The Ayahuasca Diet:

What Can You Eat?

Lola Medicine Keeper, Shamanic Medicine Woman

04 October 2016

What can I eat!!??

It’s a common thought when about to undertake an ayahuasca diet as part of ceremony prep.

There is a LOT of information (most of it somewhat inconsistent) about what you aren’t supposed to eat while on the Ayahuasca Diet (also known as dieta).

The inconsistencies are to be expected, as every healing center/shaman has their own take on exactly how long the dieta should be followed and which restrictions apply. Some are more lenient, while others have stricter recommendations.

Here, I’ll cover the Ayahuasca Diet YESes and NOs according to the healing center we work with for our Shamanic Medicine retreats, Chakra Alegría de Amor (Rainforest Healing Center).

Plus, I’m giving you a print-out for your fridge!

Now you’ll have the Ayahuasca Diet guidelines handy while you’re in the zone of temptation (aka your kitchen).

Just click the image and you’ll have a print-friendly PDF with all the NOs and YESes right at your fingertips:

  • General restrictions
  • Acceptable proteins, fruits, veggies, grains, and nuts
  • Basic meal building blocks
ayahuasca diet download graphic

How long is the Ayahuasca Diet?

Depending on the healing center and/or shaman, it varies.

Recommended restrictions can be anywhere from 14 days before and after your ceremony to 3-5 days prior with few restrictions afterward. Of course, if you are attending a multi-ceremony retreat in Central or South America, you’ll be adhering to the ayahuasca dieta for the duration of your stay. If your retreat center doesn’t prepare foods in accordance with the Ayahuasca Diet, strongly consider whether this is a place that’s offering medicine work in full integrity.

The duration of your dieta also depends in part on your intention for medicine work, as I mentioned in this article.

If you are a healer, a shamanic apprentice, or are otherwise training in the healing arts, a longer dieta is generally recommended. For the attendees of our Peru ayahuasca medicine retreats, we recommend that they begin their Ayahuasca Diet 14 days prior to our first ceremony.

Ayahuasca Dieta: What CAN I eat?

  • Animal proteins such as eggs (hard-boiled, poached, or scrambled), organic free-range chicken, or light, wild-caught fish such as sole, tilapia, bass, trout, halibut, or snapper.
  • Grains + legumes including quinoa, brown rice, amaranth, beans, and lentils. Wheat, kamut, spelt, etc. are also approved.
  • Veggies including potatoes, sweet potatoes, yucca, yacon, beets, jicama, carrots, broccoli, arugula, lettuces, cucumber and powdered maca root.
  • Fruits including berries, bananas, apricots, peaches, melons, grapes, apples, and pears.
  • Nuts and seeds including raw almonds, raw cashews, raw walnuts, chia seeds, and raw shelled hemp seeds. Unsalted nut butter is a-ok (except peanut).
  • Seasonings including fresh herbs (basil, thyme, oregano, dill, etc.), ginger, turmeric, and non-spicy spices like cumin and coriander. Cinnamon in small amounts is fine as well.

What CAN’T you eat?

The exhaustive list is on the PDF above – make sure to download it… but in general, you’ll be staying away from caffeine, alcohol, sugar, salt, most oils, fermented foods, yeast (yeah, most breads!), pickled foods, red meat, pork, dairy, spicy peppers, black pepper, and a few specific fruits and veggies like spinach, avocados, tomatoes, radishes, leeks, onion, garlic, citrus, mango, and pineapple. There are also restrictions on sexual activity – as it can muddy up your energy field and deplete your power.

In essence, you’ll be eating SUPER DUPER healthy while adhering to the Ayahuasca Diet, which feels good AND yet is often challenging on many levels.

In addition to sticking with specific foods, you’ll also be well-served to avoid mainstream media, negative-feeling movies and books, and people/topics that trigger you. You want your energy to be as clear as possible, which assists you with prepping your physical, mental, emotional, and energetic bodies for the medicine. Our retreat guests are, for the most part, staying away from most social media as well, myself included. (What?!?! Life and business can continue on?!? I know, revolutionary!)

I wish you the best of luck with your ayahuasca dieta + medicine work!

Knowing what I can eat during my ayahuasca diets has allowed me to relax and better focus on setting my intentions and grounding my spirit in preparation for ceremony. Hopefully, this guide and print out will be of service to you, too!

Be sure and check in with your retreat center regarding their specific dieta recommendations… They may have other opinions based on the experience of their shamans and the type of medicine they make.

And please comment below if you’ve found anything helpful in your own ceremony preparations!

Blessings on your journey.

xo, Lola

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Lola - Creator of Wildly Amazing Things at WildPlayground.com

Lola Medicine Keeper is a healer, herbalist, and wild witch; offering ceremonies, rituals, and perspectives informed by her teachers in Peru and Mexico as well as her ancestral European lineage. She continues to study with indigenous elders around the world to deepen into her practices and uncover more of what her bones remember. She is devoted to seeing with her heart, knowing with her soul, and revering the magic + medicine of life.

