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I don't know about you, but I don't necessarily enjoy restricting myself when it comes to diet. No matter how much I meditate, how many ceremonies I attend, or how much spiritual work I seem to do, I will always drool when I smell pizza. Sometimes when I'm around pizza, it just disappears. I'm like a pizza werewolf.
And yet, the discipline of fasting has nourished my soul so much more than a steamy slice of cheesy gluten magic ever could. The exchange of emptiness for sweeter spiritual fruits is a reward without an earthly comparison - and it's for this reason and many others that restricted eating has been an integral part of spiritual tradition since the dawn of time.
The ayahuasca diet is a ceremony in itself. Unlike programs like the keto diet that we follow for physical transformations like weight loss or muscle gain, the ayahuasca dieta brings us spiritual gains. The dieta prepares us for our ayahuasca journey on a few different levels.
For most people growing up in a western culture, we are never too far away from some kind of sensory pleasure. We westerners love to do things big. Big houses. Big cars. Big meals. Big flavors. We love our salt and spices. We love garlic and complex flavors. And, oh. We love our sugar.
We are so conditioned to be inundated with sensation, which deprives us of a different kind of pleasure that most people never get to experience - the pleasure of heightened awareness. Unburdened by excessive stimulation, our senses slowly unfurl, readily awakening to their original nature - bright, wild, aware, and eager to sip the delicious ethers of the subtle energies that surround us.
Now, before we go any further, I have to share that there is no single authoritative guideline for the ayahuasca dieta. Everyone will tell you their way is the right way. The Shipibo people have a very restrictive shamanic dieta where you get a potato and maybe one type of leaf every day, and don't even THINK about asking for salt.
Others, like some Colombian traditions, will eat giant meals with multiple kinds of meat until they are stuffed, and then go straight into ceremony under the belief that eating "like a tiger" before entering the spirit world is a form of spiritual protection.
And so, like anything else, we have to take everything with a grain of salt...or absolutely no salt at all, depending on who you ask.
With that being said, I'm going to share with you my personal recommendations as someone who has sat many times with this medicine, sat with folks of different traditions, and have lived both extremes of the dieta spectrum from weeks of devout abstinence, to pizza and beer the night before.
And yes, there's a big difference.
This medicine is sacred. It takes years for these plants to reach maturity. It takes hours and hours of labor infused with song and prayer to produce one small batch.
Show it some respect.
Imagine your grandmother is coming over the visit, except your grandmother also happens to be cosmic royalty who is all love, but will not hesitate to spank you if you need it.
Your body is a temple, and the ayahuasca dieta is the best form of housekeeping.
The following items are a "hard no," meaning they may pose potentially dangerous contraindications that should be eliminated at least 8 weeks prior to ayahuasca.
Starting 2 weeks prior to ceremony, the following recommendations should be eliminated or greatly reduced, but are not inherently dangerous.
This, in my humble opinion, is a solid guideline to prepare for your ayahuasca retreat that leaves you lots of room to play in the kitchen. Some people choose to go fully vegan. If you want to go for it, great, but in my opinion a little bit of fish or white meat from a sustainable source is not a bad thing. I've found that the extra nourishment serves me well. To each their own.
Getting off of heavy breakfasts is a cornerstone of good health and longevity, regardless of whether or not you're preparing for an ayahuasca ceremony. This smoothie has it all, and this is how I start my day every morning. Rich with antioxidants for detoxification and cellular repair. Healthy fats of avocado for brain and gut health. High-powered protein and Omegas from hemp hearts. If you find yourself getting too hungry before lunch, you can try adding some overnight soaked oats. Make sure your berries are organic, as conventional berries are notoriously high in pesticide residue.
Simple – blend it all up!! Add more coconut water if the consistency is too thick.
This salad is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the mouth. As a general rule of thumb, the more colorful a food is, the better it is for you - provided those colors come from nature. Rich botanical colors signify nutrient density, antioxidants, and anti-aging plant compounds, all of which will serve your well on your medicine journey. This beautiful salad makes 2 large bowls of salad and dressing.
This is a simple, nourishing, and satisfyingly simple dinner. Lentils can be difficult to digest for some due to some of their naturally-occurring compounds (lectins & phytic acid), but this can be reduced to a negligible quantity by soaking them overnight, straining, and allowing them to sprout. I highly recommend sprouting all your beans, chic peas, mung beans, and lentils of any kind to improve digestibility. Spouts should always be in your corner during your dieta. Plant medicineat at it's finest!
May these recipes nourish your soul, purify your body, and resonate in the cells of your being! Let it be known that nobody (that I’ve ever met) goes through their dieta without experiencing cravings.
It doesn’t mean you’re weak.
It doesn’t mean the dieta isn’t working.
It means that you're experiencing the arising of cravings and the tension that comes when we pause to remember our sacred commitment to this process, rather than mindlessly filling our carnal desires. Watch desires come, and watch them go. Notice your emotional triggers. Observe the patterns and the thoughts that arise around the sensations of your desire. This is all grist for the mill, a necessary part of the healing process, and your commitment to your dieta will be rewarded greatly when the medicine is received by your well-prepared body.
For more information on ayahuasca healing and preparation, check out our comprehensive ayahuasca guide.
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