Ever went on a juice cleanse and ended up feeling like crap, then ended up gaining weight after? That’s because it was too cooling on your digestive system and did not warm and ground your body, which is what prevents cravings. In this episode I discuss how to cleanse the Ayurvedic way and my modernized version of the Kitchari Cleanse.
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Intro and Outro Music: Silent Ganges by Maneesh de Moor
Episode 039 – How to Cleanse the Ayurvedic Way (It’s Not Juicing)
By Sahara Rose
Namaste, it’s Sahara rose, and welcome back to the “Highest Self” podcast, a place where we discuss what makes you your soul’s highest evolvement. Right now, pull out your phones an look at Instagram, because I just posted a video with Russell Simmons, and I’m mildly freaking out. So this Sunday is my book launch event, the moment that I have been waiting for, and it’s going to be at Tantris Yoga, which is Russell Simmons’ yoga studio in the heart of Hollywood. And guys, this place literally looks like it’s Rajasthan, India. It’s so beautiful. If you go on Instagram you can see on my story right now I’m showing you guys around, but it’s so ancient, there’s statues of goddesses everywhere, there’s Sanskrit written on every single stair. It’s so intentional, it’s not one of those like you walk in, have a yoga class, and leave. He really creates community there.
So this Sunday we’re going to be doing a super soul Sunday, I’m so excited because all the other people who’ve done super soul Sundays are Deepak Chopra, which is who introduced me to Russell, Marianne Williamson, and Russell himself. So literally freaking out right now. And I’m inviting all of you guys to join me. So the way the day’s going to go is at 12:00 there is a yoga class. It is an infrared heated yoga room. So you’re getting your sauna in while doing yoga, it’s totally optional. To be honest, I’m not going to do it because I’m going to get my hair done. But it’s so amazing and such a beautiful space.
Right afterwards there’s a Café Gratitude vegan brunch. Café Gratitude is the most amazing vegan food ever, and it’s going to be in their community garden. And then, a few friends of mine who are medicine women are going to be coming, they’re going to be leading us through a very special ceremony to bring in the four elements, the four directions, and really create intention and what we’re going to learn that day. And then I will be leading you guys through my “Eat Right For Your Mind Body Type” Ayurvedic workshop, teaching you all about what doshas you are, what they look like in the mind and the body, what’s the prakriti, what’s the vikriti, what if your doshas are two different things. All the question you have, I’ll be answering them.
So it’s going to be an amazing experience, really community-building because it’s so important to me. I want you guys to get to know each other because that’s how we cultivate tribe, which is what we are needing so much today. I think we all are just so separate, and it’s hard because time is such a big thing. We never have enough time that sometimes we meet people we never meet up with them again, so we need community events like this where we all come together, put our phones away, and just you know, share space. So that’s really what I’m most excited for.
So you can get those tickets on my website, iamsahararose.com, if you just click on the events on top, you can see it. It’s at Tantris Yoga, you can get it on their website, too. Pre-registration is required because they just need to know how many people are coming for the food, and all of that. And your ticket includes a free book. I’ll be signing all of the books, and the workshop, and brunch. So, for sure really, really worth it. And just like that space is so amazing, it like saves you a trip to India.
And then after that, I will be going to actual India. So I’m not really saving me a trip, I’ll be there all of December shooting photography for my next book, “Eat Feel Fresh,” which I’m just so, so, so stoked for. So keep following me on Instagram, and watch my Stories to stay tuned, and join me on that beautiful journey. Now, today’s podcast episode is not going to be about the soul, but it’s going to be about the body. Really the basis of Ayurveda. And one of the first things that people hear about when they discover Ayurveda is the kitchari cleanse. So I’ll be discussing all about what the kitchari cleanse is, how my version is different than the traditional kitchari cleanse, and how juice cleanses may not be the best thing for all people. I know I used to be one of those juice cleansers who, you know, every time I ate something bad I’d be like, “Ugh, now I have to juice cleanse,” as like a means of punishment, and it really was not right for my body. Anyone who lives in a cold environment is not really the right person to be juice cleansing.
