At-home Kitchari Cleanse, Yoga, and Weekend Retreat

I gave this Kitchari Cleanse thing a shot this weekend and decided to document my experience. This was at-Home, based on the articles I read (listed below in the Wednesday section) … I’m not prescribing this- just sharing my experience.

  • A Kitchari Cleanse is not a starvation type of cleanse.
  • You eat what is called kitchari and it helps cleanse the digestive system, & it also helps cleanse out bad habits and mentalities.
  • It is like a detox for the whole body & brain.
  • It’s recommended to do during a change in seasons when your body is in a time of transition already – I just happened to stumble upon as we are changing from summer to fall so I lucked into it with timing 🙂

This article (https://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/what-a-21-day-ayurvedic-panchakarma-detox-looks-like ) has a good explanation of the detox benefits.

“Virechana isn’t just about cleansing the body, it’s also about cleansing the mental and emotional self,” says Medha Garud, director of Ayurveda programs. “The process helps you release many of the impressions and habits, called samskaras, that you are carrying in your system.” 

For my own version, I decided to allow fresh vegetables that I typically digest well in addition to the kitchari.

My goal with the cleanse is

  • to see what happens (curiousity),
  • continue to reset my eating habits (like boredom snacking)
  • and spend some QT with God & His Word and Prayer journaling.

I’m planning to practice yoga daily as well – once at home doing my own warmup with and then either a class in the Alo Moves app or a session at a studio I am trying out this month.



Researching the Cleanse & Process of Starting it

Wednesday:

I read about the cleanse on these pages

And decided to give it a go. So I ordered the Kitchari spice mix off of amazon.


Thursday – PreCleanse Day

I found the yellow moong dal in the Indian food at wegmans this morning as well as basmati rice and ghee. My spices wouldn’t arrive until Friday, but I figured I would give it a try without them to see if I could cook it in the crockpot

I haven’t had dairy since July (when I took a week off from dairy, the redness from my cheeks vanished so I switched permanently from a dairy-based protein powder to plant-based), and ghee is clarified butter. I decided to try it (my guess is the dairy reaction was more from the whey/casein blend I used) but if it doesn’t work, then I could always use coconut oil instead.

Bland Kitchari: I just put the rice, moong dal, and water in the crockpot (amounts given above) along with some “soup” veggies that I found at wegmans. It came out perfectly! (I cooked it on high for about 3hrs.

It really tastes quite good! These are the total macros for the recipe minus the veggies (makes 4 servings) if you’re curious:

I had it for a couple meals (late lunch and dinner) today. I made some Kitchari lettuce wraps.

As far as energy and digestion today (before it officially even began),

  • I did have some bowel movements (more than normal),
  • I had energy later in the day than normal – like I found myself cleaning the house at 6pm when I’m normally in “wind down” time on the couch.

Yoga:

I did a yoga warmup and stretching around 530am before work & then attended a lunchtime express 50min rocket yoga (similar to ashtanga) class at the studio during my lunch break.

Workbook/Journal:

I finished up this Bible study (I was on the last day, coincidentally) so I could start the new one tomorrow:

  • At night, I also got the kitchari for tomorrow ready to cook – soaking the 1/2c moong dal and 1c rice in water overnight so I can add it to the crockpot tomorrow morning and hopefully it will cook faster.

Friday- Day 1

  • Woke up at 530ish & had a detox drink mix with a liter of hot water as I began my new study

  • Took Nike to daycare, then came back home to do my yoga warm up and stretching. I have a 90min rocket yoga class at 545pm tonight.

  • I also got the kitchari going in the crock pot – note: soaking the beans/rice did not help expedite the process. So there’s no need to do that if you do the crockpot version. It still took 2.5-3hrs on high to cook.

My spices still weren’t here so I decided to add cinnamon to my first bowl

The recipe makes a full 6cups of Kitchari! So it’s a big amount to divvy up for the whole day. Like I mentioned- not a typical cleanse.

I ate 5 different times today – just allocating myself approx a cup of the kitchari and then adding some romaine, carrots, or cucumber. It’s much more filling that I expected and I really like it. Mentally- I feel alert and even-keeled.

At 545pm, I took a rocket yoga class at the studio near me – it was 90minutes! Lengthy for me and it was a bit later in the day for me, but was a nice way to end the week.

As far as energy, I had stable energy all day. I kept expecting it to fade, and here i am at 8:47pm and still fairly alert, and just now beginning the wind down process. I felt really productive at work today and very calm/stable which was nice. 🙂

I did portion out the rice/beans/spice mix for tomorrow so I can just put it in the crockpot.

Nike was so helpful as I worked today 😂


Saturday

I didn’t sleep too well. I woke up a few times as I was pretty warm. (We keep the bedroom cool, since being too hot keeps me up). I just am not used to evening exercise sessions so that is my guess as to why I was a bit restless. As nice as it was to practice at night, I definitely prefer doing the strength-based yoga first thing in the day. I’m sure my body could adapt to an evening routine, but doing yoga early in the day is more than just physical for me – it starts my day and then I’m not stressing over having to plan to exercise later in the day. My body also just works better earlier (which might just be because I’m used to it ) than later on. I’m back to my am yoga today.

6:15 up and at it. Even when I sleep poorly, it’s usually better for me to get up close to when I normally wake up & just plan to go to bed a little earlier the next night. I start my day with the detox drink and my study and start the kitchari crock pot. I got the spices yesterday and am looking forward to using them today.

