In America, downing a hearty grain dish would not be called fasting. But in India, kitchari—a soupy porridge made from rice and mung beans, lightly spiced with ginger, cilantro, and other spices—is considered a fasting food and is used to purify digestion and cleanse systemic toxins.
Ayurvedic physicians often prescribe a kitchari diet before, during, and after panchakarma, a rejuvenative treatment that cleanses toxins stored in bodily tissues as it restores systemic balance. Kitchari provides solid nourishment while allowing the body to devote energy to healing. You can safely subsist on kitchari any time in order to build vitality and strength, since it helps balance all three doshas. For restless vata, the warm soup is grounding; for fiery pitta, its spices are calming; and for chilly kapha, it provides healing warmth.