So I’ll be discussing all about the kitchari cleanse, and I will be linking to my kitchari cleanse in the show notes, which you can find, where I have a different take on it, and you can give that a try. And I’ll be discussing all about how it’s different in this episode. So stay tuned, love you all, and hope to see you all on Sunday. Namaste.
So, most of us are probably into wellness, of course more than the average person. So if you’re in the wellness world, you’ve definitely heard of a juice cleanse. They became extremely popular about six, seven years ago, and at that time, kind of everyone was doing it. Juice bars started popping up in every corner, people started posting their stories about how they only drank juice for three days, seven days, even longer some people. Some people have done months, or however long. And juice cleanses were super glamorized, and they were kind of seen as akin to the healthiest thing that one could do for their body.
And I was also a believer of it, and it made sense. I thought, “Wow, well what better way to get all the nutrients you need by just drinking them up in a little bottle, and you don’t even have to eat anything, so you’ll probably lose lots of weight, and you’re still getting lots of nutrients.” Right? But the funny thing that happened to me and other people who have tried juice cleanses is you don’t really feel amazing. In fact, most of the time you feel kind of horrible. People feel tired, they get headaches, they get groggy, their blood sugar levels get out of balance. And many people, as soon as they’re off the juice cleanse, not only regain whatever weight they had lost, but end up in sometimes spiraling down in worst habits because they felt so restricted on that cleanse. So they go back to French fries, or whatever else they can eat because the cleanse was on such an extreme that they’re trying to kind of counterbalance their energies. Though it’s not consciously what they’re thinking about, but it’s what you’re trying to do.
So why are juice cleanses not the best thing for us? So in Ayurveda, I’m hoping you guys now all have my book, “The Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda.” If you don’t, you can find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, or Target. So in the book, I have multiple chapters dedicated to digestion. And digestion is really the premise of Ayurveda. So according to Ayurveda, it’s not that you are what you eat, but you are what you digest. And digestion is truly the key to health. Now our digestion is akin to a fire. The word in Sanskrit for digestion is actually “agni,” which is the same exact word for fire.
So you can think of our digestion like an internal fire burning inside of our bodies that’s taking foods, taking solids, burning it, turning it into energy, and emitting its waste. And that’s basically what our digestive systems are doing. Now to be healthy, we must allow our digestive fire to burn brightly. That’s what’s going to allow us to assimilate the nutrients from the food, take what we need and discard the rest in an effective matter, and that’s what health is—using what you need, getting rid of what you don’t.
Now, I want you to think of your digestion like a campfire. So imagine you’re all sitting around a campfire, overnight, and you decide to go to sleep and you leave the campfire alone. And in the morning, the campfire is burning just a little bit. You just see little, gentle flames of that fire. But it’s not burning the way that it was the night before. So imagine if on that fire, that hot fire, you pour ice water. What’s going to happen? The fire is going to go out. So this is why in Ayurveda, the most important thing you can do, especially first thing in the morning, is to gently rekindle the flames of that fire so it can burn brightly again.
So you wake up in the morning, you pour some ice cold green juice on it, or maybe coconut water, maybe a frozen fruit smoothie. And your fire, the little embers of that fire that were left go out. So then, you later on you eat another meal, but that fire is not even burning. It can’t break down the foods because it hasn’t been built up. So you eat your salad, or maybe you just keep having more juice. And again, it’s pouring cold on hot fire. So the fire becomes weaker, and weaker, and you continue this at night, and the day after, and the day after, and the day after. And for some people, they do this for years and years on end, not giving their bodies hot drinks, hot food, anything that’s warm. And our internal temperature is 98 degrees if you’ve ever taken your temperature.
But we’re feeding our bodies food that are around 32 degrees, if not colder because a smoothie has to be below 32 degrees, it’s ice. So let’s say you’re feeding your body something that’s 30 degrees. It’s frozen like a frozen banana in your smoothie, or just you froze your green juice and you’re drinking that. Imagine the energy expenditure your body has to emit to take something that was 30 degrees to 98, almost 100 degrees. That’s a 70-degree difference.
