Rastafarians Follow a Veg Diet
Some eat food for survival, some love to eat, while for some its a way of nourishing your body, mind and soul; at least certain kind of healthy food. That’s the case in the Rastafarian movement, a religion that emerged in Jamaica in 1930s, which seeks to live in harmony with nature and the environment.
Sticking to that belief, many Rastafarians maintain a vegetarian diet called ‘Ital’, derived from the word ‘vital’, with the initial syllable replaced by i. This is done to many words in the Rastafari vocabulary, as a means of expressing the self determination of the African race. I had read that Rastafarians are primarily vegans, but didn’t quite know that their dietary laws were so strict.
Ital means pure, organic, fresh, so Rastas avoid eating chemically processed food or items containing artificial flavoring. Some also don’t eat salt, flesh like pork or shellfish, because they are considered to be scavengers, and freshwater fish is acceptable to many. Not all Rastas follow this diet, but its suppose to be ideal. Their food is cooked but served in the rawest form possible without condiments, flavorings etc.The purpose of following a vegetarian diet is to cleanse the body and to be one with nature as what you eat helps in building your structure. Its an act of being conscious of what one puts into his or her body, and feeding not only your body but also your soul.Ital food is also oppose to use of coffee, milk, alcohol, and cigarettes, as these substances clouds the mind and Rastas believe that it turns the body into a cemetery. Cannabis or Ganja is allowed as its a natural herb and not considered a drug, it opens their mind and helps in reasoning. They eat lot of indigenous fruits like papayas, oranges and calallo. Even Bob Marley, the legendary reggae singer and Rastafarian, adhered to ital food. It was so important to him that he retained his own chef, Antonio “Gilly” Gilbert, who was well-known for preparing ital feasts at Marley’s Kingston home as well as on his international tours.
Even their way of cooking is different. Rastafarians never cook in aluminum pots as it is said to leave traces of metal in the food that can get in your body, hence cooking in a clay pot is quite popular among them.
A very healthy way of living, more environmentally conscious and spiritually stimulating. Some of their beliefs or ideology is very similar to Hinduism. Rastas way of living is being emulated by many people in the West, who have realised the importance of being conscious.
Here’s a video explaining the benefits of Ital Food, and how to cook while getting the most nutrition from your meals.
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