long after it becomes overripe (tamasic).

Balance is a dance that is always in motion, tipping out of balance one way, returning, and then tipping another way.

Satvic Foods

Satvic foods are freshly prepared, light, soothing, and easy to digest. They include fresh fruit, land and sea vegetables, pure fruit juices, nut and seed milk and cheese, legumes, nuts, seeds, sprouted seeds and grains, honey, and herb teas. Read more: Omnivore, Vegetarian, Vegan–Which Is Best For You?

Willful Resolutions or Joyful Sankalpa?

Bhujangasana--Cobra Pose

Willful Resolutions Or Joyful Sankalpa?

This is the time of year when many of us review the past year and preview the coming year.  Sometimes we see habits that didn’t benefit us in the previous year, and we resolve to improve those habits in the new year. We are sure our willpower can make it happen.

Most New Year Resolutions last a month or two at most.

For many years, I was a consistent, 4-times-a-week gym member. As January approached, I always mentally geared up for the sudden crowds as the gym became swollen with new members keeping their “get fit” New Year Resolutions.  It was a minor inconvenience, really–waiting for a machine or signing up for a turn on the aerobic equipment.  The inconvenience was short-lived; by February the crowds started to thin out and by March, the gym had returned to “normal”.

Haven’t we all set resolutions, only to see them dissolve within a month or two? I think it’s because even the word “resolution” has a sort of striving, clenching, gritting-the-teeth feel to it. Read more: Willful Resolutions or Joyful Sankalpa?

Ayurvedic Strategies For Holiday Balance


Holiday Balance

“Holiday Balance”. If those two words sound like an oxymoron to you, read on.  Many of us feel tremendous pressure during this time of year.  We want to enjoy the events and our loved ones, but it can be challenging.  We try to ignore the ads and the media; our culture pushes us to be more and do more–and be and do it all perfectly.

Let it go.  Health and contentment are more important.

Stress Comes From Overload

When you’re carrying too heavy a physical load, your muscles become stressed.  When you’re carrying too heavy an emotional burden, your heart becomes stressed.  When you’re squeezing too much into your schedule, your body, mind, and spirit will feel the stress.  Stress = Overload. Read more: Ayurvedic Strategies For Holiday Balance

Antidote For Depression: Gratitude

Antidote For Depression 



Ayurveda says that depression is part of a kapha dosha imbalance.  Kapha dosha tends to be heavy, dull and slow-moving, so when Kapha becomes out of balance, we exhibit an overload of these qualities.

Focusing on problems, becoming discouraged, and losing hope are behaviors we present when we are depressed. These behaviors may also perpetuate and deepen the depression.  The key word is “behaviors”; if we can (unconsciously) behave our way into sadness, we can (consciously) behave our way into happiness as well.

Practicing gratitude is one strategic behavior that can counteract depressed behaviors; it can get us moving, lighten our hearts, reconnect us with others, and reignite our hope.Read more: Antidote For Depression: Gratitude