The healing properties of kitchari

Hey hey hey! How’s the morning going? Hope you’re enjoying the day! Anything fun going on? Liv is currently obsessed with Taco Tuesday (I have no idea where she heard this haha) so maybe we’ll have tacos on the menu at some point today. 🙂

Some fun news: I took my first spin class last night! Since I start teaching again next week, I figured I should get back in the saddle and see how it feels. Thank goodness, it felt awesome. There was a very real time not too long ago when I couldn’t imagine myself taking spin (let alone teaching it) again. Needless to say, even though it kicked my a**, it was pretty amazing to be back.

So today, let’s talk about a new dish that’s a great way to spice up the usual rice and beans. 

Kitchari is a vegetarian ayurvedic dish for health and healing

While I was at Fit Expo this weekend, I had the opportunity to meet Lesley from Fightmaster Yoga. (Fun fact: her last name is actually Fightmaster. I thought she was just a super tough Martial Arts-inspired yogi, but no. That is her last name. haha) When I met Leslie, I was immediately drawn to her and her kind spirit. I can’t wait to take one of her classes on her YouTube channel! She has over 300 FREE yoga videos and also runs challenges.

She also presented at the Healthy Living Pavilion and introduced me to an Aryuvedic dish with warm flavors and healing properties: kitchari!

Make kitchari this is an ayurvedic dish for health and healing and is gluten free and vegetarian

Have you ever tried it?

Here’s a little bit about the history of kitchari and how you can implement it into your diet:

-Kitchari means mixture, and is usually a combo of grains and legumes. Traditionally it’s basmati rice and mung beans, but you can use any grain and legume combo you enjoy. For the batch I made yesterday, we had had brown basmati rice and chickpeas, so I decided to roll with that. Kitchari is used is Ayurveda (you can check out a post here and here), which is the sister science to yoga. Through Ayurveda, you treat the entire person according to their unique constitution, usually through food or lifestyle changes rather than medication. Kitchari can be adjusted depending on what ingredients work well for you and your constitution.

-Kitchari is easy to digest and can be used to help reduce inflammation in the body, in addition to promote healing in the gut. This meal is also high in plant protein, which makes it a great healthy option for vegetarians and non-veggies alike. (It’s also very easy to make vegan if you use coconut oil instead of ghee.)

To prepare the kitchari, you saute vegetables in ghee or coconut oil. Season the veggies with salt and pepper, and when they’re soft, add in your spices. This is where you get to be a little creative!

Some spices you can use:

Cumin

Cilantro

Mint

Ginger

Turmeric

Saffron 

Mint

Fennel

I am mostly Pitta (I’m a Pitta-Vata. To find out your dosha, there’s a great quiz here!) so I tend to get “fiery” very easily. I can tell when I’m off balance because my sleep quality diminishes, I get anxious, and find myself extra sensitive to temperatures. This is a bummer for me because I LOVE spicy food, but too much of it (like garlic, cayenne, chili powder, peppers) can set me off balance. (I love the list on this page, for all of my fellow Pittas out there.)

Spices that are good for Pittas tend to be more cooling, like cilantro, cinnamon, coriander, mint and fennel. 

For my kitchari blend, I used vegetables that are suitable for Pittas (zucchini and sweet potato) and the following spices: salt, pepper, coriander, fennel, and cinnamon. Like I mentioned before, you can adjust these depending on your dosha, or what you have on hand.

After you add your spices (as little or as much as you’d like), add in your grain (I used 1 cup brown basmati rice) to toast for about a minute. Stir in your beans (I used one can of garbanzo beans), and your liquid (I used about 2 cups vegetable broth) and bring it up to a boil.

Kitchari 2

Cover, and allow to simmer until the grain is fully cooked, which can range from 15-45 minutes, depending on what you used.

From here, you can adjust the seasonings as necessary.

Kitchari is a vegetarian ayurvedic dish for health and healing 4

(For a more precise recipe, there is one here.)

I LOVED the way the Lesley served the kitchari: with liquid aminos, which gave it a beautiful umami, and creamy Greek yogurt for probiotics. I used a bit of each on top, and enjoyed it for lunch yesterday. 

