The Shamanic Healing Diet
In the Amazon rainforest, there exists a shamanic healing diet that is often prescribed to people who are sick. It is believed by many native healers that the delicate compounds in each of the herbs that are being prescribed to a patient, including the Banisteriopsis caapi vine (one of the ingredients in ayahuasca), can be easily diluted and destroyed if the patient eats too heavy a diet.
That said, this sacred meal plan is often an absolute must.
This diet, or “dieta,” is also practiced by shamans and apprentices themselves to connect more deeply with specific medicinal plants (more specifically their energy or spirit). They consider a plant’s spirit—or the vibrational frequency of primordial intelligence that each leafy forest dweller possesses—to be its most valuable asset.
This energia is often very subtle and usually goes undetected by the casual observer. So in order to tune into these faint signals, one must keep their body pure and free of any substances that could numb or distract the senses. This is where the dieta comes in …
So how exactly does it work?
The jungle dieta is very basic, as it’s intended for sustenance, not pleasure. (After all, pleasure is a means of distraction.)
Unlike the detox diets that are popular in the modern world, which often consist of green smoothies, lemon cayenne shots, or saltwater liver flushes, the foods in this regimen are bland and relatively devoid of any palate-satisfying sensations.
The healing diet varies from territory to territory, but it often consists of:
- boiled and roasted green plantains
- well-cooked root vegetables and tubers like yucca and cassava
- boiled quinoa
- a bony and flavorless local fish called bocachico
- very simple plant-based broths
- a tea made from an energizing jungle plant called Guayusa
- and sometimes jungle fruit like papaya and coconut for breakfast
Important to note: There is no salt, no spices, and absolutely no dairy or animal fats (other than trace amounts found in the bocachico fish) in this meal plan.
Even a raw vegan diet can thrill the taste buds, but not this one. No comfort or escape is to be found in the morsels delivered at breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
*If you want to try this in your neck of the woods, some of the jungle foods mentioned above may be hard to find in your grocery store, but you can find some obvious substitutes. Starchy tubers, quinoa, plant broths, lightly roasted white fish, and some fruit and oatmeal in the morning will work fine. You can also find guayusa tea nowadays in almost all major supermarkets.
Again, it’s not delicious or creative—but fun isn’t the goal here.
In addition to the sustenance-only food options, it is strongly advised to abstain from love-making or any stimulation in that area whatsoever during the healing dieta. The medicine men and women strongly believe that every bit of the patient’s focus and life-force needs to be preserved and concentrated on the personal healing task at hand.
It makes you think … We moderners run around this world chasing after sparkly objects, pouring our precious energy into any piece of distraction (pleasurable or painful) that we happen upon. But the real path is not about finding some answer that exists outside of us.
Instead, it’s about getting rid of the blocks and limiting patterns that are inhibiting our ability to see clearly, mend our wounds, and walk with a firm footing through this life.
If you find these ancient traditions as fascinating as I do, I unearth a ton of these healing protocols and pearls of shamanic wisdom in my new book
The Sacred Science: An Ancient Healing Path for the Modern World. Each one of them as withstood the test of time because they hold a unique piece of the puzzle, and have the power to transform you.
Founder, The Sacred Science