Ayurveda: Kitchari

kitchari 2

In my last post I went through a little bit of what Ayurveda is and why it is important to me! Before continuing to read this blog, please go back and take a look at my post Ayurveda, if you haven’t already!

This post will be about an Ayurvedic dish called Kitchari, its benefits and a how-to-cook!

Kitchari is a dish made with basmati rice and split yellow mung dal beans used in Ayurveda to help cleanse the digestive system because Ayurveda holds the belief that over all physical & mental health starts with a healthy gut! The rice and beans together make a very easy to digest meal and the combined use of many spices gives it a flavour like most Indian food (aka delicious)! This dish can be used as simply a part of a balanced diet or you can use it to cleanse; eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner for 2-5 days. I figure that any cleanse where you’re actually allowed to eat something is pretty awesome and honestly a lot healthier than the ones where you pretty much starve yourself.

A couple reasons why eating Kitchari for breakfast, lunch & dinner is so great for our health:

  • By eating a meal that is so simple and easy for the body to digest we give our organs a much needed break. I mean think about it! Our digestive systems works pretty damn hard digesting 3 different meals a day, plus snacks and whatever else. And everyday we eat something different than the day before! So by eating Kitchari for every meal even just for a few days, it is like sending out digestive system on vacation, & everyone likes vacation time!
  • It is so so easy to make & lets be honest, sometimes we need a mental break from the kitchen as well.
  • The split mung dal beans are high in protein and the combination of the bean and rice provides us with the 10 essential amino acids. And because we are receiving enough protein our blood sugar stays stable and therefore we can remain in a good mood!
  • Because our bodies are not being strained by low blood sugar and its side effects, the body can focus on eliminating toxins and burning fat. Kitchari is also excellent for de-aging of our cells!
  • When the body becomes stressed (for example from low blood sugar caused by strenuous cleansing) it will automatically start to store fat as a survival mechanism. And I am pretty sure that is the opposite of what most people want as they start to cleanse…fat storage. By making life easy on the body (by nourishing it with an easy to digest, well balanced meal) the body is instead able to burn fat! Now that’s better!
  • Kitchari not only cleanses the digestive system but can also heal any damage we have caused to out intestines from lack of a proper diet and stress.
  • It is said that when the metabolism is working to its best and the intestines are healthy it becomes easier to reach a state of deep peace. Therefor Kitchari is also great for spirituality.

And if that wasn’t enough to convince you…Kitchari is a one pot, no mess kind of meal! This is the recipe from my second pot and it was damn good! I added a few things and took some things out. Honestly you can customize this dish pretty much to your liking!

You’ll need

  • 1.5 cups split yellow mung dal beans (washed). You can find these in your local Indian or Asian grocery store.
  • 1-cup white basmati rice
  • 1-tablespoon coconut butter (or Ghee, but I couldn’t find that)
  • 1-teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1-teaspoon fennel seeds (which I omitted because I do not like fennel)
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds
  • 3 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • 3 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Half of a sweet potato cubed
  • 1 carrot cubed
  • 1 zucchini cubed (it is possible to add any seasonal vegetable that strikes your fancy! But I really enjoyed the zucchini)
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 4 cups water
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro garnish
  • Avocado garnish (optional)

 

Melt coconut oil is large pot.

Add mustard seeds and chia seeds and brown until they pop.

Add in all other spices. Stir to combine and let cook for a few minutes on low heat.

Add in vegetables (here carrot and sweet potato) cook for 2 minutes.

Add 4 cups of water, 2 cups of coconut milk, cardamom pods and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.

Once boiling add in rice and beans and reduce heat to low.

Let cook 10 to 15 minutes or until rice and beans become soft but there is still juice left in the pot.

Combine in zucchini (or any other veggie that doesn’t take long to cook)

Turn off burner, add salt to taste, place lid on pot and wait patiently for about 5 more minutes or until most of the water and coconut milk as cooked into the mixture.

You do not want to over cook this. I did on my first try and although it still tasted delicious it was a little too mushy for my liking.

Garnish with cilantro and enjoy an extremely health, comforting, cleansing, nourishing and detoxifying meal! (Or a few of them if you decide to cleanse 😉 )

 

Hope you enjoyed the read and will give Kitchari a shot!

 

Namaste, Katy

Advertisements

Ayurveda

kichari

What is Ayurveda? Ayurveda is an ancient Indian medicine that, instead of focusing on fixing problems/diseases once they have already occurred (like western medicine does) Ayurveda focuses on prevention of problems/diseases before they occur in the body. I think that may just be the most well thought out system in the world! Take care of yourself and don’t become sick. It couldn’t be more obvious right?

I’ve just recently started to dive into Ayurveda. I only know the basics but I am already hooked. Simple things like enjoying a hot cup of water or tea first thing in the morning to help activate your digestive system, self massage at night to release toxins and of course practicing yoga have already made a difference in my over all well being. And it only makes sense. This ancient form of medicine has been in use for over 5000 years so obviously something is working!

One of the main focuses of Ayurveda is that overall good health starts with good digestive health which I believe 100% because I’ve experience both bad and good digestive health and I’m telling you, your body & mind feels so much better when things are running smoothly down there! Because if there is build up of waste in your intestines that for some reason or another isn’t passing though, your body cannot absorb all of the nutrients from the food you consume.

I want to give you a look into my current health situation so you can understand why starting an Ayurvedic diet, focused on good intestinal/digestive health is important to me.

