Sanango Dieta: Fasting With The Plants.

"I pretty much eat nothing for about five days."

This is what I would tell people who asked me about the Sanango retreat in the weeks leading up to my departure. Between the self-forced starvation and the discomfort, they wondered why I would even do such a thing.

"Doesn't sound like a vacation," was the typical sentiment.  Especially when I told them that Sanango wasn't psychoactive, like ayahuasca.

"If you not gonna trip, why do it?" they would more or less ask.

My response was usually something along the lines of, "I don't 'trip' like normal people. Period."

And I don't. Whether we are talking about "tripping" in the sense of a vacation, or in the sense of taking plants that can make you hallucinate.

I prefer to mostly travel alone. Or at least have significant time to myself when I travel. 

And when it comes to psychoactive substances, in my few years of working with them, I don't hallucinate. I do get very clear internal dialogue and my thoughts move rapidly. 

But do I see epic shit that is bad ass and colorful?


But I think (ego talking here), it's because I am already bad ass and colorful as it is. And I've always been more connected to the feeling of things and the words. So showing me a huge ass snake in rainbow colors or to touch my hair and see it's turned purple with pink flowers... 

Betch, please.

That ain't gonna impress me.

But tell me something... Either completely new or a confirmation of something I already had a sense of?

That shit is revolutionary and empowering to me.

(I'm needy in that way.)


I was mentally prepared for the idea of not eating much for the five days of dieta during the Sanango portion of the retreat. Once we taking the Sanango, we can only have:

  • Water (hot or cold)
  • Farina (dry, or in snot-like liquid form)
  • Smoked (or boiled) plantains
  • Bocachica (river fish) at lunch, two large sardines at breakfast

This is what my plate looked like at lunch every day...

I added the dried farina to the plate.

I added the dried farina to the plate.

I don't know what the breakfast plate looked like. I never sat down for breakfast.

To be real, the fish doesn't taste bad.  It's just a bitch to eat, with it's eleventy-bajillion teeny bones. But the plantains? I've always hated those. In and out of the jungle. Boring as fuck vegetable. (Are they a veggie? Or are they a fruit? I don't even know. Maybe they're just straight up "starch"?)

But one day, one of the last days of the dieta, I did force myself to take in half the plantain...

Spot the teeny bone I pulled from the fish.

Spot the teeny bone I pulled from the fish.

After a while, like the end of the second day, I didn't even miss food. I missed texture.  That's what I was craving. But the satiety of food? 


I had my thoughts. Those fed me. 

And I think by limiting by food intake I allowed the little medicine I took to work harder on me. I freed up my body's exertion to allow it to work with the medicine more.

Because... I only drank the first night of Sanango. The second and third nights of Sanango... I got up for ceremony. But I couldn't drink it.

Because... I could still taste it from the first day. 

And feel it.

A stiff, achey buzzing fell throughout my legs, upper spine, and lower back.

I could sit still and feel vibrations strongly. I'd lift my arm and hand up horizontally, wondering if my body was experience shakes or tremors...

But nothing.

My hand, arm, fingers... All perfectly still. But the vibrating inside continued. It felt electrical.

Sanango working.

Ah. Yes.

The medicine cleaning things up.

Taste. Smell. Feel. I could even "hear" the medicine through my body, in between laughter and chats with other guests. 

You should fast more often.

Let's not get crazy now, I told the voice. 

Yes. This is crazy enough as it is.