The diet for Ayahuasca ceremony



Saint Petersburg, Conference by Arutam Ruymán



Diet is a key element to ensure that medicine stays active in teh body for a long time, so that it can be well absorbed, and allow for a trance of many hours.

Firstly, it's very important not to lose our body's vital energy pressure. We shouldn't allow the sacred touch to weaken inside us. This means that we must take special care to ensure that no energy is lost in orgasm and ejaculation. That moment of pleasure when our body's vital energy is released, brings all the pressures down and weakens the whole path of sacred touch.

Drinking Natem, in the practice of Shamanism, means to be filled with Arutam and its sacred touch. If we are going to waste it, then why should we increase it? Some people foolishly believe that the practice of Shamanism can be subordinated to a more extensive and pleasurable sexual life. In other words: that we cand dedicate ourselves to it just to increase the sacred touch with no other basic aim than to waste it in larger quantity and strength. This, of course, turns shamanism into a truly dangerous thing.  

Anyone who is not willing to keep their sex life under control, should not practice shamanism. Any discipline requires of us to have a well-awakened, well-kept, well-maintained sacred touch. It's necessary even in sports. because the only way to recovering from training, fiber breaks, muscle exhaustion and stress, is to be filled with a renewing sacred touch. It flows from our kidneys to the rest of our bodies, and throbs next to our hearts.     

Arutam is well-kept in the center of our bodies, starting from our kidneys. There's our true self, warming ourselves up. The legs are our strong roots. Then it comes up the stalks, our backbones. Arutam ascends through the marrow, and matures in our heads with its five colours, flavors, etc: our five senses.

Whoever is not full of sacret touch, weakens the path of Arutam. That brings us some problems when we're already weak, every time we consume our vital energy through sex. This worsens markedly with alcohol, which numbs us and destroys us. If there's an excess of substances with relaxing properties in our bodies, like opiates, cannabis, etc, the sacred touch becomes slower and it eventually withdraws.

Both anguish and illness will come from the lack of harmony. Visions will not appear, because there’ll be neither strength nor speed. The animal within us is asleep. No matter what they say, in the cities, those who are considered as professionals in these matters, who will probably say that sex is good, and that it's healthy to ejaculate every day.

Sex is good, of course, when we're in love. But true love between two people doesn't involve destruction of one another. Love is passion, composture, and also happiness through sex. But there's fulfillment; more than we've been taught about, more than we've experienced on a daily basis.

This is, therefore, the first point to take into account if we want to live a long life and if we want to succeed in the practice of shamanism. Breathing should be slow and deep at all times. We have to be able to take greater advantage of the act of breathing with fewer inhalations and exhalations. But we must also be strong, and never hesitate, if necessary, to accelerate our breathing, and still be calm.

The goal is to maintain the correct tension, the perfect one, as expected from Great Spirit. Such tension tends to tighten more than usual, but sometimes it loosens. We must know which is the perfect balance point. Only those who find the perfect tension will be fully functional. Animals are a very good example: they are tireless and perfect just as they are.



Last but not least: food. We're always under the influence of what we eat and drink. Many times I am asked to point out the most accurate diet for taking ayahuasca. It's been written about it -though the Shuar people did not have a writing system-. It is something simple and natural. The Natem grows in the jungle, therefore, we should eat plants that grow in the jungle. If we start from this principle, there are natural and intrinsic simplicity.

My grandparents had the fortune, even a particular time of the year, to settle in some places of the jungle, and to stay there for a little more time. Hence, a diet based on gathering fruits predominated: guavas, chontas and other fruits. The farming that was practiced was very basic. It was normally used to sow and pick many different types of jungle squash; Cassava, sweet potato, papachinia, plantain ... small leaves were also consumed as vegetables or salad. Yucca was their only fermented drink. It was made of chewed yucca that women spit back into the jars.

During the ceremonies with Natem, with ayahuasca, nobody took too much ferment, it was not good to drink too much at that moment. Already more established - more sedentary -, they completed their base of diet by fishing in the rivers. They did not eat fish or meat during the ceremonies: it was intended to attain the highest purity, physical and spiritual, no creating suffering to the beings. But the jungle is the native way of living: they take everything they need from nature, and they do not rely too much on agriculture. Consequently, they need to obtain protein and fat from fish when they live sedentary life, and from hunting for birds -using the blowgun- during the nomadic stage.



The meat of larger animals, firmly rooted on the land - such as wild boar or deer - was never used. They were considered impure meats, as they contaminated the body and brought disease. Such foods also clouded the mind and overexcited nerves. About deers, they thought were the reincarnation of the grandparents, probably due to their pureness and nobleness. So mostly they hunted the pure meats of birds, which were available during their long walks through the jungle.

It was also a frequent habit to eat wild mushrooms (not close to ceremonies), tubers, sort of zucchini-pumpkins of all kinds and sizes, and many other vegetables of the wild. It was very difficult to find the salt. Sometimes they got mines, pink salt. The Shuar wrapped them in leaves, and looked after them as if they were gold.

When they submerged themselves into a profound practice of their ceremonies -that is to say: when taking the Natem-, they tried not to consume any product of animal origin.

It is fundamental, in shamanism, to maintain lightness and purity: to be tasteless, like water. I am fortunate to have access to sources of fat and vegetable protein - as I can get from legumes - in the places I use to spend more time. I can also count on avocado, olive oil and walnuts. But that is not available in the jungle. In that sense I am very satisfied to have such foods, because they allow me to maintain strength and also purity; All of it, in the same great trend. This elements are essential to nourish the roots, marrow and depths of our body.