I take Nike for a walk and then head out for rocket yoga at the studio at 8am.

My body is super stiff and a little sore from the session last night so I’m curious to see how it does today since I was just at the studio 12.5hrs ago.

9:15am: Class was great- my body loosened up as we got going and I just love that rocket & Ashtanga Yoga practices hit everything in one session – strength, flexibility, backbends, vinyasa, Long holds in postures, and time to play around with anything you’re working on

9:45am : When I got home, I realized I never plugged the crockpot on 🤦🏻‍♀️. So I started up the kitchari. Meanwhile, I was HUngry so I steamed up a few cups of veggies to eat.

10:30am: took Nike for another walk waiting for it to cook. And made a couple phone calls.

12pm: Finally! It was ready. Or close enough. Haha. I sliced up some cucumber to eat with it.

Once this batch was done, I started the pot for tomorrow so I wouldn’t have the same snafoo as today. I know the sites say to make it each day, but I think the day before is fresh enough since I apparently can’t figure out how to plug in a crock pot in the morning. 🤦🏻‍♀️😂

4pm: Kitchari for tomorrow is ready!

I split up today’s kitchari into 5 servings again and mixed each one with some romaine, cucumber, or carrots. I finished eating at about 6ish pm which is more normal for me.

I feel good & stable in terms of energy today even with the disturbed sleep last night. I’m not hungry and also don’t feel stuffed. I’m not sure I am feeling “cleansed” lol. But feeling good is a good sign! I’m wondering if maybe I should extend the Kitchari Cleanse or at least keep it in my daily diet. My body seems to function really well on it.

The beauty of this dish is that you can eat it for a single meal to give your digestion a break or do a full cleanse of 5-7 days where you really begin to release stored toxins and accumulation. – Krissy Leonard

I plan to get to sleep a little earlier tonight (8/830pm-ish) so I can get up and be able to do my yoga and walk Nike before church at 9am. One of Tomorrow’s goals is to “cleanse” the house as well, which I’ll do after church I figure. I could’ve done it today but opted to save it and just relax instead & watch some DVR shows (My secret fav show is Dallas CowboysCheer), some of the Ryder cup, and Michigan football (we won! Yay). I also watched “a million little things” pilot episode from On Demand.


Sunday

530am: up and at it. Got my bible study, walk with Nike, yoga, & house cleaning done before 9am church :). Score!

I practiced at home using the Alo Moves app and did ashtanga remix. I like to video myself (I use the iPad for class) with my phone & am able to compare some of the basic poses to when I first began & see some progress 🙂

Left photos are from January- right is from today.

I have also been loving using blocks, my inversion trainer and wheel during my at home sessions. I explain how I use them here.

1030am : home from church and haven’t eaten yet – just a bunch of hot beverages – detox and my dandelion/chocolate vitamin drink. So time for some kitchari 😋

During the rest of today, I did a couple extra chores, walked Nike again, ate some more plates like the photo above, and relaxed/watched some of “young Sheldon” and NFL.

  • While watching tv, I also did my bendy babes splits stretches.

I feel so much better today, having started the last 2 days with yoga versus Thursday & Friday when I did yoga later in the day. I also think I’m more mindful during the day of my choices and also to work on stretching through the day – ie doing a forward fold while I wait for the microwave to finish, holding my opposite elbows when I’m standing or walking, etc. to help my shoulders open.


Thoughts

  • kitchari is inexpensive, filling and tastes good – I will definitely keep this recipe going since it was really easy to “cook” as well
  • The first day (which was actually my “prep” day where I ate kitchari for just the second half of the day) was the day I felt the most “cleansed” …. I think my diet (discussed a bit here) must be clean enough to not need a longer cleanse? That’s just my theory based on this experience.
  • Despite not feeling the “cleanse” much over the fri-Sunday weekend, I really loved the stable energy throughout the day. I felt I had really productive days and yoga sessions and mental energy to do some introspection/journaling. And I think that’s the real plus of this cleanse versus other cleanses that are so low calorie that they end up being miserable. This cleanse gave me energy to function and kept food simple enough that I didn’t have to waste energy on it.
  • I’ve read a few other articles on kitchari and using it as a daily “cleansing” meal and I think that I might go that route – use it at lunch or dinner. Or, I may incorporate a “Kitchari Cleanse” once every 3-4days to break up my routine and help my digestion out.
  • I did prefer the “bland” kitchari I made the first day (w/out the spices) so I may stick with that version and add cinnamon or other spices based on my preference!
  • I am making a bland batch for tomorrow and Tuesday to eat for a 1-2 meals each day

  • As far as weight loss, I didn’t lose any (this was not a goal for me) so this is definitely not a “weight loss” cleanse if you already eat pretty clean.
  • I do think this weekend helped me get more in tune with my body as well– Learning how to sense true hunger, learning that my body definitely prefers morning yoga over evening , and learning what it feels like to have a stable/calm energy all day.


  • Would I recommend it or repeat it?

  • Yes… I think it was a healthy form of cleanse that was helpful for discovering a new recipe and give the digestive system a chance to recover. It’s a good food that is filling and gives energy, which is something I enjoy about kitchari. I’d recommend at least trying it for a meal 🙂
  • I will keep incorporating kitchari in my normal diet as I feel it really helped stabilize my energy and is not expensive 🙌🏼
  • So this wasn’t “life-changing ” but it was fun to try! 🙂

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