Many of our visitors are inquiring about add-on ayahuasca retreats and ceremonies, combining a detox raw food + yoga retreat at Casa Verde with a subsequent ayahuasca retreat either here in Ecuador or elsewhere, like Peru.
The following information is based on best practices and ayahuasca diet suggestions from the ayahuasca retreat center in Ecuador with whom I collaborate. Please inquire here with additional questions, if they arise.
Is dieting necessary?
Ayahuasca is a powerful plant medicine from the Amazon that indigenous peoples of the region (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia) have used for centuries to treat both physical and psychological/emotional ailments. It continues to be used traditionally across the region and has the potential to treat many conditions.
To reap the benefits of ayahuasca, your body should be as receptive to it as possible and that’s why most ayahuasca retreat centers strongly recommend a pre ayahuasca diet and/or fasting.
Detoxing before an ayahuasca retreat / ceremony increases the potency of the ayahuasca medicine in your body. Those that participate in a ceremony that have already detoxed tend to be more sensitive to the ayahuasca medicine.
One common side effect of ayahuasca is purging and this is one of the ways that this medicine purifies the body. Instead of spending the first few sessions cleansing the body, people that have undergone a detox diet often move more quickly into the mental / psychological / emotional purge and cleanse that ayahuasca sets into motion.
Of course, every body is different and it’s impossible to tell you what will or won’t happen during your ayahuasca experience.
Is a detox diet or fasting before a plant medicine retreat a requirement?
This depends on the retreat center you choose to visit. For the most part, following some sort of ayahuasca detox diet is strongly recommended, but not required.
Many curanderos/curanderos will say that an ayahuasca diet is not necessary because the medicine takes you as you are. If you’ve been eating fast food for the last 10 years, a 1-week ayahuasca diet is not going cleanse you of the accumulated toxins and long term effect this type of lifestyle tends to have on people.
Does that mean the ayahuasca will not “work”? No; regardless of your lifestyle or pre ayahuasca diet, the medicine meets you where you (your body) is and works with what is there. It might take a bit longer for you to fully appreciate the working power of the medicine, but if you’re attending a retreat with at least 2 ayahuasca ceremonies, you should be fine.
Should I fast or diet before an the retreat?
The short answer is: both fasting and following a pre ayahuasca diet is important.
A pre ayahuasca diet/detox is usually done a week or up to 14 days leading up to your ayahuasca retreat.
Fasting before drinking ayahuasca is usually done the day of the ceremony, which normally takes place at night. You might refrain from eating solids and only drink liquids like water and tea. You might only eat some fruit, soup or broth throughout the day, again avoiding solids. Whatever you choose to do, the idea is that you don’t walk into an ayahuasca ceremony with an activated digestive system.
If you have trouble with fasting, do this, at minimum: If the ayahuasca ceremony begins around 8-9pm, don’t eat anything past 3-4 pm and try to keep other meals very light during the rest of the day.
Intermittent fasting can also be done in the weeks and months leading up to your ayahuasca retreat. This is beneficial to your body, regardless of whether or not you participate in a retreat. Through intermittent fasting, your body begins to repair and rebuild damaged cells, your metabolism improves and you give your mind and body a vital break from constantly processing food.
Many of you might be considering a detox yoga retreat because you know you’ve been consuming foods and substances that aren’t the healthiest for your bodies. Casa Verde welcomes you with open arms, if that is the case! However, many ayahuasca retreat centers prefer that their visitors arrive having already detoxed.
What is the pre Ayahuasca diet?
There is no ONE pre ayahuasca diet, but the general guidelines are the following: eat clean, whole foods and avoid animal protein.
Fortunately, this is essentially what we offer through our detox yoga retreats at Casa Verde!
Avoid the following in the days, if not weeks, leading up to your ayahuasca experience, and if you’re unable to cut it out completely, at least reduce the quantity you’re consuming:
- Saturated fats
- Anything with colorants and or preservatives
- Processed food
- No meats, especially pork/sausage, beef
What about drugs prior to a plant medicine retreat?
As you might imagine, you should definitely refrain from consuming drugs prior to your ayahuasca retreat. Drugs refer to chemical/pharmaceutical drugs as well as narcotic substances, including marihuana. Depending on the drug, you might need to stop taking it more than two weeks prior to your ayahuasca experience.
Most ayahuasca retreat centers, including the one we work with, will ask you about drug consumption before approving your visit. This is for your own safety; some substance do not interact well with ayahuasca and by understanding what, why and how much you consume, the retreat center is more able to help you in your process.
Many people that inquire about ayahuasca retreats/ceremonies consume drugs; the fact that you do does not mean you won’t be allowed to participate in a ceremony, however, please be 100% transparent about this when inquiring.
Ayahuasca Diet vs Ayahuasca Dieta: What’s the difference?
Though they mean exactly the same thing, just that one is in English and the other in Spanish, their uses differ.
An ayahuasca diet is what we have already covered. That is, what food ingredients and substances you should exclude from your diet, usually 4-14 days prior to your ayahuasca experience.
An ayahuasca dieta, on the other hand, refers to a specific medicinal plant diet and nutritional diet often prescribed by curanderos/curanderas of the Amazon rainforest, essentially an Amazon detox, if you will. This is often prescribed along with ayahuasca, otherwise prior to drinking ayahuasca. The dieta usually includes other master plants of the rainforest.
In terms of nutrition, the dieta usually consists of potatoes, yucca, rice, sometimes egg and chicken.
Make sure to clarify about the use of these terms if you’re speaking to someone in Spanish or in the Amazon.
How long is it best to diet before the ceremony or retreat?
As already mentioned above, the ayahuasca diet should be put into practice from 4-14 days before your ayahuasca retreat or experience. The longer, the better and more cleansing.
Casa Verde offers 7-10 day raw detox retreats combined with yoga (get in touch if you are interested in shorter or longer retreats, sometimes we make exceptions depending on availability) that would within this ayahuasca diet window.
Easy Raw Veggie Burger Recipe
- 1 cup almonds, soaked 12 – 48 hours and blanched
- 1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked 6 – 8 hours and rinsed
- 1 beet
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 red onion
- 1 zucchini
- 2 carrots, finely grated
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped,
- ¼ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons Bragg Liquid Aminos (if available)
- 2 teaspoons flax oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Process almonds, sunflower seeds, beet, red bell pepper, onion and zucchini through a Champion Juicer using the solid plate or a food processor with the “s” blade. Mix in remaining ingredients. Form into round burgers and place on a dehydrator tray with a teflex sheet. Dehydrate at 105° for 4 hours, turn burgers over and remove teflex sheet. Continue dehydrating for 4 – 6 hours, or until desired moisture is obtained. These burgers are delicious wrapped in large lettuce leaves with sprouts, tomato, and avocado.
Recipe extracted from “Living in the Raw. Recipes for a Healthy Lifestyle” (1999) by Rose Lee Calabro