Ayurveda

  • 82: Kitchari Cleanse, Emotional Release

    The aftermath of what can happen after a kitchari cleanse: emotional clearing and release. Phi touches on what emerged in terms of her emotions, shadow self and aspects of self as well as touches on themes of conscious partnerships: polarity, masculine and feminine energy, feminine testing and being all of who you truly are in a relationship.

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  • 81: Kitchari Cleanse, Feminine Emotional Expression and Sacred Rage

    In this episode Phi shares her experience on what it was like to do a 3 day kitchari cleanse for a physical and spiritual detox. It covers what kitchari is, how it stems from the Ayurveda and the emotional journey of doing a cleanse. As a result what surprisingly came through was feminine emotional expression and in turn sacred rage.

    1:1 coaching inner child healing

    Hello beautiful soul, 

    It’s been a wonderful week here in my world! In particular working with beautiful clients and it’s so intriguing and special to be privileged to work 1:1 with incredible souls and being able to see patterns emerge within sessions too. 

    This week thematically for clients it’s been about career shifts, looking for jobs and inner child work and healing. What’s really at the core of all of this has been empowering clients to be in their power when it comes to their career and being a kind, loving and respectful custodian and protector to their inner child. As a result of working together I’ve seen clients in their own businesses step up their boundaries and let go of what’s no longer aligned in their business, start job searches despite resistance in the form of imposter syndrome and ego, support career moves and transitions into a different industry and reconnect with their inner child in need of love, acknowledgement and support. 

    1:1 coaching dating and being single

    As I speak and reflect in real time, another theme that’s come through is relationships in coaching sessions whether it’s helping a client work through a decision to break up or not going through decision and analysis paralysis as well as riding the emotional waves that comes with contemplating a break up: fear, sadness, regret which can be so hard and challenging to go through alone. 

    I’ve also witnessed with so much pride a client in her three month coaching package, midway through powerfully choose herself and vision for love, part ways with a man who couldn’t fully commit to her and is now dating again with more conscious awareness and stronger boundaries to ensure that now she is dating again, that she won’t doesn’t get dragged in dating someone for a while with commitment. It’s so exciting to hear she’s started dating someone new, having gone from a year dating without commitment, working with his work and life schedule over hers to now opening up coaching conversations about how her values and boundaries at the forefront of her mind. Proud coach moment!

    Having talked about all these beautiful moments if you are feeling the pull, looking for more guidance and support in your life, I invite you to consider 1:1 coaching, I do have spots available more information on my website or please get in touch via Instagram to set up a free 30 minute call to chat, see if we are aligned and how I can help you.

    Full moon solstice food cleanse

    Collectively what else I’ve noticed was the impact of that powerful Capricorn full moon and solstice. I asked you guys and everyone who voted on the Instagram poll agreed, there was some funky, dense and potent energy around. 

    With full moon energy it is all about releasing and letting go and so I’ve actually been on a cleanse for the past week, two different ones and today I am going to chat about the first half of the cleanse I have been doing. Before I begin, I wanted to be clear that I am sharing my own research and lived experiences. I encourage you to please use your own discernment. I am not a medical professional and what I share here is not intended to replace professional medical or dietary advice. Please always consult with a professional healthcare practitioner. Using my own discernment doing this ayurvedic kitchari cleanse was a whole body yes yes yes and then double checked with my own research and speaking to an Ayurvedic practitioner whether it was appropriate and suitable for me.

    Why go on a physical dietary cleanse?

    So why am I going on a cleanse you may be thinking. I surprised my partner with a recent getaway and we had so much yummy, delicious, rich food and whilst I always prioritise my spiritual, emotional and mental health, I am now broadening that to ensure I make my physical health more of a priority too because I am guilty for example of foregoing exercise to coach or work on my business. So I embarked on a cleanse but not as you know it. 

    Typically when I think of a cleanse, I think of a juice one. Those close to me know that I do not do well when I am hungry. I am going to own it and say I get really hangry. BADLY. Like I feel so irritated, faint and when I do I am more likely to get fired up and frustrated over sad girl-ing. A juice cleanse from my perspective feels strong, intensive and very restrictive. Given I had no urgency physically nor a desire I opted to do a more simple, straight forward and gentle cleanse where I was still regularly eating however it’s obviously scaled down significantly what one would eat day to day. 

    Support with a physical diet and cleanse

    The cleanse I did was called a Kitchari Cleanse and that was for 3 days. Please note I also did it with the support and guidance of an Ayurvedic practitioner. Being a life coach you know how important that is to me and so whilst I could have chosen to do it unsupervised, that wasn’t my vibe given I am no expert in food and wellness plus I’ve not done a cleanse before so I wasn’t sure what may come up or happened so it felt so good for me to feel safe and supported and so  invested in support.

