According to Ayurveda, there are specific times during the year when recalibrating our systems is essential. The time for cleansing is at the Ritu Sandhi or the 2 week or so juncture between the seasons.
This cleanse routine isn’t meant to be a method for losing weight (necessarily) and it certainly isn’t designed to deprive you of nourishment. On the contrary, Ayurvedic cleanses support and nourish your digestion so that you can reestablish your sleep habits, elimination, energy levels and, ultimately, restore your overall well-being.
How does a seasonal cleanse re-balance our systems?
By the end of summer our bodies have accumulated an excess of heat and are accustom to eating only light, juicy and cooling foods. With the fall season just around the corner, we will switch to chilly, windy and dryer months. Following the cues from nature, we should also switch our habits to eating warm, heavy and more unctuous foods. But, in order to make the transition smoothly, we need to prepare our digestive system with a rebalancing cleanse.
The prime component of a rejuvenating cleanse is Kitchari. This is a simple bean and rice dish supplemented with specific spices and sautéed vegetables. The entire system, body, mind and spirit benefit from the natural purification components that Kichari provides.
How I prepare Kitchari
Traditional kitchari is made with mung beans and basmati rice. The extra spices and vegetables you add depend on what your constitution or dosha is – Vata, Pitta or Kapha. The tendency is for the Vata or Pitta constitutions to move out of balance. The Kapha is the most stabilizing of the doshas but that too can get unbalanced – yet the list of imbalances is much less. If you would like to understand these doshas more fully – just click on the highlighted terms to see my previous posts.
The main spices to use in the Kitchari are ones that balance all three doshas: coriander, cumin and fennel sautéed in ghee (clarified butter). My tendency is to go toward the Vata dosha, so I also incorporate some warming spices in my Kitchari like mustard seed, dried ginger and turmeric. Certain vegetables also have qualities more suited for specific doshas but you can’t go wrong with squashes, sweet potatoes and green beans.
How I do the Cleanse
My typical cleanse is 5-7 days and I usually prepare the Kitchari at lunch time and add a chutney or sliced avocado to the dinner portion. Ayurveda frowns on leftovers as the storage and reheating process tend to decrease the nutritional value of the food.
For breakfast, I will make oatmeal and add cooked apples or pears spiced with cinnamon. In between meals, I drink herbal teas, water and may also have an apple with honey or some vegetable broth if I feel hungry.
I try to lay low and reduce my schedule; avoiding any situation that can be stressful during this time. Daily gentle yoga or walking is my preferred exercise for the week.
So, there you have it! A nice summary of a food-based Ayurvedic Cleanse.
I am happy to be sharing my love of Ayurveda with you! There are many more concepts that I hope to include in future posts.
Namasté, Kim. 🕉🌱