The Ayahuasca Diet – Essential Nutrition Guidelines 

The Ayahuasca ceremony, an ancient shamanic practice attracting seekers of spiritual experiences and healing worldwide, requires crucial preparation known as the Ayahuasca Diet or “Dieta.” This dietary regimen involves specific rules and restrictions to enhance the safety and effectiveness of the experience. One common question arises: What foods are permissible before an Ayahuasca ceremony?

Why is the Ayahuasca Diet Important?

The Ayahuasca Diet is not only a physical preparation but also a spiritual practice initiated weeks before the planned ceremony. It aims to cleanse and sensitize the body for a deeper spiritual connection during the ceremony. Certain foods and substances can interact with Ayahuasca, potentially causing uncomfortable or even dangerous side effects. Participants need to consider the crucial aspect of interaction between Ayahuasca and specific foods in their preparation. Tyramine, an amino acid found in various foods, can accumulate in the body under the influence of the MAO inhibitor in Ayahuasca. Although the effects are generally mild, understanding potential consequences is crucial. The MAO inhibitor in Ayahuasca blocks the Monoamine Oxidase (MAO) enzyme responsible for breaking down Tyramine. When this enzyme is blocked, Tyramine levels can rise, triggering undesirable reactions.

The release of adrenaline caused by Tyramine accumulation can lead to temporary discomforts such as headaches, sweating, increased heart rate, and elevated blood pressure. It’s essential to emphasize that these symptoms are generally considered mild and have not caused serious harm thus far. However, individuals with high blood pressure or heart issues should limit the intake of Tyramine-containing foods, including aged cheese, fermented products, certain sausages, soy sauce, and some alcoholic beverages. A conscious and tailored diet before the Ayahuasca ceremony is a crucial step to minimize unwanted reactions. Open communication with ceremony leaders and support teams, considering experiences and individual needs, is vital. A responsible approach to nutrition ensures a safer and more profound Ayahuasca experience.

General Rules and Restrictions of the Ayahuasca Diet

Seven days before the ceremony, painkillers, sexual activities, pork, and alcohol are not allowed. Drugs and psychoactive medications should be discontinued a month earlier. On the day of your diet, you should not eat anything from noon onwards and refrain from drinking anything up to 5 hours before.

Allowed Foods before an Ayahuasca Ceremony

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables: Fresh, non-acidic fruits and vegetables are a good choice. Apples, bananas, carrots, and leafy greens are generally safe.
  • Rice and quinoa: These gluten-free grains are easily digestible and a good source of energy.
  • Chicken and fish: Lean protein like chicken and fish can be consumed in moderation.
  • Herbal teas: Caffeine-free herbal teas like chamomile or peppermint are allowed and can have a calming effect.
  • Water: Adequate hydration is important. Drink plenty of water to support the body.

Foods to Avoid

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine: Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated beverages should be avoided as they can affect the effects of Ayahuasca.
  • Spicy spices: Spicy spices can irritate the stomach.
  • Fermented foods: Fermented foods like sauerkraut, soy, or canned items can affect the digestive tract and should be avoided.
  • Aged cheese: Opt for young cheese like ricotta, cream cheese, or mozzarella.
  • Medications: It’s important to inform the shaman or the person leading the ceremony about any medication intake, as some medications and herbs may interact with Ayahuasca. An experienced leader can recommend individual adjustments.
  • St. John’s Wort: It elevates mood, but don’t mix it with Ayahuasca – it could affect the effect. Better save it for another day.
  • Valerian: Relaxation yes, but not with Ayahuasca. Ayahuasca and valerian don’t mix well. Better leave out the valerian.
  • Kava Kava: Can irritate the stomach, so it’s better to avoid.
  • Lemongrass: Tasty in soup, but avoid it before Ayahuasca. It increases stomach acid production, which could disturb the ceremony.
  • Peppermint: Fresh breath is good, but peppermint could dampen the Ayahuasca effect. Avoid peppermint lozenges for a while.
  • Red meat: Red meat is hard to digest and should be avoided to support the body’s cleansing. Beware! Pork is strictly prohibited in the Dieta as well!

Why should you not eat pork before an Ayahuasca ceremony?

The Shipibos say that consuming pork during the Dieta phase can lead to white spots on the skin. These spots are interpreted as a kind of symbolic defense or allergic reaction of the body. It’s as if the body is resisting this specific food, a metaphor for the spiritual conflicts that can arise during the Dieta. Another fascinating tradition states that indulging in pork during the Dieta can cause diarrhea – a figurative excretion of spiritual energy. This loss is perceived as a direct impairment of the Dieta’s strength. The notion that spiritual energy is literally excreted adds a profound symbolic dimension to the abstention from certain foods.

More than just nutrition

However, this is about much more than just food. It’s an attempt to distance oneself from ordinary human impulses. For example, sex is also forbidden during this time. It represents an aspect of human existence from which one withdraws for a certain period to gain clarity. In a way, something is sacrificed – comparable to the coin given to the ferryman across the Styx to gain access to this space of openness for teachings and full concentration. The entire endeavor is marked by resistance – against temptations, against distractions. Strengthening one’s own mind happens through the conscious acceptance of such challenges. In doing so, one shows not only physical but also energetic readiness and thus gains the attention of the plants, recognizing one as a genuinely interested seeker during the ceremony.


The Ayahuasca Diet is not only a physical preparation but also a spiritual practice that begins weeks before the ceremony. It cleanses the body and sensitizes it for a deeper spiritual connection during the Ayahuasca ceremony. The interaction between Ayahuasca and specific foods, especially those containing Tyramine, can lead to uncomfortable side effects. The diet rules include avoiding painkillers, sexual activity, pork, alcohol, and discontinuing medications a month earlier. Allowed are fresh fruits, vegetables, gluten-free grains, lean protein, herbal teas, and adequate hydration. Coffee, spicy spices, fermented foods, aged cheese, and specific herbs should be avoided. The prohibition of pork has symbolic significance on both physical and spiritual levels.

The diet requires not only conscious nutrition but also the abstention from ordinary human impulses like sex. This deliberate withdrawal represents sacrificing habits for clarity on the spiritual journey. Through this practice, one signals not only physical but also energetic readiness, heightening the attention of the plants during the ceremony.