    What is kitchari?

    So what is Kitchari? Before I can explain what kitchari is, let me share it’s foundations for you. It stems from the Ayurveda which is a long existing, traditional medical system that originated in India many thousands of years ago. The term “Ayurveda” is derived from the Sanskrit words “Ayur” (life) and “Veda” (knowledge), meaning “knowledge of life” or “science of life.” It focuses on achieving balance and harmony within the body, mind, and spirit through natural means.

    What is Ayurveda?

    Whilst I had heard of ayurveda before, this is one of my first experiences using Ayurveda and it’s no surprise to me given as you know in March I was on a spiritual retreat in India. What Ayurveda is would and will be a whole other episode but key principles of it include the use of five key elements (ether/space, air, fire, water and earth). This then forms three primary life force energies known as doshas. Vata (space and air), Pitta (fire and water), and Kapha (water and earth). Each person has a unique combination of these doshas, which determines their physical and mental characteristics. Ayurveda takes a holistic natural approach and one key concept within it is that of balance and imbalance. 

    Kitchari is soul food and healing

    Kitchari is a well known one Ayurvedic dish often eaten for detoxifying and cleansing. It’s a simple and nourishing meal. I think of it as the equivalent to chicken soup known to be Jewish penicillin or in my culture growing up with Vietnamese and Chinese heritage, I had cháo – Vietnamese Rice porridge. Food for the soul and so good when you’re feeling sick or wanting some mum energy of love and support. 

    What is kitchari made of?

    Kitchari is made from rice and beans, there are many different variations depending what rice you use, beans, whether you include additions like vegetables. I had a kitchari with just white basmati rice, split yellow moong dal and spices such as turmeric and ginger cooked in ghee. The reason for this is at its core Kitchari is easy and gentle for your your body to digest, giving your digestive system a break. 

    White rice is preferred in a kitchari cleanse as brown rice has it’s natural outer layer still on which is fibrous however harder for your digestive system to break down (the opposite intended effect of the kitchari cleanse). Split mung beans have the skin removed so again it’s easier for your body to digest. In ayurveda they are known to be the more easy to digest legume with detoxifying properties, anti inflammatory, low GI and rich in antioxidants. 

    Whilst kitchari is only rice and beans, the combination provides all the amino acids to be a complete protein. This way unlike say a full fast or juice cleanse, your blood sugar levels remain stable and supported so that you don’t get nervous system crashes and feeling light, delirious even. It’s so gentle that in India it’s a popular food for babies to eat as well as elders. Gentle as in to eat not to fast for babies and elders!

    How does a kitchari cleanse work?

    So how does a kitchari cleanse work? It’s typically done at least 3 days, though from what I’ve researched and hear, even just having it as a one off meal is beneficial. 3 days felt like ideal, reasonable and achievable for me. It’s a mono diet meaning for 3 days I had kitchari for breakfast, lunch and dinner (again this helps your digestive system as it’s processing the same food giving it simplicity in digesting). In between I had plenty of water, herbs as well as a detox tea from my Ayurvedic practitioner.

    What I loved was that kitchari supported me in still being able to live a normal day to day as I wasn’t hangry and did have energy. With full transparency I did opt to have less work during the three days of cleansing because I am fortunate to be in a position where that is possible. I know they do Kitchari cleanses on retreats, this would be even more of a luxury because you’d have someone else cook it and be away from day to day life duties and concerns. It’s still possible to do day to day with work given you are still eating three meals a day unlike an intense fast or juice cleanse. 

    Benefits of a kitchari cleanse

    When researching a kitchari cleanse, some benefits include: 

    • Digestive Health: Giving your body a break with an easy to digest meal. The spices in kitchari such as ginger have properties that sooth your digestive track, reduce inflammation, soothe your intestines and bowels, and prevent/ease discomforts such as gas and bloating. Moreover you have better waste elimination.
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    • Detoxification: Removing heaviness, toxins and congestion in the body. As a result you may have more mental clarity, energy and clearer skin.
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    • Nutrition: The simplicity of kitchari is easier for your body to absorb nutrients.
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    • Balance: Spiritually your doshas (life force energies), your eating habits and patterns too.
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    • All in all overall health, wellbeing, increased energy and vitality. 

    Pre cleanse - Kitchari

    Do note that with doing a cleanse there is pre and post practices that are important to take into account too. It’s advised in the week or at least a few days prior to the kitchari cleanse to reduce and remove processed foods, dairy and animal products, refined sugars, alcohol, caffeine, tobacco and substances.

