This section relates to the specific dietary restrictions.
For substances and behaviours to avoid go here.
What to eat before an ayahuasca ceremony is another area of controversy.
Most ayahuasca centres prescribe very specific guidelines for you.
They expect these to be followed before you take part in an ayahuasca ceremony.
However, some people say these guidelines have no scientific basis.
They usually point to cases where there are no issues from ignoring the rules.
In this section, we’ll look into these perspectives, so you can make the best choice.
Perspective 1: Follow The Pre-Ayahuasca Diet
Here’s the standard diet recommended:
The Must Avoid List
- Caffeine (coffee, black tea, green tea)
- Pork (for two weeks before the ceremony)
- Dairy (for two days before the ceremony)
- Fried food (for two days before the ceremony)
- Sugar/Sweets (for two days before the ceremony)
- No foods with an amino acid called tyramine (full list here)
- Spicy foods
- Salt (including canned and processed foods)
- Red meat
- Nutritional supplements like protein powders
- Aspartame (full list of foods and drinks here)
- Chocolate (in large amounts)
- Peanuts (in large amounts)
- Foods with tryptophan (full list here)
You’re probably now wonder “What the hell can I eat?!”
Don’t worry, I got you.
Well, actually Lola Pickett has got you.
Go here and read her What You Can Eat Before Ayahuasca Guide.
Also download her handy print-out for your fridge.
Perspective 2: The Pre-Ayahuasca Diet is Nonsense
Science calls bullshit on the pre-ayahuasca diet.
According to Luís Fernando Tófoli, professor of medical psychology and psychiatry at the University of Campinas in Brazil, there’s no basis for this diet.
Some ayahuasca-drinking cultures have customs that directly contradict the diet:
- The Brazilian Santo Daime tradition smoke weed during ayahuasca ceremonies
- The União do Vegetal community in Brazil doesn’t have any dietary restrictions
These groups have reported no problems.
However, this doesn’t tell the whole story.
There are some very scientific reasons to follow the diet.
- Foods containing tyramine, found in aged cheeses, cured meats, and pickled foods are dangerous.
- These foods are dangerous when combined with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) like those in ayahuasca.
- This is because tyramine and ayahuasca both increase blood pressure.
- Blood pressure getting too high can cause:
- Heart attack
- Loss of kidney function
- Severe anxiety
In summary, science and the shamans agree – follow the diet.