The Ayahuasca brew is having quite an interesting way of acting once ingested.
It is made of two plants (Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis ). One plant supplies the psychoactive substance (DMT) and the other is deactivating the defense system (monoamine oxidase enzyme) of the body that would otherwise destroy the psychoactive substance. So the two-plant combination is needed to provide the effect of the brew.
The important part to understand is that besides allowing DMT to be active, the brew can expose your body to the danger of other substances that would normally be broken down by your body's defense mechanism.
One of the substances that can cause harm is called Tyramine ( more info ). So one should avoid foods rich in it, for example, foods that are fermented, cured, aged, or spoiled. Below are some examples:
salt-dried fish (mackerel, cod, and sardines)
unpasteurized, strong, or aged cheeses ( cheddar, feta, blue cheese, and Gorgonzola)
casseroles or pizzas made with aged cheeses
cured or smoked meats or fish (sausage and salami)
certain beans (fava and broad beans)
some sauces and gravies (soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, fermented fish sauce, and bouillon-based sauces)
pickled products (sauerkraut and kimchi)
sourdough breads, yeast-leavened breads, or breads made with aged cheese or meat
fermented soy products (miso soup, bean curd, and tempeh, as well as forms of tofu that are fermented, such as “stinky tofu”)
fish or shrimp paste
concentrated yeast products( spreads (Marmite, Vegemite) and brewer’s yeast
protein supplements with yeast products)
meat tenderizers or foods prepared with meat tenderizers
certain alcoholic beverages ( tap or home-brewed beer, Korean beer, and vermouth)
These are just several examples and the list can be continued.
At our center, we provide simple tasty dishes made of foods that are safe to eat during an Ayahuasca retreat. Generally speaking, we have a vegetarian/vegan diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.
Our cook is having a not-so-secret ingredient that makes the dishes extremely tasty - love.
We encourage our participants to start their ayahuasca diet before arriving at the center. Limiting or stopping eating pork, red meat, dairy, refined sugar, salt, fats/oils, processed & canned foods, fermented products, caffeine, and alcohol will help you during the retreat.
Also, please consult your doctor about stopping the intake of any medications 2 weeks before the retreat and for its duration.
Ayahuasca is generally extremely safe when worked with responsibly. The information below is a guide, and specific cases should be discussed with our staff before the retreats begin. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but rather guidelines to help ensure your safety.
Medications that can be unsafe with ayahuasca:
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants (and sleeping pills)
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
Anti-hypertensives (blood pressure medications)
Other Anti-Depressants Antibiotics
Any psychedelic drugs
Other medications that should be discontinued; decongestants, cold medications, allergy medications, antihistamines, sedatives, tranquilizers, amphetamines (including Adderall), some hypertensive medications, sympathomimetic amines (including pseudoephedrine and ephedrine), carbamazepine, methylphemidate (Ritalin), macromerine, phenelanine, tyrosine, tryptophan, asarone/calamus, some asthma inhalers, and diet pills.
If you suffer from any of the following psychological conditions, please discuss this with staff from Light of Shipibo before the retreat begins:
Family history of mental health problems
Physiological conditions that should be discussed with our staff;
Chronic high blood pressure