She’s honored to guide her clients as they navigate the turbulent waters of waking up. When not leading ceremonies, retreats and classes or in a client session, you can find Lola soaking up the sun, drinking wildcrafted tea, or playing with her rambunctious family in the mountains North of San Diego, CA.

Social media: facebook.com/wildplayground | Instagram.com/wildplayground 

17 Comments

  1. Cindy

    In researching why to avoid certain foods prior to an Ayahuasca ceremony, most of the foods your asked to stay away from, contain moderate to high levels of tyramine. Tyramine is a naturally occurring trace amine derived from the amino acid tyrosine. The Ayahuasca brew is an MOA-inhibitor, meaning it temporarily inhibits the activation of MOA in your system. MOA is essential in order for our bodies to process tyramine, so it’s important to cut foods that contain tyramine out of your diet or else you could experience headaches or hypertension from ingesting Ayahuasca.

    Citrus, Pineapple, and Mango all contain tyramine and if you look up a tyramine restricting diet, there are many more foods to avoid that are not listed here. The reason fermented foods are on the list is NOT because the are unhealthy, neither is an orange or most of the other foods listed to avoid. It’s because fermented foods contain high levels of tyramine. 

    Look at it this way, no one ever died from eating a dry salad that contains no spinach or tomatoes, or from staying away from fermented foods, or anything else on this list. Let’s have a little trust. Yeah… it may not be what you’re used to, and yes it’s going to be rather bland, but as I said, no one went off the rails because they couldn’t have oil or dairy or whatever. There are many variations of the preparation diet for an Ayahuasca ceremony, so I’m thinking you have to go with your intuition, pray for guidance, and then trust. Mostly you’re ridding your body of toxins, so sticking with a diet that excludes known allergens such as dairy, wheat, nuts, eggs, soy (which is a GMO product anyway and also contains tyramine), peanuts and shellfish; plus other food products containing tyramine, is probably a great way to clear the pipes as it were.

    Reply
  2. Anna Claire

    Do you have further information on citrus? I’m trying to figure out what to eat and what kind of meals I can put together. As far as salads, no vinegar based dressing since vinegar is aged/has tyramine, but thought citrus might be okay :( If not citrus, do you happen to have any recommendations for any type of salad dressing by chance? Thank you so much! 

    Reply
    • Medicine Keeper

      Hi Anna – There are a number of reasons why Citrus is not recommended for dieta. In the jungle, only the tiniest amount of lime juice was put as a dressing on salads (if anything). In ceremony, lime water is used to cut through the effects of the medicine when someone has had too much – so it counteracts the medicine and can reduce its efficacy. When we’re on dieta and making salads, we might just sprinkle on some olive oil (a tiny amount) with a dash of paprika or cumin for a little flavor. The more bland you can make the food, the more effective the dieta – as far as what it helps you clear out ahead of time! 

      Reply
      • Cindy

        Citrus, Pineapple, and Mango all contain tyramine. Foods that contain moderate to high amounts of tyramine can cause headaches and hypertension when combined with Ayahuasca. (read my comment above)

        Reply
  3. Murphy Ryland

    Hi there, 

    What is it about garlic that has it on the NO list? And i was also wondering about lentils as i have been told to avoid them as well? 

    A big one for me is citrus as i make up a lot of my salad dressings using this… is it ok in small amounts? And during? Like … well as a salad dressing? Also, if it is an issue with the actual juice, is it ok to put the citrus zest/skin in dressings?

    And no dried fruit at all?

    Reply
    • Medicine Keeper

      Hey Murphy! Garlic is a flavor enhancer and stimulates the libido; two things that counteract much of the intention behind dieta… which is to temporarily sacrifice flavor and habituated eating patterns as an offering to the medicine. On a practical level, garlic is also very unpleasant to purge ;)

      Our retreat center serves lentils as part of the dieta onsite during our retreat; each shaman / center has their own variations of the dieta, so if avoiding lentils is what your shaman recommends, it’s wise to follow that guideline. 

      Citrus counteracts the effects of the medicine. In fact, lime water, or limes applied directly to the temples, is one of the ways to help someone who is having trouble with the medicine during ceremony. It can immediately put a stop to or inhibit the effects of the medicine. So it is wise to stay away from it as much as possible, with only a VERY small amount as part of a light dressing, for example.  Same with the zest or skins. 

      Again, the purpose of the dieta is to eat very mild/bland foods so that you become much more aware of your actual emotional state, notice your patterns around using food and/or other substances as a modulator of emotions/feelings, and to prepare your body for the very hard work it will do with the medicine. The gentler you are on your system, the better. 

      Dried fruit contains a lot of sugars… but it’s fine in moderation. We like LARA bars for snacks, which have dates and other dried fruits in the ingredients… 

      Hope this helps!

      xo!