    It’s also best to do the cleanse when you are not on your period, extremely busy or stressed, travelling extensively or any other intense times in your life as this isn’t the ideal environment for a cleanse and could cause more harm than good.

    I started on a Saturday so I had a quiet weekend plus the Monday following off client calls but still doing voxer (messages in between clients) and business admin.

    Day One, First Day - Kitchari Cleanse

    The kitchari cleanse isn’t just the food itself, it comes with a daily ritual as well. I loved gaining insight into different aspects from the kitchari cleanse which I have continued to implement on a daily basis in my life too. 

    For example the cleanse encourages a morning routine and structure which includes tongue scraping (which I love since a young girl my dad got me into this) and drinking warm water to start the day. The tongue scraping which I already did pre cleanse rids you of built up accumulated bacteria and the warm water I feel has made a huge difference to starting up my digestive system for the day. So simple yet so effective. 

    It’s also advised to eat around the same time everyday and stick to three meals only (no snacking in between). I’m a flow person so I do find it hard to eat exactly the same time everyday and at the end of the cleanse still felt tremendous benefits. I also realised I didn’t need to snack in between meals because I wasn’t actually hungry.

    Kitchari cleanse being hungry and angry

    At night when I went to bed, I did start to feel pangs of hunger. Now that I’ve finished the cleanse, I think this is because I had been eating huge portions and so it was more mental because I did end up falling asleep quite quickly after whereas in the past when I felt pangs of hunger, I could not sleep until I got up out of bed and had a small snack (yup guilty of eating cheese and crackers, risking it with the weird dreams they say you can have before bed).

    What I also distinctly remembered was the feeling of anger arising in my body, sitting heavily in my jaw. There was nothing in my life particularly that angered me but it was interesting to note.

    Can you see and feel the benefits of a kitchari cleanse quickly? Day two

    I started to feel and see the differences in my body already. Even my partner did, we both agreed I wasn’t bloated and my belly was soft. If you’re like me and love food you know when you eat a lot or perhaps something your body does not agree with, when I get that way, my belly balloons and triples in size feeling really tough and hard to touch. 

    My partner and I were out and about so I ended up having five hours between breakfast and lunch. I was definitely hungry but given the circumstances and usually how I feel when I am hungry both my partner and I were surprised I wasn’t typically exhibiting my hanger symptoms e.g. moody, grumpy and short. Usually I wouldn’t even last five hours without food, I’d experience severe emotional swings and physical hunger pains. What’s interesting was that my partner said he couldn’t tell and I seemed really calm, grounded and centered. 

    I should also note you are meant to make kitchari fresh every meal or at least the batch for the day at the beginning of the day. I didn’t have a thermos at the time, I wish I did and I now do, because then I could’ve eaten whilst we were out. Having a quiet weekend helped because I would not like to do a cleanse and go out with people having a meal or anything like that, because  you would need strong discipline and the scent and sight of food would be so tempting! 

    Discernment and kitchari cleanse

    The biggest takeout from the second day was really starting to discern and differentiate when I was actually hungry vs thinking I was hungry for example thinking it’s lunch time so I should eat even if I’m not hungry. Further to that portion sizes – made me realise my portions have been huge and I’ve been over eating again not because I was actually hungry because probably likely greedy because food is so yum but not great when I eat so much I feel sick and bloated or perhaps stress eating (I know I’m stress eating when I really crave salt). 

    Moreover you start to really discern and taste each ingredient within the kitchari with appreciation whether it’s the sour of the lemon juice, the earthiness fo the coriander and slight battery pepper notes of mustard seeds. 

    Day three, third day kitchari cleanse

    Last day of the cleanse and I was feeling really good! In fact I wasn’t even hungry in the morning so ended up having two meals and effectively half my kitchari portion for the day. I didn’t feel starved or restricted, I felt content and calm.

    This headspace allowed me to start reflecting on the anger that had come up and I had been feeling.

    Being fiery

    I started connecting the dots on a sequence of comments around anger. In Vietnam, I went to see a fortune teller who said “you have a powerful fiery side” reaffirmed by my maternal family saying it runs in the family, the women are strong, fierce and “fiery.” I was quite shocked because I don’t perceive myself to be. More recently my partner in passing said I had a fiery side to me (in a really loving way by the way not one bit of contempt, judgement anything like that). Again I was taken aback and confused especially since my past partner had said I was the calmest and most peaceful person he’d ever met.

    Fiery and angry in relationships

    Talking to my regular coach and mentor about this I told her and she questioned why being fiery was a bad thing. Ding ding ding. Why was it? I associated fiery as anger which meant bad and negative. Despite writing in my book in chapter 23, After The Love Story: Pleasure, Power & Liberation, the anger I felt after my break up was so powerful and a huge catalyst for me moving on and forward in my life. 

