Two Birds observes diets as part of our practice. The diet is not just about avoiding certain foods but is about discipline, sacrifice, and commitment. The restrictions are in place to help cleanse the body so the sacraments can work most efficiently. The diet restricts many spices, salt, and pepper. It also includes periods of abstinence from sex or sexual activity. The diet is about respect, for the sacraments, and commitment to your journey and church.
To provide an overview of the recommended diet to be observed in preparation for a meeting with the Madre is a daunting prospect. (As daunting as trying to prepare a variety of interesting meals when confronted with a list of foods that is very limited). There are as many variations of the diet as there are Shaman. To add a little extra obscurity into the mix, the concept of diet has likely been confused with the concept of 'dieta' along the way. A 'dieta', when working with the Madre is a period of highly restricted diet (usually no more than 3 or 4 staple ingredients) and is a primary technique used by Shaman to begin and underpin the healing process.
Nowadays, as the Madre has spread from the Amazon jungle to the urban jungles, traditional interpretation has become fused with modern science and simple common sense. Modern farming practice, along with the availability of a wide variety of foodstuffs, has created an urban diet that is far removed from the diet traditionally eaten by those who inhabit the area of the Earth that the Madre comes from.
Typically, in order to maximize the benefit, of this type of healing practice salt, spices, oil, sugar, dairy and pork products are eliminated from the diet. Given that much of the food available to us in developed countries is processed and prepared, it is natural to add these foods to the list. While it is not essential in the traditional context to eliminate fish and chicken from the diet modern thinking not only tells us that meat products take longer to digest physically, but also that as a person develops their consciousness, the practice of eating meat in any form becomes more difficult to digest emotionally. Therefore meat in all forms is usually on the 'what not to eat list'. This seems to correlate with the fact that more people are choosing to work with the Madre to develop their consciousness than for traditional reasons, which usually is geared towards physical healing and other ritual forms of use.
Given that the Madre is known for her purgative effects, taking the time to prepare adequately can dramatically reduce the amount of physical cleansing that needs to take place before the deeper psychological. emotional, and spiritual cleansing can begin.
The essence of the diet is a vegan diet with salt, sugar, and excess spice removed. Likewise, in cultures that are fueled by excessive consumption of caffeine and sugar, coffee, tea, and carbonated beverages are also on the excluded list. Another socially accepted drug of our modern world is alcohol , which is not only a powerful depressant, but can also function as a mask for our true state of emotional well-being and as a catalyst for myriad expressions of unconscious behavior. Marijuana is another common drug used in our society and while having many medical benefits can be a hindrance in your healing check out a great article HERE for more info on this. Removing these crutches and toxins, even for a few days, gives the mind / body complex time to adjust and to settle into a more natural state of being; the state of being and ease. Not the perpetual doing which causes so much modern dis-ease. The other key component of the preparatory diet for meeting the Madre goes beyond the physical and operates on the subtle realms of existence. We are preparing to meet a beneficial spirit of great wisdom and power; therefore we are preparing our body to receive her. The diet is an opportunity to clean our temple to begin making ready for the arrival of the Madre, a pre-ritual ritual of great importance. The diet, and observance of the diet, not only shows we are taking the meeting seriously, helping to get the most out of what can be a life-changing event; but shows respect for our body, those we enter ceremony with, those who hold the ceremony, and ultimately for the Madre. Likewise, after the meeting with the Madre, a week of dietary abstinence allows the seeds of healing to take deeper root, and all of the layers of the mind / body complex to settle again in a smooth and systematic fashion, bestowing greater depth and respect to the event and aligning with the principle of non-violence, or in modern healing vernacular, being gentle with ourselves.
Two weeks before the start of ceremony is a good time to begin thinking about you dieta and commitment. Depending on you lifestyle it is best to ease in to the changes so it is OK to be less strict at this point but if you take any drugs (Prescription or Recreational) or Alcohol now is the time to get sober. If you are on prescriptions that will interfere with the medicine please ask a facilitator or your doctor about stopping safely and any MAOI interactions. Check out the many Vegan options in the recipes section to start getting creative with you meals and cutting out the extra salts, sugars, spices, and meats.
*Cook veggies in water and you are allowed light amounts organic olive oil
*Restaurants use A LOT of salt in their meals, avoid going 'out' to eat
*Some white meat like organic chicken or freshwater fish is ok, but very little
Please avoid these from you diet
MARIJUANA! (Why marijuana and aya dont mix)
Spices (very lightly)
Nightshades (peppers, goji berries, eggplant, tomatoes)
Avoid everything above PLUS cut out entirely - meats salt, sugars and spices avocados, coconuts, sweet fruit
Beyond dietary restrictions it is good to spend these couple days before ceremony in a calm space and avoid gratuitous social media and any strenuous activities. Stay focus on the journey ahead and bring with you a clear intention for the weekend.
