๐™บ๐š‘๐š–๐šŽ๐š›๐š’๐šŒ๐šŠ๐š— ๐™ต๐šŠ๐š–๐š’๐š•๐šข ๐™ฐ๐š‹๐š›๐š˜๐šŠ๐š #๐Ÿ๐Ÿ’ ๐Ÿฅฅ ๐–๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐ˆ๐ญ๐š๐ฅ ๐…๐จ๐จ๐? ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’›โค๏ธ

in naturalmedicine โ€ขย  14 days agoย  (edited)

ItalIsVital.png

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๐’๐จ ๐ฆ๐š๐ง๐ฒ ๐ฉ๐ž๐จ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ž ๐ข๐ง ๐ฆ๐ฒ ๐ฅ๐ข๐Ÿ๐ž ๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐š๐ฌ๐ค๐ž๐ ๐ฆ๐ž - "๐–๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐ˆ๐ญ๐š๐ฅ?"

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SakanaSakadaNyabinghi.jpg Sakana and SreyYuu at a Nyabinghi gathering in Suriname

ย ย ย ย ย #Ital is a term not yet well-known outside the Caribbean. Ital refers to the type of food which adheres to the dietary principles practiced within the Rastafari Movement, and a tag I intend propagate on Steem โ™จ๏ธ.

ย ย ย ย ย This post will find itself relevant within the ReggaeSteem.io, NaturalMedicine.io, TravelFeed.io, @ecotrain & @vegansofsteemit communities. Ital is vegan, but vegan is not always Ital, and this is of interest to anyone traveling & eating within the Caribbean, especially Jamaica.

ย ย ย ย ย Because not all Rastafari participate in organized religion, there is not a single body defining what Ital is, although many Rastafari groups are trying to. I hope to give you a rough understanding with this post of what Ital means to me.

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โš›๏ธ ๐‹๐ˆ๐•๐ˆ๐“๐˜ โš›๏ธ

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SakanaEsoteric.jpg Sakana displaying the most I-ncient symbol of Livity

ย ย ย ย ย Livity - "life" is a very finite word, resonating very similar to "death" in my mind. Words in English generally end with the suffix "-ity" that describe the state of the adjective. Some example words are "infinity" and "ability." Many Rastas see the word "livity" as a more suitable replacement for "life."

ย ย ย ย ย While my own personal temporary vessel known as "the self" will come to an end one day, life can't be stopped. I am only a temporary contributor of "life," but scientifically speaking, nothing is created or destroyed in this dispension, and so "life" cannot end, and therefore is "livity." Awareness in the moment is ever important.

ย ย ย ย ย Everything a Rasta does in this lifetime should be propagating livity, or sowing "life seeds," and this is especially important concerning the words that exit one's mouth, and the food that enters into it. No one Rasta has the same "livity" as the next, so therefore no Rasta's diet may be exactly the same as the next.

ย ย ย ย ย I have seen both Nyabinghi and Bobo Shanti brethren an sistren drink wine and eat fish. Also, many Twelve Tribes of Israel members are vegetarian, eating dairy and eggs, and some even practice a Kashrut diet, eating beef, fish, chicken, etc. On my most recent trip to Jamaica, I noticed many Rastas are now mixing "grabba" in with their ganja. Grabba is just tobacco, which I found absolutely shocking. I now can't even confidently take a spliff or steam chalice from a Rasta in Jamaica anymore. As a Nazarite I don't consume these things, but I make no judgements, as Rastafari is a personal journey, a one-away trod.

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๐Ÿฅ— ๐“๐‡๐„ ๐๐€๐™๐€๐‘๐ˆ๐“๐„ ๐•๐Ž๐– ๐Ÿ•Š๏ธ

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Let my man Tony Rebel give you a brief intro to the Nazarite Vow.

ย ย ย ย ย The "Nazarite or Nazarene Vow" is one the first things I feel I should address. Roughly 30% of Rastas I have met have taken this vow, as have I. This is a vow described in the Book of Numbers. I will not go into great depth about the vow of the Nazarite, because that could be a post in in itself, but here are some bullet points.