So digestion already comprises of about 80% of our daily energy expenditure. 80%, that’s crazy. Now, if we’re eating all this cold food, it has to expend extra energy that energy that it could have been using to detoxify your body, to heal your skin, to clear out your gut, to get rid of your candida. All of these things that our body needs to do to self-repair is now going towards bringing up the temperature of this freezing cold substance that you’ve introduced to your body.
So your body is not healing itself, it’s not getting rid of toxins, it’s not really breaking down the foods, but all it’s trying to do is bring up the temperature of that green juice, that smoothie, that ice cold banana, whatever it was. So, most issues that we face today—chronic constipation, bloating, gas, et cetera—all result from a low digestive fire. Because when your fire is not burning brightly, you cannot digest foods. You cannot digest foods that are good for you, that are bad for you, you can’t digest anything.
And that’s why so many of us say, “Oh, I’m eating so healthy. I’m on the cleanest diet possible, why am I still having digestive issues? Why am I not losing weight? Why do I have cystic acne? Why do I feel tired all the time?” Sound familiar? The reason is because your digestive fire is low. It’s because the foods that you’re eating, your body is not actually taking in. So you could be eating all of the kale and Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower in the world. But if your body is not breaking it down and absorbing the nutrients, it’s useless.
So why are green juices then bad? Shouldn’t green juices be good for us because there’s no fiber? Well, fiber is the foundation of any food, it’s the cell structure that holds the food together. And fiber, what it does when we ingest it is it cleanses out our gastrointestinal tract, and gets rid of “ama,” which is the Sanskrit word for toxins. Fiber is what also stabilizes our blood sugar levels. So when we digest a food, that let’s say an apple has sugars in it, but has a lot of fiber, it keeps our blood sugar levels more balanced than per se if we just ate a sugar cube that has no fiber in it. That’s why people prefer eating fruits to candy even if let’s say they had the same sugar content, still the fruit has the fiber.
So when we’re drinking a juice, what it is, is if you’ve ever juiced something, you see all of the fiber that’s left behind. And that’s actually a lot of the good stuff. Because the fiber is what’s going to stabilize our blood sugar levels. So that same apple, when you take out all of its fiber, it’s just the pure apple juice that’s going to spike up your blood sugar levels. And what that causes over time is weight gain, candida, et cetera because anything that brings up your blood sugar levels to an instable balance creates insulin resistance, and that is the cause of so many issues from brain fog, to sugar cravings, et cetera. So we want to keep our sugar levels as balanced as possible, which is why it’s always preferable to eat the whole fruit, rather than drink the juice.
The other part about juices that are not preferable in Ayurveda is the fact that there’s no heat, no cooking involved. So as I mentioned, your digestion is the fire. And green juice, not only is it cold in temperature, it’s also cooling in properties. The things that we juice are typically greens, celery, cucumber, apple, pears, different things like that. They’re all very summery, they’re all very light, and they’re all very cooling. And when you juice something, you see to get a little bit of kale juice, it can take about four pounds of kale. That’s how much kale is typically juiced in one bottle of green juice. So you’re taking in a massive amount of cooling ingredients at once. And especially if you’re vata or kapha, you already have a cold body temperature, it’s not a good idea because it’s really going to cool down your system. And again, make your digestion even weaker.
Now does that mean that we should not drink green juice? No. I believe green juice can totally be part of a healthy diet, and I still drink it all the time. But, here are my little amends to it. One: never do a juice cleanse. A juice cleanse is going to really bring down your digestive capabilities that even if you do feel some energy or something during it, it’s really because you’re giving your system a time to stop digesting, which Ayurveda also recommends. Ayurveda does recommend having periods of fasting or a kitchari cleanse—which is what I’m going to talk about—to give your body a chance to not always be breaking down hard to digest foods.
So that element of it is great, but I wouldn’t do it with juices because they’re so cooling that the damages can be worse than the pros. Second of all, I would never recommend any sort of juice that has fruit in it. So even like an apple, most green juices out there have apples, and then a lot of these that we see like Odwalla and like these like companies that are in Starbucks, I don’t even know their names, they have so much fruit in it—kiwis, mangoes, bananas—juiced, so there’s no fiber. Already, mangoes and bananas are already pretty high in sugar, let alone with no fiber it’s going to spike up your blood sugar levels.
