Are there recommended foods to eat before and during a trip? Can supplements help the psychedelic experience? Here are some guidelines to enhance your experience.
Psychedelic trips have become increasingly popular in recent years, with many turning to them as a tool for exploring their consciousness and enhancing their creativity. While it is important to prepare your mental state for a psychedelic trip, it is also important to consider what you eat before, during, and after your experience.
Why is Nutrition Important for an Optimal Psychedelic Experience?
The idea that good nutrition is important for a healthy mind and body has become very popular amongst medical professionals. Psychonauts and individuals undergoing psychedelic therapy or planning on tripping recreationally should also think about how their diet can affect the psychedelic experience as a whole.
To improve your psychedelic experience and reduce uncomfortable physical and mental side effects commonly associated with a challenging trip, paying attention to nutrition is helpful in addition to the influence of set and setting.
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On the other hand, highly processed foods typically contain fewer nutrients and are often more challenging for your body to break down and use. So, if you’re eating a diet that’s heavily dependent on processed items, you may not be getting enough essential nutrition to support proper digestion and nervous system health.
Psychedelics like psilocybin, peyote, ayahuasca, MDMA, and LSD can deplete your body’s nutrient stores — especially if you’re working through stress and intense emotions. And, if you’re already running low on critical vitamins and minerals, this can make you feel ill during or after your psychedelic experience.
The upcoming sections will clarify why it's important to have a nutritious diet, provide recommendations on which foods to eat before a psychedelic trip, suggest snacks for during the experience, and conclude with a discussion on your diet after your journey.
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What Foods to Eat Before a Psychedelic Trip
The food that you consume before your psychedelic trip can greatly affect the quality of your experience. It is important to eat light and healthy meals to ensure that you don't experience any digestive discomfort or indigestion during your trip. Avoid processed foods, junk food, and greasy meals that may cause inflammation in the gut. Instead, opt for a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. A light salad or a bowl of soup would be perfect for this purpose. It is also advisable to drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine.
Your Diet 3-7 days Before the Trip
Some natural supplements are available that can enhance the experience and reduce potential side effects such as anxiety and the comedown.
Vitamin D Rich foods
The hormone and neurotransmitter serotonin is responsible for stabilizing mood and promoting positive emotions. Low serotonin levels can lead to negative feelings such as sadness, hopelessness, anger, anxiety, and irritability.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid found in various foods that converts to serotonin in the brain, but vitamin D is needed to activate the gene TPH2 to enable this conversion according to studies.
Foods containing tryptophan include:
- Egg Whites
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Soy beans
To increase your vitamin D levels, you have several options: getting sunlight exposure, taking a good supplement, or incorporating foods like eggs, fatty fish, and mushrooms into your diet.
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Omega 3 Sources
Eating more foods rich in Omega 3 before using psychedelics may prevent the negative mood some individuals experience after a trip. It may also promote the positive, connected feeling that is typically associated with a good trip.
Foods containing Omega 3 include:
- Fish and other seafood: salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, sardines, seaweed
- Nuts and seeds: such as flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts
- Plant oils: flaxseed oil, soybean oil
- Fortified foods: eggs, yogurt, fresh juices, milk, soy
Folate Rich Foods
Folate is a type of B-vitamin that is important for the synthesis of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine (which is responsible for pleasure), and epinephrine (or adrenaline). Folate supplements are used to alleviate depression symptoms. A deficiency of these chemicals may lead to a less pleasant psychedelic journey.
Foods supporting synthesis of serotonin, dopamine and epinephrine include:
- Greens — especially broccoli, brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, asparagus and collard greens
- Peas, kidney beans, chickpeas
Magnesium Rich Foods
Magnesium is crucial for your nervous system to function properly. It is believed that using magnesium as a treatment may be effective in addressing major depression caused by a lack of magnesium within the neurons. These magnesium ion neuronal deficits may be induced by stress hormones, excessive dietary calcium as well as dietary deficiencies of magnesium.
