What is a kitchari cleanse?
This might be a controversial opinion but I'm not a fan of Ayurvedic cleanses in the way they are marketed in the west.
I've studied Ayurveda with numerous teachers in my trainings and they all have slightly different takes on Ayurveda which is wonderful but can be confusing. Especially if you're first learning about Ayurveda. One Ayurvedic practice I've changed my mind on throughout the years is an Ayurvedic cleanse. Especially in the way we are taught to do it in the west. My main 3 teachers who originated in India (where Ayurveda originated 5000 years ago) have in recent years been a bit more vocal about the need to shift the way we look at doing cleanses here as they are not recommended for everyone.
What is the mainstream Ayurvedic cleanse recommended by most?
A kitchari cleanse. Kitchari consists of mung dal beans, 2 cups of cooked seasonal veggies, basmati rice and a combination of spices. The problem with kitchari (khichdi in sanskrit) is it's hard to digest for most people, especially if you didn't grow up eating kitchari. The other problem is, it's not recommend for a vata dosha imbalance which many people are experiencing right now. A vata imbalance can look like- anxiety, scatteredness, and fight or flight tendencies. Ayurvedic kitchari cleanses are actually not in the 3 major Ayurvedic classical texts. So they are unsure of where the origins started and how it has become so popular here in the west.
If you really want to do a cleanse Ayurveda recommends a panchakarma cleanse. Which typically involves going to a treatment center for 1-6 weeks under the care of an Ayurvedic doctor who will prescribe your specific cleanse based on your pulse, and tongue analysis. In case you're interested here is where you can find panchakarma centers in the US. I personally have never done a panchakarma treatment but do have my eye on the center in Iowa which is the closest one to me, here in Minnesota.
What could you do at home instead?
My traditional teachers suggest rice gruel if you want to do a cleanse. Which is basically watered down rice. To myself that doesn't sound super appetizing but if you are sick is a great meal to enjoy to help keep agni (digestive fires) high.
Another style of cleanse
If you want to do a cleanse I suggest doing a technology cleanse or pratyahara cleanse (reduction of the 5 senses). Take a week off social media, tv, being on the computer or other electronic devices after you finish your work. Eliminate coffee, alcohol, processed foods, sugar for a week instead. Practice 5 minutes of (manda) stillness in the evening doing nothing. No meditation, no reading, no listening to music just being in stillness. If you're looking for more stillness practices check out this blog post out about syncing into the stillness.
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