During a Saturday morning workshop author and medical herbalist and practitioner of Ayurveda, Todd Caldecott introduced guests to his practice of food as medicine. Rooted in our most ancient of healing traditions, Todd’s practices are both natural and proven. With the mixed messages we are constantly bombarded with in the media, it’s no wonder many of us are confused about our diets. Food intolerances and allergies are on the rise, as are obesity and heart disease.
Todd’s message is fairly simple – the impact of food on our lives is not just the sum of its constituents, it is the quality of that food and our relationship with it. “Foodies” should reset their desire for food an look at food as nourishment. How to start? The secret is in the soup. Todd served his Kitchari Soup which he uses as a medium for medicine adding the appropriate healing and therapeutic herbs. He recommends a steady diet of kitchari for his patients as a good way to redial the body. Not only does kitchari balance digestion, it’s fairly bland taste and texture isn’t the type of dish that invites overindulgence.
After a good cup of detoxifying kitchari, Todd went on to describe a number of the most common misconceptions and missteps we take in our diet along with some fairly straightforward herbal remedies. Given that Todd’s workshops typically last over 5 hours, this morning's event was really just a ‘tip of the ice berg’ session. It was enough to convince us that his book, Food as Medicine will certainly provide enough advice, diet plans, and sound information to get anyone on the right path. We share with you here Todd’s recipe for Kitchari – actually it’s quite delicious and many did ask for second helpings.
1 cup brown basmati rice (fermented)
1 cup green mung dhal (fermented)
8-10 cups water or vegetable stock
2 tbsp ghee
2 tsp cumin
2-3 cinnamon sticks, broken into large pieces
10-12 cardamom pods, crushed
1 tsp hing powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
Ferment the rice and mung beans and drain before use. In a large pot melt ghee over medium heat and add in cumin, cinnamon bark, cardamom pods, black pepper, hing, turmeric and salt. Stir for a few minutes an then add rice and dhal, cooking for a few more minutes before adding in water of vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 2-3 hours until the rice and dhal is soft. Whole grain kitchari is not necessarily ideal for those with weak digestion, and can be substituted with white basmati rice and washed mung dhal.