Ital is Vital, food for the Soul... why rastas are so happy and its not just because of the weed!

in spirituality •  2 years ago  (edited)

There is a massive trend at the moment towards veganism but Rastas have been doing it long before people even knew what vegan meant. Veganism is a rational decision to avoid animal exploitation of any kind. Not all people link the Spiritual aspect to this practice although from what I have understood forms of vegetarianism and veganism have existed hand in hand with spirituality for thousands of years. You can read more about that in one of my recent posts here


Everyone knows Rastas for using ganja but this is no recreational matter, it is used for Spiritual purposes alongside a spiritual form of cooking called ITAL.

The principles are we are human spiritual vessels living out a spiritual experience called life and to stay connect with Jah (God) we need to keep our bodies as pure as possible. Ganja also keeps the mind open allowing people to see visions and messages from God. People that are interested in drug use for spiritual purposes will already know to take psychoactive drugs like ayahuasca you must cleanse the body first to make it ready for your trip. Even daily ganja usage (which is a very mild drug in comparison) still requires a clean body to have its optimum effects.


As a vegan, Rastas are my inspiration for understanding a higher path when it comes to food and I'm not able to live up to all of them for instance: salt is considered an additive and therefore not part of Ital food. @fruitarianism made an interesting post recently about salt addiction, you can find out more about it here. However I have seen Ital cooking pages that say Himalayan Salt is acceptable because it contains at least 84 naturally occurring trace elements in their natural mineral form, the benefits of natural Himalayan Crystal Salt include...

Regulating the water content throughout your body.
Promoting healthy pH balance in your cells, particularly your brain cells.
Promoting blood sugar health.


According to Ital cooking, food doesn't need addictive substances otherwise you crave more food and your focus is no longer on the higher powers, the food becomes something you chase to self gratify yourself. Food is about sustenance and being able to survive, that Jah provides for us. Even so that does not mean Ital cooking is boring there are many foods and spices used for flavoring a meal. Apples, beets, cabbage, caramel, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, juniper, nuts, nutmeg, onions, pears, pumpkin, root vegetables, seaweeds Anise: Apples, beets, caramel, carrots, chocolate, citrus, cinnamon.

Here are the guide lines to ITAL COOKING

-No animal products
-Only local organic/natural, in season fruit and vegetables
-Only wholegrain (very seldom eat white grains)
-No soda, no coffee, no alcohol
-No salt, sugar sometimes no seasoning at all
-Avoid using metal pans and cooking utensils because it can contaminate food
-No cigarettes

Not every Rasta follows this vigorously, some eat certain types of fish, some are vegetarian but many are also vegan. A lot of this depends on what is available to them because many Rastas who live in the bush (off grid-living) do not have a regular income and they will eat what is available. But the rule of thumb is they will avoid particular foods that lack nutritional value and that which is bad for the human body. It isn't a rigid set of rules but what each individual feels is right for them, their circumstances and their connection with Jah. This is because their spiritual philosophy is based on a relaxed vibe and freedom.


Ital coking prefers deeper colored foods because they are more nutrients dense and consists mostly off;

dark black beans
wild rice
Lentiles (lentil soup recipe)
Butternut Squash


My perception and experience of Rastafarians is that they are happy upbeat positive people, why is this??? I don't think it's just ganja because I met plenty of stoners who are cynical, depressed and unmotivated. It seems like food plays an important factor because after all we live in a world of energy and when we consume products that contain contaminants our bodies react badly to that physically but I also think there are mental and spiritual connections with food (the unseen realm of our bodies) when we digest contaminates, our mental perception of reality also becomes contaminated. If we are lacking in nutrients we are lacking in vitality, life force energy! Jah!


It is not only a spiritual practice but food is our medicine when we make conscious decisions about what we choose to put in our bodies, we can heal our mind, body and soul. We can learn a lot from a Rastafarian diet that nourishes the body and gives us the energy to live life happy and to the fullest.


I would be interested to know if anyone like myself has had negative effects from food, such as depression and anxiety?
Do you relate this mental conditions with food, have you made steps to change your diet?
If not, are you interested in how food can help relieve mental health conditions as well as physical ones?

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For more health and diet tips, check out @celestialcow....


switching to a plant based diet 🌱 can change your life and change the world
✌️Join the food revlution now

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Great stuff, I had a small understanding about Ital but never really went through what it meant. Great to have this knowledge presented in an easy to digest format. Must remember Ital when travelling too, just in-case I come across it and am in need of some healthy noms.

Good work.

Really enjoyed this article, thank you @celestialcow for all the work you put into it. I didn't really know that much about the Ital diet, I do like it.
I cut out wheat and sugar out of my diet. Find I have much more energy and not so emotional. Food definitely has a huge impact on us.

That's great news about the wheat and sugar :) i'm really glad u enjoyed it :)

Great article! I had never heard of Ital before. Thanks so much for sharing! :)

Yes thank you; i wear rastas 3 years; will be again soon;

Wow great share dear! I really didnt know much about this until now;)

@celestialcow nice article!
As far as I understand the original rastafarian ital-diet has always included certain smaller fish, and is not the same thing as western-veganism, (even though it is somewhat similar).

thats right, i mentioned it briefly here, some do still eat some fish (i think its ones that aren't known as sacred ones) some may eat eggs or diary, depends on the situation. mainly the point is the these types of rasta are living off grid and sustainable, catching their own, etc to survive. The term western veganism is very strict about its philosophy when it comes to western paradigm most vegan understand and accept otherwise of life that are more in harmony with nature.

also western veganism can be really healthy or totally not, about 10 years ago when i was coming across vegans i thought their diet was really poor, i would see them eating white pasta and loads of carbs, chips and just watch them ballooning! the point with rasta diet its healthy and spiritual, its a feel good diet and minimizes impact on hurting other beings

Jah man!

Didn't know about this, looks like a great diet they practice. Simple, but tasty!

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