Ayurvedic Diet & Digestion School
1. Use split mung bean if possible.
2. Soak the mung beans for several hours before cooking and drain.
3. Bring the mung beans and 4 cups of water to a boil, scooping off any foam that forms on the top. Then, strain out the liquid, and add another 4c to the mung dal.
4. Meanwhile mash the ginger with a mortar and pestle, or slice thinly. Set the mustard seed aside. Mix the remaining spices together with 1 tsp water, making a paste.
5. Fry the mustard seeds in ghee until they begin to pop.
6. Add the spice paste, spreading it in the pan, and fry for thirty seconds.
7. Add the spices to mung bean. Take some of the broth and wash any remaining spices from the frying pan into the simmering mung bean.
8. After an hour, or when mung beans begin to soften add rice and another cup of water.
9. Cook until tender on low heat for 20-25 minutes.
Increases These Qualities (Gunas)
Ayurveda helps you assess how you feel through the 20 main therapeutic feelings or qualities called gunas. Through the gunas you can articulate, experience and develop sensitivity to the signals your body sends you. Imbalanced gunas are the root of your imbalances. Every guna has an opposite which balances is (i.e. hot balances cold). You create balance by favoring diet and lifestyle choices that increase the opposite guna.
The 6 Tastes
Taste has meaning in Ayurveda, and brings physical and emotional changes to your body. Taste is experienced on the tongue and is your body's reaction to foods much in the same way that your emotions are mental reactions to experiences. Sweet taste causes physical satisfaction and attraction whereas bitter taste causes discomfort and aversion. Kapha should use less sweet taste while Vata and Pitta would benefit from using more sweet taste. One of the first signs of illness is that your taste and appetite for food changes. The six tastes are sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent. Do you crave foods with any of the tastes below? Food and herbs with the following tastes could aggravate your symptoms.
The Three Doshas / Body Types
Your body type shows how your strengths, as well as how your body typically goes out of balance. It also shows how your body responds to the environment. Your body type is comprised of certain qualities and affects every part of you - your physical and mental characteristics as well as your personal strengths and weaknesses. This is because your body type is based on how your body uses energy. Ayurveda has 3 body types (doshas), called Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Vata spends energy. Pitta burns energy. Kapha stores energy. Vata people tend to be easily stimulated, hyperactive, underweight and dry. Pitta people tend to be hot, focused, driven, and easily inflamed. Kapha people are heavy, stable and grounded, but if they store too much energy, they could gain weight easily and have congestion.
HAS THE FOLLOWING
SATTVICSattvic foods promote awareness and a refreshed mind by nourishing the body without taxing digestion. Sattvic foods do not stimulate desire or nervous energy. They create clarity instead of drowsiness or heaviness.
ALKALIZINGAn herb or food that makes the urine more alkaline (higher pH). This herbal action can be helpful for a number of inflammatory conditions.
PRANAPrana is the Sanskrit word for vital life energy, similar to Qi in Chinese Medicine. Many herbs stimulate your energy, or improve the flow of prana through your body. Generally, prana needs to be increased in spring after a sleepy winter.
OJASOjas is the essence of healthy tissue, immunity, stable energy and happiness. Substances that improve ojas are recommended after lon-term illness, debility, emotional and physical trauma, and even sadness.
TEJASHerbs that increase tejas improve metabolism & brightness by stimulating the fire element at a cellular level. Destroys toxicity, excess fluids, & improves digestion. Also helps with mental function such as poor memory, lack of inspiration & depression.
TYPE Beans Legumes
|Bone & Joint|
ANTIARTHRITICHerbs that ease arthritic pain and promote joint health.
DIGESTIVEHerbs that encourage healthy digestive.
CARMINATIVEStimulates the release of gas. Helpful for bloating or cramping abdominal pain. Propels food downward.
ANTISPASMODICHerbs that reduce or inhibit muscle spasms or cramping, such as in asthma, colic or IBS.
|Cleanse and Detox|
DETOXICANTAn herb that eliminates or metabolizes toxins from the body.
BURNS-TOXINSAn herb that detoxifies by helping your body metabolize toxins, as opposed to eliminating them.
|Energy Vitality Strength|
STIMULATES-ENERGYThis category groups thyroid and adrenal stimulating herbs
|Heart & Circulation|
VASODILATORA vasodilator is an herb that widens the blood vessels by the relaxation of smooth muscle cells within the vessel walls, thereby increasing circulation systemically or to a local area.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORYReduces inflammation in the body. Different herbs and carriers target different body systems.
|Kidney & Urinary|
DIURETICHerbs that promote urine formation, thereby flushing the kidneys and urinary tract while eliminating any excess water retention. As diuretics reduce water retention, they are often used to reduce blood pressure.
|Liver & Gall Bladder|
CHOLAGOGUECholagogues stimulate the release of bile from the gall bladder for improved digestion.
|Lung and Sinus|
FLUSHES-SINUSESAn herb that relieves sinus congestion by flushing out mucus.
GALACTAGOGUEIncreases production of breast milk.
EMMENOGOGUEHerbs which stimulate blood flow in the pelvic area and uterus. They are used to increase scanty menstruation, relieve menstrual pain, and other functions.
INDUCES-OVULATIONHerbs that encourage ovulation.
About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.
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There are many variations of kitchari. Your suggestions are good ones. Adding cooked garlic and onion can help sedate Vata.
Plantains could create a food combination for weak digestion. If your intent is to enjoy kitchari and you can digest it, plantains are an exciting variation. Otherwise, if you are using kitchari to cleanse, I would stick with the simpler version presented here. If you find you need some variety, try adding carrots, kale, or coconut flakes.
Mung beans are easier to digest than most other beans. Unless your digestion is very weak, most Vata types can handle split mung dal. The spices also help. Vata people should include the mung beans in this recipe.
Thank you everybody for your comments, questions, and suggestions.
Warm Regards, John