Ayahuasca and the Dietary Regime | La Dieta

Published: Jan 29, 2023
Edited by: Team TB

Ayahuasca and the Dietary Regime | La Dieta

Most of the times, a dietary regime is one of the type of preparations you’ll encounter in relation to Ayahuasca retreats. This dietary regime is usually called the Dieta, which is the Spanish word for diet.

It’s a special diet followed to purify and strengthen body, mind, and spirit before ingesting the Ayahuasca brew, believed to be necessary to maximize the benefits of the drug. Additionally, it’s thought that doing so is a safety measure to avoid certain side effects and health risks when using Ayahuasca.

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For instance, Ayahuasca is a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI) that temporarily blocks the working of an enzyme in our body called Monoamine Oxidase. This enzyme not only breaks down Dimethyltryptamine (the psychoactive compound of Ayahuasca) but also excess Tyramine, an amino acid that helps regulate blood pressure.

Now, when using a MAOI such as Ayahuasca, Tyramine can reach dangerous levels if you eat foods that contain lots of Tyramine. This could lead to an abnormal spike in blood pressure, accelerated heartbeat, panic attacks, fainting, or persistent headaches, among others.

Additionally, the use of substances such as alcohol, other recreational drugs, and psychiatric drugs should be stopped for some time (if temporarily halting psychiatric medication is possible or advised) before attending the retreat because these substances can interact unfavorably with Ayahuasca.

Thus, during the diet one abstains from a number of foods and drinks, before, during, and (for a while) after the Ayahuasca retreat. Depending on the ideas, lineage, and/or habits of the retreat facilitator or Shaman this diet may start a few days, weeks or even months before the actual retreat.

Apart from avoiding, limiting, and/or eliminating certain types of nutrition, the diet also implies that one adheres to certain behavior to maximize one’s energy, which, for instance, includes abstention from sexual activity, avoiding stressful situations, and taking plenty of rest.

The exact preparatory diet varies from retreat to retreat, but there are some common characteristics. For instance, one should preferably not consume spicy, salty, acidic, and fatty foods, processed bread, unhealthy oils, ice and ice cream, cold foods, junk food, carbonated and fermented drinks, refined sugars, dairy products, caffeine, alcohol, recreational drugs, red meat, or pork.

Do mind that the diet is not necessary vegetarian or vegan, but it’s advised to limit the intake of animal products. Moreover, many Ayahuasca retreats will serve a vegetarian or vegan diet and as the retreats are often held at isolated places you will not have much other choice than eating vegetarian or vegan during the retreat period.

The actual preliminary diet may or may not include a Master Teacher Plant, but in any case it usually consists of fresh and cooked vegetables, quinoa, rice, oats, and other cereals, beans or other legumes, nuts, fresh fruits or juices, and good hydration.

And finally, in some retreats you will also be given purgative plants as part of the preliminary purifying and detoxification process. These may cause you to vomit or have diarrhea. Mind, however, that you will never be forced to take those.

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