Extras

I can definitely tell I’ll be enjoying this in the regular meal rotation. Another interesting thing about kitchari: it can be used as part of a cleanse, where you eat kitchari for breakfast lunch and dinner (adding in fresh fruit or veggies as needed). While I do love the fact that it’s a cleanse that supports eating real food (and actually has protein!), I can’t say I’m going to be trying that anytime soon. But for lunch: I’m a huge fan. 🙂

Kitchari is a vegetarian ayurvedic dish for health and healing 5

Blog pick up line of the day: what’s your dosha? 😉

xoxo

Gina

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Comments

  1. Love the quiz! I am predominately Kapha

  2. Great quiz. I am Vata and Pitta. Such an interesting post. Great recipes and information.

  3. Interesting, I’d never heard of Ayurveda or kitchari before. Off to check that quiz out.

    Liv’s a smart girl; Taco Tuesday is an awesome thing.

  4. My dosha is Kapha. 🙂

  5. I’ve never done this. I need to check out this quiz! I’m with you though on the diet. I’m not sure I could do a full blown cleanse. It’s hard to do some of these things when you’re a food blogger and I hate wasting food!

  6. I’m a pitta/vata, too. I recently say an ayurvedic nutritionist and found it extremely helpful. Alexandra Jamieson has “westernized” the doshas and has an excellent meal plan/program on her site to tackle cravings. Very interesting!

  7. I’ve never heard of kitchari! (lol, the autocorrect on my laptop switched it to chitchat). I love coming to your blog because I feel like I always come away knowledgable!

    • Fitnessista says:

      mine kept changing it to chitchat too! i was like STOP hahaha
      thank you- so happy you enjoyed it!
      xoxo

  8. Interesting! Love spin, so glad you’re able to do it!
    Kari
    http://www.sweetteasweetie.com

  9. I’m mostly Pitta too… and I definitely get “fiery” very easily too haha. This is so neat.

  10. Jayne C. says:

    This is so interesting and new to me. Excited to check out all the links you included! 🙂

    • Fitnessista says:

      yay, hope you enjoy! i find it to be really insightful and found that the diet recommendations are really helpful

  11. Wendy Heath says:

    Vata-Pitta as well. 🙂 Even split between the two.

  12. I’ve been doing a lot of reading on paleo (and know that you sometimes eat paleo bread, for example), which says that grains and legumes are inflammatory foods. It’s so hard to know what is right!

  13. Taco Tuesday is from Lego movie, most likely.

  14. Shannon says:

    I am mostly Pitta too. Thanks for sharing the quiz, and the recipe sounds yummy~!

  15. I am Pitta primary and Vata secondary and I love kitchari. Thanks for the recipe. My understanding is that mung beans are appropriate for all doshas and thats why they are usually used- looks yummy with the chickpeas!

  16. Hi Gina,

    It was so great to meet you and Matt over the weekend! I sent out an email today to our mailing list with a kitcheree recipe and a link to your protein chocolate chip aka amazeballs! I haven’t made them yet, but the kids have been asking. I did make kitcheree for dinner tonight though! Let’s keep in touch so we can do some kind of collaboration: lesleyfightmaster@gmail.com

    xx,
    Lesley

  17. I’ve been eating kichari since I was little, actually it was probably the first solid food I ever ate (normal for Indian babies) and this is unlike any kichari I’ve ever heard of. Seems like Indian comfort food that has been fancified for “trendy” westerners.

    • Fitnessista says:

      i would love your family’s version if you can share! from what i’ve read, the recipes vary depending on where you’re located, but like you mentioned, i’m totally an outsider here so i have no idea

  18. This was the first solid food I was served as a baby and it’s a favorite of mine for my own little family. It’s a Gujarati food. Yes Indian but specifically Gujaratis make it. So yummy!!

  19. Juliana says:

    Yum, I love Kitchari! I’m almost entirely Vata haha.

  20. Same dosha as you! Pitta (Vata secondary). Also love Lesley!

  21. Where do you take spin classes in SD??

  22. Where I live (Bangladesh) kitcheri is a junk food– it’s generally made with a ton of oil (like all biryani-ish dishes are). I’ll have to try a healthy homemade version!

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