What is the Ital Diet?
A cultural diet that supports the Rastafarian movement. Some eat food for survival, some love to eat, while for some its a way of nourishing your body, mind and soul; at least certain kind of healthy food. That’s the case in the Rastafarian movement, a religion that emerged in Jamaica in 1930s, which seeks to live in harmony with nature and the environment.

Sticking to that belief, many Rastafarians maintain a vegetarian diet called ‘Ital’, derived from the word ‘vital’, with the initial syllable replaced by i. This is done to many words in the Rastafari vocabulary, as a means of expressing the self determination of the African race. I had read that Rastafarians are primarily vegans, but didn’t quite know that their dietary laws were so strict.


The Ital Diet is an eating lifestyle that is followed by those who follow the Rastafarian movement native to Jamaica. The goal of the diet is to increase livity, or the life energy force which resides in all human beings. Therefore, foods are selected based upon the ability to promote livity and other foods are avoided because of the belief that consuming them takes away from this universal life force.

The Ital Diet Promotes the regular consumption of fresh foods
Avoids chemically-processed foods. Limiting or avoiding red meat and alcohol has been associated with reduced risk for certain diseases and cancers. Linking cultural beliefs with dietary habits may strengthen the resolve to adhere to them.


The Ital Diet is a way of eating that advocates eating a whole-foods, pure and natural diet. Filled with fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, this way of eating promotes the consumption of foods with little or no additives or chemicals. When the diet is followed very strictly, food that has been grown or made with pesticides or fertilizers are not eaten.
Shellfish, pork and red meat are often avoided by some followers as is coffee and alcohol. In addition, some followers of the Ital Diet are vegetarians and some are vegans.


There are no specific exercise guidelines for following the Ital Diet.

The Ital Diet, similar to other eating lifestyles that reflect the cultural, religious or philosophical beliefs of specific communities of people, includes a variety of interpretations in which foods that can be eaten or avoided vary according to how strictly one is adhering to the beliefs of the Rastafarian movement. The Ital Diet does endorse the practice of smoking and cooking with cannabis and avoids many processed foods. A nice combination!

~ Eat Well ~ Live well~

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