Ayahuasca Preparation & Dieta

Preparation prior to your retreat is an important and pivotal element in your healing work with ayahuasca, or any sacred medicine. 

How you prepare your mind and body in the weeks leading up to an ayahuasca retreat can make a significant difference in both the experience you have during the ceremony, and the lasting results you receive from your time with this medicine. 

For ayahuasca specifically, the dieta is an integral part of your preparation, and should not be overlooked. That being said, preparation for this sacred medicine is a multifaceted process. We will dive into a multitude of ways you can prepare for this profound journey, and once your retreat is booked, our team will contact you to begin a more tailored preparation process.

Preparing your Mind & Spirit

Intention Setting 

The more aware of your intentions and your experiences you become, the more you will be able to connect the two, the more you will be able to create the experiences of your life consciously. This is the development of mastery. It is the creation of authentic power.

~ Gary Zukav, The Seat of the Soul

Whether it be for physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual reasons, it is important to become clear on why you are embarking on this plant medicine journey. 

In the weeks leading up to your retreat, take the time to consider, meditate on, and journal about your intentions – what you want to heal, resolve, release, or expand into. Be specific and communicate why you are seeking guidance from ayahuasca.  

When you work with a plant teacher such as ayahuasca, the experience can sometimes feel overwhelming. This is why it is helpful to set an intention that will serve as an anchor during your experience. If you can put the effort in to remember your intention, your why, that remembrance can help to recenter and ground you. 

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Why have I decided to work with ayahuasca?
  • What is my main aim or objective? (Think about this in terms of what you want, not what you don’t want.)
  • What am I ready to release and let go of to step into my highest, most embodied Self?
  • What do I want to learn, understand, or resolve from this experience?
  • How would I like my life to look after this retreat? In an ideal world, what would I be doing, and how would I feel? Who do I want to be?

There’s no right or wrong here, so trust yourself and your intuition in terms of what comes up.

If you’re unsure of your intention or what you want to focus on in ceremony, you may simply set the intention: “Show me what I need to know”, trusting you are being shown, taught and healed in ways that are best for you to further your own expansion.

Intentions vs. Expectations 

It is also important to note that with ayahuasca, you must release all expectations around ‘how’ the medicine will work with you in meeting your intentions. 

If you’re seeking out information about ayahuasca, chances are you’ve heard others speak about their life-changing experiences (either online or in person). This makes it hard not to form ideas or expectations about how an experience could look for you. But please keep in mind that every ceremony is unique, and the experience may not unfold in the way you think it will. 

Much of what takes place in these multi-dimensional realms cannot be interpreted by the rational mind. At the end of the day, no two people will have the same experience, nor will one person have the same experience through multiple ceremonies. 

Ayahuasca is known to give you what you need, not what you want. Embrace this with self-compassion and do your best to release your expectations. The process of releasing expectations is a powerful exercise in letting go of control and the need for ‘knowing’ and certainty – which also paves the way to deeper healing with the medicine.

Continue to trust that your intentions are being met on energetic levels, even if you do not receive immediate answers or cognitive understanding immediately after the ceremonies.The spirit of ayahuasca knows exactly what you need, and much can be revealed and integrated in the weeks and months after sitting with the medicine. 

“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” 

– Alexander Pope

Cultivating Mindfulness 

Mindfulness practices are extremely beneficial throughout all stages of a plant medicine journey. 

Mindfulness itself is not a technique, but rather a way of being. To be mindful is to be fully aware of your thoughts, feelings and sensations in the present moment, without interpretation or judgment. 

When you embark on a psychedelic journey, you can experience a range of new and unusual experiences, both physical and mental. Through mindfulness, you learn to observe these experiences without judgment, and avoid getting pulled into cycles of unpleasant or fearful thoughts and emotions. If negative feelings arise, you can notice them, and mindfully let them pass.

There are many ways you can practice mindfulness prior to your ayahuasca ceremonies. Some of the practices we recommend include: 


One of the most common mindfulness practices is meditation – turning your attention to the present moment. You don’t need to ‘turn off’ your thoughts or feelings; you’re simply learning to observe them without judgment. Come to a space of observation where you become the witness.

