Before I embarked on this adventure to diet with a plant, i.e. the drinking of a medicine produced by boiling its bark (or other part of the plant/tree depending on the medicine prescribed for you); I had no idea what I was getting myself in for.
I knew there would be plant ceremonies with the native Ayahuasca on this 2 week retreat, and I knew maybe I’d be eating a clean diet for a while but, I had no idea what I would be getting as a part of the ‘plant-dieta’..
Why do a plant diet/dieta?
When you diet with a plant (also known as a master plant) you are taking on said master plant as a spirit ally, during the plant dieta/diet, you drink a certain amount of the medicine made from this plant (usually a brew from boiled bark or roots, or sometimes it’s put into alcohol) for a set number of days that you have, or that your shaman deems appropriate for you. In this time, as the plant begins to grow, it also starts healing you; don’t worry, it’s not like you’re going to be taken oven and have a tree growing out of your butt, but rather growing with you energetically and spiritually.
Each plant has different healing properties, they are prescribed based on where you are in life and perhaps what kind of healing you require. For me, I dieted with a grand tree from the Amazon called Chuchuwasha; I’ve read many different things on it since coming back to the UK but the best correlation I could get between the internet and the wonderful man who was making these medicines out in Peru was that it:
Improves energy (and yes it certainly has for me! I’ve not felt so good in at least 10 years!), helps decision making and finding ones centre. Heals scars, heals hernias, colds, burns and it’s used to heal arthritis or rheumatism too.
What does it entail?
As I mentioned before, you need to drink the medicine of this plant for an amount of time (I was in dieta for 12 days with it), at given amounts and times of the day. For me, this was 1/3 of a small glass 3 times a day, 30 minutes before each meal. I won’t lie, it tasted foul. It sometimes also had big gloopy bits, which I tried to drink, but one bit was bigger than my mouth so I had to use it as a medicine for the wildlife outside my tambo (traditional jungle sleeping hut). *gag* gracias medicina *gag*
Different shamans will have different regimes, ours was pretty strict, during dieta when drinking our master plants, we were only permitted to eat basic carbs like rice, quinoa, potatoes and oats, no salt, no sugar, no fruit, no dairy and no condiments or spices. Also allowed were vegetables, salad (but no onions, tomatoes or avocados) and the occasional small, bony river fish; but no oils, no nuts, no seeds, no meat and no legumes. This is so that the plant you’re cultivating to be your ally doesn’t get disturbed, so it has the best chance to grown within your energy and stay with you for life.
And seeing as spices are out, of course, no alcohol, no chemical products (not even to wash clothes unless it’s done for you – thank you to the beautiful women taking care of me at the centre), no perfumes, no toothpaste, no shampoo, the odd not too strong essential oil is ok, in moderation. Different master plants also have their different traits and attributes, some are strong and righteous and therefore require you to be very strict with your diet and post-diet; some are more jealous and may cause adverse effects if you wear the fragrance of other plants too much from soaps or other products. Also, no sex, no touching or hugging each other and no stimulation from playing music (unless with your own instrument), no TV, there was no wifi to offer temptation luckily, no reading unnecessary materials and to include plenty of meditation, writing and reflective time; but no masturbation either! If you smoke, you can buy pure tobacco in Peru, or mapachos, which are used in ceremony for protection and cleansing, but no normal tobacco or cigarettes, leave out the chemicals..
It’s important to adhere to how you’ve been advised as not only can it damage the diet and your bond with your plant but it can make you feel really unwell and some say can fire back at your shaman and make them unwell too. The no touching part and no TV etc is because during dieta you are extremely sensitive and open; you are open to take on the energy of others, which more than likely will not serve you; and of course, you may be dieting with a more jealous master plant! Nature is the best place to be. There was minimal electricity at the centre, only a small amount of solar power which I occasionally used to charge my phone to know the time relative to when was dinner/medicine time or upon waking during the night to know how long it’d be until sunrise!
At this centre I also mentioned the work with ayahuasca, wow, this kind of work is never compulsory but I’ve found it deeply profound in helping me to realise or remember several things about who I really am, what I want out of life and even how I can go about changes in myself to align more with the greater good. The ceremonies are the part where you recieve a shed load of information, remove a few layers of dirt from your internal mirror and re-calibrate where you’re at in life, major reset and healing time.
Thankfully at the retreat centre, everything to do with food is done for you, the expert chefs/muma/sister feed you abundantly on the foods you can eat and ensure you don’t get confused with the food which may be being eaten by non-dieting people who visit the centre; I wish I had planned in to do my post-dieta there too.
What I’ve learnt on a plant dieta?
What I’ve learn on this plant dieta, combined with the interspersed ayahuasca ceremonies (not having them every day is perfect, they require a lot of energy and thus also some proper restoration time after), is about how I received so much energy, so much clarity, healing, and discernment. I had been working with low energy levels for going on 10 years now, major problems with my intestines and digestion and large amounts of anxiety; I feel the power and the spirit of this tree is now a part of me, I feel stronger and more able to take on the world again; even from the position of living in the opportunity mecca of London.
Not only that, but I also reconnected to myself and nature. The environmental settings are key. By the second day a big part of me wanted to leave, I was sh*t scared of the hairy caterpillar farm which was a part of my tambo, the spiders who showed up in my mosquito net and all the noises of things I’d never met before. Not knowing if I would get bitten by something dangerous or, end up with ants in my pants and more than just mosquito bites on my ass, arms and ankles.. Being reassured that there was nothing lethal around me I began to get used to the ants, I stopped trying to kill all the creepy crawlies and instead got to know them, saw them simply moving about their business and neither of us needing to hurt the other. This is a BIG and ongoing lesson for me..
Combined with the ayahuasca ceremonies I managed to shed a lot of accumulated energies which weren’t mine, and were just weighing me down. I can now see a lot bigger perspective and a lot more clearly about where I end and another begins, and where we are all actually inseparable.
So now, I am during my 3rd week post-dieta which means I still have another 10-20 days of restrictive diet to really allow chuchuwasha to settle in my system and also not to shock my system with too many strong foods or products. I’ve noticed if I do accidentally disturb the diet (having cold water if you’d believe it) or am exposed to the London commute too intensely, that I really feel it. It’s difficult integrating into ‘normality’, but to be honest, I don’t want to get back to what I previously felt was normal. We overfill our bodies with refined sugar and weird fats derived and synthesised from all sorts of insanity, repress emotions, and agree to be a part of a jumble of people exuding their disdain for life – no more. I have no desire to be mindlessly drunk or to suppress any part of me. The main thing I miss is sex and chocolate (I’m talking 100% organic, farm assured cacao baby), 13 days and counting until those are back in my life.
I’m open for questions if anyone else considers on embarking on this incredible, life changing journey. NOTE: Blog update – it’s taken my some time to process and despite the amazing dieta and healing with beautiful fellow journeyers on this retreat; I renounce my recommendation of this particular centre. It’s transpired a misplacement of power has occurred, on several occasions. Unfortunately, many western women (especially blonde) have been pray to shaman who have more ‘power’ then they can handle – unless male, or going in a couple, please seek yourself a FEMALE shaman. I know an amazing couple who work with medicine who have helped manage this situation with love and understanding, there are always people you can trust, but be sure not to put yourself in a vulnerable space..
Much love, thanks for reading