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Gentle Winter Cleanse: A Mid-Holiday Reset

Kitchari dish on table

Photo Courtesy of the Author

Take these classic Ayurvedic autumn meals and turn them into an early winter cleanse.

The irony of December, with its joyous flurry of feasts and holiday treats, is that it is the time of year when we most need rest—rejuvenating sleep for the body, clarifying stillness for the mind, and even a restorative pause for the digestive system. After all, this is the season for slowing down, retreating inward, and savoring every slow moment of winter’s early wonder.

With the right intent and a little prep, you can take a few classic Ayurvedic autumn meals and turn them into an early winter cleanse, to give your digestive system that r&r. Boost the overall effects with more sleep and daily meditation for a full body, mid-holiday reset. 


  • Breakfast: Detox Dal
  • Lunch: Cleansing Kichari
  • Dinner: Steamed Vegetables
  • Snack: Fruit, only if hungry
  • Beverages: Hot water

Repeat up to three days.


Detox Dal
Serves 2

  • 1 knob of ghee or coconut oil
  • 1 pinch mustard seeds
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 inch ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 shakes curry powder
  • 1 cup whole mung beans, soaked 6-8 hours
  • 4 cups low sodium veg broth
  • 4-5 stalks rainbow chard, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 bunch dandelion greens, rinsed and chopped
  • pink or sea salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper

Melt the ghee (oil) in a medium sized saucepan over medium high heat. Add and sauté the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, stir in the shallot. Once softened, add the garlic and ginger. Shake in the curry powder, and give your pot a whirl to combine.

Rinse and strain the mung beans. Stir in with the spices. Add broth and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and alllow to simmer 20 minutes.

Stir in the greens. Simmer on low heat for 5-10 minutes. Taste and season with salt and black pepper. Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes.

Serve with a spoonful of kimchi, or your favorite ferments, to fire up flavor and digestion. Garnish with pumpkin seeds for a salty crunch and the fiber/minerals that power up your cleanse.

Cleansing Kichari

Warm the leftovers from the Detox Dal with 1 cup cooked basmati rice. Or make a fresh pot with this recipe. Season with1 teaspoon tamari and garnish with a generous handful of cilantro.

Steamed Vegetables
Serves 2

  • 1 root vegetable, like carrot, beet or pumpkin
  • 1 bunch leafy vegetable, like spinach, kale or collards
  • 1 cruciferous vegetable, like broccoli, cabbage, bok choy
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Clean and roughly chop the vegetables. Place in a steamer basket above 1 cup boiling water. Steam 10 minutes. Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Alternatively, put the steamed vegetables in a blender and purée.

Hot Water

Boil water. Put in a thermos to keep warm and sip throughout the day. For flavor and a digestive boost, boil water with ginger. Once it cools to the touch, stir in 1 teaspoon honey and sip warm.

Laura Plumb

Laura Plumb is a practitioner and teacher of Ayurveda, Yoga and Jyotish. She is the writer of the book, Ayurveda Cooking for Beginners, and the writer and host of the international 58-part TV series VedaCleanse, with recipes and daily practices for seasonal wellness. She is also the writer and host of the 12-part series Divine Yoga. Laura leads trainings and retreats internationally, and offers online seasonal cleanses and courses. You can learn more about her at and get more Ayurvedically inspired recipes on her blog:

Learn with Laura! 

Register now for Laura's new online course, Introduction to Ayurvedic Cooking, complete with videos, quizzes, and informative PDFs with beautiful photographs.


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