Health is order. Disease is disorder.
Disease and disorder happens when we are living out of balance with our true nature and environment.
In eastern medicine such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine it is believed that all disease originates in the gut/digestive system. Issues with digestion such as constipation, bloating, or diarrhea is a symptom that something is out of balance.
Maintaining a strong digestive fire is not just about what you eat, but how you eat it.
It's not just about food either.
Undigested thoughts and emotions and accumulated stress can greatly impact the strength of one's digestive fire.
For tips on maintaining a strong digestive fire read my post A Zen Approach to Healthy & Mindful Eating.
When your digestive system may be a bit of of whack nourish the digestive fire with warm hearty and healing Kitchari.
Please no juice cleanses if you're having digestive issues. Too much cold, raw foods can impair digestion further. Feed the fire with foods that are warm/hot, freshly prepared, and easy to digest.
Kitchari is a balanced meal that helps bring balance to the body and mind. It consists of mung beans which are high in fiber and protein and basmati or brown rice, rich in complex carbohydrates. The spices cooked in ghee or coconut oil assist digestion, provide healing and nutritive properties, enhance flavor, and balances all individual constitutions.
If you are having digestive issues you can try a kitchari cleanse as a mono diet, eating kitchari for breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with steamed or sautéed greens and/or vegetables and plenty of water and herbal teas in between meals.
Balancing Kitchari Recipe
1 cup yellow mung dal
1 cup basmati rice
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped fine
2 tablespoons shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 small handful fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons ghee
2 pinches of asafetida or "hing" (this herb is used in Indian cooking to help with digestibility of legumes)
1.5 inch piece of cinnamon bark
5 whole cardamom pods
5 whole cloves
10 black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp salt
6 cups of water
Wash the mung dal and rice until water is clear. Soaking the dal for a few hours helps with digestibility.
In a blender, put the ginger, coconut, cilantro, and 1/2 cup water and blend until liquefied.
Heat a large saucepan on medium heat and add the ghee, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, peppercorns, bay leaves. Stir for a moment until fragrant. Add the blended items to the spices, then the turmeric, salt, and asafetida. Stir until lightly browned.
Stir in the mung dal and rice and mix very well.
Pour in the 6 cups of water, cover and bring to a boil. Let boil for 5 minutes, then turn down the heat to very low and cook, lightly covered, until the dal and rice are soft, about 25-30 minutes.
Plate and garnish with cilantro leaves and/or fresh squeezed lemon if desired.