Vegetables and fruits that are raised without the use of any synthetic chemicals and that do not contain any artificial preservatives can be eaten when on a Rastafarian diet. This NutriNeat article elaborates more on the dos and don’ts while on a Rastafarian diet
Did You Know?
Although the Rastafarian diet has not been formulated for weight loss, it can certainly assist in losing extra pounds and maintaining weight.
The Rastafarian diet has been designed for the followers of Rastafari ideology, a spiritual movement that started in Jamaica and Ethiopia in the 1930s. The spiritual ideology is considered to be a way of life that denounces materialistic comforts and sensual pleasures. The Rastafarian diet too revolves around foods that help promote spiritual upliftment. Foods that hinder spiritual progress are forbidden in this form of diet. The diet revolves around eating pure, and clean non-meat sources of food.
The foods that are included in this diet are considered to be sacred by the Rastafarian people, and often tagged as Ital food. The word ‘Ital’ comes from the English word ‘vital’. Followers of this diet firmly believe that these vital foods boost the livity, or the life energy, the life force that is said to reside within us.
Foods to Eat
The Rastafarian diet focuses more on eating earth-grown foods. Vegetables and fruits that are cultivated without the use of any synthetic chemicals form an integral part of this diet. Foods that are processed and involve the use of artificial preservatives and sweeteners are against the ethics of the Rastafarian diet.
Coconuts as well as its extracts are an integral part of the Rastafarian or Ital cuisine. No wonder, quite a few Rastafarian recipes contain coconut and coconut milk as their primary ingredient. Other foods that can be eaten when leading a Rastafarian way of life are legumes, whole grains, and beans.
Although meat products are not allowed in the Rastafarian diet, one can include fish in it. However, it excludes shellfish from the diet, as they regard it as an impure food. Crayfish and shrimp primarily eat dead stuff and prey on other fish, which is not pure. In fact, large fish prey on smaller ones for survival. So, when it comes to including fish in the Rastafarian diet , the size of the fish matters. Therefore, fish with a length more than 12 inches are prohibited. However, strict followers of this diet mostly prefer to completely drop fish from the diet.
The diet encourages the use of herbal tea, because they contain natural ingredients with minimal processing (if any). Anything that is herbal and does not contain unnatural ingredients can be included in this diet.
Foods to Avoid
Being labeled as a vegetarian diet, meat products have no place in a Rastafarian diet. Rastafarians are against eating meat, as it is believed to lower the livity, or the life energy. They believe that handling meat is like touching a dead body; hence, they abstain from eating flesh.
However, those who aren’t very rigid in following the diet may prefer to include meat that comes from clean sources. So, meat from cows, goats, and sheep can be included, as they graze on pastures. However, as pigs scavenge on rotten stuff, pork is excluded from the diet. Birds, camel, horse, and even rabbit meat is also forbidden for the same reason.
Dairy and Eggs
People following this diet are also advised to desist from eating animal-based products, such as dairy (milk, butter, cheese) and eggs.
Adding salt in any dish is also prohibited. That is why canned foods that are laced with high amounts of salt are forbidden in this diet. The rejection is due to the fact that salt contains additives like iodine, and undergoes a lot of processing. However, some followers prefer to use pure sea salt.
Leading a Rastafarian lifestyle means staying away from alcohol and cigarettes. Drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes only gives sensual pleasures, and moreover, is spiritually detrimental. Hence, alcohol consumption or smoking is against their beliefs. Followers of the Rastafarian diet also abstain from drinking caffeinated beverages, as they are processed and chemically altered to enhance their taste. That is why, coffee, sodas, and carbonated drinks are opposed by their followers.
The Rastafarian diet also gives importance to the type of material used in making cookware and other utensils. Followers of this diet are not allowed to use utensils other than clay or wood. Using metal utensils for cooking purposes is considered as a violation of the diet. On the whole, eating foods that are as close to their natural state, forms the basis of a Rastafarian diet. It is essentially a vegan diet that does not contain any salt or processed condiments.