Guest Author - Kimberly Joseph
I-tal cuisine is a set of cooking practices that is considered essential to the Rastafarian movement. I-tal food must be devoid of chemical processing. There are two types of I-tal diets. One abstains from certain meats. The other is vegan.
The Rastafarian movement is a religion for some, and a way of life for others. The term I-tal is derived from the English word vital, meaning essential. It is believed that the I-tal diet is vital to one‘s health. They believe that the observance a healthy diet and lifestyle is vital to having a close relationship with God. The dropping of the V and the emphasis on the letter I is a common thing done by Rastafarians, to signify their close relationship to Haile Selassie I; the roman numeral for ‘the first’ being pronounced literally as the letter I.
One thing that is essential to both I-tal diets is pureness. Everything consumed must be free of chemical processing and salt. Processed foods such as white flour, canned fruits and vegetables, and carbonated beverages are forbidden. Consumption of animal blood is also impermissible. Rastafarians often refer to milk as white blood, therefore, dairy and its by-products like cheese and butter are not eaten. Alcoholic beverages such as rum and wine are also not a part of both I-tal diets.
I-talists that are vegan abstain from all animal meat. They believe it was the original human diet prescribed by God, and that it should still be followed today. This belief is based on Genesis 1:29; ‘And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.’.
I-talists that eat meat have dietary laws that they adhere to. They do not eat animals that are characterized by the Holy Bible; Deuteronomy 14:3-20, as being unclean, and unlawful to consume. Amongst the unclean are pigs, shrimp, and conch. The only animals that are eaten are those that the Holy Bible deems as clean, such as chicken and cows.
The cuisine commonly observed by Rastafarians, called I-tal, can be broken up into two distinct categories. Although some eat meat and others don’t, they both have the same belief that a pure diet, free of unnatural ingredients is vital to one’s health and prosperity.
All Bible quotes are taken from the King James Version.