Thursday, March 22, 2012

the mung beans + rice cleanse

Blooming season has gone berserk here in the Southeast. It is likened to living in a flower, replete with gorgeously hued and perfumed environs, but sometimes the pollen onslaught can be a doozy. Even if we're not in a big metropolis battling with pollution, noise, or are constantly bombarded with technology, advertisements and traffic, believe me, here in the country we also need to take a break from environmental stressors. So if you're country or city folk, a good system re-boot gives the body a much deserved detoxifying break. This time of new growth and regeneration is perfect for slothing off some excess and carrying a lighter load into the summer months.

I would love to take the time off to do a proper "cleanse" to give the body a break for at least a week. I did the Goldenbridge Yogi Cleanse two years ago and felt like a million bucks for a good few months, until it was back into the old routine. But unless you have a light schedule and the funds to boot, it's not very accessible to most and not so realistic in our busy lives either. So in light of my upcoming spring cleaning yoga series workshop starting this Sunday, I would like to share this wholesome meal of mung beans and rice that I have come to love making over the past few years, which is not only extremely cleansing, but actually sustaining, comforting and so yummy. If you are a yogi or like Indian food, I don't have to convince you. But if you are new to these flavors, trust me, you will become easily addicted to the warmth that this meal provides. I find this a much gentler approach to cleansing, as you do not feel starved throughout the day as you would on a juice fast or green cleanse.

I have adapted the recipe ever so slightly from one of my dear yoga teachers Jai Gopal. He has a printable version which is easy to follow and keep in your archives. The key to smooth preparation is all in the mise-en-place, in other words, the prep-work. If you take your time gathering everything you need, measuring it all out, chopping and placing in prep bowls, the actual cooking time is a breeze.

The way I personalize the dish is by using ghee instead of oil. Ghee is clarified butter and is not carcinogenic at high temperatures like oil is, which translates into an even healthier preparation. You can find it at any health food store or make it yourself. You can create your own selection of favorite vegetables, but my staple is carrots, zucchini and celery. And my secret ingredient that I add to the masala mixture spices is whole cloves - about ten. Since I like mild spice, instead of a 1/2 teaspoon of red chili flakes, I use 1/4 tsp. But if you really like a kick, rock on and add more! One more really important thing I find that most people do not know about is deveining the garlic. I was taught that the vein is poisonous and the cause of most digestive problems people develop with eating garlic. It takes one more step in the long list, but well worth it.

If you buy everything you need and have your pantry stocked with appropriate spices, it should take about 3 hours start to finish. I know, it takes a good part of the day, but it is so worth it and lasts for several days. This concoction is considered predigested so you will benefit from increased energy and the myriad healing properties of the spices and trinity roots of onion, garlic and ginger are too numerous to list. Adding European style yoghurt adds a cooling effect and I like to garnish with fresh cilantro. The visual tour takes you through my prep process so I hope it inspires you to take an afternoon and make a big pot-o-mung beans 'n rice.  If you decide to do a cleanse, eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner with fresh fruit in between meals and drink yogi tea for a complete system overhaul.

Happy Spring Cleaning!

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