The complete Ayahuasca diet – All you need to know for you to have an experience beyond your wildest dreams
The complete Ayahuasca diet guide
If you are considering joining an Ayahuasca ceremony this article is must-read. If you are wondering how to make the best of your preparation so that you get to experience fully what Ayahuasca is, you’re in luck. This article is about to cover everything you need to know about the ayahuasca diet, as well as help you understand its importance, and that will make all the difference. Why? Because nothing in life should be blindly followed, no one needs you to do that.
Origins of the Ayahuasca diet
With more than 100 documented recipes available, Ayahuasca’s most common ingredients are known to be Banisteriopsis caapi vine along with the leaves of Psychotria Viridis. Altho the combination of these two plants is a miracle on its own, over the years the tribes that work with Ayahuasca were able to identify ways of increasing our body’s sensitivity to the brew and thus play an active role in our process of healing.
One becomes sensitized to Ayahuasca through “sasina”, which the Napo Runa and Pastaza Runa translate as “ayuno,” or fasting. This is essentially the same as what is known as the “dieta” among the mestizo shamans of Peru. It involves flavorless foods, no sexual stimulation, avoidance of noise, and unnecessary social interaction. For a shamanic apprentice, the “fast” allows them to dwell in the spirit world; flavorful foods and sexual stimulation would pull them back down into their body. For non-shamans, the “fast” makes them more sensitive and transparent to the plant spirits.
What is the Ayahuasca diet?
The Ayahuasca diet is an Amazonian diet that helps your mind and body prepare for the spiritual and healing journey that Ayahuasca retreats and ceremonies provide. The diet involves consuming flavorless foods and abstaining from certain foods, alcohol, and drugs that people often seek comfort in during difficult or stressful times.
The logic behind this abstinence is that following such a restrictive diet forces the individual to face their innermost feelings rather than masking them with food, or escapism such as spending too much time on social media, or watching television, or turning to substances such as drugs and alcohol.
How does the Ayahuasca diet prepare the mind and body?
Due to the food we consume daily, our bodies are filled with toxins that can inhibit our success at an Ayahuasca retreat. By adhering to a strict diet beforehand, you are helping to rid your body of toxins from consuming foods with salt, sugar, and caffeine.
By strictly adhering to this diet, those toxins within the body will dissipate, and it will show how serious your intentions are. In addition, according to indigenous tradition, this way of eating helps you develop your relationship with the plants’ spirit. However, should you accidentally eat something that is not recommended, we don’t want you to feel stressed as we understand that mistakes do happen and the important thing is that you do your best.
In addition, by following this diet, you will also cleanse your entire digestive system, and you may even notice an improvement in gas, bloating, and any digestive discomfort you may have been experiencing before beginning the diet.
When should I begin an Ayahuasca diet?
We recommend that you begin this diet anywhere from two to four weeks before your scheduled retreat. If possible, you should also continue it for another week post-retreat to reap the most benefits.
The importance of following the Ayahuasca diet
Here’s the thing. There’s no secret to knowing that our life is the result of what we eat and who we eat it with. These choices and interactions shape the life you are living.
Your desire to meet Ayahuasca was a result of a need to understand certain aspects of your life. Know that Ayahuasca is certainly a being able to create an experience as unique as you for you to find that which you seek.
On a physical level, ayahuasca travels through all your body and identifies what should be released. This is where the nickname “la purga” comes from and this is where the importance of a previous diet comes in.
Let’s say you signed up for 4 nights of ceremonies and you have various questions lined up for Ayahuasca to clarify for you. If you don’t follow the Ayahuasca diet, there’s a high chance you’ll be spending half of the retreat, if not more, purging all toxins and energies from and attached to your body.
Purging is not fun and although you might experience a mild version of it if you followed the Ayahuasca diet list, it’s nothing compared with how aggressive it can get if you choose to not follow the diet.
We’re by no means here to bring rules to the table but we do, with all our hearts, want you to make the best of your experience.
To honor your body, the Spirit of Ayahuasca, and the journey you’re about to start, we invite you to make a 2 weeks commitment of acknowledging what you touch and what touches you.
Let’s start with food since is the thing you can directly control at all times.
Recommended Ayahuasca diet plan – Food and medication to avoid
When following this type of diet, you should avoid consuming any foods containing an amino acid called tyramine. Amino acids are broken down by the monoamine oxidase (MAO) enzyme. Ayahuasca is an MAO-inhibitor, which means, for a time, your body is unable to process tyramine, which could lead to toxic levels of this amino acid building up in your body. If the levels of tyramine get too high, it can cause headaches or even hypertension.
