Spring is when everything starts anew and flourishes. It is the time of lambs, green leaves on the trees, new ideas and inspiration. It is also the perfect time for a spring cleaning. As soon as the daffodils show themselves I get the spring jitters. I plan in a day or two where I can get rid of everything in my house that doesn’t inspire or support me or that doesn’t make me happy anymore. I sort through all my stuff, I give stuff away and I clean.
Besides cleaning my home, I also feel the need to do an internal cleansing, a mild cleanse. Mild because it can still be cold this time of the year and because my energy is a bit on the low side this shortly after winter.
Just like in Autumn, I prefer to do the Kitchadi Cleanse. This a mild Ayurvedic cleanse, where you will only eat Kitchadi for a couple of days. So, it is a mono-diet: You eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner. During the rest of the day, you drink herbal tea or warm water with ginger and lemon juice. This way you will give your digestion system a rest and your body will get the chance to get rid of unwanted toxins.
If this is your first time doing a cleanse or if your normal diet isn’t very conscious, please read the pre-cleanse blog from Marlene Smits first. This is to ensure you can do a cleanse in a healthy and safe way.
It is easy to keep doing the Kitchadi cleanse because you are, in fact, eating. You do not have to take off work or suffer hunger for this cleanse. If you have eaten/drank a lot of coffee, sugar or alcohol in the days before the cleanse you might get headaches, a metallic flavour in your mouth or high rising emotions (like irritation and grief). With the physical complaints, it will help to drink more warm water or tea.
You can do the cleanse for 2 to 7 days. So, you will have to decide for yourself to do either a short fasting period or a long one.
- 1 ½ cups mung beans or yellow lentils
- 1 cup of brown rice
- Apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 3 -5 finely chopped garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon fine chopped ginger
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 stems of kombu (a kind of seaweed, optional)
- 6 – 12 cups of water (depending on how soup-like you want your Kitchadi)
- Add at least 2 cups of vegetables of your choice, like zucchini, rocket, spinach, broccoli, fennel etc.
- Tamari or salt to taste
- Fresh coriander
Soak the mung beans or lentils with the brown rice in water for 4 – 8 hours with a splash of apple vinegar. Drain, wash and put aside while you get the other ingredients.
Melt some coconut oil in a large pan. Add the finely chopped garlic and let it brown on a low heat. Add the turmeric, coriander, oregano, cinnamon and the bay leaf. Add the beans or lentils, the brown rice and stir well. Add the ginger, kombu and the water. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let it simmer until the beans/lentils and the rice are soft. They must almost fall apart. This normally takes about 40 minutes, depending on the brand and how long you have soaked the beans/lentils and rice. Add the chopped vegetables and let it simmer for another 5 minutes until the vegetables are cooked. Add some water if the Kitchadi is getting too dry. Taste and add tamari or salt to taste. Garnish with fresh coriander.
You can go all day with this recipe, depending on how hungry you are. In the evening you start with soaking the beans/lentils and rice again for the next day.
During the cleanse it is nice to take extra care of yourself by doing yoga and/or meditation every day (like this practice from Eline van de Kam), dry brush yourself (yup, as the word says: you massage yourself with a dry, soft brush), make an appointment for a massage, keep a journal and make long walks.
If you think the Kitchadi cleanse is a bit too much you can do an even milder cleanse by changing the diet. This extra mild cleanse you do for 1 day. During this cleanse you give your body a boost by eating mostly (raw) vegetables and fruits. This way you receive a lot of extra vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Just like with the Kitchadi cleanse you do all the supportive things but you will use these recipes.
Start your day with a nettle smoothie! Nettles contain large quantities of vitamin A, B and C. They also contain a lot of antioxidants and different kinds of minerals.
Because the vitamin C enhances the absorption of the large quantity of iron in nettles, this plant is recommended for people who are dealing with fatigue and/or anaemia. It also helps with skin rashes, acne, sores and greasy skins and hair because of the purification quality. It is also great for people who suffer from psoriasis or eczema. Nettles also strengthen hair, nails and help against hair loss, bad hair growth and brittle nails.
Nettles are also being used to lessen the symptoms of gout and rheumatism or prevent it all together. Thanks to the presence of easily absorbable calcium, nettles also help to produce cartilage and strengthen bones.
Always use hand gloves when you pick nettles and only take the tip of the plant. If you do get stung by the nettle, rub the crushed leaves of plantain (goosegrass) or ground ivy on the blisters. These plants often grow near nettles.
Recipe Nettle Smoothie
- 2 bananas
- 2 cups of cherries
- 5 cups of washed nettles
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cups of rice milk
Put all ingredients in given order into the blender. Mix until smooth. Pour the smoothie into 4 large glasses.
Carrot Coconut Soup
As a lunch, you can make this carrot coconut soup. This recipe is for 2 people.
- 5 middle-sized carrots
- 2 spoons of miso paste
- 1 tablespoon of ume paste
- 5 dates without a kernel
- 1 – 2 red peppers with kernels
- 1 can of organic coconut milk
- 1 cup of boiled water
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
Chop the washed carrots into small dices. Mix the carrots with the rest of the ingredients in a blender until you get a creamy, smooth soup. Serve in nice bowls with some fresh mint leaves.
Raw Apple Pie
If you feel like a snack or a dessert make a raw apple pie. This is how you make it.
- 2 1/1 cups of almond flour
- 1 cup of dates without kernels
- ¼ – ½ teaspoon of salt
- 3 apples
- 1 cup of dates (soaked in water for 10 minutes)
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ginger powder
- A pinch of nutmeg
Mix all ingredients in a food processor or a powerful blender until you have a sticky dough. Start with the smallest amount of salt and add to taste. The dough is ready when you can make little, firm balls. When the dough is too dry, add more dates. Put the dough in a springform and press it down with your hands until you have a smooth, even cake bottom.
Make the filling. Mix all the ingredients in a food processor or a powerful blender. You can make the filling as smooth or as rough as you’d like. I love it when the filling is in between rough and smooth. Spoon the filling on the bottom and smooth with a knife or the convex side of a spoon. Put the pie in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. Serve with cinnamon powder, rough cut almonds and raw cacao nibs.
Sprouts, Radishes & Avocado Salad
For dinner, you make a satisfying and hearty salad, like this one from my book ‘With a Pinch of Yoga’. It is a great recipe to balance out your Kapha in the spring, it gives you a lot of energy, it is full of vitamins and enzymes, and brings out the best of all the ingredients.
- ½ cup buckwheat
- 3 large handfuls lamb’s lettuce
- 1 large handful alfalfa sprouts
- 1 bunch of radishes
- 1 avocado
- 1 large handful fresh coriander
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 ½ tablespoons water
- 1 ½ tablespoons tamari
- Soak the buckwheat in plenty of water, for at least four hours.
- Drain, rinse and put in a glass jar. Set aside. For two days, rinse and drain with fresh water, twice a day.
- After two days, the buckwheat will have sprouted. Set sprouted buckwheat aside while you prepare the salad.
- In a large bowl or four smaller bowls, place the lamb’s lettuce. Put the buckwheat and alfalfa on top.
- Cut the radishes into thin slices and put on top of the sprouts.
- In a small food processor or using an immersion blender, blend the avocado, coriander, lime juice, water and tamari until it is smooth, creamy and thick. Spoon it on top of the salad. Garnish with coriander leaves.
Whether you are doing a long or a short cleanse, the Kitchadi or the raw cleanse: drink and exercise enough, cook with love, eat mindfully and especially: enjoy. Enjoy spring as well as the cleanse.
Text: Irina Verwer
Images: Irina Verwer