Kitchari – Yogic comfort food

Kitchari – the Yogic comfort food

Kitchari or khichadi is a common food in India, and among yogis and ayurvedic communities around the world. It is a good meal to eat all around the year. The mixture of split mung beans and rice make a complete protein, all without any animal protein. Kitchari is especially good for this moist, cold and windy season, as it helps to balance our systems with the combination of herbs and spices. If you want to read more about ayurveda, dosha and balancing your dosha, take your ayurvedic dosha test clicking here.

Kitchari can be made to be a medicine, or just like common food. In both cases it is nourishing and easy to digested. Kitchari also forms a part of ayurvedic detox. As medicine, kitchari is made without veggies, simply split mung dahl and white rice added with spices and herbs. As such is very easy to digest and heals the intestine. When cooked for common meal, vegetables can be added. You can also “play” with the recipe, for example make it out of complete rice and non-split mung beans, or other different kind of lentils. The following recipe has been inspired by the recipe I found at LifeSpa.com.

What do you need:

  • mung dal, i.e split mung beans
  • basmati rice
  • vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, zucchini, green beans, broccoli… use 1 or two different, on your own liking with the preference of season’s veggies
  • spices, such as turmeric, ginger, cumin, coriander seeds or powder, fennel seeds or powder, fenugreek seeds or powder, mustard seeds, cloves, cardamom, bay leaves, oregano.
  • rock salt or sea salt
  • herbs, such as coriander (cilantro), basil.
  • Ghee or coconut oil
  • Water
  • Large cooking pot

Recipe for kitchari as medicine (for 3-4 meals)

2.5 dl (~1cup) split yellow mung beans (mung dahl)
2,5 dl (~1cup) White basmati rice
chunk of fresh ginger root (2-2.5cm)
1 tsp of Black mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin powder (jeera)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
3 cloves
3 Bay leaves
1-2 Tbsp of Ghee (clarified butter), or coconut oil if strictly vegan.
1/2 tsp rock or sea salt
1,6-2,4 l (~7-10 cups) water
1 small handful of fresh chopped coriander

Preparation:

  1. Rinse and soak the split mung dahl for minimum 3-4 hours, or overnight if you have any trouble digesting (meaning if you usually or often get bloated after eating lentils, beans or even fresh vegetables). Soaking them makes them easier to digest, removing hard-to-digest substances. After soaking the water should be clear and the dal has probably more than doubled the original size.
  2. Wash and rinse the rice. The water should be clear. Set the rice and dal close-by aside to wait the next step.
  3. Heat a large pot on medium heat, melt the ghee (or coconut oil) in it and add the spices (except the ginger and bay leaves), and roast for a minute or two. Keep your eyes into the roasting process, so not allow them to burn.
  4. Add rice and dal and stir well.
  5. Add water, salt, ginger and bay leaves and bring to boil.
  6. Allow to boil for some 4-5 minutes.
  7. Turn the heat lower, cover the pot and continue cooking until dahl and rice become soft (about 30-40 minutes). Add water if the mixture gets too dry. The end result can be consistent or soupy, depending on your own preference.
  8. Add the fresh coriander just before serving.

The kitchari as medicine is typically eaten when sick, or while detoxing. During an ayurvedic detox, kitchari is cooked with some vegetables and usually spices and herbs selected for the individual dosha. Kitchari then forms a monodiet, eaten 3 times a day during 4-7 days. This will allow the digestion to rest and remove toxic waste from the intestine and the whole body.

Cooking kitchari for a common meal

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Kitchari with carrots, zuccini and rainbow chard

Follow the previous recipe, play with spices and herbs, use complete rice, or quinoa, use other kind of lentils, add your preferred vegetables and more water towards the end of cooking time.

  • Carrots: 15-20 min from the end
  • Sweet potatoes, pumpkin, green beans: 10-12 min from the end
  • Broccoli, zucchini: 7-10 min from the end.
Posted in Ayurveda, Blog posts, Cooking, Detox, Food, Health, Nutrition | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Little bit of anatomy…

Body-alignment-anterior-view-e1446819211274Our body is a magnificent system, made out of differently shaped bones, muscles, ligaments, blood, nerves, and many other miraculous things. When all these things are in balance and working well, the body functions perfectly, and we just feel fine. We feel so fine with the body, that sometimes, very often we forget it even exists, and start to neglect it. The moment when malfunction arises at some part, we start to feel unease, tensions, or even pain. From the point of view of the body it is too late when the physical system is already out of balance. And yet, preventing these malfunctions would have been so much easier and less time consuming than healing the pains and sores in the parts that do not work properly together any more.