- Eight weeks before the ceremony
- Anti-depressant medications (all SSRIs)
- Two weeks before and after the ceremony
- Pork and all red meats
- All recreational drugs
- One week before and after the ceremony
- Prescription drugs (unless approved by healing center/shaman – please consult with us)
- Salt and pepper (e.g table salt, soy sauce, fish sauce, etc.)
- Hot spices/chilies/pepper
- Refined sugars and sweets
- Caffeine (coffee, green tea, black tea, etc)
- Cacao, cocoa, and chocolate
- Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt)
- Vinegar or pickled foods
- Onion or garlic
- Citrus fruits
- Oils and fats (except coconut/olive oil very sparingly for cooking)
- Soft drinks, energy drinks, non-alcoholic beer
- Fermented foods (kimchi, tofu, tempeh, etc)
- Overripe, bruised, and dried fruit
- Protein extracts, powdered protein supplements, and shakes
- Yeast or yeast extracts (simple unleavened, unsalted bread are okay)
- 3 days before the ceremony
- All medications and supplements
- Try to avoid fluoride toothpaste, synthetic soaps, perfumes, toiletries, etc
- Tyramine and ayahuasca
Tyramine is a monoamine that is found naturally in some foods that contain protein. As these foods age, the levels of tyramine increase. Especially fermented products are rich in tyramine. The combination of foods with a high concentration of tyramine with Ayahuasca should be avoided, because it can cause hypertensive crisis with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, sweating, increased heart rate, and dilated pupils.
Foods high in tyramine include the following:
- Dried or overripe fruits (raisins or prunes, bananas or avocados)
- Strong or aged cheeses (aged Cheddar, Swiss, and Parmesan; blue cheeses such as Stilton and Gorgonzola; and Camembert)
- Aged meats (treated with salt and nitrate or nitrite, dry sausages, pepperoni, and salami)Smoked or processed meats (hot dogs, mortadella, bacon, corned beef, or smoked fish)Canned or fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, caviar, tofu, or pickles)
- Sauces (soy sauce, shrimp sauce, fish sauce, miso, and teriyaki sauce)
- Soy and soy products, broad beans, and their pods
- Meat tenderizers or meat prepared with tenderizers
- Yeast-extracted spreads (Marmite, brewer’s yeast, or sourdough bread)
- Alcoholic beverages (beer, red wine, sherry, and spirits)
- Improperly stored foods or spoiled foods
- Caffeinated beverages
- Ayahuasca diet: what can I eat?
Our recommendations for planning your meals are to use a combination of the following:
- Proteins: eggs, organic free-range chicken, wild-caught mild fish (sole, tilapia, halibut, trout, snapper), lentils, beans
- Grains: brown rice, lentils, quinoa, wheat berries, amaranth, gluten-free pasta, whole wheat, Spelt, Kamut
- Veggies: ALL vegetables EXCEPT onions, garlic, and leeks.
- Fruits: berries, grapes, bananas, peaches, apricots, apples, pears
- Raw nuts + seeds: all nuts except peanuts, raw hemp seeds, chia seeds, nut butter (unsalted, except peanut)
- Beverages: Herbal teas, coconut water, nut milk, water
- Ideas for seasoning your foods:
- Fresh herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, sage, dill, etc.)
- Mild spices (cumin, coriander, dill, sage, turmeric)
Now let’s have a look at how you could manage to get some space within your relationships.
Recommended Ayahuasca diet plan – Habits and relationships
The reason why most of this article focuses on the diet prior to the ceremonies is that in our experience, after joining our retreats you will naturally keep looking after your food and the energy you surround yourself with. Choosing your well-being will come as naturally as breathing.
When it comes to food, our chefs, Marina and Abel, together with the team, will not only cook inspiring ayahuasca-friendly food all week long but also lead 5 food awareness workshops, helping you get in touch with the nourishing food you are gifting your body with.
When it comes to relationships and habits, your newly found awareness will guide you through all sorts of waters you might find yourself in. You will then know that it is not the solution that will bring you long-term happiness but it is precisely this guiding system that you were seeking and can now treasure forever.
We hope we got you reading all the way through this article and by doing so you got a sense of “aha” together with ease around the Ayahuasca diet and its importance. It is a certain shift we hope to achieve by presenting you with our honest opinion and recommendations, a shift from heaviness and doubt to one of faith and ease.
With all that being said, if you are looking for a safe, holistic, and transformative ayahuasca retreat where you can experience the full potential of this ancient plant medicine in a sacred, ceremonial setting, we welcome you to Avalon’s Ayahuasca retreats in Europe.