I haven't been writing a lot about budget meal planning, or healthy meals for several months now. I am still getting all the deals I can find at the grocery store, but just haven't felt much like writing about it. I doubt it will be a mainstay topic for this blog.
But I do want to talk about healthier eating today.
I've gained some weight. So may reasons - winter blues weight gain, stress eating, unwanted assistance from a medication whose side effects seem to have an all roads lead to weight gain situation going on.
But the bottom line is that I need to make some healthier choices. And soon. Now-ish.
Well, in the past, one of the easiest ways to change my relationship with food has been to do some kind of detox or cleanse, followed by a rather strict diet. The emotional benefit of a detox or cleanse is that it breaks the spell of habitual eating, and once it's over, the slate was clean and I could create new habits.
What always went wrong was that I would try to diet afterward. Though I know I need to find other ways to deal with stress, and to create serotonin, I don't do well with being told no.
It is much better when it comes from within than without, and I have found that a more intuitive eating approach works really well.
So what would be ideal is a breaks-the-spell detox or cleanse, followed by healthier, intuitive eating.
But the really drastic detoxes I used to do made me sick for days, I never finished them completely, and felt hungry the whole time. I need something kinder than that.
So, lately, I've been looking at kitchari cleanses. Let me tell you more about it, and why it might be just the thing.
The Kitchari Cleanse
As I understand it, the basic idea behind an Ayurvedic kitchari cleanse - as is true with any cleanse, I suppose - is to give your digestive system a rest, while you repeatedly eat healthier food, so your body can deal with and unload toxins.
You eat a one-pot meal of rice + vegetables in one bowl, and you eat it for 2-3 meals a day, though you can have it again if you get hungry.
What I have read is that it is an Indian Ayurvedic dish, meant to balance your doshas, and some Indians eat it every day of their lives. But it also is suggested as a way to do a less painful cleanse for a few days or a week.
Though I am very interested in Ayurveda, and I believe I am a Vata/Kapha blend, I do not know enough to explain it very clearly, and thus, will not try...
Ayurveda is a form of alternative medicine that is the traditional system of medicine of India and seeks to treat and integrate body, mind, and spirit using a comprehensive holistic approach especially by emphasizing diet, herbal remedies, exercise, meditation, breathing, and physical therapy. - Merriam-Webster
Yeah, I could never have said all of that. And a dosha is one of three biological energies your body has that affect your physiology and mental processes. You are likely to be influenced by one more than the other, and it is important to keep that dosha in balance. More and better dosha info at Ayurveda 101.
So the kitchari meal and cleanse is part of this same holistic system (Ayurveda). When you make kitchari (pronounced kich-uh-ri, the Internet tells me, not kich-ah-ri, as I was thinking), you blend rice, lentils and other pulses, like mung beans, with spices.
"Because of its simplicity and ease, many people find that doing a detox on kitchari is very pleasant and far less of an undertaking than a juice fast, for example. Eating this dish exclusively for three to five days is said to purify the digestive organs while cleansing the body of toxins."
There are also spices in the kitchari mix, and I have to admit I had some concern about that, when I began to look at recipes. The spices are said to assist in the digestive process.
But I did not grow up eating spices like those, and they tend to make my stomach try to revolt. Actually, most spices do, but there are some I can tolerate in moderation.
So I began to wonder if there was a way to create a kitchari cleanse using the basics - rice + veggies + pulses + spices - using choices I am more familiar with, that will feel more comforting, that my tummy is more used to, and hopefully, will not reject.
Did I mention I have a sensitive stomach?
So, I began thinking about a soul food kitchari. And I began to wonder just how creative we can be when planning our own kitchari cleanse.
Getting Creative with the Kitchari Cleanse
I wanted to know whether or not I could create a soul food version of kitchari, that I could eat for several days in a row, and then possibly keep eating if all went well.
I decided to keep the basmati rice I saw recommended, along with Sahara Rose's recommendations to soak it overnight and then cook it for 40 minutes before eating it. And she suggests eating oatmeal for the breakfast meal, which works for me.
All that decided, I went looking for what else I might do, of the vegetarian soul-food variety.
Vegetarian Soul Food Kitchari?
The first thing I did was to make a list of pulses, veggies and spices that were said to ease digestion. Then, I looked for ones I was familiar with eating.
Can I just say that there is a lot of info out there about how wonderful pulses are and how easy it is to find ways to eat them without discomfort?
Rinse and soak and cook a long time. Repeat.
Or, just eat the easy ones. I looked up beans, lentils, pulses, veggies and spices.
Here is where I landed: I think the soul food kitchari might be Hoppin' John. I often eat a vegetarian version on New Year's Day, and sometimes even it is too spicy, so as a cleanse dish, I'd have to tone it down a bit.
I think I may try it. And I wonder how it would taste if I added some sweet potatoes?
Oatmeal for the breakfast of champions, and Hoppin' John for lunch and dinner, with a side of sweet potatoes or some mixed in.
There's a vegetarian Hoppin' John recipe I want to try, from Well-Plated. I plan to leave out the carrots & some of the spices, and I may cook it all in a slow cooker. But still, it's a great recipe.
I feel pretty sure I can do it for 3 days, and will report back on my results. Wish me luck!
Have you ever tried a kitchari cleanse? Or tried to take a cleanse and make it your own?
See you next time!
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