In a juice form, if you just look at the sides, I always do whenever I’m in airports on my Instagram stories, I’m like, “Guys, this looks like a healthy juice place. Let’s take a look at how much sugar is in each bottle of juice.” And keep in mind, most juices say half of the serving size. So most of the time you’re going to have to double it. So let’s say it says 24 grams of sugar for half of the bottle, and most people drink the whole bottle, that’s 48 grams of sugar. Now of course it’s better for you than a Coke because at least it originated from plant-based foods, but it’s still a lot of sugar, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. You have candida, you have cystic ace, any issue like that. You don’t want to be taking in that much sugar with no fiber at once.
So juice cleanses, cooling, can be very high in sugar, but you can drink juices as snack kind of in between meals. Let’s say you, instead of having your typical snack, you can have a green juice, but make sure there’s no fruit in it. It’s just pure greens. And do it in the summertime, do it when it’s hot, when your body needs the cooling ingredients. Like right now, in L.A., the summer it’s been super hot, over 100 degrees many of the days, so I’ve been drinking green juices that have lots of kale, and spirulina, and celery, and cilantro, and tons and tons of different greens in it.
But, I’m also being mindful that then afterwards, as my meal I’ll have something more grounding like quinoa or sweet potatoes, or something to help still balance me out even though it’s summer because am more vata and kapha than I am pitta. But still, I can digest green juices, but I wouldn’t only drink them. I wouldn’t go on a green juice cleanse. I might do it for breakfast first thing in the morning just have that, and then later on after I’ve exercised, have something later.
But I wouldn’t only drink that throughout the day, or I wouldn’t drink it even with my meal. I would never use green juice as a water replacement. Because juice itself is food, we have to think of it as food because it does contain so, so many pounds and pounds of produce in there. Just because there’s no fiber in it doesn’t mean it’s not food. So it is something that you want to have more ideally like on an empty stomach, like if you haven’t eaten for a few hours, or that’s why I do it like let’s say after or before I exercise when I’m not kind of eating around there, but it’s not a meal replacement either.
So think of it as nourishment when you are overly hot, you need some cooling, and it’s also really beneficial for people who have had cancer. That is something that if you have cancer, or you’re trying to heal from cancer, juicing can be very beneficial for you because your body, your digestive system is so low that you can’t even break down the fibers in food. So it’s basically like a shot that you need it. So this does not apply for people who have cancer. That’s something totally else. I’m talking about healthy people who might have just weak digestive systems, who tend to run more cold, they tend to have bloating, gas, constipating, heaviness, weight gain, et cetera. Juice cleanses are not a good idea for them.
So what should we do instead? So from an Ayurvedic perspective, the best way that you can cleanse is a kitchari cleanse. Kitchari is the world’s oldest detox method. And kitchari is basically what they give you in India when you’re sick. And it typically comprises of basmati rice, which is an Indian long grain rice, with moong dal, which are called mung beans in English. They’re not actually beans, but they’re pulses, but they just call them mung beans because it’s most similar. So it’s not actually a lentil, and it’s not actually a bean, it’s a pulse—moong dal. And it’s typically cooked with ghee, which is clarified butter, with spices such as cumin, fennel, ginger, et cetera. And they have many, many different versions depending on your dosha, depending on what you need, depending on the season, et cetera.
So when I first tried a kitchari cleanse I honestly didn’t want to eat it at all because I felt like first of all, I would gain weight as someone who does have a kapha prakriti eating the rice. Rice for me spikes up my blood sugar level. So it’s not a good idea for me. Also, I didn’t want to eat ghee, I try not to use animal products, and butter, and just the taste and smell of it doesn’t appetize me. But, I wanted to be able to try this kitchari cleanse, this ancient Vedic world’s oldest detox, but doing it on my own terms, of course. So I created my own three-day kitchari cleanse.