      Reply
  4. ani

    First, thank you for the good information given in a very kind and loving way.  One question about the spinach.  Is there something specific in spinach chemically that is not good ?   Can that be explained ?  Some of the organic green mixes include it so thought I’d ask about this, and if it is a chemical contradiction, then good to know in case other “greens” might also contain same thing?    Many thanks !

    Reply
    • Tigre

      Hey Ani,

      It’s more about “large quantities” of spinach that are the issue. The issue is that the “interaction of tyramine with MAOIs” which could “cause a hypertensive crisis when combined.”

      Will a little spinach harm you? No, most likely not, and perhaps even eating it up to 3-4 days ahead of ceremony won’t be an issue, but, possibly reduce the amounts of spinach leading up to ceremony if you can help it.

      Reply
  5. Miha

    How about squash?

    Reply
    • Medicine Keeper

      Hi there! I haven’t received any information restricting squash – I think it is totally fine, as long as you prepare it without much oil or any salt! =)

      Reply
  6. Alex

    >> In essence, you’ll be eating SUPER DUPER healthy

    Since when fermented food (I refer to sauerkraut, not tofu), pickles, proper dairy, black pepper, avocados, tomatoes, radishes, leeks, onion, garlic, citrus are unhealthy?

    Bust most important… since when unfermented wheat has become healthy?

    Reply
    • Tigre

      We are not saying that any of the foods you’ve listed are unhealthy. They are all wonderful ingredients that we miss when preparing for medicine ceremonies.

      The ayahuasca diet is not (necessarily) about the healthiness of the food as much as it is about spice, sensory distraction, possible contraindications, and it acting as a dietary and behavioral protocol.

      Fermented foods show contraindications with MAOIs and tyramine. And, even if no risk is present for a person, sacrificing food and life comforts for ceremony imbues the journey and process with humility, reverence and is a sign of respect for the medicine.

      Reply
    • Cindy

       The reason fermented foods are on the list is NOT because they’re unhealthy, neither is an orange or most of the other foods listed to avoid. It’s because fermented foods contain high levels of tyramine. (See my comment above to read about the interaction between Ayahuasca and tyramine.)

      Reply
  7. Lynne

    Sooo confused…every site I read says different. I ate banana because one site said ok & ate advacardo because there was no mention it was a no no .. To then read on another site not to eat either. Then another site says eat only green banana. Other site says no nuts you say nuts good you say no yogurt or cheese other sites say cream cheese & little yogurt good. You say no onion some say no raw onion & others no mention of it. I’ve eaten tomatoes all week to now find that I shouldn’t be eating them . Other says no pepper then different one says black pepper ok then you say no black pepper. Others say turamic is a def no no but you say yes it’s ok ??? Really struggling to believe anything I read now & doubting whether anybody actually knows what they are talking about. I’m flying out to Pucallpa in 5 days & now nervous as to what to expect on my first couple of ceremonies I was trying to avoid / reduce as best possible any purging/ dark experiences that could be avoided but with all the mixed information I am more anxious now than when I first started researching. ????

    Reply
    • Medicine Keeper

      Hello love! There IS a lot of conflicting information out there about.. well, everything – but especially around medicine work. You do not have to have a “perfect” dieta… Your consciousness and caring around this and deep desire to do it right is a beautiful and sacred thing. Most of the restrictions recommended for dieta are to ease the physical process with the medicine, such as eliminating spices, garlics, onion, etc… but if a little sneaks in, it will cause you no harm. everyone has reasons for their recommendations and comes from varying lineages. The best dieta to follow ultimately will come directly from the retreat or healing center you stay at – because it will align with the medicine work of the shamans there on site. If you haven’t been provided clear guidance, then doing your best will be enough…

      Part of the anxiety around this is part of the “pre-purge” that medicine often brings up…

      Through dieta, you get an intimate look at your patterns, habits, assumptions, and stories – bringing them more to the surface for healing and resolution. This is a big part of the reasons for dieta, beyond just physical preparation… it’s a tool for self-awareness. Practice compassion and kindness toward yourself. Do your best… look at everything you are “giving up” as part of dieta as if it is a sacred offering to spirit (because it is)… and try to go into your ceremonies with faith, that no matter what your journeys contain, that they are perfectly designed for your spirit, soul, and body’s needs at this time.

      To address bananas and avocados specifically, it is the banana PEEL that is problematic, based on it’s chemical makeup… Most people don’t eat them, so it’s not an issue, but our retreat center has actually had one case of someone eating banana peel prior to ceremony! The result was okay, but it’s best to err on the side of caution. Avocados are also alright in moderation, again according to the retreat center we work with. They do contain trace amounts of Tyramine, so it’s best to avoid eating extensive amounts of them on dieta. We recommend tapering them off the last few days prior to ceremony.

      Reply
      • Max

        I’ll be two weeks out from my first trip into the jungle and ceremony. This response helped me so much with my mind set. Thank yoouuuu

        Reply
        • Medicine Keeper

          Wonderful!! May you have a productive and healing journey, Max! 

          Reply

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