  • ย Not cutting the hair and letting one's hair grow into locks.
  • ย Grapes and grape-derived products are forbidden. (Some avoid the nightshade family of plants too.)
  • ย No touching or contact with corpses, flesh and graves.
  • ย This vow both separates the vowtaker from society and also consecrates the Nazarite, and he/she is "holy unto God."

ย ย ย ย ย From these bullet points one can assume where a vegan diet would come into play. A hamburger is a corpse, so therefore at the very least, a Nazarite should be a vegetarian. Of course there are many different views on what the Nazarite vow consists of, within Rastafari, and also Christianity, Judaism and Islam. My studies lead me to believe a natural vegan diet is what the Nazarite must eat, and some Rastafari/Nazarites even eat only raw food, no cooking whatsoever.

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๐Ÿ˜ฎ ๐’๐“๐„๐‘๐„๐Ž๐“๐˜๐๐„๐’ & ๐’๐“๐ˆ๐†๐Œ๐€๐’ ๐Ÿ™…โ€โ™‚๏ธ

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SreyYuuThali.jpg Sakada marketing our Ital thali for the cafe ๐Ÿ’

ย ย ย ย ย @Sreypov and I had a small Ital cafe in Cambodia, a country where locals and tourists both have no clue what Ital food is. At our restaurant we never mentioned it was Ital in our advertising nor to our customers. We mostly marketed our restaurant using more common words that don't carry stigma, like "healthy," "Kashrut," "Halal," "natural," "Indian," "SE Asian," etc.

ย ย ย ย ย The overwhelming majority of our customers were not vegetarian or vegan at all, just normal folks looking for a good, cheap meal. The most enlightening visit came from three French construction workers who devoured our thali. They told us our food was hearty and filling, and asked what "Ital" meant. They were brutally honest, and said if they had heard the word "vegan" before coming they wouldn't have given us a chance. These gentlemen later became loyal patrons of Adwa I-tal Kitchen. I can sympathize with their fear of a "vegan" restaurant though.

SakanaItalThali.jpg Sakana taking her turn to promote Ital food ๐Ÿ’


ย ย ย ย ย I say this because too many times when I'm in the USA for a quick visit, my friends feel the need to take me to a vegan restaurant of their choice. The food is always over-priced, uninspired, not filling and just bland. When I'm alone in the USA looking for a cheap and tasty Ital meal in unfamiliar territory, I always just look for a standard Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Turkish, Arabic or Indian restaurant. I know I'll general find plenty of Ital choices for fair prices at places like this.

ย ย ย ย ย Far too many people (Americans) are too confident in their knowledge about subjects which they haven't actually studied up on. This is why I shy away from words like"Rasta" and "vegan" in public; there is just too much misinformation out there. At least terms like "Ital" & "Nazarite" sometimes spark a conscious conversation, as the masses don't automatically assume they are experts on these topics.

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๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ“ ๐ˆ๐“๐€๐‹ ๐ˆ๐’ ๐•๐ˆ๐“๐€๐‹ ๐ŸŒถ๏ธ๐Ÿ‹๐Ÿฅฆ

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Since we've talked about food stereotypes, now I'll let Macka B take over with some edutainment and explain how an Ital diet can be anything but boring.

ย ย ย ย ย I can say as a chef who cooked meat 18+ years ago, both commercially and at home, that cooking with vegetables takes more talent and creativity. As I've already stated, not all Rastas are going to share the same definition of what Ital is, and I'm just providing you a perspective from my lens.


Noni Juice Example.png This stuff is essential to our Ital lifestyle ๐Ÿˆ

ย ย ย ย ย An Ital livity isn't exclusive to just the Rastafari, for I've met many Jamaican Seventh Day Adventists and other Christians who practice an Ital diet and lifestyle without accepting H.I.M. Haile Selassie I and H.I.M. Menen Asfaw as divine. The main thing with being an Italist is to work towards building a life like it was in the beginning, before violence, war, borders, etc.

ย ย ย ย ย Living in Paramaribo, Suriname on a sidestreet is not exactly living like the original people, but we strive towards saving enough money so we can own a small piece of land in the countryside, even though the original people needed no money or land deeds to build such a life.

