The shamanic diet (or dieta)
Shamans from the Amazon say that by eating certain types of food and avoiding others, we begin the process of cleansing, which enables our bodies to become far more sensitive to working with the plant spirits. This is undoubtedly true to anyone who has experienced a proper shamanic dieta for themselves. It is important to remember that shamanic knowledge is practical knowledge. It is not based on belief; it is based on what has been tested and what works.
If you really want to get the most out of your ayahuasca experience, we recommend following the shamans’ advice. This means avoiding the following foods and activities:
– Hot peppers or anything spicy in general
– Onions or garlic
– Fermented foods
– Salt (a small amount is usually ok)
– Processed/Refined sugar
– Caffeine or any kind of stimulant
– Oil or fried foods
– Sexual stimulation, including masturbation
In the jungle, the foods that you’re allowed to eat are limited mostly to plantain, potato, yucca, rice, some chicken, and fish – we have a vegetarian diet at our center for our guests. As we’re next to a river, we sometimes serve fresh river fish.
If you are starting the diet back home, it is fine to eat a greater variety of fruit, vegetables, grains and pulses. Just keep your diet simple, natural and organic as much as possible, with minimal spices and no stimulants.
Yes, it is hard for most people, but it is an excellent exercise in self-discipline, and not giving into what the ego craves. It also demonstrates to the spirit of ayahuasca that you’re taking the work seriously. Therefore, you should stick to the diet if for nothing more than showing respect for the sacred journey you are about to embark on.
You should start the diet at least 24 hours before you drink ayahuasca; however, we strongly recommend you start at least three to five days before – better still, one to two weeks is even better. We ask that you use your common sense and please do not become neurotic about the diet – so don’t feel all is lost if you accidentally end up consuming some salt/sugar.
You may read or hear reports from people who say the diet is unnecessary and that it makes no difference. That may be true for them. However, from the experience of our shaman, running retreats and our personal plant dietas, the majority of people who stick to the shamanic dieta as much as possible – do have deeper and more powerful ayahuasca experience.
If you’re in a position to work with ayahuasca on a long-term basis, you can always experiment with the diet and find what works best for you. However, if you’re coming to Peru for what might be a once in a lifetime experience, we strongly recommend you follow our recommendations to increase your chances of having deeper and more powerful ayahuasca ceremonies and experience. If you’re registered for one of our retreats, we’ll send you some more detailed information on your retreat preparation closer to the time.