So how is my kitchari cleanse different? Well, I created an actual e-book about it, which I’m going to list in the info section of this podcast on Soundcloud or iTunes, and I’m also going to have it in the podcast section of my website. And if you just go on iamsahararose.com, right on the top menu you’ll see kitchari cleanse, and you can click on that. So I’ve changed around the ingredients, I’m not going to tell you exactly what because I want you to get the e-book and check it out there and try it yourself. But I changed the rice for something else, I changed the ghee for something else, I added in a secret ingredient that’s not traditionally Ayurvedic, but really helps with your digestive system in an amazing way.
And I basically made it that anyone can do it. If you can’t break down beans, you have IBS, so many people have IBS and they tell me how can I do these kitchari cleanses or these Ayurvedic diets when I can’t even break down lentils or beans? Well, I got you. This ingredient that I added will make you able to have them, and mung beans again, they’re not beans, they’re pulses, and they’re so easy to digest. They’re actually the only legume in Ayurveda that’s recommended for vata, because vatas have such a hard time breaking down lentils and beans. But moog dal, mung beans, vatas even have no problem with. So with my addition, it works for vatas, it’s cooling enough for pittas, and it also doesn’t have the blood-pumping qualities of rice for kaphas.
So I’m really, really excited to share this e-book with you. If you do my 12-week program, it’s part of the 12-week program, we actually a few weeks into the program you do it, and then I help you phase out of it so you can test your food intolerances. So if you really want to immerse yourself in the experience of building up, the first week we change your breakfast, then we change your lunch, then we change your dinner. Then after you’ve done that for a few weeks, we go into the kitchari cleanse, then I show you how to test for food intolerances, test different food, see what comes up, and that way you’re able to see exactly what your body needs.
So I really believe in the power of mono mealing. Mono mealing is when you eat a certain food for a specific amount of time, and the reason it’s effective is because it allows your body to digest food better than if you were eating a wide range of ingredients at a time. So what happens is your body is just way less confused when it’s only eating one type of food than it would have been if you digested tons of different foods.
So I think about like when you go to a salad bar and you eat some lettuce, and then some croutons, and then some asparagus, and then some beats, and then you add this and that. You’re adding a hodge podge of things that are not cooked together, there’s nothing about them that’s blended together except for you’re putting them on a plate together. And what happens is your body doesn’t know what to focus on because, you know, breaking down chicken is a lot more of a laborious process that takes way more stomach acid than, for example, breaking through berries, which is like water and sugar, and should be on an empty stomach.
So let’s say you got a Waldorf salad with like chicken and strawberries. It’s a digestive mayhem. Let’s say you got a turkey sandwich, which is bread and turkey. Starches and animal products should never be combined because they require different acid levels and different enzymes for your body to digest. So we are all constantly confusing our body with a wide range of ingredients that were not meant to be consumed together. And if you go on my website, I have in my free gifts section, which you also find on the top, my food combining guide, which I really encourage you guys to download. And my food combining guide shows you what ingredients you’re supposed to eat together. Not supposed to eat fruits, even between fruits there’s a separation between acidic, sub acidic and sweet fruits. Things like leafy greens and lemons are natural can go with different categories. Animal products should never go with starches.
So I have a whole chart that I explain my version, my “Eat Right For Your Mind Body Type,” which is my unique approach to merging Ayurveda with modern nutritional science. So according to that scientific research and Ayurvedic ancient practices, I’ve created the 12 week system, and that’s the food combining guide that goes along with it. So this kitchari cleanse is the cleanse that goes along with it, it’s an infusion of east and west. So mono mealing, super important because it just gives your body a chance to digest one food at a time.
And with the kitchari, you’re cooking it all together in one pot, it’s so easy that even if you have no experience in the kitchen before, all you need is one pot, and you throw it all together, it cooks all together, and that’s it. And you can even make a batch to last you for three days if you don’t want to cook again. Ayurveda doesn’t recommend it, Ayurveda recommends cooking yourself fresh food every day, but if it’s between that and not doing it, then just cook it once, make a big batch, and have it for three days.