ย ย ย ย ย Our ideal Ital Livity would be to be as self-sufficient as possible in a rural setting, living a natural life and eating only what we grow. We acknowledge this dream may never be fully realized some day, but there's no reason to give up working towards this dream, because at the very least we can build a platform for our children to continue from.

PovCoco.jpg@Sreypov preparing a coconut with cat ninja-like skills ๐Ÿฑโ€๐Ÿ‘ค


In my Ital kitchen, here are some things absolutely not used in food preparation.


  • flesh, dairy, eggs (all animal-derived products)
  • MSG (monosodium glutamate)
  • white flour, white rice (any bleached, processed, refined grains)
  • iodized salt
  • grapes, grape-derived products
  • artificial additives (colors, flavors, preservatives)
  • white sugar
  • alcohol
  • hyrdogenated oils
  • aluminum & non-stick cookware

Here are some things that we use often and form the core of our Ital kitchen.


  • fresh local fruits and vegetables (organic always best)
  • brown rice, whole-wheat flour (whole grains)
  • leafy greens (cassava leaf, callaloo, etc.)
  • sea salt, pink salt
  • coconut oil, olive oil
  • fresh herbs (mint, basil, lemongrass, etc.)
  • spices (cumin, kalonji, ajwain, etc.)
  • fresh chilies (all kinds)
  • beans, nuts, legumes, tempeh
  • fresh rhizomes (galangal, ginger, turmeric)
  • coconut (meat, milk, jelly, water)
  • palm sugar
  • cast-iron, clay, carbon steel and stainless cookware

SakanaSalute.jpg

ย ย ย ย ย I hope this gives you an understanding or a better understanding of what Ital food is. We're excited to be located in Suriname for the next chapter of our lives, as there is some Ital awareness here among the locals. If we do get back in the food business, something unique to our Ital food is that it's not Caribbean flavors, but South and Southeast Asian flavors that we cook.

ย ย ย ย ย If you find yourself traveling within the Caribbean or Jamaica, ask a local where an Ital restaurant is and you'll likely get a lead. What you eat may be very different than our style of food, but I can almost guarantee it will be made by loving hands.

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๐“๐‡๐€๐๐Š๐’ ๐…๐Ž๐‘ ๐‘๐„๐€๐ƒ๐ˆ๐๐†
๐ƒ๐จ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐š๐ง๐ฒ ๐ž๐ฑ๐ฉ๐ž๐ซ๐ข๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐ˆ๐ญ๐š๐ฅ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐จ๐?
๐๐ฅ๐ž๐š๐ฌ๐ž ๐ญ๐ž๐ฅ๐ฅ ๐ฆ๐ž ๐ข๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐œ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฆ๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ฌ ๐›๐ž๐ฅ๐จ๐ฐ.
๐ˆ๐Ÿ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ฅ๐ข๐ค๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐ฉ๐จ๐ฌ๐ญ, ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ž๐š๐ฌ๐ž ๐ฎ๐ฉ๐ฏ๐จ๐ญ๐ž ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐ž๐ฆ.
๐…๐จ๐ฅ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฐ ๐ฆ๐ž @justinparke

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๐ˆ ๐’๐”๐๐๐Ž๐‘๐“ ๐€๐๐ƒ ๐ƒ๐„๐‹๐„๐†๐€๐“๐„ ๐“๐Ž

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ย  ยท ย 13 days agoย 

Congratulations! Your high-quality travel content was selected by @travelfeed curator @smeralda and earned you a partial upvote. We love your hard work and hope to encourage you to continue to publish strong travel-related content.
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ย  ยท ย 13 days agoย (edited)

Thanks as always @travelfeed & @smeralada.

ย  ยท ย 14 days agoย 

wow, thanks for the descriptive post and pictures. I enjoyed learning because although I am not aware of ITAL, I am aware of veganism and being vegetarian, I am pleased to know more people are turning away from meat.

ย  ยท ย 14 days agoย 

Thank you for the feedback @sayee.

ย ย ย ย ย I can certainly say the Ital path is the right one for me, but I can't speak for anyone else. I certainly am the last one to cast judgement on others, and like to put as few social barriers between me and the people that surround me.

