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.
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.