The Kitchari Cleanse is a common protocol for detoxification in Ayurveda. Although it is widely practiced, there are many different methods of administration depending on the needs of the individual. Therefore it is essential to establish any disorder or imbalance that is currently present in order to gain the most out of your cleanse, and more importantly avoid further complications.
The most basic Kitchari Cleanse involves solely going on a Kitchari fast for an allotted amount of days, typically about 3-7. A more in depth Kitchari Cleanse will include the mono-diet of Kitchari, plus add in some powerful detoxifying herbal treatments such as Tikta Ghrita and Triphala Churna. Ideally this would also include oileation treatments with medicated oils and routine sweating through sauna and ginger baths. These Ayurvedic formulations and practices compliment the dietary cleanse, working to remove toxins at a much deeper level. With the multitude of treatment options the Kitchari Cleanse has to offer, it is important that you discover the best options for you and your current state of imbalance.
Ideally, the first step for planning your Kitchari Cleanse will be to discover your predominent dosha or simply put, your Ayurvedic body-type (i.e. Vata, Pitta, Kapha). Secondly you will want to determine which dosha is most detrimentally out of balance. Once you have discovered this information, you can then begin to chose a cleansing plan that will be appropriate for you and your specific needs. For example, if a skinny-mini Vata type is trying to treat constipation, anxiety and dryness; their cleanse should look much different then a Kapha type that is looking to decrease heaviness and obstruction and increase metabolism. Therefore, this information is extremely necessary for performing an Ayurvedic cleansing program to avoid increasing the dosha and the imbalance further.
I can only give you so much guidance in such a general article, but hopefully I can shed some light on which direction may be best for you during your cleanse. Here I will share with you some of the basics when treating Vata, Pitta and Kapha during your Kitchari Cleanse.
Vata Kitchari Cleanse
If you have a Vata constitution or a strong Vata imbalance, then you will want to make sure your cleanse will be nourishing to Vata and the kinetic qualities it possesses.
Indications for a Vata Kitchari Cleanse:
- Chronic gas and bloating
- Anxiety, worry, fear
- Insomnia or other restless sleep issues
- Chronic weakness or exhaustion
- Brown, grey or black coating on tongue
Since Vata is light and airy by nature, it is very important to make sure the cleanse is not overly depleting for these sensitive individuals. Although kitchari should be the highlight of the mono-diet, it may be beneficial for Vata-types to add hearty, rooty veggies along with lots of warming spices and nourishing oils. This will help to keep Vata grounded during the cleanse and prevent over-depletion. It is very important to keep in mind the length of the cleanse as Vata-types typically do better with shorter cleanses. Anywhere from 3-5 days may be best, especially if you are already dealing with low weight and low energy.
Pitta Kitchari Cleanse
If you have a Pitta constitution or a strong Pitta imbalance, then you will want to make sure your cleanse will be calming to Pitta and the sharp qualities it possesses.
Indications for a Pitta Kitchari Cleanse:
- Loose stools or diarrhea
- Hyperacidity or chronic heartburn
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Excessive anger, criticism, judgement
- Skin issues such as acne, eczema, psoriasis or rash
- Liver, gallbladder or spleen issues
- Excessive heat in the body or blood
- Yellow, orange or reddish coating on tongue
Since Pitta is hot, sharp and penetrating by nature, it is very important to make sure the cleanse is cooling and calming for these intense individuals. Although kitchari should be the highlight of the mono-diet, it may be beneficial for Pitta-types to add cooling ingredients such as lime, cilantro and ghee. This will help to keep Pitta balanced during the cleanse without increasing the heat and inflammation further. In terms of length for the Kitchari Cleanse, Pitta-types typically do best with a moderate length ranging from 5-7 days. Excessive cleansing can lead to over-active digestion, loose stools, malabsorption of nutrients and depletion.
Kapha Kitchari Cleanse
If you have a Kapha constitution or a strong Kapha imbalance, then you will want to make sure your cleanse will reduce Kapha and the heavy qualities it possesses.
Indications for a Kapha Kitchari Cleanse:
- Excessive weight
- Sluggish digestion, slow metabolism
- Subjective feeling of heaviness
- Dull, foggy mind
- Low motivation
- Excessive sleep
- Chronic allergies
- Chronic congestion
- Candida or chronic yeast infections
- Thick, white coating on the tongue
Since Kapha is heavy, stagnant and dull by nature (when out-of-whack), it is very important to make sure the cleanse is lightening, stimulating and heating for these slower, sluggish individuals. Although kitchari should be the highlight of the mono-diet, it is highly recommended to avoid all rice products including basmati or brown, as these will increase the heavy, sticky qualities that is already prevalent in most Kapha imbalances. Instead Kapha-types will do best with either a lighter grain such as millet or quinoa, or they can avoid grains all together and stick to a simple mung dahl and veggie mono-diet. Kapha-types need to use oil in moderation and should not exceed 1 tsp per meal. They should instead incorporate a copious amount of heating spices such as Trikatu, dry ginger and brown mustard seed. This will help to keep Kapha balanced during the cleanse, increasing the digestive fire and preventing further obstruction and heaviness. In terms of length for the Kitchari Cleanse, Kapha-types can typically handle a prolonged cleanse and should do a minimum of 7-10 days if possible.