Reset Digestion, Lose Weight & Clear Skin in 3 Days with Kitchari

Reset Digestion, Lose Weight & Clear Skin in 3 Days with Kitchari

by Andrea Pacini December 06, 2020

We celebrated Thanksgiving, my stepson’s birthday and my daughter’s birthday all within one week and I found myself on the slippery slope of having heavy meals, pie, cookies or cake four days in a row. As a result, my skin broke out, I felt and looked swollen and bloated, my digestion was all over the place and I wasn’t sleeping very well.

My nutrition always takes a major hit between Thanksgiving and New Year’s – does yours?

I felt like I needed to get back on track so I didn’t lose the entire month of December to self-loathing and misery so I did a 3-day kitchari cleanse. I will forever be grateful to my amazing friend and Ayurvedic counselor Meri Consor for introducing me to this delicious and nutritious dish!

What is kitchari exactly?

Kitchari is a blend of basmati rice, split mung beans, ghee (clarified butter) and delicious spices that help support digestion and healing - it’s considered the “chicken soup” of Ayurvedic cuisine. It is a mono-fast, meaning you eat the same thing every day for every meal, which allows the digestive system to rest and reset. 

It’s the easiest cleanse I’ve ever done - 3 days of rice and beans is a treat! The mono-fast practice reduces digestive stress and inflammation and boosts immunity by allowing the body to heal on a cellular level and thus function more efficiently. One of the more subtle benefits is that it takes the stress and emotional angst out of what to eat every day. I make my kitchari in a pot every morning and my meals are set for the entire day – it doesn’t get much easier than that! You can add variations of spices, herbs and vegetables to the basic kitchari recipe if three days of the same meal is too monotonous. I will admit that I’m a bit over it by Day 3, but it’s so delicious and effective that the benefits far outweigh the monotony in my opinion. 

 Benefits include:

  • weight loss
  • improved digestion
  • plumper, more radiant skin
  • better sleep with more vivid dreams
  • increased mental clarity and productivity
  • improved energy and mood
  • overall feeling of wellness, peace and contentment.

Basic kitchari recipe courtesy of my Aryuvedic Counselor Meri Consor of Sunveda Wellness: (The recipe can be customized and tweaked with veggies and spices based on your preferences, the season and your dosha type.)

  • 1 cup basmati rice – washed and soaked 3 hours to overnight
  • ½ cup yellow split mung dal – washed and soaked 3 hours to overnight 1 T Kitchari Spice mix
  • 2 T ghee or sesame oil 6 cups water
  • 1-2 cups of chopped vegetables (optional)
  • Cilantro or cilantro chutney (optional)
  • Lemon or lime wedges (optional)
  • Sesame seed chutney (optional)

 *makes meals for one day

                                  My go-to kitchari ingredients

Stovetop method:

  1. Drain the rice and
  2. In a medium-to-large saucepan warm the ghee on medium high and then add the spices and saute until fragrant for 1-2 minutes
  3. Add the rice and dal to the pot and saute for another 1 minute
  4. Add water and bring to a boil
  5. Reduce heat to medium low; cover and cook until tender (30-45 min)
  6. Add vegetables halfway through; leafy greens should be added at the end
  7. Garnish with fresh cilantro, lemon or lime and salt

 

I like to stir the rice & bean mixture until every grain is lightly coated

I use chopped yellow squash, zucchini, carrots and usually green beans and onions as well

I like my kitchari to have a denser consistency like a rice and beans dish rather than a soup so I let it simmer a bit longer to allow for more water absorption.  I've also noticed that cooking times vary depending on what stove and what pot I’m using. One of my pots only takes 12 minutes to cook fully while another takes 20. Check yours often the first go round to avoid burning.

I season with onion powder, pepper and top with Everything But the Bagel!

For a kitchari cleanse, ideally I've given up meat, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, wheat and sugar for 3 days prior to beginning the active cleanse. After the 3-day active cleanse is over, it's also recommended to ease back into eating "normally" and be mindful not to shock or over-activate the system by reintroducing inflammatory and toxic foods back at 100% right away. 

Meri also recommends doing a one-day kitchari cleanse every week to help support strong digestion and metabolism. 

Have you done a kitchari cleanse before? If so, what's your go-go recipe?




Andrea Pacini
Andrea Pacini

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