In these times of peace that we leave -these times of exchange- it is wonderful and healthy for our planet that we can get the fats and proteins from plants growing on the land:  If our species has evolved into peace, that is consumption of vegetables. Nowadays we can get vegetables and vegetable fats almost everywhere in the world.

Legumes and vegetable fats can be achieved in almost all countries. A little higher, in the high mountains, you can get beans, beans and even avocados. One of the reasons I chose to live on the edge of the jungle - between the hot and cold jungles, is to have this privilege of planting, preserving and collecting these foods. To be able to sow, conserve and collect the Natem, the Wanto or Floripondio, the Tobacco. And to follow, at the same time, a pure diet, which gives me strength and health.

Many people believe that strength is obtained by stealing it from animals, by killing them for food. But strength comes from Arutam; Those who do not care for that vital flow are the ones who need to rush to take energy away from others. But they will not regain the energy flow that they lost by eating a dead body - simple animal flesh, without Arutam -, they will only have a huge body: a lean mass, empty of life and without sacred tact.

At what point did we forget that all strength comes from our Creator? When did we stop taking care of it? We cannot recover what we've lost. We can only try to survive by killing and eating other creatures, in spite of that disadvantage.

A well-made vegan diet, on the other hand, most of the time does not even need the destruction of the plant. Lettuces, leaves, are collected and consumed without major damage, blossoming and continuing next generating. Not all the seeds we eat were destined to germinate. So the roots, the yuccas, will continue to be planted and will grow. The same plant will continue to multiply its leaves and its fruits.

We can pick up some leaves and let others bloom, so that new plants continue to appear, and grow from their seeds. The same thing happens with the trees: each year they will grow to greater height and they will give us its fruits. If we do so, there will be no interruption of the life cycle of plant organisms, and there will be greater wealth in the whole.

But for this diet to to be effective, I insist: we must take care of the sacred touch. You have to pay attention to how we handle sexual energy. We have to keep our body warm. Legumes and seeds must germinate. The body must get used to it. It's a bit difficult, but this happens only at the beginning.

We can make strong concentrates, with protein content, using all these legumes. Our body should eat a lot of fat, good fat: raw, vegetable fat. That is good for Natem, to nourish all the substances of our body, from our vital liquids to the bones and the marrow. We should consume the amount of hydrates we need for our daily nutrition. We must give our body the proteins it needs and eat - mostly - vegetables and raw fruits, reducing or completely eliminating cereals from our diet.

Anyway, I use to insist, I don't know almost anyone capable to hold on all the required cares to follow a diet strictly based on vegetables, according to the right nutritional facts and vital energy conservation. For that reason and being responsable, I recomend to eat fish in general, as my elders in rainforest. This doesn't interfere with the ceremonies if you keep some space between the events. Seafood, pulps, "water snakes", sort of slugs... and similar things are harmful.

Another important issue, to take into account regarding the daily diet, is the almost complete elimination of sweets and sugars. We should get the sweeteners exclusively from the fruit. And we must trust in the place where we live, that is, in the typical food of the area. This will help us to remember and relate better to Arutam. You should also restrict the use of salt and not over-modify the taste of the meals. You can use spices from the area, but we must ensure that they are not always the same. Do not fall into a state of attachment, or to extremes: neither sweet nor salty. You have to use less salt, and do not try to change the flavor of the meals. It is possible to use herbs from the area as spices, but not always the same. Do not enter into a state of attachment. Neither sweet nor salty: not sticking to either end. If you want to lower your calorie intake, you can turn to stevia leaves. And always have to drink a lot of fresh and pure water, although sometimes you can take vegetable syrups, like the agave or mapple.

In the practice of shamanism we must completely eliminate the use of garlic. Its use is a major mistake, perhaps the most harmful of all. Who eat garlic, cumin and fresh onion can not take ayahuasca. Even if we stopped consuming them ten days before the ceremony, we would still be under the harmful influence of these substances, because to purge these types of spices will require months. Instead, leek can be used without problems. If we do not replace this habit, ayahuasca will cause a nauseating sensation, followed by stomach pain, malaise and vomiting.

Minor, but equally not very recommendable, are cardamom and clove. The use of pepper is slightly tolerable, but not very recommended, because it produces an unccomfortable sensation of heat. Ginger is also not recommended, but is much less harmful than garlic. The use of cinnamon and ginger is more appropriate for the treatment of colds. With regard to common spices, such as oregano, basil, thyme, cilantro, parsley, and this kind of herbs, it must be said that they don’t bring major inconveniences.

Another important recommendation: never heat the oil and never fry it. It should be steamed: sometimes it can be roasted, or prepared in soup, but always in plates of a very good quality.

Finally, we must say that the use of dairy products is a serious mistake and a source of diseases, allergies, inflammations, phlegm, viscosities and pain, and a source of fatigue and mental heaviness. It is also a lack of respect for other mammals.

We must have a sense of responsibility. As I said before, it is important not to consume too many relaxing substances. But this also applies to stimulants. If we stimulate ourselves more than we need, we are making the same mistake. Coffee and chocolate are especially contraindicated in the diet, as well as any other substance whose processing involves the act of toasting the seeds. All of them are, in essence, harmful. The taste of a burned substance, no doubt, not suitable for human use, so that it is strictly prohibited by our elders. This applies also to peanuts and other nuts, which are too greasy. The exception, in all this type of fruits, are walnuts, highly recommended for the diet. Not desirable, however, are bananas, or fruits too sweet, like dates. And do not hesitate to stay away from processed, manufactured and packaged foods.