When we hear the call of Ayahuasca and the sacred medicines and actively decide to participate in a Ayahuasca ceremony or medicinal retreat, one of the main concerns that participants have is the “Ayahuasca diet”. There are so many different opinions and recommendations floating around the Internet these days that it can create confusion for a first time drinker.
Working at Eagle Condor Alliance (an Ayahuasca and sacred medicines healing center in Colombia), I often speak to participants on the phone or Skype before they come down to join us for a retreat. One of the topics we talk about is pre-retreat diet and the importance of arriving as physically clean and strong as possible so that a profound relationship with the medicine can be established during Ayahuasca ceremony. Upon arrival, participants who may have taken my recommendations a bit too far, tell horror stories regarding pre-retreat preparation that usually involve handfuls of nuts, fruit, and white rice.
My response to these tales is that before any Ayahuasca ceremony or Ayahuasca retreat you want to be well nourished, and that doesn’t mean eating like a bird. We shouldn’t stress out over our food; enjoy what you eat as a blessing that nourishes your body and mind, and use logic when choosing what to put in your body. Avoid all processed foods, minimize acidic fruits and dark beverages, and instead, think whole foods. Super foods such as cacao, almonds, legumes, beets, berries, etc. do wonders for our mental, emotional, and physical bodies. Another tip from the healers we work with is to have freshly caught fish in your diet; the spirit of Ayahuasca flows well with the spirit of water. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, good alternatives in the days immediately before ceremony would be eggs or quinoa.
Personally, I choose not to eat red meat or pork and I cut cow’s milk out of my diet a long time ago. Those meats and dairy do not agree with Ayahuasca and can create a feeling of physical discomfort and a persistent need to purge during Ayahuasca ceremony. Although I still enjoy a slice of pizza now and then (who doesn’t), it’s all about balance and moderation. In the days leading up to a ceremony or retreat I will eat lots of fruits, salads, vegetables, vegetable juices, fish soups with root vegetables, rice, avocados, lentils, eggs, granola with coconut milk, smoothies with coconut milk, cacao and maca, and quinoa, all cooked with limited oil and salt. And of course, most importantly, I drink a lot of water!
Foods and drinks that our healers at Eagle Condor Alliance recommend avoiding for at least least two to three days before drinking Ayahuasca are; red meat, pork, citrus fruits, garlic, onions, bell peppers, chilies, animal milk, cheese, butter, tomatoes, and dark drinks (coffee, Coke, etc.). In addition, it is a requirement to be free of alcohol and recreational drugs for at least 2 weeks before drinking Ayahuasca. Recommendations concerning prescription medications are made on a case-by-case basis.
I hope this article enables individuals who are feeling the call to Ayahuasca and the sacred medicines to reach a better understanding of the pre-ceremony diet so they can enjoy meals leading up to ceremonies and of course enjoy this divine medicine that we are so blessed to know.