diet and preparation
There are many controversies about the diet before the ceremony. So does every guide has its unique way of preparing. My main intention with the preparation is not only given for the ceremony. I will try to give you an overview of what is possible and works for the most. Certainly, you should learn and listen closely to your body. The best diet is the one that works for you!
Fresh and healthy foods like potatoes, vegetables, and fruits as well as grains, such as bread, rice, cereals, and pasta are a good start and will be always the best choice in your life. Eat less processed food from a box and try to find food in its original form. If you are not a vegetarian, it is best to limit yourself to (minimal amounts of) chicken, turkey, and fish. Do not use too many spices and limit the intake of salt and sugar.
We live in a very acid world. Very often people start with a coffee and an orange juice in the morning, continuing a very acid reach diet at the day. I will not go into detail and ask about your chemistry knowledge but every drug is working the best in a basic environment. In general, our entire body works better at a basic pH. Keep that in mind, basic is better than acid.
Medication, drugs and supplements are also prohibited with the use of ayahuasca and must be stopped 2 weeks before the ceremony. Even the usage of a simple nose spray could prevent you from participating in a ceremony. Below you find a list of substances you can’t consume when preparing for an ayahuasca ceremony.
2 weeks prior the retreat
- reduce refined sugars, salt, caffeine, alcohol and other stimulants
- Limit heavy fats and processed foods.
- You can eat fruits and vegetables but remember, basic is better than acid
- Take a closer look on food containing Tyramine
Ayahuasca and Tyramine
The brew of Ayahuasca contains a mix of the active ingredient and the MAO-inhibitor, meaning it temporarily inhibits the activation of the monoamine oxidase (MAO). This enzyme is essential to process the amino acid tyramine, so it’s important to refrain from eating foods high in this amino acid.
Personally I have had never problems with the MAO inhibitor and different kinds of foods. Some travelers describe light headaches or hypertension after too much red meat and the MAO inhibitor.
Foods that contain tyramine include:
Fermented foods like soy sauce, fermented tofu, and sauerkraut
Nutritional supplements like protein powders
Chocolate (in large amounts)
3 days prior the retreat
The last days prior to the ceremony can be intense and exciting, don’t get too nervous about the diet. But I do recommend some simple steps.
First of all, try to reduce your food as much as possible. On the day of the ceremony, I ask my traveler to come with an empty stomach. You can drink tea in the morning, without caffeine! Ayahuasca works the best on an empty stomach. The day before the ceremony, a light soup might be the best choice.
What is not so good?
- No alcohol and no drugs
- No coffee or tea with caffeine (I might see a lot people struggle with this, if you get headache by not drinking a coffee or tea, please don’t force yourself into it. Better drink a coffee and come with a clean head into the ceremony
- No Energy drinks, sweats, chocolate
- No red meat, heavy fats and processed foods
- No pork
- No dried or fermented sausage/meats (e.g. salami, pepperoni, corned beef and liver)
- No fermented cheeses or foods (canned foods, sauerkraut, soy, tempeh, kimchee)
- No old cheeses
- No dairy products
- No dried or salted fish
- No protein extracts or supplements
- No artificial sweeteners
What is good?
Drink plenty of water or fruit tea
young cheese, ricotta, mozzarella, cottage cheese & cream cheese
beans, corn, bulgur, quinoa
nuts and seeds (but not too much)
Keep up the diet for at least 3 days after the ceremony. Your body is spotless and healthy now. The preparation is an essential part of the ceremony. You will find some new sides on your personality, and you might even focus on a new lifestyle.
In general, a clean body is the best preparation. Any drug will interfere with Ayahuasca and increase the risk of side-effects. In any case, please inform me with potential prescriptions, so we can have a closer look and discuss the risk.
This list is only an example with drugs that need to be stopped
- Antidepressants like SSRIs
- Sleep medications
- Alpha- and beta-blockers
Absolutely NOT recommended. These include cocaine, amphetamines, opiates, marijuana, and MDMA. It’s also best to avoid other psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin.
sex and heavy workouts
I strongly recommend that you avoid sexual activity, including masturbation, two weeks before and after a ceremony. Sex is a powerful energetic exchange that can deplete a hormonal cocktail into your blood and body.
The same goes for heavy fitness training but also running and biking. The best if you use the preparation time and concentrate on yoga and stretching exercises.
Mental Preparation and Intention-Setting
Just as important as physical preparation is the mental cleansing you do in the time before the ceremony.
You don’t have to start a yoga class but maybe it’s time to find some exercises online (or you just text me). Yoga or meditation will surely help but also some quality time with a diary and a pen can help. Take some time for your thoughts and write them down. Maybe you can define some questions and clear the intention for your experience. The more specific the intention, the better the chance is you’ll get a clear answer to whatever you are hoping to learn from the experience. Continuing these mindfulness practices after the ceremony will also help you integrate any lessons you learned into your daily life.
When you prepare yourself in these ways for an ayahuasca ceremony, you ready your body and mind to be in the best possible position to receive the teachings of ayahuasca.