When you don't get enough magnesium, it can lead to various symptoms like depression, fatigue, irregular heartbeats, asthma, nausea, loss of appetite, muscle cramps, and others.
Food containing magnesium include:
- Whole foods: wheat, oats, barley
- Legumes: lentils, black beans, chickpeas, peas, soybeans
- Nuts: cashews, brazil nuts, almonds
- Seeds: pumpkin seed, flaxseed, chia seeds
- Leafy greens: spinach, kale, collards, turnips, mustard greens
- Dark chocolate
- Fatty fish: salmon, mackerel, halibut
Prebiotics and probiotics
The relationship between the gut and the brain is important and can connect anxiety with stomach issues and vice versa. Your digestion is essential to your general health, which includes how well you absorb the nutrients we talked about. To improve the health of your gut microbiome, there are two things you can supplement in your diet: prebiotics and probiotics.
Eating a diverse range of foods including vegetables, fruits, and whole grains can provide prebiotics naturally. You do not need to take supplements if your diet is varied.
Foods containing prebiotics include:
- Dandelion Greens
- Chicory root
- Jerusalem artichokes
- Whole wheat
Probiotic rich foods include:
- Sourdough bread
- Some cheeses: Swiss, provolone, Gouda, cheddar, Edam, Gruyère, cottage cheese.
Other Supplements to Consider
- Vitamin A – It is a crucial element in the production of the body's anti-stress hormones.
- Vitamin K – Supplementation is necessary as our body cannot store a large amount of D and A. They work together in synergy. This helps to top up the demand for these nutrients.
- Lion’s Mane – It is a functional mushroom that is known for enhancing brain health and is considered a powerhouse ingredient.
Should You Fast Before Your Trip?
Before and after using mushrooms, peyote, and ayahuasca for ceremonies and rituals, it's common to fast. Retreats sometimes recommend a particular diet or a juice fast (or water fast for those who can) before and after the retreat. Even when taking psychedelics outside of retreats, some people opt to fast for several days or even weeks. Some people choose to undergo a psychedelic experience only if they have fasted for at least 24 hours beforehand because it results in a more pleasant and experience.
You may have heard on reddit that ketosis and fasting can intensify a psychedelic trip and reduce nausea. This combination has been traditionally used with psychedelics for a long time, and it is still a part of some ayahuasca and mushroom ceremonies.
Although fasting can enhance your psychedelic experience, it's important to approach it with caution. If you're new to intermittent fasting, start with shorter fasts before attempting a 16 or 24 hour fast. Additionally, it's crucial to educate yourself on how to minimize any potential risks that may negatively affect your experience.
How to safely fast before your trip
- Start with shorter fasting periods: If you're a beginner in fasting, it's alright to start by fasting for a few hours or a full day.
- Start with a lower dose: Fasting before taking psychedelic substances may decrease the amount needed for the desired effect.
- 3-6 hours is enough: If you want to reap the rewards of both fasting and psychedelics but have never tried a long fast before, you can start by waiting a few hours after eating. It is advisable to wait at least three to six hours after a meal before taking psychedelics, and having a healthy meal is recommended for even better results.
- Break your fast with healthier food sources shortly after your trip: If you want to improve mental performance by consuming sweet foods, it's important to choose healthier sources than candy because the brain uses a lot of glucose. Good options include grapes, bananas, or dark chocolate, even if you have a craving for candy.
- If you've fasted for 24 hours, it may be wise to break your fast with bone broth: A bone broth fast is a type of modified fast in which you replace food with warm mugs of it throughout the day. This helps you get vitamins, minerals and amino acids, while also resetting your digestive system. Bone broth contains gelatin, glycine, and proline that can nourish your gut and reduce inflammation, ultimately promoting gut healing.
- Don't forget your snack: To avoid forgetting to eat after a long period of fasting, keep some snacks that are easy to eat on hand. Good options include pumpkin pie, watermelon, mango, passion fruit, nuts, yogurt, and cottage cheese.
- Think meal prep: It is not advisable to cook while under the influence of psychedelics as it can be challenging and unsafe. It is recommended to have a pre-cooked meal or a sober person to assist.
