Hello! Recently, workshop participants asked me for information about good cleansing foods. I thought I'd write more about the topic and include a recipe (below) for kitchari. Kitchari is a stew of grains, lentils, vegetables, and spices.

A cleansing diet in spring is a good idea. We need to move things along in our body that may have accumulated over the colder months. If we don't, we may aggravate the Kapha dosha, our digestion may be sluggish and we may lack that get up and go that we'll need when the warmer, more active season is here. It's simple. Just emphasize certain foods in your diet to promote detoxification and reduce or avoid ones that are processed, pre-prepared and harder to digest. Focus on fresh organic and seasonal produce whenever possible. I've adapted a list of recommendations from my favorite Ayurvedic nutritionist at Kripalu: Danny Arguetty. He has a great site called Nourish Your Light.

Choose 1-3 components for a certain amount of time that's feasible for you:
- drink warm or room temperature water with lemon in the morning
- drink lots of pure water every day
- have fresh juice from fruits or vegetables every morning
- eat greens every day; try a green smoothie
- eat more alkaline foods
- avoid acidic foods (tomatoes, peppers, coffee, alcohol)
- avoid white, refined sugar and flour products
- avoid dairy products
- avoid animal products

Choose 1-2 activities to do in your spare time:
- do 15-30 minutes of contemplative practice (yoga, meditation, chanting, etc.)
- 30 minute walks/bike/run in nature/outdoors
- rest with legs up the wall
- purify energy channels with alternate nostril breathing
- stimulate prana and digestion with skull-shining breath (kapalabhati)
- read an inspiring book about a new interest or hobbie
- write in a journal
- draw/collage/poetry

You can also enjoy kitchari throughout your cleanse. It's cleansing to the system because it's so easy to digest while being nourishing as well. Make a fresh batch every day and have it for lunch and dinner. Vary the vegetables to keep it interesting for you. Add some home-made vegetable stock to your dinner portion to make a soup if you'd prefer that.

Here's a recipe (I got this from a teacher at Kanyakumari) for a rice-cooker, which is super convenient and can keep food warm. To make on the stove simply use at least 1/2 cup or more water or stock. The consistency will vary depending on how much water and what vegetables you use. I've offered some options below. If you soak the grains and beans together over night or a few hours before hand it will make them even easier to digest and quicker to cook. You can find organic mung beans at health food stores.

Rice Cooker Kitchari
Serves 1-2
1/4 c. mung beans (whole green, yellow spit) or  red lentils
1/4 c. basmati rice (or a combo of basmati, quinoa, or barley for a lighter mix)
1 1/4 c. water or vegetable stock (preferably home-made)
1 carrot, sliced (or 1 small daikon or turnip)
1 small zucchini or yellow squash, sliced and chopped (or asparagus)
2-3 large kale leaves (or equal amount of spinach, mustard, collard greens)
1 thin slice of ginger, chopped fine
1/4 tsp. salt (optional)
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. CCF seeds (equal mix of cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds; lightly pan roasted)
1/2 - 1 tsp. ghee (clarified butter), olive oil, or sunflower oil
1-2 lime wedges
Fresh coriander leaves (cilantro), coarsely chopped

1. Soak beans and grains in fresh water over night or at least 2-3 hours before preparing (optional). Strain beans and grains and rinse until water is clear.
2. Put everything except ghee, lime, and cilantro in the rice cooker or pot and cook until tender and desired consistency is reached.
3. Adjust seasoning, add ghee or oil and serve warm. Top with chopped cilantro and a good squeeze of lime.

Tips: Enjoy in a comfortable, quiet setting. Observe silence if you can. Rest afterward for a few minutes to let food settle.

Please email me if you'd like help with tailoring this recipe to your doshic constitution. You can also sign up for my Ayurvedic cooking class on Sunday, May 1st at Kanyakumari to see how it's made and find out how tasty it is. See the description on my workshops page. Happy cooking and cleansing!

Namaste.
Heather