ย  ยท ย 14 days agoย (edited)

Thanks so much for finally finishing this post for us! Well, me, as I've been dying to know more about ITAL since you mentioned it.

Grapes and grape-derived products are forbidden.

i didn't realise this, though it makes perfect sense. No sultanas!! Aaaagggh - a childhood without sultanas!! How do they learn to count!!

I love what you say about it being a conversation starter, because 'vegan' gets a bad rap, which is a real shame. Saying that, there are a LOT of vegan restaurants springing up all over Melbourne, including an Ethiopian vegan restaurant near my son's house I am dying to try out!

Great post, thanks so much for telling us more about it.

As for the 'more than 5 tags', as per what Travelfeed does, I guess I choose the ones MOST relevant to my post for my first 5. So much tech and so much rules here, lol.

ย  ยท ย 14 days agoย 

Thanks @riverflows.

ย ย ย ย ย Some of what you've mentioned I kind of addressed in some of my other comments here about the raisins/grapes. Spot on about vegan having a bad rap, such a shame. But I do know a lot of junk-food vegans. I think the word doesn't go far enough to also cover the fact the diet should be a healthy one too, not just void of animal products. Ital can't be unhealthy by nature of the word. Things that are Ital must benefit Livity, so I think the word encompasses what I am doing with my diet appropriately.

ย ย ย ย ย Vegan Ethiopian food must be out of this world. I've eaten a lot of Ethiopian food, and it's always easy to find a tasty vegan dish or two at any standard Ethiopian cafe/restaurant. I'd be curious to know the meat dishes get adapted. I know of one vegan Ethiopian cafe in the USA, but I've never been.


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ย  ยท ย 13 days agoย 

Love the word livity!!! I will let you know what that restaurant is like... a special review for you!

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ย  ยท ย 14 days agoย 

Yes indeed the definition of Ital varies, even the definition of Rasta is so varied in these days. Some of the people that many look up to as Rasta smoking cigarette and eating meat. But the Rastafarians nowadays not as judgmental as they were, not so much buning out a gwaan.

Your definition of Ital is in line with what I had in my mind, but I didn't realize the the grape part. Another thing I see some people pushing as ital is Tofu, what is your say on that?


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ย  ยท ย 14 days agoย 

Thanks @dmilliz.

ย ย ย ย ย To be honest, I don't even trust a brethren if every other word out of his mouth is Rastafari dis', Rastafari dat', fiyah bun', etc. If you spend all day smoking ganja, burning Babylon and complaining about the sh*tstem, there is little time left for building up your community and fellow man.

ย ย ย ย ย Concerning the grapes thing I didn't even mention it in great detail, because I think I'm the only one I know who won't deal with grapes. It's part of the Nazarite Vow, but no background reason is clearly given for this within scripture. It is my personal overstanding through my studies that the alcohol made from grapes (wine) and the grape itself are a symbol of Rome.

ย ย ย ย ย There aren't any health concerns for me eating grapes, but it's more of personal protest against the thing the Babylonians and Romans loved so much. Since my life (and the I-ncients) is in stark opposition to the Babylonian way of life, it made (makes) sense to cast out the thing the Babylonians love most from one's personal livity.

ย ย ย ย ย Tofu is a tricky one. Certainly tempeh is preferred, as it's more natural, healthy and less processed than tofu. If you make tofu at home, it's surprisingly simple and not that processed, very different than what you will find at a supermarket. I realize in Jamaica tempeh is virtually unknown, however. Most of the streetside Ital shacks I've eaten at in Jamaica offer chunks (soy TVP) with the food. This stuff is even more heavily processed than tofu, so I avoid it if possible. All in all Ital is about eating natural, and the soybean just isn't an eater friendly food.

ย ย ย ย ย There are so many more wonderful and more edible beans, like pigeon peas, lentils, adzuki beans, mung beans and more. I prefer cooking my beans whole ultimately, but sometimes you gotta please the youths with some tofu here and there.


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ย  ยท ย 14 days agoย 

Great work, thanks for this post-Justin. Love the quality.

I thought there was a difference between Rastas and Rastafarians


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ย  ยท ย 14 days agoย (edited)

Thanks @crypticat.