    I wrote, “In reality, the person I resented the most was myself. I was angry. I had diluted who I was so I could be palatable for his ego. I was angry I had shrunk myself so that he didn’t feel threatened or jealous by my happiness and success. I was angry I had dimmed my light so that he felt comfortable. I was angry I tried to break up with him six months earlier and he didn’t end up going through with it because I didn’t want to hurt him. I was angry I bent my boundaries and allowed him to live with me after the breakup where he took out his pain on me and it became toxic.”

    No wonder my ex partner said I was the most calm and peaceful person he knew, I never expressed how I truly felt at times with him even when I was angry. For the most part I kept it to myself, brushed it off or just gave up I think you know when it’s deja vu, over and over again and you yeah just become despondent or accept this is just how it is… but in my new partnership I am more expressive, I have firm boundaries and strong values and he knows that hence the fiery side!

    Feminine fire is powerful

    My fiery side is fierce and she enabled me to build and grow my business, to write and publish my book The Great Unlearning and to protect myself whether it’s having strong boundaries in partnership, dating and business.

    There was that societal conditioning that part of me, the shadow, the ego that unconsciously played into the ‘quiet woman, subservient, meek, feminine Asian woman stereotype.’ Light bulb moment achieved. I am still unlearning the conditioning around anger for females. 

    Sacred rage feminine expression feminine energy

    Sacred rage is powerful. Continuing on Ch 23 in my book The Great Unlearning I write, “the anger was powerful because I had to face the blind spots in my growth. I had to own up to my own shortcoming and take responsibility for the role I had played. I had felt trapped in that relationship… I had caused a lot of my own suffering for not speaking up… why did I not speak up? I wanted to be the “good girl” liked by others.” 

    Maybe you can relate, repressing and caging your anger – growing up we learn that anger is not a good thing. We are not encouraged to feel any anger and as a result as women we lose our connection to anger. That sacred fire that burns brightly and boldly within us. Anger is medicine and wisdom, it’s telling us something is not right, something is wrong, pay attention.

    What is sacred rage?

    This feminine sacred rage is often in response to injustices, oppression, or personal trauma. What makes it sacred vs say normal rage is the fact that it is rooted in a deep sense of self-awareness, authenticity, and a desire for transformation and healing. It’s not projected at someone else or something. It’s not destructive but a force of empowerment, honesty and breaking free from repressed feminine expression. 

    Sacred rage and goddess Kali

    One particular goddess and archetype to work with when it comes to feminine energy, expression and sacred rage is Kali. I’ve talked about Kali previously on the podcast before as an introduction to her and how to work with her energies, refer to episode 40 aptly titled Goddess Kali. 

    You’ll know her as the goddess who often appears with many arms, in blue form and having had chopped off heads, sticking her tongue out. She is a force to be reckoned with taking on evil and destruction fearlessly. Her rage is powerful, it protects, she is a force of justice and a remover of obstacles in your life.

    That was a tidbit of the depths we can go on feminine expression and sacred rage yet I think a really important part of this episode and something that’s resurfaced within my own life for my unlearning and personal growth and expansion, brought up by my body and the kitchari cleanse for which I am grateful.

    Post kitchari cleanse

    Post cleanse day four was the interesting day. I actually continued to eat kitchari but introduced vegetables in! When I got to have vegetables my palate was so excited, I got to really mindfully consciously experience the taste of spinach, the tastes of carrot and really appreciate it. I’ll continue to eat kitchari here and then integrated into my daily meals because it’s really simple and easy to make, everything in one pot, you can do other things whilst it cooks, I meditated or did yoga plus it’s really cost effective too. 

    So what other observations did I have after finishing my kitchari cleanse? I noticed I was not craving as much seasoning as usual, I didn’t need the pops of salt and pepper, I was satiated the amount in the food and I didn’t need any additional. 

    Kitchari cleanse and feeling all the emotions

    Wrapping it up before I go even more personal, I would definitely do a kitchari cleanse again when I feel like a reset for my body because that’s what it felt like! It was gentle on my body and I felt super effective and not excruciatingly tough, a good amount of stretch mentally and physically. 

    So all in all everything was going really well and overall smooth, then that’s when it started to turn 

    and maybe that’s because I was starting to reintroduce more elements into my day to day meals.

    I intuitively believe I was still processing and cleansing because this is when I personally experienced BIG feels. 

    Details and more on what that was like in next week’s episode following this and it involves me being vulnerable sharing intimate details to my emotional journey as well as feminine and masculine energies and conscious relationships and partnerships. Until next week beautiful soul, love and positivity. 

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