The ayahuasca diet, also known as a dieta, is not meant to be hard. While the constraints and guide rails the ayahuasca diet places on a person’s life invite new relationships to discomfort and the Unknown, consider these things…
The first is that this is temporary (usually). It’s a commitment for 4-5 weeks of your life that will support you immensely as you get ready to sit in your ayahuasca ceremony or ayahuasca retreat. Usually, because some people feel SO GOOD they decide to stick with the core dieta constraints for weeks, months, or years following their first ayahuasca cermeony.
Second, this dieta isn’t just about cutting out certain foods, like fried foods, fermented foods, spicy foods, energy drinks, protein powders, dairy, red meat, and so on, it’s also about limiting or removing certain kinds of behaviors too. One of the most eyebrow-raising behaviors is sexual activity. There’s no sex before, during, and ideally immediately after an ayahuasca experience. More on this later.
Third, beyond the time commitment and food and behavior restrictions, the sooner you commit to this physical and mental preparation, whether you’re a cold turkey-er or slowly wean-er offer, the better your mind, body, and soul will be to receive the ayahuasca brew.
So by saying yes to ayahuasca, you say yes to the ayahuasca diet. And again, it’s not meant to be a hard, super strict diet. And yet for some, it’s terrifying… “What do you mean no caffeine???” and for others, it’s as easy as cutting out a few foods and habits without much change to their routine and lifestyle.
Some 101’s on the this Dieta
The ayahuasca diet helps cleanse your physical and energetic bodies so that the medicine has less cleansing it needs to do and can instead get to work more quickly.
We’ll cover the timeline, some science behind this dieta, the spirit of showing up, and then certain foods, drugs, and behaviors to cut for the most favorable plant medicine transformations.
The Timeline of a Dieta:
- Your dieta should ideally begin 14 days before your first ceremony
- At a minimum, the dieta should last seven days before your ayahuasca experience
The Science of the Dieta and Anti-Depressants:
- The ayahuasca vine contains a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) that allows the medicine to work. However, some foods contain high amounts of the amino acid tyramine, which is processed by the enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO).
- This absence of MAO prevents the body from processing tyramine, so it’s important to refrain from eating foods high in this amino acid — otherwise, your body could reach high levels of tyramine that cause headaches or hypertension.
- Currently, you should not be on any anti-depressants, including MAOIs and SSRIs. If you are or recently have been on any of these medications, please be sure to let us, or those you’ll be sitting with, know immediately.
The Spirit of the Dieta:
- Showing up for your ayahuasca diet shows respect for the medicine and the powerful work you plan to do. It’s important to show that you are serious about what you want and willing to honor your body and the medicine to make it happen.
- If you don’t adhere to any of these, medicine people can refuse to serve you as you become a danger to yourself, the container, and the people serving the medicine.
The sooner you can begin, like a month prior, for example, the more you can clear from your body and mind.
The Foods to Be Aware of on The Ayahuasca Dieta
Different traditions have slightly different takes on what you can and can’t eat before, during, and after your ayahuasca ceremonies.
Here are some common foods to avoid on this dieta:
- Caffeine (coffee, tea, energy drinks)
- Processed or packaged foods
- Foods high in salt, sugar, or artificial additives
- Red meat and pork
- Overripe fruits, like bananas and avocado
- Fermented or aged foods (including some tofu, pickles, kombucha, tempeh, and soy sauce)
- Spicy or heavily seasoned foods
- Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt)
- Fried or greasy foods
- Liquid and powder protein supplements
- Brewer’s yeast and yeast supplements
- Chocolate in large quantities
- Peanuts in large quantities
Here are some common foods to limit:
- Certain fresh fruits, like citrus, pineapple, and mangoes
See? Not so bad…
And there’s this question, “Can you eat bread on ayahuasca?”
Yes, and it needs to be healthy, multi-grainy bread. Not sugar-saturated highly-processed white bread.
The whole idea of the dieta is to make healthy choices where what’s healthy has been pre-defined and prescribed.
The Behaviors and Drugs to Cut on The Ayahuasca Dieta
Like the above, different cultures have their own rules. However, what follows are common or core habits to cut out to reclaim your energy and protect yourself psychologically and physically.
- Sexual activity (including the solo variety)
- Recreational drugs (including marijuana)
- Prescription drugs (check with facilitators on what’s okay and what isn’t)
- High blood pressure medicine
- Engaging energetically with people who may trigger you or not serve your highest self
- Reading the news, which is often sensational, triggering, or stressful
As was written in our expansive guide on ayahuasca preparation, “Committing to a dieta is not easy. Putting constraints on your lifestyle invites a different degree of discipline. And, as you remove certain habits from your normal routine, you may notice the underlying conditioning that drives these routines to arise. And while it’s not always pretty, it can be very powerful.
As you start to say no to things you didn’t think twice about, you’ll get to see why you were reaching for your phone to scroll or grab that delicious but unhealthy snack aimlessly. As you bring an unconscious habit to light, you now get to make a choice. Do you do what you’ve always done because that’s what you do, or can you take back control and say no?
And as the author, futurist, filmmaker, fashion designer, and lead pastor at Mosaic, Erwin McManus said, “The most spiritual thing we can do is to choose.” Whether you choose to commit to the dieta will be known, felt, and observed not only by you but by the spirit of ayahuasca when the time comes to drink the medicine. By showing up for yourself in these challenging times, you’re also showing up for those you’ll be in ceremony with and for ayahuasca. So do yourself a favor and remained committed to the ayahuasca diet. You will be deeply grateful you did.”
So the more seriously you take the ayahuasca diet, the stronger your chance at quick and lasting transformation. Give the ayahuasca medicine less to move through and release and you’ll find yourself at the root of your intentions in what feels like no time at all.
There’s Another Kind Of… Dieta?
Yes. And this dieta includes dieting a Master Plant Teacher, or Plant Spirit, typically in the Amazon region, to receive their teachings. These are typically facilitated by a Master Healer that’s worked with their lineage of healers for generations.
And to take it a step further, this dieta is even more restricted and triggering than the one before going to an ayahuasca ceremony. Plus, there are legitimate, life-threatening consequences for crossing or breaking the rules of this dieta. The Plant Spirits of these Master Plants are not to be trifled with. Both the medicine people of 1heart and the Plant Spirits agree that signing up for an isolated dieta is like unlocking a whole new level of creativity, space holding, and realizing one’s potential.
A dieta is almost like a meditation retreat. Time alone, in solitude, contemplating and reflecting. However, a dieta adds in drinking ayahuasca while being able to be creative. Some meditation retreats don’t allow for reading, writing, singing, or those expressions. A dieta with the Inca-Shipibo lineage invites these expressions as they complement the introspective work with ayahuasca.
Closing The Curtains on the Ayahuasca Diet
While there’s a whole backstage pass to a dieta filled with Amazonian decor, our focus is on the ayahuasca diet you’ll commit to before sitting in any ayahuasca retreats.
Do not underestimate the power of committing to this diet. It will likely trigger you in new and old ways as you remove certain crutches from your life. When we can’t avoid an uncomfortable feeling with food or habits, we choose to face it. This is ayahuasca in a nutshell. Not really, but maybe.
Ayahuasca invites you to face things that are hard to look at so that you can look into the eyes of what’s holding you down or keeping you small, say thank you to this part of you, and let it go so something new and expansive can enter.