ย ย ย ย ย I use the words interchangeably, as do many others. Rasta is just short-form of Rastafari or Rastafarian(s). But when written as "Ras Tafari", we are dealing with the birth name of H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie I. It's confusing I realize, but I have always thought of myself as a Nazarite, and H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie I as the divine being at the center of my nucleus.

ย ย ย ย ย Rasta is a word people have too many misconceptions about, just like the word vegan. When I meet non-Rastafari-culture-aware people for the first time, I am generally asked the same questions after the name exchange.

ย ย ย ย ย "Why the turban, beard, etc.?" "What's your religion? "Are there dreadlocks in that turban?" I try to answer all these questions without using the words "Rasta", "Ital" and "vegan." I prefer to let people get to know me as a person first and realize I'm quite normal before mentioning deeper things.

ย ย ย ย ย Using words like "Nazarite", "Ital" and "Haile Selassie" later on are going to foster conscious conversation and lead to questions and answers. Using words like "Rasta" always end up with the person telling me they also know a (white) Rasta with dreadlocks too. When I ask further questions about this "Rasta friend," I usually find out it's just a weed-smoking reggae music enthusiast that has taken on the dreadlock hairstyle, and they generally know nothing of Abyssinia, WWII, etc., but love Bob Marley.

ย ย ย ย ย Sorry for a long convoluted answer, but I hope this also explains why I tend to shy away from words like "Rasta" to be honest. That word almost forces me into a club of other people associating with that terminology, and I can't be responsible for their actions. Most brethren and sistren I've seen truly living an upright life are pleasing "H.I.M." with their works and not their words.


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ย  ยท ย 11 days agoย 

ow yes!!! I used to pick up tons of food at the Freedom fighters Ital shack in Sint Martin in my lunchbreaks. Clean healthy delicious food with the most charming rasta dude there, loved coming there! I didnt know that ital was terminology on itself, thanks guys for clearing this out!

ย  ยท ย 11 days agoย 

Thanks @karinxxl for the feedback.

ย ย ย ย ย Ital food is always made with love by clean hands. Ital food is just now starting to make a name for itself outside the Rastafari community here in Suriname. It's only going to grow...

ย  ยท ย 13 days agoย 

This is very nice, I truly enjoyed your post and I like what you are doing here. I don't have any prejudice about the food and I would definitely visit the place.

ย  ยท ย 13 days agoย 

True @turbobro, no sense in judging anyone. Thanks for the feedback.

ย  ยท ย 14 days agoย 

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ย  ยท ย 13 days agoย 

Thanks as always for the recognition @c-squared.

ย  ยท ย 14 days agoย 

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such a wonderfully informative post, I have eaten Ital food in the U.K at different festivals, as a vegan I knew it was safe for me to eat, but really didn't know much more. Thank you for sharing this and the music with us all xxx

ย  ยท ย 12 days agoย 

ย ย ย ย ย Yes, safe indeed for vegans always. I've seen a lot the UK reggae bands in the USA like Steel Pulse and Pato Banton through the years. Macka B himself is British-born of Jamaican parents.

ย  ยท ย 13 days agoย 

@justinparke, It's reflecting as this Food World is Specific Niche. Stay blessed.

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ย  ยท ย 13 days agoย 

Give thanks @chireerocks.

ย  ยท ย 13 days agoย 

Welcome.

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ย  ยท ย 11 days agoย 

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ย  ยท ย 14 days agoย 

Hi @justinparke,
Thank you for tagging your post with #travelfeed. However, you added more than 5 tags to your post, which is generally not recommended. Since 'travelfeed' is not within your first 5 tags, your post will not be indexed correctly by Hivemind, the code that powers most Steem applications, including TravelFeed. This means, that nobody can see your post on TravelFeed, including the TravelFeed curation team. Please edit your post and place 'travelfeed' within the first 5 tags if you would like your post to be visible on TravelFeed and considered for curation.
Regards, @travelfeed

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ย  ยท ย 14 days agoย 

Thanks, tags all sorted now.


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ย  ยท ย 11 days agoย 

Thank you!!!