This can be an extremely helpful tool during your ayahuasca ceremonies, especially when the energies and visions can become intense. Stepping into “observer mode” in these times will enable you to stay more centered and not get caught up in overwhelming energies, loops of mental confusion, or distraction. 

A meditation practice can be as simple as focusing on your breath for a few moments. To practice a simple form of meditation, find a comfortable, upright position, close your eyes, and observe the sensations of breathing. If you get distracted by a thought, notice it briefly, and then gently guide your attention back to the breath. By practicing this technique regularly, you will begin to develop mindfulness in all aspects of your life. This can have a hugely beneficial impact on your ayahuasca experience, allowing you to process any challenging feelings more effectively, and to be fully present for the journey.

If you do not already have one, we recommend beginning a daily meditation and breathwork practice. You can start with as little as 5 minutes per day, and build from there.  

10 Minute Mindfulness Meditation 

Breathwork – Conscious Breath 

Breathwork refers to a variety of breathing techniques and exercises that can be used to improve one’s physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual health.

In the ancient yogic teachings, the practice of directing the breath is called Pranayama, which teaches you to breathe consciously, with awareness and intent. Today, breathwork has evolved to include many new techniques that focus on the use of breathing exercises as a means of therapy and self-healing.

In “The Healing Power of the Breath”, doctors Richard P. Brown and Patricia L. Gerbarg write, “By changing the patterns of breathing, it is possible to restore balance to the stress response systems, calm an agitated mind, and relieve symptoms of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)”.

When your body is operating under “fight-or-flight” response or stress, it releases a surge of hormones that cause your breathing to speed up, increase your pulse and blood pressure, and put you in a state of hyper vigilance. Deep breathing can help reverse this response and relax your body. Just a few full, relaxed exhales naturally help release stress and engage the body’s parasympathetic, “rest and digest,” nervous system.

Breathwork as a body-mind therapy creates a conscious connection with the body’s ability to move from restricted chest breathing to an open full body abdominal breathing. Similar to the physical benefits, breathwork therapy can also emotionally purify and integrate subconscious imbalances and release tension by creating higher states of awareness. Some research has also shown that a natural byproduct of connected breathing is the stimulation of the longer brainwave patterns (long wave Alpha, Theta and even Delta) normally found during various stages of sleep, transcendent or meditative states of consciousness.

By consciously focusing on your breath and learning different techniques to amplify its therapeutic benefits, we feel this can serve as a valuable tool to help you on your journey. Practicing breathing will help you to stay calm and focused. During times of difficulty within a ceremony, your breath becomes your best guide. 

While more complex practices exist, many easy, quick exercises can be worked into your daily wellness routine.

5 Minute Mindful Breathing Practice

Yoga & Mindful Movement

Yoga combines meditative practice with mindful movement, to put you more in touch with your body and mind. With yoga, you have the opportunity to move with intention – to experience the body, mind, and spirit in a new way. 

This is a useful practice when it comes to psychedelics, because the experience can be a very physical one, as well as mental.  With ayahuasca, yoga can prepare your body to be more mindful during the medicine ceremony. By learning to be mindfully aware of the sensations throughout your body, you can more easily notice and navigate the more physical elements of your ayahuasca journey. Yoga can help you become more centered, grounded and receptive throughout your plant medicine journey. 

When we nurture our physical body, we soothe our psyche. Practicing yoga before an ayahuasca ceremony can help the body and mind to relax, and help you let go of fear or anxiety, so you are more open when receiving the plant medicine.

If you already have a yoga or mindful movement routine that works for you, stick to it leading up to your ayahuasca retreat. For those who don’t, consider adding some form of mindful movement into your routine before your ayahuasca journey. Along with yoga, other forms of mindful movement can include walking in nature, Tai Chi, Qigong, and mindful dancing. 

15 Minute Grounding Yoga Flow


Journaling is a great mindfulness practice to utilize before and after your medicine journey. Writing about your intentions, thoughts, feelings, or worries can help you to process and understand them on a deeper level. 

Studies have shown that mindful journaling reduces anxiety, mental distress and stress, while increasing resilience and improving social integration. This can help you to cultivate the right mindset for your ayahuasca experience.

