2 weeks prior to retreat:
- Stop the usage of drugs and supplements. When in doubt, please contact our center.
- Begin reducing refined sugars, salt, caffeine, alcohol and other stimulants.
- Limit red meat, heavy fats and processed foods.
- Stop eating pork.
3 days prior to retreat:
- Stop the usage of certain prescribed medication (ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL FIRST)
- No alcohol and (still) no drugs
- No red meat, heavy fats and processed foods
- (Still) no pork
- No dried or fermented sausage/meats (e.g. salami, pepperoni, corned beef and liver)
- No fermented cheeses or foods (canned foods, sauerkraut, soy, tempeh, kimchee)
- No old cheeses (young cheese, ricotta, mozzarella, cottage cheese & cream cheese is okay)
- No overripe bananas or avocados
- No figs and raisins
- No dairy products
- No dried or salted fish
- No large amounts of nuts and seeds (or peanuts)
- No large amount of chocolate
- No protein extracts or supplements (they often contain yeast extract, e.g. Marmite/Tartex)
- No artificial sweeteners
- As little as possible salt, spices, sugar and caffeine (coffee, some tea, energy drink, chocolate)
- Avoid certain herbal drinks/teas, like Ginseng & St John’s wort
- No nose sprays
- No sexual interactions
- Drink plenty of water (but avoid drinking too much directly before or during the ceremony)
The MAO inhibitors that are present in the ayahuasca brew, strongly conflict with certain drugs, medication or certain physical abnormalities, which can result in serious consequences. Therefore, we ask you to fill out our extensive questionnaire. We review each case one-by-one and decide if your situation is a contraindication to the usage of ayahuasca.
Aside from the possible contraindications (that might exclude you from participation), there are also certain foods that do not go well with the MOA inhibitors in the ayahuasca brew. These are foods that contain the amino acid “tyramine”. In the dietary guidelines we provide a detailed list of these. Under normal circumstances, the enzymes in our bodies can degrade this amino acid, but when we have a MAO inhibitor active in our system, these enzymes are – temporarily – not functioning. This causes a release of adrenaline which can trigger headaches and sweating and can increase the heart rate and blood pressure. Therefore, it is wise to limit the intake of foods that contain this amino acid, especially when you suffer from high blood pressure or heart problems.
Besides, by carefully preparing our bodies and minds for the upcoming ayahuasca experience, we show our willingness and commitment to truly dive into this process to receive the healing we need.
On the days of your ceremonies, it is best to have only light meals. You can start the day with some cereals with fresh fruits (no banana!) and plant-based milks. Later you can have some bread/crackers with a bit of spread, a soup or a smoothie as a light meal. You can drink herbal tea or water as much as you want.
We advise you not to eat up to three hours before the ceremony. When you will participate in our retreat, we will make sure the food that will be served is safe for you to eat. We will also make a round to warn people about the “last round” of food before the next ceremony.
Before and during your ayahuasca retreat, you need to avoid certain foods that contain tyramine, because they can interact with the MAO inhibitors in the brew. For a full description of the proper diet, please click here.
We recommend you to start (certain aspects of) the diet at least 2 weeks prior to your retreat (e.g. stop the usage of drugs and certain prescribed medication – NEVER WITHOUT CONSULTING YOUR DOCTOR FIRST!). Read more in the dietary guidelines.
One important aspect of the preparation for your ayahuasca experience is rest. Make sure to get enough sleep, but also limit the intake of stimulants. Don’t lose yourself in distractions and allow plenty of time for and with yourself. Try to spend time in nature, and quiet your mind through yoga, meditation, music, journaling, whatever suits you best.
We do not allow participants to smoke cannabis/weed on our retreats, as we have a no drugs and no alcohol policy.
We believe in a careful preparation for receiving the sacred plant medicine in the purest way and part of this is to stop the usage of marijuana. Smoking cannabis occupies quite some mental space. Ayahuasca does as well. Combining the two can create a foggy experience, while we strongly believe that you can get most out of your ayahuasca experience, if “she” gets your full attention and you go in purified from marijuana. Besides that, commitment to work with ayahuasca is essentially committing to look at yourself and your patterns and habits honestly. Abstaining from marijuana usage for a period can make reflect on your smoking behavior more purely and clearly?
Notice: Our experience is that some heavy marijuana users have been left disappointed with their ayahuasca experience, because it didn’t seem to work (well) for them. Even though we have also seen examples of people that have had a great experience after having used marijuana regularly for years, or examples of people that were able to break through marijuana addiction, it is important to know that recent heavy marijuana usage might impact your process.