Two Birds observes diets as part of our practice. The diet is not just about avoiding certain foods but is about discipline, sacrifice, and commitment. The restrictions are in place to help cleanse the body, so the sacraments can work most efficiently. The diet restricts many spices, salt, and pepper. It also includes periods of abstinence from sex or sexual activity. The diet is about respect, for the sacraments, and commitment to your journey and church.
To provide an overview of the recommended diet to be observed in preparation for a meeting with Ayahuasca is a daunting prospect. (As daunting as trying to prepare a variety of interesting meals when confronted with a list of foods that is very limited). There are as many variations of the diet as there are Shamans. To add a little extra obscurity into the mix, the concept of diet has likely been confused with the concept of ‘dieta’ along the way. A ‘dieta’, when working with Ayahuasca is a period of highly restricted diet (usually no more than 3 or 4 staple ingredients) and is a primary technique used by Shaman to begin and underpin the healing process.
Nowadays, as Ayahuasca has spread from the Amazon jungle to the urban jungles, traditional interpretation has become fused with modern science and simple common sense. Modern farming practice, along with the availability of a wide variety of foodstuffs, has created an urban diet that is far removed from the diet traditionally eaten by those who inhabit the area of the Earth that Ayahuasca comes from.
Typically, in order to maximize the benefit, of this type of healing practice salt, spices, oil, sugar, dairy and pork products are eliminated from the diet. Given that much of the food available to us in developed countries is processed and prepared, it is natural to add these foods to the list. While it is not essential in the traditional context to eliminate fish and chicken from the diet, modern thinking not only tells us that meat products take longer to digest physically, but also that as a person develops their consciousness, the practice of eating meat in any form becomes more difficult to digest emotionally. Therefore, meat in all forms is usually on the ‘what not to eat list’. This seems to correlate with the fact that more people are choosing to work with Ayahuasca to develop their consciousness than for traditional reasons, which usually is geared towards physical healing and other ritual forms of use.
Given that Ayahuasca is known for her purgative effects, taking the time to prepare adequately can dramatically reduce the amount of physical cleansing that needs to take place before the deeper psychological, emotional, and spiritual cleansing can begin.
The essence of the diet is a vegan diet with salt, sugar, and excess spice removed. Likewise, in cultures that are fueled by excessive consumption of caffeine and sugar, coffee, tea, and carbonated beverages are also on the excluded list. Another socially accepted drug of our modern world is alcohol, which is not only a powerful depressant, but can also function as a mask for our true state of emotional well-being and as a catalyst for myriad expressions of unconscious behavior. Marijuana is another common drug used in our society and while having many medical benefits can be a hindrance in your healing, check out a great article HERE for more info on this. Removing these crutches and toxins, even for a few days, gives the mind / body complex time to adjust and to settle into a more natural state of being; the state of being and ease. Not the perpetual doing which causes so much modern dis-ease. The other key component of the preparatory diet for meeting Ayahuasca goes beyond the physical and operates on the subtle realms of existence. We are preparing to meet a beneficial spirit of great wisdom and power; therefore, we are preparing our body to receive her. The diet is an opportunity to clean our temple to begin making ready for the arrival of the Sacrament, a pre-ritual ritual of great importance. The diet, and observance of the diet, not only shows we are taking the meeting seriously, helping to get the most out of what can be a life-changing event; but shows respect for our body, those we enter the ceremony with, those who hold the ceremony, and ultimately for Ayahuasca. Likewise, after the ceremony, a week of dietary abstinence allows the seeds of healing to take deeper root, and all the layers of the mind / body complex to settle again in a smooth and systematic fashion, bestowing greater depth and respect to the event and aligning with the principle of non-violence, or in modern healing vernacular, being gentle with ourselves.
Two weeks before ceremony is a good time to begin thinking about you Dieta and commitment. Depending on your lifestyle it is best to ease in to the changes slowly; so it is OK to be less strict at this point BUT if you take any drugs (Prescription or Recreational) or Alcohol now is the time to get sober. If you are on prescriptions that will interfere with the medicine, please ask a facilitator or your doctor about stopping safely and any MAOI interactions.
Check out the many Vegan recipes online https://dieta.twobirdschurch.com/recipe/ to start getting creative with your meals and cutting out the extra salts, sugars, spices, and meats. Two weeks out the BIGGEST thing to be mindful of is your sobriety, the cleaner you diet, the better, but we will be easing into the Dieta to make it more approachable for you.
One week before ceremony you will move into the more strict Dieta, at this point if you haven’t yet, you will want to start eliminating entirely the following:
- Spices (very lightly)
- Garlic (very lightly)
- Minimal Seeds
- Fermented Foods
- Processed foods
- Nightshades (peppers, goji berries, eggplant, tomatoes)
- Over-ripe fruits
*Some white meat like organic chicken or freshwater fish is ok, but very little
*Cook veggies in water and you are allowed light amounts organic olive oil
*Restaurants use A LOT of salt in their meals, avoid going ‘out’ to eat
Two days before ceremony you move into the final restrictions. Avoid everything above PLUS cut out entirely – meats, salt, sugars and spices, avocados, coconuts, sweet fruit etc – you want to avoid any TYRAMINE containing foods as much as possible at this point.
Beyond dietary restrictions, it is good to spend these couple days before ceremony in a calm space and avoid gratuitous social media and any strenuous activities. Stay focus on the journey ahead and bring with you a clear intention for the weekend.
So, WHAT CAN YOU EAT? Lots of super healthy yummy delights!
- GREENS! (Salads with a little olive oil drizzle or a little tahini)
- ALL VEGGIES; except the nightshades listed above.
- All lettuces
- Bok Choy
- Swiss chard
- Sweet Potatoes
- Brussel sprouts
- Any sprouted seeds (clover, broccoli, mung bean)
- Lentils (Orange, Green, Yellow ALL good)Pinto
- Brown Rice
- Pasta: Enjoy brown rice pasta, and recently in whole foods I found Mung Bean Pasta and Adzuki Bean pasta and it’s officially my favorite! No salt added
- Lime Leaves (SUPER yummy in red lentils)
- Galangal (Thai Ginger)
(If you have a blender, it is very easy to blend ginger, turmeric and water; creating a paste that you can add into everything and make it all really tasty! Adding these fresh or dried herbs to your veggie stir-fry, soups & salads TOTALLY makes them so delicious without using any salt or spices! You will be amazed.)
- Guayusa (Most Recommended stimulant, good for helping wean off coffee)
- Herbal Caffeine Free Tea
***You can create delicious dishes using a selection of veggies steamed or stir-fried in water, adding fresh herbs ginger and turmeric, and complementing them with a grain or rice/mung bean pasta.
The list of food to enjoy is much longer than the list of foods to avoid, so do your best to not feel restricted and focus on the amazing options you do have available. Here are some vegan recipes that you can use to get you started! You can modify them and remove ingredients depending on where you are at in your diet, but these are great for starting and great for after ceremony as well!