After a few more days of intense heat and humidity, the change in the air is palpable here in New England. Fall is arriving, and with it come changes in our schedules and lifestyles. Children head back to school, and many of us find our to-do lists getting longer as we move into a busier time of year. Autumn weather brings cooler, drier air and shorter days. These changes are reflected in our bodies as well. In Ayurveda, an ancient Indian system of health, fall is said to be ruled by the energy of air and ether, and these qualities in our environments are reflected in our bodies. As the season changes, you may experience dry skin and joints, earaches, increased anxiety, or digestive issues such as constipation, gas, or bloating. Happily, antidotes to many of these issues can be found through eating a seasonal, local diet consisting of fresh vegetables and grains. You may notice that as fall progresses the produce available becomes heavy, moist, and more grounding (think all those beautiful fall squash, as well as apples and root vegetables). These qualities in food help to ground and nourish our bodies as they prepare for the cold weather ahead.
Ayurveda also encourages cleansing at the turn of the seasons as a way of clearing out accumulated toxins and allowing the body and mind to reset before the new season takes hold. Doing a gentle cleanse which does not stress the body is a wonderful way to re-energize and to boost immunity, especially as we head into cold and flu season. If you find yourself feeling sluggish or not your best, it is the perfect time to offer your body a re-set. While there are thousands of cleanses available, Ayurveda offers a unique and simple way of supporting the body with kitchari, a traditional stew made of mung beans, basmati rice, and spices. This combination is light and very easily digested but also very nourishing. The specific combination of spices has been used over the centuries to offer the greatest support to the digestive system, which plays a vital role in the immunity of the body. Eating kitchari helps give your digestive system the chance to scrub out toxins which can prevent the immune system from functioning optimally. Kitchari is easy to prepare and can be made even more delicious through the addition of seasonal produce. In the coming weeks, we are offering a special kitchari kit (a KIT-chari if you will) to help you start the fall season in your best health!
There are a number of ways to do a kitchari cleanse. Traditionally, one would eat kitchari for every meal for three to seven days to allow the body to clean and reset. This is a wonderful choice if you are willing to commit to a few days or a week of a mono-diet. However, you can still reap the benefits of kitchari even if you only eat it for one meal each day for three to seven days (or longer…kitchari is my breakfast of choice throughout the fall and winter). In this case, it’s best to choose fresh, in-season vegetables and grains for your other meals and to eliminate sugar, dairy, caffeine and animal products for the time of your cleanse. The other kits available through Al FreshCo would be ideal for complimenting the kitchari cleanse!
As we offer the kitchari, I’ll be offering more suggestions on how to support yourself through a cleanse via this blog. If you are interested in more personalized attention or in learning more about Ayurveda and how it can help you to live a more vibrant, healthful life, I offer individual consultations and would be happy to work with you! I can be reached at [email protected]