Well! The 3 day kitchari cleanse is over! The most common question I’ve received since embarking on it is why the heck I decided to do a 3 day cleanse. Here’s what I was thinking:
I have traditionally stayed away from cleanses and fasting. I’ve done one 3 day juice cleanse, and I only did that as an experiment because so many clients were asking me about their efficacy. I undertook the kitchari cleanse in the same way: I wanted to know what were the impacts of this cleanse (which unlike most others is made up of whole, balanced foods) on my body, so I could decide whether it was a regular practice I wanted to pursue, AND if it would be a useful practice to recommend to my clients.
So how did I feel after 3 days of kitchari? Here’s what happened:
As I mentioned in my day 1 recap, I experienced a lot of headaches on the first day. I diagnosed these issues are being related to water and salt intake, and indeed, when I fixed these things on day 2 I was able to get rid of my headaches.
However, even into day 2 I couldn’t get rid of my brain fog. Things were working, just not optimally. This became really problematic as I went in to teach yoga or coach clients…I could tell that my body was under stress and I couldn’t perform at my best.
So on Wednesday, day 3, I ate regularly. I still kept things clean, eating kitchari for lunch and dinner, and sticking to vegan, no refined sugar, no caffeine. But I did have some extra almonds, fruit, and my regular breakfast. It wasn’t that the kitchari wasn’t bad. It was delicious! But the liability to my work wasn’t worth it anymore, so I ended it early.
I learned an important lesson (and one which I advise for other people): cleanse on your day off. Cleanse when you can minimize appointments and can actually take a day to rejuvenate. A cleanse combined with regular work life just works out to more stress. It’s a lesson I knew, but was unable to put into practice. I learned my lesson.
My recommendations for a kitchari cleanse
If you’re going to do a kitchari cleanse, here are some things to keep in mind:
- The ability to disconnect is more important than the length. If you can only take ONE day off for quiet, do your kitchari cleanse that day. If you can take two days, do two. Make this a holistic cleanse for your body and make sure you can disconnect and slow down life if you’re going to embark on this cleanse.
- Spend a few days before the cleanse lowering your sugar, fruit, and caffeine intake, so that you don’t experience bad headaches or withdrawal.
- Drink tons of water, and put in a pinch of salt. In your kitchari, don’t skimp on oil or salt, or else you’ll experience headaches
- Take the time enjoying and eating your food. One of the major benefits of the cleanse was that I learned how to pay much better attention to my food when I was eating. When you’re only eating simple food intermittently, taking time to savor it is super important.
- I can’t re-iterate this enough: make it holistic. Do healing practices for your body like yin yoga, meditation, and gentle walks. Don’t expect to do “business as usual”, or your usual business will just seem harder.
My next steps
From here, I still am planning to eat kitchari regularly (it’s my go-to lunch and often my dinner too!), but the next time I embark on a full day of kitchari, I’m going to plan to do 1 day and make sure that it’s not a day I have to teach or coach. I am realizing that the kitchari cleanse has to be for me, and I have to be in a state to receive it’s benefits.
Have you ever done a kitchari cleanse? What was your experience – does it line up with mine? What tips would you give to cleansers? Answer in the comments below.
Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful day,
Samantha Attard, PhD, is the founder of Happy Healthy Human. Sam is a performance coach and yoga instructor who helps people eat, move, and live with intention. Learn more here.