Body_Alignment_Figure1Talking just about the basic now, the core body and the limbs. Spine, the S-shaped structure of vertebrae is the core of the physical body. The limbs, legs and arms are attached to it via hips and shoulders respectively. When we stand in perfect alignment, our spine is nicely upright, tail bone reaching down (not front or back) and the crown of the head reaching up (not front or back), and the lower back (sacrum) and upper back (chest) and back of the head on top of each other. And the knees and ankles are straight down below. Pelvis is upright (not tilting forward or backwards) and shoulders are both on top of the pelvis and sideways next to the neck (not rounded forward). Try that for yourself and check how it feels.

ideal postureOur modern everyday life takes our body out of it’s natural beautiful and functional balance. Sitting in front of desk or computer studying or working simply kills the upright posture of the human being. This then leads into troubles in lower back, middle back, upper back and shoulders, which leads to problems in legs, arms, neck and head. The physical unbalance also causes troubles in other fields of life, including digestion, breathing, feelings and emotions.

What to do about this? A little bit of movement every day makes a big difference. During a day full of work or studies we can take breaks to respect our body. Stretching the spine, moving and rolling hips and shoulders, rounding the back and opening the chest every ones and a while makes wonders.

Regular longer practices, like once a week, such as walking outdoors, swimming, other sports are good choices, but remember also stretching whole the body before and after. Yoga is a very good choice, because it can be a complete body workout including the stretching. Yoga also works on all the levels of human body.

Yoga XL on Sunday 29 May – Hips, shoulders and face 

hips&shoulders1Are you dreaming on long yoga sessions with no hurry? That kind of sessions with good amount of physical work and breathing, and after all working a nice and peaceful relaxation? And of course also some tea and snacks afterwards?

Follow this link for more information and to join the Yoga XL….  

 

 

 

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Through Yoga I can change….

KatariinaI was interviewed by the TV Brussel a little while ago. With Jin, we spoke about my life, why I came to Brussels, but especially about my life before and after yoga.

The yoga came into my life on a dark moment. In that period my life I had run into a dead end. I had had my second child, I had a deep baby-blues, and had returned to work, too soon to my taste, as I was still breastfeeding my little one. There I was, one day walking on the street, from office to home, and it suddendly came to me “is this my life, the rest of it gonna be the same and the end of it?” At that moment, I felt very lonely and saddened… But I said to myself that it cannot be so. There has to be more. And soon after that moment, I got into my first yoga class. The interview tells the rest.

The point is, with yoga we can change. To change we need the will to change, the commitment and the patience. And believe me, the things do not happen at once, but they do change. The point is, it is never too late to start.

Katariina on TV Brussel

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Spring is here, time for cleaning in and out

Spring flowerSpring has finally arrived to Brussels, bringing with it a perfect time for a little housecleaning. Most of us go through the winter months in storage mode, hiding out, staying warm, and eating. That is perfectly OK and normal. After all, we are part of nature, and storing is what nature does during winter months. Gaining a couple of kilos of extra weight comes with it. But now that spring is here it’s time to shed that winter coat and those extra kilos. A spring detox is an excellent way to welcome the new season. The nature is pushing fresh produce, let’s enjoy that.

Spring leafOur bodies do have a cleansing mechanism of their own. Its function is to eliminate and remove both externally acquired toxins, such as preservatives, pesticides, stimulants, and heavy metals, and body’s own metabolic waste products, through the mouth, eyes, skin, colon, urinary tract, and the breath. That works well when we live in clean environment, eat seasonally and natural foods, drink natural water, and keep ourselves physically and mentally active.

However, too much sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods, smoking, little to no exercise, and stress can slow the body’s natural detox function and instead of eliminating the waste and toxins, they start accumulating to the body. This, over time, can lead to over-acidification of the body, illnesses. According to Dr Hyman many of us probably have symptoms of chronic toxicity that we would not label as being toxic. Just some of the symptoms he mentions are fatigue, joint pain, muscle aches, sinus problems, headaches, constipation, gas, heartburn, skin problems, problems losing weight, cravings, acne, menstrual problems… Read here Dr Hyman’s article.

rucolaAccording to Dr John Douillard, we are in the middle of ayurvedic season of Kapha. Kapha is dominated by elements water and earth. When there is too much of Kapha in the body, we experience it for example with too much mucus, sinus problems, flus or allergic symptoms. In his article, Dr Douillard advices us to do a ayurvedic cleansing and a Kapha-balancing fat-free and mucus-free diet in the spring. This is done eating what nature is offering, including fresh green leaves.

dandelions

Ayurvedic detox for spring could be shorter than during the fall. I include here the link to the article on fall detox. One of the protocols that Dr Douillard recommends for the spring is a Short Home Cleanse. It includes a kitchari diet for four days, and boosting the metabolism with ghee (clarified butter).

