Compassionate Cleansing

I've noticed a good number of our community have embarked on a dietary cleanse to start 2016. I have seen stories about Blueprint, Whole30, JuicePlus and even the Lemonade "diet". Most folks have really enjoyed the freedom they discovered on the other end of their chosen cleanse.

I, too, see value in giving my digestive system a break. Our bodies are the vehicle through which we experience the world. Just as our computers are vehicles for virtual connection. Our cars are vehicles for transport. Each of these vehicles needs regular maintenance and sometimes we just need to shut it down and reboot. 

This year, I have rededicated myself to the practice of a small break (aka my system reboot) at the start of each season. Most of you know, the foodie in me truly enjoys...well, food. I love flavor and textures and chewing, let's not forget chewing. So during my breaks, rather than go cold turkey (haha) or deprive myself of the small pleasure of chewing, I actually go on a mono diet. A mono diet is when you eat just one food for a period of time. I suggest selecting the most nourishing food you can imagine.

I have taken a page from the ancient healing practices of Ayurveda and I eat a dish called kitchari. Although I am primarily pitta (you can tots look that up), the recipe I am sharing is tridoshic...meaning that it's healthful for all body types according to Ayurvedic principles. I have adapted this recipe from the book, 'Ayurvedic Cooking for Self Healing' by Usha Lad and Dr. Vasant Lad. It's an oldy, but goody from my cookbook library...but I encourage you to find resources that resonate with you. In fact, I'm working my way through a new addition to my library called Eat. Taste. Heal. An Ayurvedic Cookbook for Modern Living by Thomas Yarema.

Anyhoo, back to our recipe, the main change I have made is to utilize ground spices rather than trying to grind whole spices myself. The items that are typically whole spices and either ground or removed prior to eating have an asterisk next to them. This makes about 3 -5 cereal bowl sized servings...I think of it as a day of food for one person. Eat Kitchari for your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks; drink plenty of water. Your guts will thank you.

Mung Dal Kitchari

1/2 cup yellow mung dal (sometimes moong dal; it's a type of lentil and can often be found in the "international aisle" of your preferred grocery store)

1/2 cup basmati rice

2 tbl fresh minced ginger

3 tbl shredded, unsweetened coconut

1 small handful of fresh cilantro (I have used ground coriander when fresh cilantro wasn't available...use 1 tbl)

1/2 cup of water

3 tbl ghee (this is clarified butter and like the dal can often be found in the "international aisle" of your preferred grocery store)

1 tbl cinnamon*

2 tsp ground cardamom*

1 tsp ground cloves*

1 tsp course ground black pepper*

3 bay leaves

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp salt

2 cups of water (you can add up to 4 cups of water if you prefer a soupier consistency)

Rinse the mung dal and rice with cold water. Set aside. In a processor, blend the ginger, coconut, cilantro and 1/2 cup of water to create a loose paste. Heat a large saucepan on medium heat and add the ghee, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and black pepper. Stir to combine. Add the blended paste, then the turmeric and the salt. Stir until lightly browned. Stir in the mung dal and rice. Pour in the 2 cups of water. Toss the bay leaves in and cover. Bring to a boil. Let it boil for 5 minutes, then turn down the heat to simmer, covered lightly, until the dal and rice are tender. Approximately 15 minutes.