When you register for your retreat, we will send you journaling prompts to help with this process.


“Nature itself is the best physician”. ~ Hippocrates

Being in nature increases positive feelings and reduces anger, fear, and stress. Time spent in nature will make you feel better emotionally, and can also contribute to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. In one study, 95% of those interviewed said their mood improved after spending time outside, changing from depressed, stressed, and anxious to more calm and balanced. Furthermore, time in nature or viewing nature scenes increases our ability to pay attention, which plays a vital role in mindfulness. 

An amazing practice that can be done in nature is called barefoot walking, also known as grounding, or earthing. When we make a connection with the Earth, there has been found to be a reduction in white blood cells and an increase in red blood cells, which results in better immunity.  Barefoot walking has also been shown to help increase antioxidants, reduce inflammation and improve sleep.  

Daily Mindfulness  

You don’t have to sit down and meditate to be mindful. Mindfulness is about being fully present, with whatever you happen to be doing, without judgement. Moving forward, try bringing moments of mindfulness into your daily routine. 

When you are brushing your teeth, taking a shower, travelling to work, or going for a walk, do these things with absolute presence. Be present and practice active listening in conversation. If you get distracted, gently guide your attention back to what you are doing or who you are with in that moment. The more you do this, the more natural it will become.

Create a Mindful Morning Routine

How you spend your morning can greatly impact how the rest of your day will go. That’s why it’s important to start your mornings on the right foot. You can do this by creating a mindful morning routine. Morning routines encourage presence and grounded living. Instead of waking up and immediately reaching for your devices, it helps to slow down and ease into the day peacefully.

A few things to remember when creating your own mindful morning routine: there is no one way. And there is no right way. Your routine will be specific to you. It’s okay to try one of the suggestions below and not like it. These are not the only ways to have a mindful morning. Everyone is unique; our bodies and spirits are going to feel energized in different ways. Use this as an opportunity to explore and find what feels good for you.

Also, remember that your routine doesn’t need to look the same each day. You may find yourself craving exercise or fresh air a few times a week. On other mornings, you could prefer reading. It’s helpful to have a handful of rituals that you know ground you. Check in with your body. Honor your needs and feelings; practice the routines that feel best for the day ahead.

There are many ways that you can reclaim the first part of your day. Here are just a few of our suggestions for morning mindfulness:

  • Begin with Bedtime: Your mindful morning starts the night before. To prepare and ease into a new day, it’s essential to rest and get quality sleep. Avoid alcohol, staying up late, and working from home after dinner hours. Take a few hours to detox from screen time before going to bed. Reading, essential oils, calming teas, nighttime yoga, and meditation are all excellent tools for quality sleep. 
  • Resist Technology: Avoid the temptation to check your phone first thing in the morning. It is a hard habit to break but is very beneficial to your wellbeing. The information overload your phone provides in the morning is toxic and will leave you stressed before you even get out of bed. It is best to not check your phone for at least an hour after waking up in order to have a more mindful morning.
  • Gratitude: Upon waking, take a few moments for gratitude. Think about or write down 3 things that you are grateful for.
  • Meditation/Conscious Breathing: Spend at least 5 minutes in mindful meditation, or focusing on your breath. 
  • Mindful Movement: Any type of movement in the mornings can help reduce stress levels and set you up for a successful day. If you don’t have time for a full workout or yoga session, spend a few moments stretching in bed. It will help wake up your muscles and get you in tune with how your body is feeling. Try out this 10 minute morning stretch, or this 15 minute relaxing yoga in bed to wake up your body and incorporate stretching into your daily routine.
  • Journal – Reflect on your current emotions, write out your intentions or goals for the day, or list three things you’re grateful for. This practice can have a huge impact on our mood, motivation and mindset for the rest of the day.
  • Hydrate and prepare a healthy breakfast – Make sure to start your day by drinking some water. Then make yourself a delicious, healthy breakfast that you enjoy. Practice mindful eating in the morning by savoring each bite and noticing the different flavors. Even the practice of preparing our first meal of the day can become a mindful activity that’s enjoyable. 