So kitchari is very, very unique because it’s both cleansing and strengthening. So it strengthens the digestive system, but cleanses out the toxin. So a juice cleanse, it might cleanse toxins, but it’s also de-strengthening your digestive system so then later on you’re going to get more toxins. So it’s really not helping you in the long run. It’s actually making your digestive system weaker, weaker, and weaker. Whereas the kitchari cleanse, it’s warm, it’s cooked, it comprises of real foods, it contains spices, specific spices, especially the ones I added in my version that builds up your digestive fire without disrupting your pitta. I’ve made the recipe tri-doshic, so anyone can do it regardless of their dosha constitution, prakriti or vikriti.
So our systems are tired. They’ve kept up with all the dairy, the chocolate, the gluten, the cocktails, the improper food combining, and we really need to give our bodies a chance to just focus on eating one simple warm cooked meal that requires no energy expenditure, so our bodies can finally heal themselves and do the work. Because we don’t need to go out to the spa, we don’t need to get IV shots, like we don’t need to do all of these crazy fads that are out there, and more than anything a moneymaking method for big companies. All we need is to let our bodies do the work. And it’s so simple when you just sit back and let your body heal. And your body can only heal when you give it that time and that space.
So in the kitchari cleanse, I not only have my kitchari recipe that you’ll be eating, and I explain every ingredient why, but I also show you how to do it. How you should kind of create your weekend, and the things that you’ll need, and ways that you can customize it for yourself, and what a typical day should even look like on your kitchari cleanse from breakfast, to lunch ,to what time you should sleep, what time you should wake up, what should you do if you feel hungry in between. All of that I’ve explained. I don’t want you to get intimidated, it’s only 34 pages in total. So it’s something that you can easily read in one shot and give it a try this weekend.
So I’m really excited for you to all give it a try, and I invite you to join my “Mind Body Balancers” Facebook group where maybe we can all plan a weekend to do the cleanse together, and then we can share our pictures and our journeys, and it’ll be so much fun to connect with each other. And, if you do, do it, just make sure to just hashtag #saharakitcharicleanse, and I’ll definitely share it on my Instagram Story because I love seeing your guys’ kitchari creations.
So again, you can find the kitchari cleanse on my website, iamsahararose.com, you’ll find it right on top, and yeah, and it’s just $9, it’s a 34-page PDF that explains everything, and I think you’re really going to enjoy it. So I hope this helped show you that there’s not one way to cleanse. It doesn’t mean a juice cleanse, cleansing does not have to be something horrible that you feel like crap the whole time, that you feel exhausted, that you just missed chewing food. Like no, you should feel amazing when you cleanse. You should feel more balanced, more energetic, more nourished than ever before.
Because with all of these juices it makes us way too vata, makes us way too airy, makes us unable to focus, unable to remain connected to our bodies, connected to earth, connected to our cores. And the last thing we all need is to be even more vata imbalanced because I think most of us struggle with that. So the kitchari cleanse is going to balance all three doshas, whatever your dosha is it’s going to bring you back into balance. Going to allow your body a chance to refresh. You’re going to notice you have better skin, your hair is growing better, your body’s just breaking down foods better.
And the best thing about it is you don’t have to just do it for three days. Like three days is the bare minimum, but I encourage you to do it longer. It’s real food, you’re probably getting more nutrients on the kitchari cleanse than you do in your every day life because you’re getting all three macronutrients, you’re getting proteins, you’re getting fats, you’re getting carbs. You’re getting the perfect balance of the three of them, which is what makes it so effective. You’re not going to have cravings anymore because it has all six tastes in the ingredients because of all the amazing spices it has.
I’ve created it so it only uses spices that you can find in your local grocery store—Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Amazon, wherever you shop. I did not include the very specific Indian spices that only exist there that no one’s familiar with, that smell really strongly because I want it to be able to be something that anyone can do. Whether you live in a college dorm, whether you have ten kids and have no time for yourself, whatever it is, anyone can do this cleanse.
So this is my gift to you, I’m so excited to share this with you, you can get the e-book on my website, and I’m so excited and looking forward for us to all do it together as a group, and I think that would be so much fun to kind of share our journeys together, and hold each other accountable, and just spread the kitchari love. So thank you guys so much for listening, and I look forward to speaking to you again. Namaste.
Episode 039 – How to Cleanse the Ayurvedic Way (It’s Not Juicing)