Food will be provided for you all weekend.
Breakfast served 8am, help yourself as your wake up
Lunch is served at 1:30pm, Family style group meal
Light evening snack is served at 5pm, optional if you would like to stay light before ceremony
After ceremony soup!, available after ceremony to help ground and re-nourish
Continue eating healthy and avoid alcohol for as long as possible. You can begin to slowly reintroduce meats and spices back into your diet as you feel ready but avoid sexual activity and try to remain on the initial vegan diet for 1 week after ceremony to avoid complications.
So, WHAT CAN YOU EAT? Lots of super healthy yummy delights!
GREENS! (Salads with a little olive oil drizzle or a little tahini)
ALL VEGGIES; except the nightshades listed above.
Any sprouted seeds (clover, broccoli, mung bean)
Lentils (Orange, Green, Yellow ALL good)
Pasta: Enjoy brown rice pasta, and recently in whole foods I found Mung Bean Pasta and Adzuki Bean pasta and it's officially my favorite! No salt added
Kaffir Lime Leaves (SUPER yummy in red lentils)
Galangal (Thai Ginger)
(If you have a blender it is very easy to blend ginger, turmeric and water; creating a paste that you can add into everything and make it all really tasty!Adding these fresh or dried herbs to your veggie stir-fry, soups & salads TOTALLY makes them so delicious without using any salt or spices! You will be amazed.)
Guayusa (Most Recommended stimulant!)
Herbal Caffeine Free Tea
***You can create delicious dishes using a selection of veggies steamed or stir fried in water, adding fresh herbs ginger and turmeric, and complementing them with a grain or rice/mung bean pasta.
The list of food to enjoy is much longer than the list of foods to avoid, so do your best to not feel restricted and focus on the amazing options you do have available.
Here are a handful of great recipes to help along your journey. Please refer to the dietary restrictions above as your get closer to the ceremony day but these are great starter points to either use early in your diet or after ceremony as you are grounding back or can be modified to adhere closer to the restrictions needed close to ceremony weekend.
Soups and Salads
Roasted Vegetable Salad
Butternut Squash Salad
Mixed Greens & Veggies
Island / Tropical Cabbage Salad
No greens Salad / Root Combo
AYA-Enslada / Sweet Potato love Salad
Simplest Salad / Cucumber Avocado Goodness
Vegan Crostini Alla Fiorentina
Fried Rice (Vegan Style) 1 of 2
Fried Rice (Vegan Style) 2 of 2
Roasted Vegetable Flan 1 of 2
Roasted Vegetable Flan 2 of 2
Pasta With Pesto & Tomatoes
Japanese Soba Noodles
Stuffed Medley of Vegetables 1 of 2
Stuffed Medley of Vegetables 2 of 2
Butternut Squash Pie
Burrito Bowl / Lentils & Rice
Quinoa & Kale / Salmon Veggies
Love my body Bowl / Tropical Rice
Sweet Potato Bowl / Squash Risotto
Simple Chicken / Spiced Quinoa
Sides and Snacks
Lemon - Tahini Dreassing / Lemon Vinaigrette
Pesto Sauce / Sun Dried Tomato Sauce
CLT / Red Bean & Beet Root Dressing/Dip
Tomatoes Basil / Mango Ginger Salsa
Super Simple Salad Dressing / Creamy Green Dressing
Apple and Blackberry Crumble
Baked Apple with Lemon Custard
Poached Pears in Pomegranate Juice
Lemon Hearts w/ raspberry coulis & Coconut Ice cream 1 of 2
Lemon Hearts w/ raspberry coulis & Coconut Ice cream 2 of 2
Strawberry Ice cream Sunday
Vegan Cheesecake 1 of 2
Vegan Cheesecake 2 of 2
Smoothie and Juice combos / probiotic water
Body Boost smoothie / Warm Banana Smoothie
Sweet sweetness smoothie / Veggie Shake
Simple Green Smoothie / Tropical Smoothie
Mat's Jamu juice / Digestive Tea
Digestion Kickstarter / Super Detox Brew
C-Boost / Very Berry
Harvey Wallbanger / Starberry Daiquiri
Mulled Pomegranate Juice