The Shamanic Dieta
Central to Amazonian shamanism is the dieta: the ancient practice of receiving the knowledge and healing of Amazonian plants by drinking their medicine in isolation in the rainforest, observing dietary restrictions, and abstaining from social relations (particularly from the opposite sex).
Dietary restrictions are one of the most important parts of the shamanic dieta and the reason for this is twofold. Firstly, many of these medicines can be very strong on the body and can seriously react against different foods or herbal supplements. It is for this reason that meals served at Santuario are on the bland side as foods are chosen for their neutrality with plant medicines and ease on the body over their flavour.
Secondly, it is believed that the body has an ability to heal itself when unencumbered by toxins, physical or spiritual in nature. The cleaner the body, the better it can receive the knowledge of the plants and draw on its natural potential to heal itself. Many Amazonian healing practices aim to heal by detoxifying the body and spirit and the concept of the cleanse, the “limpia,” is central to Amazonian traditional medicine.
No doubt about it, the restrictions involved with the dieta can be as challenging as working with the medicine itself! We must in shed our attachments to many things: to comfort food, to others, and the many forms of technology we have grown accustomed to…
The common Ayahuasca dieta involves a very simple food regimen that does excludes any sugars, salts, spices, oils, wheat and grains, dairy, fermented or preserved foods, pork and red meats. You should also avoid alcohol and any recreational or prescription drugs or supplements for at least two weeks before working with the medicines as well as maintain a clean diet as much as possible without the aforementioned foods. You also need to abstain from sex and protect yourself from negative energies as much as possible. This is also very important when in the process of dieting, as one can feel quite sensitive around other people as one is undergoing an emotional and spiritual cleanse as much as a physical one.
Food at Santuario
The foods that are recommended by Amazonian shamans are already part of the their everyday fare and include boiled rice (without oil or salt), boiled or roasted plantains, boiled potatoes or manioc (yucca/cassava), vegetable soups, and at times some (toothless) fish (particularly boquichito). Also served occasionally are eggs. Fruits (mangoes, guava, bananas, etc) may be offered but are not recommended due to their high sugar content. It is important to note that foods are offered depending on availability and the medicine you are working with. For some dietas, you may require a stricter diet of only plantains and rice.
Dietary Restrictions Post Dieta
In general it is recommended that you extend your dieta until one month after your retreat at Santuario. However it is important to confirm this with the maestro if there are specific foods you should avoid depending on the medicine you have worked with.