Food is the fuel that ignites our activities. If, at the end of the main panchakarma procedures, the food we ingest is too heavy for our exhausted digestive fires to manage, then little to none of that food will be metabolized and transformed into usable nutritive substances. It all becomes ama and the disease process starts anew. This is an unpleasant thought, but luckily it is a situation that is completely avoidable through correct administration of diet.
The diet given immediately after panchakarma consists of nutritive and easily digested preparation of rice and split yellow mug dal. The diet is structure in stages, going from more liquid preparations to increasingly solid ones. It begins with easily digestible rice water, and eventually incorporates dal. These stages of digestibility are called manda, peya, vilepi, odana, yusha, and kichari. Once this regimen has nutured our digestive fire back to health, as signaled by a strong, consistent appetite, cleansers can return to a normal diet.
The length of time it takes for someone cleansing to return to a normal diet depends on his or her digestive capacity. On the average, it takes six to seven meals. However some people may only need three of four meals while others may require eight or ten.
One of ayurveda’s strongest prescriptions is to eat only when hungry. This is doubly true of the time immediately following panchakarma. The cleanser should only eat when his or her appetite is strong. A good appetite is our body’s signal that digestion, assimilation and elimination are working well. One of the best ways to help quickly restore the appetite is to drink freshly grated, ginger root tea morning and afternoon