I opted to kick off this new year with an Ayurvedic cleanse, only eating kitchari, a grain-based dish native to South Asia, for five days.
Ayurveda, a Sanskrit word that translates to "the science of life," originated in India more than 5,000 years ago, making it one of the the oldest continuously practiced health care systems in the world. Kitchari is a popular Ayurvedic dish typically made by mixing basmati rice, lentils, yellow split mung dal, ghee, and digestive spices such as turmeric and cumin. It is a light, nourishing dish that is easy for the body to digest.
According to Ayurveda, one of the reasons we cleanse is to clear our channels—the organs and vessels that are vital to our livelihood. When our diet is filled with processed and unhealthy foods, our bodies creates "ama," which blocks our channels and leads to fatigue, illness, and disease. One of the goals of cleansing is reducing ama by giving our digestive system (the root of our health according to Ayurveda) a much-needed break. By living off a consistent diet of kitchari for a few days, you give your digestion a rest while ensuring you continue to get the nutrition you need.
Every cleanse is a physical and mental journey. Here are five lessons I've taken away from my voyage.