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November 10, 2008

Kichadee Fast

If you feel like doing an internal spring clean I thought I'd type up my own variation of a fast, which is really more like a mono-diet, cause I'm not of the weight and strength to withstand anything stronger. Whilst this is a very mild fast, make sure your blood pressure is stable, and only fast at a time when you can allow yourself to rest. Fasting should include some level of withdrawal from all wordly things, not just food, so take a break from a busy schedule too.

Kicharee (also spelled kichadi and kidgedee and... in true Indian fashion) forms the backbone of an Ayurvedic diet. I don't know of an illness that can not benefit from kichadee. Basically it's mung dahl and basmati cooked together with various seasonings. Choose seasonings to balance you dosha.

I haven't included a standard recipe for kicharee, because if you aren't familiar with Ayurvedic cooking you might find this fast difficult! If you don't know how to make kicharee, look up some recipes and get to know how to make it and how you like it before trying this out.

It begins with a watery mung dahl soup, and becomes more solid as the week progresses. Each day is the same as the last with something added or taken away. You can aid your body with cleansing by taking triphla as appropriate.

You can eat as much as you feel like, but as always, over or under eating is discouraged, your stomach should be about a third full. Small regular meals are generally advised, especially for Vata. If you need to eat alot you might need to cook a second (or even third) batch to get you through the day. If you go out take your food with you in a thermos.

To help you stay well hydrated, you can also drink:
  • Warm water
  • Rice tea (cook rice in plenty of water and drink the warm liquid only)
  • A little hot water with lemon, jaggary and himalayan rock salt (not for pitta)
Even for a time after you break your fast, especially avoid:
  • coffee, alcohol, cigarettes etc
  • refined sugar, refined wheat
  • processed foods
  • cold food
Day One
Eat normally, but lightly. Eat Kichadee for dinner around six and have an early night.

Day Two
Cook one cup of hulled mung dahl with eight cups of water and a teaspoon of Himalayan rock salt. When the dahl is completely disintegrated add some cumin powder, tumeric powder and coriander leaves. Add some more water if it is not soupy. Eat as frequently as you need.

Day Three
Same again, but fry the cumin in a little ghee before adding, and use a little less water.

Day Four
Use a little less water again, add a little more ghee and you can add some more spices if you like as appropriate for your dosha.

Day Five
Add 1/2 cup of white basmati rice to your dahl and cook together. You can add more rice if you need more sustenence, or less rice if you are getting a little constipated.

Day Six
Break your fast at lunchtime with a little butternut pumpkin, zucchini and one chappati. Eat your day five meal again for dinner and then slowly introduce your normal diet over the next few days.

If you want a longer fast you can sustain day four or five for a few days and then continue chronologically. I hope this isn't too vague, it's written for people with some knowledge and experience of Ayurveda and Ayurvedic cooking, rather than a total beginner. Let me know if you have any questions.

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