Detoxing with LifePlus products

Intestinal cleansing with LifePlus products is another way, well adapted to the busy life. Imagine, again, your body as a house. A couple of times a year you need to make a bigger cleaning using abrasive, broom and special purifier.

The LifePlus detox cleanses the intestines from old waste and toxins, and nourishes the good bacteria in the gut. This detox also supports the de-acidification of the body, with pH-balancing minerals.

LifePlus detox PhThere are four products needed, Colon Cleanse (fibers, probiotics and prebiotics, the broom), Paracleanse (herbs, the abrasive), MSM Plus (natural sulfur, the special purifier) and pH Plus (alcalising minerals). Colon Cleanse is taken with a big glass of water 3 times a day, always at least 30 minutes before eating (breakfast, lunch, dinner). The Paracleanse and MSM I take with another big glass of water 15-20 minutes after the Colon Formula. The pH Plus should be taken 1-2 hours after each meal. One thing to remember is to drink a lot of good plain water. I use my Nikken-water, pure and alkaline. During this cleanse, one should drink 3-4 litres of water daily, which makes about 10 glasses. The water keeps the stuff going down the intestines, scrubbing the intestinal wall, and reviving the villi.

If you are interested, do not hesitate to contact me for more information using the form below. If you want to know more on the LifePlus products, ask me or click here to lifeplus.com.

Posted in Blog posts, Cleansing, Detox, Season | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I got kale, and I made kale chips

I love kale. 

IMG_0870It is very simple and nutritious vegetable. It is also very versatile, and can be used cooked, steamed, fried, and raw. However, the kale is not easily digestible when raw, so you need to pay attention. In case you get adverse reaction after eating raw kale, such as bloating, or even pain, it might be better just to eat it properly cooked. I put kale in stews, woks, frittatas, soups, smoothies in small amounts and well shredded, and I make chips out of kale. These work well on top of salads, or Friday movie snacks.

Simple Kale Chips

You need: IMG_0864

– Kale
– spices of your liking, such as curry mixture, cayenne, chili powder, black pepper, dried herbs..
– salt of your liking, such as herbal salt, or just plain sea or mountain salt
– oil, such as coconut oil
– large tin for owen

How to do it: 
De-stem the kale and rip it into pieces. Pieces that would fit your mouth, or a bit smaller. Wash them well. The kale I used was not organic, so I soaked it in vinegar-water for about 30 minutes to get rid of possible pesticides, herbicides and other -cides. Then I rinsed the kale with filtered water and dried the pieces. Place the tin to the oven (about 170 degrees of Celsius) with the coconut oil in it, to melt the oil. When the oil is melted, remove from oven, very carefully not to burn yourself, add the spices you like and toss in the kale. Mix well to get the oil and spices all over the kale and place back to the oven for another 15-20 minutes. Check in regularly and mix again for even roasting. Remove from the oven, add the salt and mix gently not to break the chips too much. For the people who like vinegar in their chips, you can sprinkle some on the kale chips too.

IMG_0866Then just put your favourite movie on and enjoy :).

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Happy Love 2016

Love2016This is the time of new beginnings and new possibilities. When you start the new year, make sure to leave something behind. Leave behind the old you do not need any more. Let go of disappointment, bad habits and toxic relationships. Embrace the new year with wisdom and peace, and freshness. And do include your health and wellbeing among your good resolutions. Your good health is the best asset you can ever have.

I wish you all love for the 2016. Love in the form of happiness, health and success. Love for your self and love for others.

Yesterday, I set my goals for the 2016. Health is my goal number one for this year, other goals include financial freedom, more yoga, more quality time with my family (without phones or other smart devices), and personal development. This will be a good year, I feel it. Yoga will be a good part of it, so is building my projects.

Katariina Yoga classes return to their normal schedule this week, except for the lunch time classes, that restart next week.

