Ital food: Eating vegetarian like a Rasta man

In urban city life vegetarian food with a touch of spirituality is seen as food for tree huggers only. But vegetarian Ital food of Rastafarian roughnecks of Jamaica is – of course – a different story.

Since I watched the video of London chef Hassan Defour going back to his Caribbean food roots and meeting Rasta farmer Iral Axum, I am interested in being a little bit green.

So what is Ital food? Is is just health food or more?
Ital is a term used by Rastas, derivated from "vital", who means a natural and sane way of life. One aspect of Ital is the Ital food: because the body is a temple, you should not eat unpure food. Also you must take care of your body, cause it is Jah creation.

Ital is generally a vegan diet, even if some Rastas eat fish. Some prohibit salt, some not.

In all cases, Ital prohibits pork, preservatives, chemical ingredients.
Ingredients have to be the most natural possible.

In Jamaica, Ital cooking is most often inspired from Indian and African cooking. But lot of recipes can be "Italized" if prepared only with vegetables and natural ingredients. (Rasta meal.)

The video

See more videos at UK

In the video Iral made a shake called ‘Live forage’, it's made of:
Raw oats
Sesame seed
Pumpkin seed

(It tastes very sweet!)

To end, some recipes links and comments

Ital on Wikipedia

Earthcultureroots - 24 Ital recipes from a Yard man (Jamaican). But there is much more to see on the site Earth Culture Roots

Rastafarism - More then ital 10 recipes, information about Rastafarism and a dictionary of Rasta slang.

Jamaican Vegetarian Food…Ital! Jamaican-recipes - 5 Ital recipes, some anecdotes and Rasta wisdom from a Jamaican

The Rasta Cookbook: Vegetarian Cuisine Eaten With the Salt of the Earth

The dread library "Ital is Vital"- A long interesting story about Ital food with recipes from The Rasta Cookbook. If you want check out the recipes first, go the last page and scroll up!

The reggae vibe - 1 recipe! Ital stew

Rastaseed – information about the Ital ingredients

Dem belly full: the evolution of ital food - An article about the Ital eating habits of Bob Marley

Where's the Revolution? - A vegetarian food experience in the Caribbean


  1. Nice! Sounds delicious and healthy.

  2. Rasjoseph- Ital is Vital!
    love that visit to jamaica.
    Everyone should go ital this would put end to obesity!
    You can also visit for Jamaican ital stews, Natural juices and Vegetarian/Rastafarian recipes.
    One Universal Love to life daughters and sons!


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