A Kitchari Fast

In Ayurveda, the ancient wisdom of India dating back 5,000 years, this mix of rice and mung beans is considered extremely easy to digest and is said to purify the digestion and cleanse the body of toxins. Ayurvedic physicians often prescribe a kitchari diet before, during, and after panchakarma, a rejuvenative treatment that cleanses toxins stored in bodily tissues as it restores systemic balance.

Kitchari provides solid nourishment while allowing the body to devote energy to healing. You can safely subsist on kitchari anytime in order to build vitality and strength as it helps balance all three doshas. For restless vata, the warm soup is grounding; for fiery pitta, its spices are calming; and for chilly kapha, it provides healing warmth.

According to Vasant Lad, in his book, The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies, “A five-day kitchari fast, using plain kitchari with just some chopped cilantro leaves added, will cleanse the system and help to strengthen memory.”

Kitchari fasting is actually a mono-diet, which means the body receives a limited diversity of foodstuffs and therefore needs to produce a limited number of digestive enzymes. The work of the digestive system is lessened, allowing for greater healing and cleansing to occur. A kitchari cleanse can be calming, soothing and warming.

Kitchari tastes like a cross between a creamy rice cereal and a light dal, or lentil soup. If it is a cold, blustery day or you are feeling under the weather, a steaming bowl of this classic Indian comfort food can both warm up your bones and restore sagging energy. Everyone has his or her own special method of making kitchari. Ayurvedic Cooking for Self Healing offers a half-dozen kitchari recipes, including this one found on Yoga Journal:

  • 1 cup split yellow mung beans
  • 1 tbsp peeled, chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp shredded coconut
  • handful chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp each of cardamom, pepper, clove powder, turmeric, salt
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp ghee or butter
  • 1 cup raw basmati rice
  • 6 cups water

First, rinse the mung beans and soak for several hours. Set aside. In a blender, liquefy the peeled, chopped ginger, shredded coconut, chopped cilantro with one-half cup of water. In a large saucepan, lightly brown the spices, salt; and bay leaves (remove before serving) in the ghee, or butter.

Drain the beans and then stir them into the spice mixture in the saucepan. Next, add the basmati rice. Stir in the blended spice and coconut mixture, followed by six cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook on low heat for approximately 25 to 30 minutes until soft.

Healthy Heart Spice Mix


  • 1 part ground turmeric
  • 2 parts ground cumin
  • 3 parts ground coriander
  • 4 parts ground fennel


Mix the spices and store in an airtight jar. When it is time to cook the meal, steam the vegetables. Melt a small amount of ghee in the pan, and add ½ to 1 teaspoon of the spice mixture per serving. Sauté the spices until the flavor is released. Add the vegetables, sauté lightly, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

Source: Mapi.com

Immunity Boosting Spice Mix


Here is an ayurvedic spice mixture for enhancing immunity.


  • 6 parts turmeric
  • 3 parts cumin
  • 3 parts coriander
  • 6 parts fennel
  • 1 part powdered dry ginger
  • 1 part black pepper
  • ¼ part ground cinnamon


Roast whole cumin, coriander, fennel and black pepper and then grind the mixture into a powder. Or dry-fry them, mix all the powdered spices well and store in an airtight container in a cool place away from direct sunlight.

For daily use:

Sauté the spices in ghee, heating until you smell the aroma. Immediately remove the pan from the heat to avoid burning the spices. and sprinkle or drizzle on vegetables, rice or other grains, or cook them in vegetables like a soup.

Or add steamed vegetables to the spice mixture while still in the pan and stir. Or sprinkle them on your food if you eat your noon meal out. Add salt and pepper to taste.

This spice mixture should be used regularly to flavor one dish for the main meal of the day to boost immunity and enhance digestion.

Emotional Balance Spice Mix



  • 1 part ground black pepper
  • 1 part ground dried ginger
  • 2 parts ground coriander
  • 3 parts ground cumin
  • 2 parts ground turmeric
  • 1 part crushed black cumin (for women only)


Mix the spices together and store in an airtight container. Sauté small amounts in ghee to spice vegetables and grains.


Spices contain a lipid-soluble portion and a water-soluble portion, so ideally some of the mixture should be sautéed in ghee or a healthy oil such as olive oil and added to dishes, and some cooked in the liquid portions of dishes, such as by being added to soups, stews or sauces during the cooking process. Ghee helps transport the therapeutic value of spices to the different parts of the body, so ayurveda generally recommends including a ghee-spice mixture in at least one meal of the day.

Spices are like herbs: they work gently and gradually, with the benefits adding up over time and no dangerous side effects.

Source: Mapi.com

Cholesterol-Balancing Spice Mix



  • 3 parts ground turmeric
  • 6 parts ground cumin
  • 6 parts ground coriander
  • 6 parts ground fennel
  • 2 parts ground fenugreek
  • 1 part dried powdered ginger
  • 1 part ground black pepper


Combine the spices and store in a sealed container. When preparing your meal, sauté a teaspoon of spices in a small amount of ghee or olive oil. Combine with vegetables or grains to give them a satisfying flavor and enhance digestion. Add salt to taste.

