Today I am cooking to distract myself. I am currently on day 3 of an Ayurvedic spring cleanse, and my cravings have been speaking to me - very loudly! This is my first ever cleanse, and I have been receiving daily support from my Ayurveda teacher, Elizabeth.
I have to say that as ready as I was to embark on this one week journey, it has really shown me how dependant I am on certain foods. More so, it has shown me how dependant I am on receiving pleasure and satisfaction from food - I mean I just love food, but my obsession has caused a few minor health issues to come up.
One of my goals in life is to age gracefully, and to be mobile and alert even when I’m 80! So, this cleanse is a good opportunity for my body to relearn the function that food serves. I’m trying to teach my subconscious self that:
Food is not just for pleasure, and
Food can be used to help the body heal
As much as I love Ayurveda and follow many of its principles on a daily basis, this cleanse has not been an easy process for me. It is painful and difficult to deny my senses the pleasures they have come to rely on. Some of these pleasures have been developed in childhood, and who doesn’t love the nostalgia of a childhood meal, snack, or bar of chocolate! I have to keep reminding myself, that I am whole and complete as I am. I have my yoga practice, my family, my mentors, and friends to lean on when the hard stuff comes up. And when the muck comes up, I get cranky and irritable, and crave a chocolate bar to take away the edge. This cleanse is as much about leaning into the edge and hopefully moving past it.
If you are considering a cleanse, it really would be best to work with an Ayurvedic Practitioner, as cleanses are not suitable for everybody. When you work with a practitioner you will receive an individualized plan based on your unique constitution, lifestyle, and needs. Trust me, the support is tremendously useful!
As part of my cleanse, my lunch today is a plate of kitchari and I made this beetroot palliya to go with it. Happy cooking!
2 large or 3-4 medium beetroot (chopped into medium to small pieces)
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 medium onion (chopped fine)
¼ inch ginger (grated)
3-4 curry leaves
½ tsp black mustard seeds
1 dried red chilli
1 tsp channa dal (bengal gram)
2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
¼ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp coriander powder
Pinch hing (asafoetida)
1 tsp fresh lime juice
Salt to taste
Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, channa dal and dried red chilli. Sauté the spices until the mustard seeds pop and the channa dal is just starting to brown (it will shrink slightly).
Add the onions and when they are translucent, add the grated ginger. Stir well.
Once the onions have just started browning, add the turmeric, coriander, and hing. Sauté until the spices release their flavors (about a minute).
Add the chopped beetroot and shredded coconut and mix well with the spices.
Keeping the heat on medium, cover the pan and continue to sauté the beetroot until most of its water has released. Be sure to stir occasionally so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. If the coconut is sticking too much, turn the heat down slightly.
Once the beetroot is cooked, it will be soft and will have shrunk slightly. Squeeze in the lime juice, turn off the heat, and cover to allow the beetroot to sit in the cooking steam for a few minutes.
Enjoy with kitchari or with chapatis!
Beetroot is sweet and a heavy root vegetable, making it ideal for Vāta and Pitta doṣas.
Adding mustard seeds and green chilli, and leaving out the coconut can make it more balancing for Kapha doṣa as well.