See you soon on the mat! 🙂

 

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Time to clean up the house, time to do the fall detox

DSC04961 Consider your body as a house. The house your self is living in. As any house, this one needs regular cleaning and fixing to stay well and functional. Couple of times a year a thorough, all-covering cleansing is needed, and the rest of the year simply dusting and keeping the corners tidy.

Our daily living is toxic, more toxic than ever before. Just think about the chemicals and toxic waste surrounding us, on the plate, in the cosmetics, on the skin, in the clothing, in beds, in cars, in working environment. The air we breathe is polluted and the information we receive very often too. All these end up inside of us. In Ayurveda the toxins are called ama and body needs support to get rid of it.

DSC04962So what is the detox about? It is about cleansing the intestines from the bad bacteria and waste, and supporting and nourishing the good bacteria that is supposed to reside there. Cleansing supports also the internal organs (such as liver, spleen, pancreas) to get rid of any overload they may be facing.

Our intestine is the base for our health. It is the seat for physical and mental wellbeing, and base for the human immune system. According to the Dr John Douillard “80% of the body’s immunity lies in the digestive tract – as well as 95% of the mood support chemicals, including serotonin” (click here for the whole article). In another article, “there are 100 million neurons in the gut wall that connect 100 trillion of the guts’ microbes to the human brain. These bugs literally make the brain chemicals (they are actually manufactured in the gut, making brain chemicals somewhat of a misnomer) that determine how we think and feel on a daily basis.”

Generally then, when our intestine is healthy, we feel good and calm, and we stay free of diseases too. Most of us do not even realise that the base of this wellbeing is in our intestines, so we do not pay attention to the whole thing. But, when the intestines get unwell, we start to get problems such as bloating, pains, colds, flues and other infections, maybe even more serious disorders, and the stress gets overwhelming (the communication between gut and brain gets more bad than good).

VataIn Ayurveda, a cleanse or detox is recommended 2-3 times a year, always when the season changes. Now we are talking about the fall detox, going towards the winter. After the summer, many people feel depleted. The summer is hot and contains fire, it is the Pitta season. Then comes the fall and early winter, that is Vata season, dominated by cold air and wind. That aggravates the fire in the body. Then we move to Kapha season, the late winter. That is dominated with cold, damp and heaviness. If we do not balance our doshas with a detox in between, we risk getting ill. Doing a detox usually helps to restore the energy and feel good. The detox is the way to rid the system of things related to the “past” season and preparing for the coming season. The intestine is cleansed, intestinal health restored and body and mind prepared for the coming season.

There are different ways to do detox. You need to try different ones to see what gives you the best results, meaning makes you feel good from inside and prepares your body and immune system for the winter. A proper detox should always include time for yourself, diet and moving the body.

Ayurvedic Detox

Meditation Meditating Asana Yoga Posture with Om Chakras Symbol Mandala

Full-fledged Ayurvedic detox includes slowing down, Ayurvedic diet (kitchari), yoga for detox and self-study (Svādhyāya). Slowing down, reducing stress and mental overactivity is a very important element of a successful detox plan, in addition to the healthy diet. Ayurvedic diet during detox is monodiet meaning eating kitchari. Kitchari is traditional healing food and contains all that the body needs. Mixture of mung beans and basmati rice makes a complete protein. In addition, the body is detoxed with herbal teas. Daily yoga supports the detox. We do not want to heat up or stress the body with too rigorous practice, but twists, breathing and relaxing poses are important. Self-study is the opportunity to go inside and ask questions such as what we want from life and what do we want to put into the world, and ask “Why am I doing this?”

Elements as meditation, massage (abhyanga), and nasal cleansing (neti and nasya) are also used to detox the body and mind. In home environment, this kind of protocol is followed usually for a period of 4-7 days.

If you are not so much into yoga, but want to have the benefits of detox, a “simple” intestinal cleansing might be better for you.  Here, natural products are used to “rub the gut” from inside and to boost the intestinal health. This cleanse is well adapted to modern way of life, not taking so much time from daily activities. However, slowing down with stress and mental activity and avoiding stimulants (coffee, alcohol etc), meat and processed food, and adding more vegetables to the diet is always more beneficial and gives better results. Drinking plenty of pure water is important, to keep the waste moving out from the body.