A word of caution:

If you have a Pitta imbalance, start first by cooling Pitta dosha. Follow a low-oil Pitta-pacifying diet until your Pitta is in balance. Then use this spice mixture to help lower cholesterol.

Source: Mapi.com

Allergen Season Spice Mixture


Support your body during allergen season with this tasty spice mixture.


  • 3 parts turmeric
  • 6 parts fennel
  • 6 parts coriander
  • 1 part black pepper
  • 1 part ginger


Blend these spices together in bulk and store in a jar. When you are preparing a meal, place a small amount of ghee in a frying pan and heat it on medium. Add the detoxifying spice mixture, measuring out one teaspoon of spice mixture per serving of vegetables. Sauté the spices until the aroma is released, but be careful not to burn them. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add steamed vegetables, mix lightly and sauté together for one minute, or you can sauté the spice mixture in ghee and drizzle on cooked vegetables and grains.

Source: Mapi

Detox Spice Mix



  • 1 part turmeric
  • 2 parts ground cumin
  • 3 parts ground coriander
  • 4 parts ground fennel


Mix these spices together in bulk and store in a jar. When you are cooking a meal, place a small amount of ghee in a frying pan and heat on medium. Add detoxifying spice mixture, measuring out one teaspoon of spice mixture per serving of vegetables. Sauté spices until the aroma is released (but be careful not to burn). Add salt and black pepper to taste. Add steamed vegetables, mix lightly and sauté together for one minute. Or you can sauté the spice mixture in ghee and drizzle on vegetables or grains.

Source: Mapi.com

Churnas and Ayurveda


Ayurvedic principles show that everyone has a particular personality type as shown by the make up of their doshas, or inner life energies. Your prakriti is your make up when you were born, and vikruti is what they are now as a result of life’s experiences and stresses and imbalances of other elemental influences.

In order to correct these derangements, one can use churnas, or Ayurvedic spice powders that are made up of blends of spices. These churnas are made of fresh herbs that have medicinal properties, as well as the ability to neutralize the toxic effects caused by imbalances within the body.

Ayurvedic churnas combine all six of the ayurvedic tastes: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent. They are created through the combination of a number of different fresh herbs, and can be added to almost any foodstuff. Not only do churnas improve the taste of the dish and add their own nutritional kick, they also bring out the medicinal qualities of the foods they are added to. Ayurvedic churnas can also be sauteed in ghee before being added to a dish.

The spices included in Ayurvedic churnas all have strong medicinal properties of their own. Ayurveda has long been touting the health benefits of these herbs. Ground ginger, for example, provides a pungent flavor but also calms the stomach and promotes good digestion. Turmeric contains curcumin, which is thought to reduce cholesterol, provide a boost to the immune system, aid in liver detoxification, and improve the body’s response to allergens. It is a potent antioxidant, which means it helps the body fight off dangerous molecules known as free radicals, which contribute to your risk for heart disease and cancer. Cumin is also known to help the body in its detoxification efforts as well as make digestion smoother.

Ayurvedic churnas are thus not only great at enhancing flavor, they also carry a number of health benefits of their own. Since they taste great, this makes it easy to add a healthy kick to nearly every meal you eat!

Source: churnas.com

Ayurvedic Vata Churna

churanThis is a recipe for a Vata Balancing spice mix, used in AyurVedic cooking. I make this churna in small batches and use it often in all my root veggie dishes and in soups as well. This spice powder has a robust deep flavor which perks up the dish and it tastes extra yummy when your vata is imbalanced. The specific spices used in this churna balance the vata dosha.


  • 2 tablespoons whole fennel seeds.
  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds.
  • 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds.
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric.
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil.
  • 2 teaspoons powdered ginger.
  • 2 teaspoons salt.
  • 1 teaspoon asafetida (hing)

Store in a glass jar and it will stay fresh for up to a month.

Source: Rhythm of Healing

Ama Pachana Spice Water

green-tea-335x251Drink Ama Pachana Spice Water throughout the day for a very purifying effect and to help enhance your digestion.


  • Two to three thin slices of fresh ginger
  • ¼ tsp. cumin
  • ¼ tsp. fennel
  • 2 black peppercorns
  • 2 leaves of mint


Boil two quarts of water and put it in a thermos flask. Add herbs and let it steep.

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"Diet has the distinction of being the only major determinant of health that is completely under your control. You have the final say over what does and what does not go into your mouth and stomach. You cannot always control the other determinants of health, such as the quality of the air you breathe, the noise you are subjected to, or the emotional climate of your suroundings, but you can control what you eat. It is a shame to squander such a good opportunity to influence your health." ~Andrew Weil, MD
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