Rastafarian diets

Written by fiona wilkinson
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Rastafarian diets
Coconut oil is often used in a Rastafarian diet. (coconut image by Witold Krasowski from Fotolia.com)

Rastafarian diets centre on pure, natural foods prepared simply without added chemicals, artificial preservatives or processing. Most meat is forbidden, but some fish is acceptable. Shellfish, however, is not. Rastafarians also do not consume alcohol.


Strict Rastafarian diets are vegan and include most fruits and vegetables, grains, beans and legumes. The rule with fish is simple: it's allowed if the fish is under 12 inches in length. This is because Rastafarians believe that larger fish are a symbol of the Babylonians, who feed off others.


Most strict Rastas avoid tea, coffee and other stimulants -- apart from marijuana, which is considered necessary for spiritual enlightenment and meditation. The Rasta diet is officially called "Ital," derived from the word "vital," and is interpreted from the Biblical books including Genesis, Leviticus and Deuteronomy.


Any food grown locally, naturally and in season is considered "Ital." Coconut, bananas, callaloo (similar to spinach), pimento and coconut oil are all staple Rasta foods. Some extreme followers of the diet may not eat food from a can or use metal cooking utensils.

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