Last year I found out that I have a gluten allergy after quite the process. It started in March 2016. I became very ill with sharp stomach pain, fever and cold sweats. I thought I simply had the flu so I laid in bed for a few days but when my illness got worse on day 4, I mean when I went from being constipated to having diarrhea I knew something much more serious was happening.

But actually this story begins before this occurrence. In September 2015 I made the move from Canada to Switzerland to be with my boyfriend. Everything was going swimmingly until I realized some months later that I hadn’t had a really good poop since I left Canada. I can only attribute this to living in a new place. Different food, different water, things my body wasn’t used to, and not really being in tune with my body. Anyway I would drink a big, strong cup of Italian coffee every morning and hope for the best. The best did not come.

So back to March 2016. I went to a local physician who examined me and told me to go to the hospital immediately because he believed that I had a burst appendix. Awesome. So off I went to the Krankenhaus (Sickhouse when directly translated from German!) and after a very, very long day of being hooked up to machines and tubes and getting an ultrasound and a CAT scan they figured that my appendix was fine but rather I had an infection in my intestine (hello not pooping for 4 months…)

I was sent home with a prescription for 2 WEEKS of antibiotics. 2 weeks! Do you know what 2 weeks of antibiotics will do to you? Not nice stuff. The side efforts were astronomical.

Anyway during and after this time I kept on eating and drinking all the things I usually ate and drank like sandwiches being number one, but of course pizza and pasta and most importantly beer. Gluten city. One Saturday night in April of 2016, just 2 days before I flew home to Canada I got pretty tipsy on beer. Just good old-fashioned beer. Guess what…sick again. Body aches and pains, diarrhea, everything just like the first time. Flying across the world in this condition was not optimal but I wasn’t the sickest one on the plane (a lady puked on me), what a ride!

Anyway before I left Switzerland my boyfriend pointed out the fact that when I drank beer I would have awful hangovers that didn’t happen when I drank only wine or something else. He thought that I might have a gluten allergy.

So back home in Canada my BFF picked me up from the airport at 11pm and we went straight to the emergency room. The Dr. put me back on the same antibiotics for another 2 weeks (kill me) and off I went. Next day I visited my family physician and told him I thought it was gluten. I got a blood test and a few days later we found out for sure that I am indeed allergic to gluten (the ironic thing is that I grew up on a grain farm in middle of nowhere Canada, strange huh?)

But how allergic you ask? Just an allergy or full on celiac? This answer I don’t even know.

Of course after the blood test results came back I began immediately with a GF diet (which isn’t hard by the way if you’re thinking about trying it). For the reason that I was flying back to Zürich in a few weeks I did all I could to get in to see the gastroenterologist for a colonoscopy as soon as possible, which actually worked. Usually people wait months to see a specialist in Canada (free Health Care means waiting) but there was a cancellation and I was in! Because we didn’t have the normal amount of time to prepare for the procedure I was unaware that to really be clear if someone has celiac disease or not from a colonoscopy the patient has to be ON a gluten diet! I had been eating GF for about 2.5 weeks by now and feeling good, but the results of the colonoscopy came back indefinable. I may or may not have celiac disease. A year later I still don’t know for sure. So I stick to my GF diet because I feel better than I have in my entire life! Actually health.

Even going back to being a teenager and young(er) adult I was often very sick. I would have a cold for up to 3 months at a time or just get sick 3-5 times a year. I would also get cold soars about 3 times a year. Now that I keep my intestines healthy by sticking to my gluten free diet I have only been sick once in the last year (common spring cold, can’t really avoid it) and I have had no cold soars at all! Proof right there that good digestive health leads to over all good health!

So to begin my Ayurvedic diet I am starting with the classic Ayurvedic dish called Kitchari. It is actually a cleanse so I will be eating this dish for breakfast, lunch and dinner for at least a few days (we will see how long I can keep it up, hopefully make it a week)!

Seeing as this post is already quite long I will write back tomorrow with more information on Kitchari! Its benefits, recipe and so on!

Thanks for the read 🙂

Namaste, Katy

My first Class as the Teacher

image1
My beautiful first class ❤

Yesterday I held my very first ever real life YOGA CLASS! It was very exciting for me 🙂

The last few weeks I have been preparing for my first real class by teaching my friend / neighbor (the only reason I put neighbor in there is to demonstrate how easy and convenient it is to teach her!) I walk across the street every morning and we practice either on her sunny balcony or when the sun decides not to shine, we practice in her living room. She wasn’t really a yoga person, she had tried a few classes but never got the feel for it. Now I believe she is hooked! She’s always telling me how much more energy she has and how good she feels, which of course gives me this fuzzy warm feeling inside. I am so happy that I get to help her on her yoga journey everyday but I have to say, there really is something special about having a whole room full of people to lead and help through their practice!

We did a typical Hatha yoga class. Starting with Pranayama (the Full Yogic Breath) moving into the warm up, Sun Salutations, standing sequence and a seated stretching sequence before Savasana. Very simple but perfect because 5 out of the 6 students in my class are new to yoga. I had some great feedback and even a student who has moved around other commitments to come back to class next week 🙂

I am honestly just thrilled that I have the ability and know how to help even just a few people become more centered, calm and fit! I want to thank Powerqi Zürich for providing me with the space I need to do what I love! And of course THANK YOU TO MY CLASS! I love you guys 🙂 see you next week!