The Ayahuasca Diet Dissected

The Ayahuasca Diet Dissected

Recommendations abound on how to properly prepare your body for an Ayahuasca journey – yet lack coherence. Ask 100 shamans about optimal pre-ceremony diet and you may get 100 different answers.

A loose consensus emerged in recent years, but upon closer inspection the common guidelines prove questionable. Let’s examine the mainstream advice with a critical eye.

The Prominent Perspective

One prominent retreat provider offers this advice on their “Ayahuasca Diet” page:

  • No red meat, pork, tuna or eel one week pre and post ceremony
  • No alcohol, beer or wine one week pre and post
  • No spicy foods like chili for two days pre-ceremony
  • No fermented foods one day pre and post
  • Limit salt and sugar three days pre and post
  • Eat mostly vegetables, legumes, grains and fruit

The stated rationale stems from generic “Native Peruvian tradition” with no lineage specificity. Yet my direct experience runs counter – the shamans I dieted with in Peru ate eggs regularly and occasionally chicken and fish too. Even committed vegetarians desperately welcomed the animal protein after weeks in the jungle!

Clearly nuance exists here beyond blanket elimination rules. Let’s analyze common restrictions item by item:

Analysis of Mainstream Ayahuasca Diet Tenets

Animal Foods

Reality: No single tradition exists! Different shamans offer different guidance. Vegetarianism drained rather than sustained me during extended ceremonies. Animal foods provide nutrients hard to obtain elsewhere when done judiciously. Eggs, red meat, lamb and fresh, unprocessed poultry generally pose no issue. But fatty, potentially metal-toxic fish warrant caution.


Reality: This directive probably serves more to help purge toxins and reduce ceremonial bathroom breaks. But long term abstinence taxes adrenal function for electrolyte-depleted Westerners. We must mineralize before subtracting salt.


Reality: A justified no-no due to tyramine content. Though curiously, elder shamans seem to drink beer between ceremonies without issue…Rules appear flexible once inside the traditions.

Fermented Foods

Reality: Correct restriction! Aged/fermented items contain risky tyramines.

Spicy Foods

Reality: Wise suggestion – chili peppers, onions and garlic can overstimulate digestion and the mind. Their defense compounds provoke “intensity” better avoided when aiming for reflective journeys.


Reality: Depends! Refined sugar devastates magnesium. But limited honey or fruit poses no problem if not consumed immediately pre-ceremony.

Pre-Ceremony Fiber and Fasting

Reality: Excess fiber leads to repetitive bathroom visits. Light, soothing foods like bone broth and minimal ripe fruit better serve long reflective sessions.

Conclusion: What to Eat Before Ayahuasca

The guidelines grow simpler:

1-2 days before, eliminate tyramine-rich aged/fermented/spiced items which may disturb body and mind. Otherwise nurture yourself with easy-to-digest ancestral foods honoring organic needs – eggs, ghee, gentle veggies, coconut, fruit. In other words, eat as you would to maximize daily health while lowering digestive burden.

Avoiding tyramines is specifically essential because they interact dangerously with the MAO inhibiting properties of the Ayahausca vine. This can lead to spiked blood pressure, headaches, nausea and other symptoms that diminish the experience. Fermented items including aged cheese, salty foods, some chocolates, wine, and overripe fruit contain high levels of tyramines so they prudently should be eliminated in the day or two prior to journeying with this sacred plant teacher, and for several days after.

The body knows how to ready itself when properly supported with nutrition free from industrialized muck. Trust innate intelligence fueled by quality fuels. Then step into ceremony with faith in the medicines’ mastery to guide cleansing while teaching at whatever pace your soul requests.

Initially I avoided animal products due to trendy propaganda. But plant-only protocols rang hollow. Once I embraced Traditional Food principles compatible with my constitution, spiritual connections flowed freely. Layers of contaminants and falsehoods gradually cleared amid vomiting and vision to reveal timeless truth within, eternally wise.

I’m still learning. But the basic Ayahuasca preparation diet proves far simpler than the elaborate dogma regurgitated ad nauseum online: Consume what sustains you. Then surrender what already belongs to the Earth when She asks for return. Fear not bodily rumblings mirroring energetic shifts. Roiling and release cleanse to uncover long-veiled peace beneath transient perception’s churning surface.

I welcome your experiential perspective on optimal ways to prepare our sacred vessels!

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