Beginning the Dieta: Ayahuasca Diaries Part I

Somewhat random, but here’s a picture I took I really enjoy of a shopkeeper in Chiyoda, Tokyo.

Two weeks before the Ayahuasca journey begins. Which means I officially began the Dieta today. No translation needed; it’s exactly what it sounds like. From what I gather, each shaman has their own version of the dieta, depending on their experience and relationship to the plant. I seem to have chosen a rather strict shaman because I’m already grumbling and it’s only the first day.

Here’s the breakdown for the next 2.5 weeks:

Abstention from:

*any alcohol or other drugs (Cannabis included) * any dairy *citrus fruits *red meat, and especially NO pork *shellfish *spicy foods, including garlic and pepper *fried foods *caffeine *sex (that counts for self-pleasure as well) * fermented food like kimchi * soy products like tofu *try to limit the intake of salt and sugar, it’s best to have no salt for 2-3 days prior

So basically, fish and fowl plus vegetables and most fruits – whole foods/paleo only more limited. Except I can also have bread and grains. It’s wouldn’t be so bad if I was cooking for myself but I’m living out of Airbnb’s/dorms in Taiwan and Tokyo and I don’t usually get a kitchen…Complicates things.

The dieta will be quite a bit easier to maintain in Taiwan because buffet style restaurants are quite popular there, including full vegetarian buffets. Here in Tokyo I’m having trouble with it, especially since soy is EVERYWHERE. Miso soup, salads, soymilk…Hard to avoid. Still, I did find a nice soba bowl with duck for lunch and some tuna rolls for dinner at the convenience store so feeling pretty okay. I’m also only here for 1 more week, so that helps.

And my GOD, is this place expensive! I mean, I knew going in that Tokyo is one of the most expensive cities in the world. But after cruising Taiwan for so long, my index of what “expensive” is has been shattered. An average meal in Taiwan runs around NTD$100-150. A bowl of noodles and tea might be NTD$60 at a hole in the wall joint outside of Taipei but I prefer the buffet restaurants. They price by weight and I eat a lot so that’s how much I usually pay for a full plate of 3-4 veggie dishes, some meat, a bowl of rice, and a can of some drink or another. That’s around US$4. In Tokyo, the soba bowl I had was $500Y. Dirt cheap. Almost $5. Just for the soba. Usually I’d be paying closer to $1200Y or $11 for a bowl of ramen. Grrr….Still, I’ve had some damn good ramen, though!

Sex…I feel like I’m half a monk already. I never go out of my way to meet people in my travels for that sort of thing. Mostly because I find myself constantly in the Chinese sphere and I’m…Just not that interested in Chinese guys. I don’t know why, I love lots more about the Chinese cultural sphere. Yet sleeping with locals has little appeal for me.

There’s the occasional Japanese that will do it for me, though. Not the boy band types, the swarthy Samurai Tatsuya types. Still, I missed my chance this time around so I’m deleting the hookup app on my phone as I really want to make the most of this experience. Not that I was even using it all that much – but better to simply remove the temptation (and torment).

What will I discover about myself and how to bring the best intentions into the ceremony…That’s what’s occupying my thoughts at the moment. What am I avoiding, what am I succeeding at? Where is clarity lacking and what’s the best approach to finding purpose, joy, and making a difference? I know there’s little you can do to control what comes out but I do believe in controlling what elements you can. And besides diet, exercise, and meditation, that’s intention setting.

In “Healing the Shame that Binds You,” the author talks about coming to grips with the fact that you can’t do it all on your own. He invokes a 12-step program, and one of the steps is reaching out to a higher power and asking for guidance and support. So this is my way of doing that. It’s my way of saying “I’m open even though I know I don’t want to be in many ways. Please help me see what I need to see.”

2 weeks until I have a brand new perspective on what it means to be me. I hope. As cautious as I am about the hype surrounding ayahuasca and psychedelics in general, I’d be crushingly disappointed if nothing happened, either.

I really, really, really want to understand…Something.

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  1. “I really want to understand something”. I wonder for how many thousands or hundreds of thousands of years human kind has had that desire. After 10 months of psychedelics I would say that my acceptance has increased and my existential anxiety has lessened. In terms of knowledge or understanding I’m not so sure I am any further forward. Certainly I have met no gods or infinitely wise aliens. Nor have I visited the distant corners of the multiverse. I waa hoping to stare like William Blake through the doors of perception. So far I have not. I hope it goes well for you but do manage your expectations.

    • Well, I feel like my expectations are rather well managed. I’m not particularly looking to channel ancient aliens or meet God. Honestly, I think I’d trust Aya even less if something truly wacked out happened. “I want to understand something” means exactly that: I’d like to know something for certain about myself, and how best to move in the world. I think that’s a pretty reasonable expectation from the so-called healing Mother Ayahuasca. But then, people have also been hyping cures for hundreds of thousands of years šŸ˜‰ Have you used DMT yourself?

      • No. I have not used ayahuasca. And I feel exactly the way you do in terms of wanting to know something
        … About myself and all sorts of other stuff. Actually I suppose I really wanted a total personality transplant. I am not sure I managed or an managing my own expectations particularly well.

      • I think above all what I seek from these substances is to distance myself from myself. To get out of my head, to break my routine, entrenched and unhelpful thought patterns. It seems to ne these substances achieve that. For a time at least. I can say, thankfully, that I have felt no addiction whatsoever. Actually probably quite the reverse. I find the trips exhausting and really need to push myself to undertake them. Om balance it has all been very helpful although I do not, I really do not buy all the hype and hyperbole around the subject. I see no sanctity in the process, no ‘holiness’ although the feelings can be very profound. I am now speaking from a position where I have taken no psilocybin for a couple of months.

  2. Thanks for documenting the journey. I’ll be eagerly reading the next post. And to stay in the tone of your current trip, Gambate, Earl!

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