Preparing your Body – The Ayahuasca Dieta

Ayahuasca is a sacred medicine that allows for deeper healing, understanding, and consciousness. The pre and post dieta not only serves you on a physical level, but also shows your respect and commitment to the spirit of ayahuasca and to your own healing.

As a process of physical, mental, and spiritual purification, the dieta is a vital part of your preparation and should not be overlooked. 

Prior to beginning your work with the medicine, the medicine already begins to work on and with you. By eliminating certain foods from your diet, you will help to reduce the amount of purging needed to rid the body of unwanted toxins. Cleansing our bodies prior to the retreat gives the medicine its full ability to promote physical healing and spiritual transformation. 

Below are the dietary guidelines to adhere to prior to your retreat. On the most basic level, please abstain from salt, refined sugar, alcoholic beverages, red meat, fats and most oils, hot spices, and sexual activity for a minimum of 3 days before to 2 days after the final Ayahuasca ceremony (the longer the better). Pork should be abstained for 2 weeks before and after Ayahuasca. This will avoid potential interactions and blockages, and help you to retain the clear state of consciousness in which you will emerge from this work.

If you use Cannabis, we recommend that you abstain for at least 2 weeks before (1 month if you use this plant consistently) and after working with Ayahuasca in order to maintain a proper reset. Recent use of Cannabis can diminish one’s energetic connection with Ayahuasca.

Information on the Ayahuasca Dieta

Foods to Eat

  • Proteins: fresh, organic eggs, organic free-range chicken, wild-caught mild fish (sole, seabass, turbot, tilapia, halibut, trout, snapper etc), beans, lentils and other legumes 
  • Grains: brown rice, lentils, quinoa, wheat berries, amaranth, gluten-free pasta, whole wheat, spelt, kamut, oats, buckwheat 
  • Veggies: fresh, organic vegetables (avoid onions and garlic)
  • Fruits: fresh, organic fruit and juices (except citrus and overripe fruits)
  • Raw nuts + seeds (unsalted)
  • Beverages: water, herbal teas, coconut water (without added sugar), nut milks (without additives or sugar)
  • Fresh herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, sage, dill, etc.)
  • Mild spices (cumin, coriander, dill, sage etc)

Foods/Medications to Remove

*Please see our FAQ page for more detailed information regarding ayahuasca safety and contraindications. 


  • Psychoactive medications (Please work with your primary physician to ween off responsibly)


  • Anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications SSRI's, SNRI's, and DRI's, etc. (Please work with your primary physician to ween off responsibly)


  • Pork
  • Alcohol
  • Marijuana
  • Sexual activity of any kind, including masturbation
  • All street drugs (cocaine, MDMA, amphetamines, etc.)
  • Spicy foods
  • Ice, ice cream, or ice cold drinks
  • Traumatic or Unsettling Relationships


  • Sugar
  • Foods containing Tyramine's
  • Red meat
  • Animal fats (lard, etc.)
  • Carbonated drinks (including diet sodas, energy drinks, non-alcoholic beer)
  • Dairy products
  • Fermented foods
  • Caffeine & other stimulants (slowly ween off)
  • Junk foods
  • Salt or spices (especially stimulating spices)
  • Sweets and chocolate
  • Oils (olive and coconut oil use sparingly, if you must use)
  • Mind numbing television

Avoid highly processed foods and try to cleanse your body as much as possible with epsom salt baths, massage, and juice/colon cleanses in the weeks prior to your retreat to rid the body of as many toxins as possible.

Purging Before the Retreat

The moment you commit to an Ayahuasca journey, the medicine begins working with you. You may experience more vivid dreams, synchronicities in your reality, and physical changes in your body. Your spirit and body know they will be going through a significant transformation and may begin to prepare for such. This may manifest through the body experiencing symptoms of “sickness” such as colds, stomach upsets, headaches, exhaustion, etc. 

This is normal and common as the body is preparing to purge the denser blockages by starting to surfaces these energies. If this begins to happen to you in the immediate weeks before the retreat begins, try to avoid taking any extreme pharmaceutical medications such as antibiotics. These symptoms may be a natural part of the pre-purging process. If you do end up needing to take a medication, please consult with us to see if it may have any contraindications with Ayahuasca.