Getting a Little Spring In Your Step

by Milissa on March 18, 2012

in Health,Mindful Nature,Nutrition,Retreat,Seasons

Usually I’m slow to get to my spring cleanse. By mid-March, I’ve grown pretty attached to the warm, heavy foods of winter—root vegetables, hearty grains, organic eggs, fish and meat. A big salad just doesn’t do it for me when it’s still cold and damp.

But this year—being catapulted right into sultry, midsummer weather by St. Paddy’s Day—it’s another story. Bring on the fresh juice and bitter greens!

Not only does it feel uplifting to add more raw foods, but the pungent greens help to detoxify the liver after the winter. Still, with my vata constitution, I need something a little heartier, warmer and more grounding. Bring on the kitchari!

Kitchari (pronounced kee-cha-dee) is a simple Ayurvedic grain and bean dish that is easy to digest (and easy to make). And it will clean out those pipes after the heaviness of winter cuisine.

It’s not fancy, but my students—when I’ve served it on Mindful Nature Retreats—have loved it. And the basic recipe can be modified for your family’s taste. Not spicy, but savory, even children with more adventurous palates may take to it, with a few tweaks. See ideas in the recipe below.


1 cup basmati rice
1/2 cup mung beans (soaked overnight)
6 cups water (reserve 1 c. for end)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 pinch asafoetida (get it in bulk at the coop, smells weird but enhances flavor)
1 cup diced vegetables (options include zucchini, carrot, cauliflower, celery)
1 teaspoon ground cumin & coriander (cinnamon may be a good option for kids)

1) Place rice and soaked beans into 5 cups of boiling water, adding the turmeric and asafoetida.

2) Cook over medium heat until the water is mostly absorbed.

3) Add one more cup of lukewarm water, vegetables and optional spices. Simmer until water is absorbed.

The final dish should have a soft, moist consistency, like a porridge. I like to sprinkle with a dash of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, and garnish with fresh cilantro springs. A side of braised greens (dandelion greens are a great spring tonic) complement the dish nicely.

For a full-on cleanse you can eat a mono-diet of kichari and drink fresh juice for 3-4 days. And by then you’ll have a spring in your step.

I’m taking an informal poll about a summer Mindful Nature Retreat. Let me know if you’re interested in cocreating a getaway up North around Summer Solstice this year. You can leave a comment below or hop on the Facebook group page to weigh in. Summer’s just around the corner it seems!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Cheri March 19, 2012 at 6:27 am

I’m planning on making it this week! With a little fresh ginger, too. Thanks!


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