Ital or I-tal (pronounced eye-tahl) is the food type eaten by those in the Rastafarian movement. The word derives from the English word “vital”, with the initial letter replaced by i. Ital food is usually vegan vegetarian dishes that are prepared using fresh vegetables, fresh coconut milk, herbs and spices. Artificial flavourings are not used or are kept to a minimum. Also brown/whole grain alternatives are preferred for items like, bread, pasta and rice. Rasta communities have for many years been scorned because of their diet, but Rastas believe eating Ital food keeps their mind, body and spirit at it’s healthiest and purest.
Rasta communities also enjoy making healthy Ital based punches and juices, like carrot juice, sour sop juice and peanut punches. These are usually made with other key ingredients like nutme and cinnamon. If milk is used, it is not dairy based. Milks that are used in the Rasta community are plant based like rice milk, almond milk, hazelnut milk, oat milk, coconut milk or soya milk. Many believe that you cannot have enough protein in your diet if you are an Italist, but there are many vegetables that are rich in protein like green leafy vegetables and most beans/peas and pulses are packed full of protein. An example of an Ital dish is Rice and Peas, served with a vegetable stew, fried plantain and salad is shown above. Ital food is tasty and healthy and can be enjoyed by the whole family.