General Restrictions of the Plant Teachers Diet
Total sexual abstinence should be observed during the shamanic plant diet (dieta) retreat – usually beginning from at least fifteen days before until thirty days after the completion of the training in our retreat centre (the shaman will give one guidelines and recommendations to follow, for the post-diet period, towards the end of the diet) – as well as maintaining a certain degree of relative isolation. Guests enrolling in the shamanic dieta shouldn’t expose themselves to direct sunlight, or to the rain (to avoid problems of sensitivity to humidity) and should avoid contact with strong smells (like perfumes and deodorants, exception made for those perfumes/colognes which have a specific shamanic use). Also, the diet must not be interrupted/curtailed: one must fully commit to the period chosen for his/her apprenticeship. Moreover, if one wishes to stick to the traditional diet, then shouldn’t use any toothpaste, shaving foam, or soap. A way around this may be – however – to use a natural clay or carbon-based toothpaste and natural, unfragranced, sulphur-based soap. These restrictions – gently favoured by our traditional palero shamans, but not compulsory, and less so implemented, unless one wants to – may come from the time when shamans retreated “al monte”, in virgin, pristine jungle to do their diet with master plants and trees, in complete isolation, and had to avoid being detected by wild animals.
Food Restrictions and Periods of Rest (“Descanso”) in the Plant Teachers Diet
The following food restrictions usually apply to the shamanic diet: no salt, sugar, vinegar, sweets, spices or chilli, fats, oil, seasoning, canned food, stimulants, alcohol, fruit (including bananas, pineapple, mango and all sweet, tropical and citrus fruit), fruit juices, red meat, garlic, onions, lemons, industrial drinks, chilled drinks and no spaghetti/pasta/noodle, or caffeine-based drinks are allowed. Strictly, no pork, peccary, or wild boar meat and derivatives. Depending on who will be your teacher, there may be periods of rest (called “descanso”, in Spanish), during which the rigorous diet will be temporarily suspended and one will be allowed to eat almost normally, food may have little salt and/or sugar, fruit (like bananas, papayas, mandarins, oranges, green & red apples), as well as rice, pasta, eggs, vegetables – like carrots (allowed in the shamanic dieta by Don Armando), broccoli (allowed in the shamanic dieta by Don Armando), cabbage, and lean, roasted/grilled chicken (allowed in the shamanic dieta by Don Armando) may be reintroduced, to complement the diet with fish, porridge, rice pudding and salad. The periods of rest will count as the last 3 days of each cycle of 15 days, in the 45 days diet with master trees, and the last 5 days of each cycle of 1 month, in the 3-6 months shamanic plant diet apprenticeship training. During the periods of rest, one should still concentrate on his/her shamanic work, remain in the centre, take part to all ceremonies and rituals as usual, and avoid going to town. The food in the “flexible diet” temporarily allowed during the periods of break will be shamanically “treated” with icaros so that it won’t conflict or negatively influence your diet training.
Food Allowed in the Plant Teachers Diet
There are less food restrictions on the plant diet testers, to make it more flexible and accessible to potential candidates who may not need to enter into the strict traditional Amazonian training to follow the path of the shaman. Yet, some food from the list below – as specified – may require the final approval of the shaman you will be dieting with, so please ultimately check directly with him. Different shamans have different styles and degrees of acceptance as for what food might or might not be allowed during the dieta. Here is a list of the food which may be allowed during the shamanic diet with us:
- fish (the best is the Boquichico)
- green plantains (unseasoned: roasted, grilled, or boiled)
- rice pudding (unsweetened, unsalted)
- coconut water (occasionally)
- lemon leaves tea
- lemon-grass (hierba luisa) tea
- free-range chicken (only allowed during the pre-dieta/ diet tester, or if specific dietary requirements have been agreed upon, before the beginning of the dieta retreat)
- eggs (only allowed during the pre-dieta/ diet tester)
- carrots and broccoli (only allowed during the pre-dieta, or if specific dietary requirements have been agreed upon, before the beginning of the dieta retreat, typically, for 100% vegetarians, or vegans)
- fruit (only allowed during the pre-dieta, or if specific dietary requirements have been agreed upon, before the beginning of the shamanic dieta retreat, typically, for 100% vegetarians, or vegans)
- salad (only allowed during the pre-dieta, or if specific dietary requirements have been agreed upon, before the beginning of the dieta retreat, typically, for 100% vegetarians, or vegans).
All food needs to be unseasoned, unsweetened and unsalted. Fish will usually be served chargrilled. If one feels too debilitated because of the unsalted/unsweetened diet, one may have food with little salt and sugar, as well as eat fruit. This temporary suspension of rules, is devised to avoid physical exhaustion and depletion, and is entirely at the discretion of the Maestro you will be dieting with. With Don Armando this period of temporary lifting of some dietary restrictions may be between one and two days, before resuming the strict shamanic dieta. It remains paramount to adhere to the traditional strict shamanic dieta especially if and when dieting with master trees, and all the more when taking the ultra concentrated master trees brew, to connect with the energy and mother spirit of the plants.
What You May Do
- Read, listen to – or play – (appropriate, contemplative) music (acoustic instruments only, respecting the peace of other people).
- Write, rest, sleep, dream, have visions, meditate.
- Drink Ayahuasca, San Pedro (optional extra), smoke Toé and have Camalonga together with the shaman-s.
- Drink Toé and Tobacco juice (shamanic plant diet apprenticeship only, from 45+ days onward).
- Learn how to conduct Ayahuasca ceremonies, helping the shaman during the rituals.
- Smoke Mapacho (organic black jungle tobacco).
- Jungle hikes with shaman and guide/facilitator, getting to know the many master trees, as well as the medicinal and teacher plants found in the 70 hectares of beautiful rainforest surrounding the centre.
- Shamanic rituals with the master trees and the giant black ayahuasca (Suni ayahuasca) vine growing wild in the jungle surrounding our retreat venue.
With the shamanic diet one will be in tune with the Plant Spirit’s subtle world, and become more sensitive to the plants’ energies. Part of the teaching – the “theoretical” part – happen in dreaming and through visions, when the spirit of the plants, the ”genios de las plantas maestras”, come and reveal things to the apprentice-shaman.
Please note, for technical-logistic reasons (and not least because the visa-free period for EU, UK, US, Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian nationals is currently allowed up to 6 months, with 3 months remaining the norm, at the sole discretion of the Peruvian immigration authorities) at the present time we will only accept candidate apprentices reserving their retreat up to 3 months/13 weeks in length. Upon successful completion of your first cycle of shamanic plant diet training/apprenticeship period, you may then re-book and return at another time, for a further cycle of 3 months (or even just 2+ weeks).
FURTHER INSIGHTS INTO THE SHAMANIC PLANT DIET