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here's a Yogi in the Kitchen!

Eating for a Healthy Liver

© Siri-Ved Kaur Khalsa

The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled There's a Yogi in the Kitchen! by Siri-Ved Kaur Khalsa . View all columns in series
Easy Beet Recipes Baja Borscht Mung Beans & Rice

What is Yogic Cooking? Ingredient Information

Are you looking for a way to give yourself a "Liver Tune-Up"? There are different ways you can approach this, depending on what best suits you, your current health situation, and lifestyle. This could be anything from making simple changes in your current eating habits to going on an extended diet of specific foods.

DO’S & DON’TS: First off, I’ll give you a list of "helper" foods and a list of "avoid" foods. What you want to do is gradually increase the amounts of the helper foods and decrease the others. This is the easiest way to get started.

HELPERS: beets, radishes of all kinds, carrots, lemon juice, watermelon with black pepper, onions, melons (always eat melons alone), olives, raw vegetables, papaya, bananas, grapefruit, yogurt, Yogi Tea, black salt, black pepper, turmeric, and cardamom.

AVOID: all fried foods, cooked oil, caffeine and other stimulants, fried grains, all processed foods, cheese, meat, eggs, animal fat, alcohol, any food that is heavy or difficult to digest (taking more than 20 hours to pass).

LIVER TONICS: Another easy addition to your program is to start your day, the very first thing in the morning, with 8 ounces of cold, plain Yogi Tea. Take the Yogi Tea before you drink or eat anything else, sipping it slowly and mixing it with saliva well before swallowing. This is a well-known yogic liver tonic. In the alternative, you could sip unsweetened lemon juice and water (the juice of one lemon with 12 ounces of water). I would recommend sipping the lemon water through a straw to best maintain tooth enamel.

ONE-DAY AND ONE-WEEK MONO-DIETS/FASTS*: Once you are getting accustomed to the "helper" foods and life with less of the "avoid" foods, try a one-day fast or mono-diet of beets only. This is a good way to give your digestive system a "rest" and your liver a little tune up. Choose one day a week (Monday works for me) and have that be your cleanse day. You can try the beets different ways (see simple serving suggestions below), cooked or raw. Also, on your fast day, you can have as much plain Yogi Tea as you like, lemon juice (great squeezed over the beets) and, of course, lots of water. A little more aggressive approach would be doing the same fast for one full week, every 1-3 months.

CLEANSING DIETS*: Over the years I have tried numerous cleansing diets. I did well with the long-term strict mono-type diets when I was younger (40-day beet fast, banana fast, melon fast… more about these fasts another time). I’m better now with a little more variety and find that sticking to a regimen of pretty much only the foods on the "helper" list (and eliminating entirely the "avoid foods") is very effective. Start with one week. Then next time, try it for two weeks, and then shoot for completing 40 days. Remember to drink lots of water.

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About The Author
Siri-Ved Kaur Khalsa Siri Ved studied vegetarian yogic cooking with her spiritual teacher, Yogi Bhajan, beginning in 1971. During the years she served as his personal cook, his wife Bibi Inderjit Kaur also trained her in the fine art of Indian cooking. Since then she has run a popular vegetarian catering company in Los Angeles, authored two cookbooks, including ...more
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