During fasting, especially for extended periods, electrolytes such as potassium and sodium are lost through urine. Sometimes, adding a bit of salt in your water may be enough to supplement your electrolyte loss. If you want a higher electrolyte boost, you may consider some supplements. Make sure the supplement you choose does not have any added processed sugar or has very little amount of it.
Pre-Trip Foods ( Day of the Psychedelic Experience)
In case you opt out of fasting, here are some tips to keep in mind the day of your psychedelic experience. First, if you're thinking about what foods to eat before a psychedelic trip, steer clear of consuming anything greasy or fried since such foods can make you feel lethargic and trigger nausea. This is especially important if you have fasted. Secondly, avoid acidic or spicy foods as well, as these could cause an upset stomach. Additionally, avoid sugary foods, which may result in an energy crash and make it hard to enjoy your trip.
For easier digestion, it's recommended to eat light and simple foods, similar to the ones suggested in your one week preparation before your trip. This will help prepare your stomach for breaking down the psychedelic substances which can be tough on your system.
Eating meals such as eggs and toast, fruit, pumpkin pie, watermelon, yogurt, and fresh or cooked vegetables, as well as drinking natural juices and kombucha, is a healthy way to give your body natural energy without taxing it too much.
Snacks and Liquids During Your Trip
If you get hungry during the trip, you have plenty of great snack options to choose from. Fruits, vegetables, trail mix, and protein bars are all excellent choices. They are easy to eat, good for you, tasty, won't dry out your mouth, and won't be hard on your stomach. It's important to avoid foods that are difficult to chew, swallow, or digest. Keep things easy on yourself during the trip by sticking to easy-to-eat snacks like fruits, vegetables, and trail mix.
We want to emphasize the importance of staying hydrated. Drinking water is essential, as dehydration can make the effects more intense. It is safe to remind you that minerals and electrolytes can help improve your overall health, promote nerve activity, stabilize mood, and support emotional well-being. Moreover, consuming ginger tea may alleviate nausea and indigestion that can occur when using shrooms or LSD. If you require increased alertness and concentration, green tea is a good option. If you need to relax, try lavender tea, while chamomile is best for unwinding before bed.
What to Eat After Your Psychedelic Trip
After your journey, it is important to continue to nourish your body. The foods you eat during the post-trip period can help you integrate your experience and promote healing. It is advisable to opt for whole foods and avoid processed foods, similar to your 3-7 day pre-trip preparation. Foods rich in vitamins and antioxidants such as fruits, vegetables, and dark leafy greens should be included in your diet. Plant proteins such as legumes, nuts, and seeds should be prioritized over animal protein. You can also incorporate probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and kefir to help restore gut health.
It is suggested to opt for vegetarian or plant-based dishes during psychedelic experiences as people who are conscious about animal products may be put off by them even more. This can cause an aversion to such food.
Your Diet During Integration Is Also Important
It's important to maintain a healthy diet, but don't let it become a source of stress. Remember that happiness is also important for good health, so don't hesitate to treat yourself to more indulgent or celebratory meals from time to time. If you want to enjoy indulgent food more and crave it less often, try practicing mindful eating by savoring each bite. Additionally, if you feel mentally scattered, a filling meal may help stabilize you. Remember, making significant changes to your diet should be approached with caution since it's a long-term effort to improve your physical health and mental health. Be mindful and take care not to shock your system or create unsustainable habits.
In conclusion, what you eat before, during, and after your psychedelic trip can greatly affect your experience. Eating light, healthy meals before your journey will help you avoid digestive discomfort, while focusing on whole foods and nutrient-rich foods after your trip will help support your body's natural healing process. Remember to stay hydrated and avoid alcohol and caffeine throughout your trip. By making the right food choices, you can ensure that your psychedelic experience is enjoyable, safe, and transformative.
Disclaimer: Psychedelic Spotlight does not condone the use of illegal substances. The purpose of this article is for educational and harm reduction purposes only. If you suffer from a medical or mental condition, please consult with your doctor before taking any substance.