Detox with LifePlus products

The LifePlus detox cleanses the intestines from old waste and toxins, and nourishes the good bacteria in the gut. Healthy intestines hold about 2.5 kg “good” intestinal bacteria. This good bacteria dissolves and processes the food we eat so that the body can get the nutrients it needs. The good bacteria also protects us from contaminants and germs. Good bacteria need good nutrition, otherwise it does not work properly, that is when  the bad bacteria moves in.

WP_20140912_003[1]There are three products needed, Colon Cleanse, Paracleanse and MSM Plus (natural sulfur). Colon Cleanse is taken with a big glass of water 3 times a day, always at least 30 minutes before eating (breakfast, lunch, dinner). The other two products I take with another big glass of water 15 minutes before the eating. One thing to remember is to drink a lot of good plain water. I use my Nikken-water, pure and alkaline. During this cleanse, one should drink 3-4 litres of water daily, which makes about 10 glasses. The water keeps the stuff going down the intestines, scrubbing the intestinal wall, and reviving the villi.

If you are interested, do not hesitate to contact me for more information using the form below. If you want to know more on the LifePlus products, ask me or click here to lifeplus.com.

Posted in Ayurveda, Blog posts, Cleansing, Detox, Health, Season | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Peak to coming season: weekend with International Teachers

Katariina Yoga for Health and Wellbeing will be offering a variety of workshops and other activities for the coming season, and year. Many of these activities are organised together with yoga teachers and other masters from different locations, so I can say the offer will be international. 

I am proudly presenting the event for November. The two teachers are yoginis and lovely ladies with years of experience in yoga and teaching, in the Vanda Scaravelli tradition. We will be in good hands.

Sandra Sabatini

Sandra Sabatini

Sandra Sabatini is one of the foremost teachers of the Scaravelli approach to yoga. Sandra studied with the legendary Vanda Scaravelli, author of Awakening the Spine, for 17 years and has been teaching internationally for more than 35 years. It is Vanda Scaravelli’s gift of yoga with its emphasis on breath, gravity and the spine that is at the heart of Sandra’s unique teaching style. Sandra is also the author of the classic Breath: the Essence of Yoga and Like a Flower: my years of yoga with Vanda Scaravelli.

Michal Havkin

Michal Havkin

After more than 30 years as a professional dancer and teacher of modern dance, Michal Havkin found enrichment in her yoga practice. The yoga Michal teaches is rooted in the Scaravelli tradition, connecting to the breath, gravity and space. It is a slow moving practice with constant awareness on the breath and the minute changes in the body, each and every day. Michal teaches group and individual yoga classes in Israel, and has been leading long seminars with Sandra Sabatini in Europe and India in the past few years.

Sandra and Michal are coming to Brussels now for the fourth time, and this year’s theme is yoga for season:

Autumn – season of transition – an inward journey

DSC05779A weekend of yoga with Sandra Sabatini and
Michal Havkin, 27-29 November 2015

“Health does not make a sound, but needs a range of different forms of attention like standing, walking, breathing, relaxation and meditation, which help us to tune our inner sound with the sound of the universe. These sharpen our capacity to hear and to listen, and bring balance. “ – excerpt from the book Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer – Yoga through the Seasons by Sandra Sabatini et al.

Autumn is the time to adopt different breathing rhythms. The weekend of practice will offer a way to welcome all the elements connected to this season and a deeper contact to our vital parts and letting the pace slow down.

Click here for more information

 

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Summer is not over yet….

WP_20150811_004

Handstand in the pool

I spent last weeks in southern Spain, Costa del Sol that is. Wonderful period; I spent good quality time with my kids and whole the family from different locations, met lots of new and fascinating people, practised asana and pranayama every day by the pool and in the pool, “found” a new yoga studio Studio MindBody in Fuengirola, visited the beautiful Buddhist Stupa in Benalmadena, inaugurated some business, and in bonus, got a nice sun tan.

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Benalmadena Stupa

This year’s break was probably the greatest ever, so far.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Headstand by the pool

And now I am fully charged with vitamin S(un), and D, and L(ove), planning the coming year. That will include, in addition to regular yoga classes and workshops on yoga and health, a group for metabolic programme and yoga holidays in Costa del Sol.

I hope that will interest you, let me know sending your thoughts with the form below, or contacting me directly.

But as Summer is still hot and over yet not, before the start of the season 2015/2016, there is still yoga in this August. The Saturday Morning Yoga will pick up on August 22. Welcome!

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Saturday Workshop: Yoga and Spring Detox on 21 March

Saturday Workshop: Yoga and Spring Detox on 21 March.

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