A kitchari cleanse is an eating plan that involves consuming a mono-diet of kitchari (also known as kichiri or khichdi) in order to improve digestion and support the body’s detox processes. A mono-diet of kitchari is often included in an ayurvedic cleanse. If you’re looking to embark on a kitchari cleanse (whether it’s for 3 days, 7 days, 21 days, or 30 days), here’s what you should know.

What is kitchari?

Kitchari translates to "mixture" in Sanskrit and generally refers to the mixture of two grains. ⁠The nature of kitchari is warm, mushy, well-cooked, and well-spiced, which makes it easy to digest. 

Why does ayurveda like kitchari?

There are three main reasons why ayurveda considers kitchari a cleansing and healing meal.

Kitchari is a complete meal

Part of the magic behind kitchari is that it contains all 6 tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent), making it a complete and balanced meal. Together, these six tastes hold all five great elements (earth, water, fire, air, and ether). 

Traditionally, kitchari contains sona masoori or basmati rice, mung dal, ghee, and spices. The different components of the dish allow cleansing but also nourishing. For example, mung dal helps the body cleanse because of the bitter and astringent tastes, which extract toxins. Rice, on the other hand, is more nourishing as it has a sweeter taste, helping to ground and rebuild the body’s strength.

Kitchari is easily digestible

Kitchari is a warm, soft, stew-like soup, which allows great ease on the digestive tract. When your body doesn’t have to stress about digesting heavy food, the body can more easily absorb nutrients and process food, which minimizes ama (toxin) accumulation. A strong agni is a healthy life. 

Kitchari can facilitate detox and cellular repair

According to Ayurveda, the digestive system is at the core of every imbalance, symptom, and condition. Therefore, by improving digestion and absorption, an kitchari cleanse can help your body divert more energy to carrying out its detoxification and bodily functions, such as:

  • Eliminating toxic buildup from deep within the mind and body tissues
  • Removing congestion and stagnation
  • Restoring regular bowel movements
  • Improving vitality
  • Promoting overall wellness
  • Clearing skin and brightening eyes
  • Improving sleep

How to Get Started on a Kitchari Cleanse

Depending on how much time you have to commit, you may practice a kitchari cleanse for 1-30 days. Learn how with these instructions for a 7-day ayurvedic cleanse.

Furthermore, it is also best practice to pair your mono-kitchari diet with: 

  • Supporting herbal teas and elixirs. During your cleanse, consume CCF tea (cumin, coriander, and fennel) to stimulate agni, encourage detoxification, and optimize digestive movement. You may also want to incorporate a salt tea since salt is a natural detoxifier
  • Ghruta ghee before and during the cleanse to increase rasa (bodily juices), loosen and dislodge ama, and support detoxification
  • Supportive digestive aids like triphala and digestive supplements
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