Kitchari Cleanse

Kitchari Cleanse

I swore off all cleanses a while ago, after getting deep into disordered eating with juice cleansing and fasting. Mostly, I realized that my body and my mind actually function the best with food, rather than without it. Imagine that. 

Then, a few years ago, I was having digestion issues and one of my best friends- who happens to be an Ayurveda specialist- suggested that I do a kitchari cleanse. The word “cleanse” grated on my nerves a bit, I’m not gonna lie. But when I looked further into it, I realized it’s more of a RESET than a cleanse, because there’s nothing restrictive about it. 

Kitchari Cleanse

What is Kitchari?

Kitchari is a traditional cleansing food from Ayurveda. Ayurveda is a holistic system of medicine that originated in India thousands of years ago. 

Traditionally, kitchari is made with lentils, rice, and herbs. It likely wouldn’t even have salt or garlic, in the way that I choose to make it. It really depends on your personal needs and preferences when it comes to making kitchari in the way you like it. The most important thing is that you use kitchari as a way to optimize and improve your digestion.

Kitchari provides a blend of complete protein, as well as food that’s easy on your digestion tract, while also providing further detoxification impacts through spices and herbs. 

When To Do A Kitchari Cleanse

The best time to do a kitchari cleanse is when you’re having digestive issues. Whether you’re backed up, going all the time, or getting bloated after everything you put in your mouth- a kitchari cleanse might be the best option for you. I personally did my most recent kitchari cleanse after our failed IUI, as all of the additional hormones wreaked havoc on my gut health and caused extreme nausea and bloating.

Sometimes people like to do a quick kitchari reset after a long trip, as it’s a very grounding food that can help to counteract the airy nature of travel. Other times, people like to partake in a kitchari cleanse in-between season. Think of it like a spring cleaning sesh, but more so from the inside, rather than your outer belongings. 

bowl of rice

How Does a Kitchari Cleanse Work?

Traditionally, a kitchari cleanse would truly mean eating kitchari for all three meals a day. However, if that sounds restrictive for you, then I highly suggest you include other foods while you eat kitchari. 

There have been times that my stomach hurt so badly that truly all I craved as kitchari for all three meals. While other times it was something that I ate one or two meals a day, with additional foods as well. 

That being said, if you’re trying to heal your gut and you do a kitchari cleanse, but you’re still eating other inflammatory foods- then the cleanse isn’t going to work. Try to choose other foods that are also gentle on the digestion, and anti inflammatory to the best of your ability and knowledge. 

Whenever I do a kitchari cleanse, I like to make a big batch, and reheat it over the next few days. 

Kitchari ingredients

Kitchari Ingredients

Good for 6 servings

1 C Split beans (split chana or split lentil)

1 C Rice (brown or white)

⅛ C Fresh ginger

⅛ C Fresh turmeric 

5 cloves fresh garlic 

2 C organic carrots


Garam Masala




Curry Powder


Sea salt

Black pepper

How To Make Kitchari

  1. First things first, remember that you can add any additional vegetables to your kitchari if you’d like. Remember, try to keep them easy on the digestive system. This is why I like to add carrots. 
  2. Okay, we’re ready to start! Start by dicing the fresh ginger, turmeric, and garlic and cook in olive oil along with all other spices. I don’t measure the ground spices, but I do hard on them, especially the garam masala and cumin. Cook spices on medium to low until they’re fragrant (around 10 minutes)
  3. In a separate larger pot, add equal parts rice and split beans to twice the volume of water. Ie: if you use 1 C of rice and 1 C of beans, use at least 2 C of water. 
  4. Once spices are fragrant, add them to the larger pot with rice and beans. Add more garam masala to the mix, and wait for it to boil. 
  5. Once boiling, turn to low heat or simmer, and add carrots. Cover with lid, and allow the mixture to expand. 
  6. Add more spices to your liking, and allow the mixture to sit in the pot for several hours for maximum flavor. 


Kitchari Cleanse recipe

How to Serve Kitchari

  1. Traditionally, kitchari is eaten by itself, with nothing else. 
  2. I like to eat kitchari with, or on a bed of fresh greens. Fresh greens can be tough on some people’s digestion, so only do this if you know it feels good for you. 
  3. Adding fresh cilantro to kitchari is another delicious option. 
  4. Only serve with food that’s gentle on the digestion tract, rather than harsh. This will vary for everyone!
  5. For more flavor, you can always cook with coconut milk instead of water. This creates a richer, more flavorful meal, while it also strays from the traditional kitchari model. 
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