Cleansing, otherwise known as Pancha Karma

The fall and spring equinoxes are the perfect time of year to cleanse your body of built up toxins that have been accumulating from the environment and the food we eat.   Your body needs time to purge itself of waste to be back to functioning at its full potential.  Sluggishness, fatigue, bloating and even mood changes and irritability can be related to toxin buildup in your gut where food accumulates and sits on the diverticula blocking absorbtion of nutrients. Your intestines are called the second brain and even have neurons that release and respond to neurotransmitters. Giving your body a chance to rid itself of this buildup will keep you functioning optimally through the winter and summer months by clearing out the built up sludge.

My favorite cleanse after trying probably every one you may have heard of, is eating a diet of rice and beans in a spice mixture called kitchiri or khichadi. This is a traditional Indian dish but has an amazing ability to clean out the digestion simply by the amount of fiber which acts like a pipe cleaner for your bowels if you like visualizations.  The spices in the mixture have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, tumor suppressing and immune stimulating effects.  A number of miraculous benefits have been attributed to this dish and I can say from personal experience that remarkable effects can be obtained by taking time off from our normal diets and eating kitchiri!

Performing a Cleanse can be as simple as eating solely kitchiri for a certain period of time or as complete as doing purging, taking supplements, massage, sweating, and other techniques that are part of traditional Panchakarma or cleansing therapies.  Doing the full spectrum of techniques will ensure that the toxins are being completely removed from the body and target other individualized areas of concern.  See cleansing part 2 for some more advanced techniques.

While cleansing, be sure you are voiding your bowels at least once per day.  Impaired elimination leaves open the chance of re-absorbing the toxins that are pulled from your cells.  For this reason, traditionally enemas or modern day colonics are used to ensure proper ridding of the buildup. Getting a massage is also an invaluable addition while cleansing to move the lymphatic system.  Doing hot yoga daily will sweat out the toxins and further help remove them from the fat cells.  The twists in many yoga practices “wring” the organs and exercise the elimination pathways while the heat further encourages the buildup from the body.  Far-infrared saunas are another amazing tool for detoxification.

Eat only the kitchiri during your cleanse and avoid any alcohol, caffeine or other products besides the kitchiri and plenty of water.


How to Make Kitchiri:

2 cups dry brown rice for more fiber or white rice for easier digestibility

1 cup dry sprouted mung beans or dal (you can sprout your own mung beans or just use dried unsprouted mung.  Dal is a type of bean similar to lentils and lentils or split peas can be used if you are unable to find them.  Always use organic whenever possible since we are trying to remove the toxins from the body and not add them in!)


Cook the rice and beans together in a rice cooker if available with the appropriate amount of water.  If using a rice cooker, use one that is NOT non-stick or aluminum! I use the Miricle ME8 Stainless Steel Rice Cooker Model ME81 (Formerly ME8) – by Miracle Exclusives which is getting harder to find, and here is another the

Image of Aroma Simply Stainless  14-Cup (Cooked) Rice Cooker, White

Aroma Simply Stainless 14-Cup (Cooked) Rice Cooker, White which seems to be readily available. Use 6 cups of water with brown rice and mung or 3 cups with white rice and dal.After its cooked, make a masala (spice mixture) to fry the rice and beans in.

Kitchiri/kitchadi masala1-2 Tbsp ghee (clarified butter available at most natural grocers)

Salt to taste

1 tsp Cumin seeds

1 tsp powdered coriander seeds

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 dash of hing(asafetida) if available

A bit of cayenne pepper


Heat the ghee in a pan until melted and warm.  Add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle in the ghee for 30 seconds.  Add the powdered spices and salt and stir into the ghee for another few seconds.  Add the rice and bean mixture, enough for a serving size bowl of kitchiri into the masala and mix thoroughly to evenly spread the spices.


That’s it!  The rice and beans made in the morning may last you throughout the day.  Eat as much as you want and desire.  People live off this mixture in India so it can be done for prolonged periods unlike most other cleanses.  If you feel light headed, overly weak or dizzy stop the cleanse and consult with your health care provider as you may not be eliminating properly.


During this time you may feel lighter and more centered, energetic but also able to fall asleep when you need to.  Doing acupuncture and the other therapies during the cleanse will help release stored up traumas.  After a cleanse is completed, take time rejuvenating your body and continue eating a healthy diet of lightly cooked vegetables and soups while avoiding the urge to jump back into a typical American diet, not that you eat like that normally right? 🙂

You won’t go hungry on this cleanse like people often do when juice fasting.  Juice fasting also has some negative side effects like raising blood sugar and being hard on the digestion since it is all raw.  The fiber in the kitchiri moves and cleans the colon as opposed to juicing which allows reabsorbing toxins.

Avoid cleansing if you are pregnant or lactating, frail, or are under other special eating procedures from your doctor.  Otherwise, try to cleanse for at least 3-5 days for the full effect.  You can go longer if it feels right for your body.   Longer and more complete cleanses may integrate vegetables and other light foods with the kichiri and include Chinese and Ayurvedic herbs that pull out toxins and heavy metals to rebalance the body. I often do these cleanse’s 5-10 times per year keeping in mind not to do them in the peak of winter or summer months.

If you would like more information and help putting together your cleanse, contact me by email or phone through the contact form.  Home cleanse packages with traditional herbs are available along with online and phone support during your panchakarma.