Meatless Monday – Thank God for the Rastas!

Saving the Rastas until last! Welcome to the final Meatless Monday post in the Jamaica series.

Photo by Kimberley (c)2013
Photo by Kimberley (c)2013

Ganja, dreadlocks and Bob Marley
Such are the popular images conjured up when the word Rasta is uttered. Often considered a religion, Rastafari is really a way of life. It originated in Jamaica in the 1930s as part of the Black Pride and Return to Africa movement. Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican activist and orator amongst other occupational titles, stated in 1927,

Look to Africa, for there a king shall be crowned.

Enter Haile Selassie, emperor of Ethiopia from 1930-1974. Before his coronation in 1930, his name was Ras Tafari Makonnnen and from there the name for this movement was derived. Want more Rasta history? Click here for a start; there are many more sources out there.

So what about the food? Those who follow a plant-based diet will be happy to know that Rasta fare is vegetarian and vegan friendly!

Ital and Vital
Ital is one of the doctrines of the Rasta way of life. The word ital is said to derive from the word vital. The Rasta diet is largely plant-based and focuses on natural whole foods.

Photo by Kimberley (c)2013
Photo by Kimberley (c)2013

No Meat, No Problem, mon
Ital food or Rasta fare does not contain additives, preservatives, meat, salt, alcohol or caffeine. Local herbs (including ganja) and food are used and prepared in a way (often just raw) to maintain the integrity of the ingredients. However, some Rastas may eat fish.

Ital dish from the Rastafarian Village near Montego Bay Photo by Kimberley (c)2013
Ital dish from the Rastafarian Village near Montego Bay
Photo by Kimberley (c)2013
Sorrel tea from the same village Photo by Kimberley (c)2013
Sorrel tea from the same village
Photo by Kimberley (c)2013

And the Main Ingredients Are:
coconut milk, scotch bonnet peppers, thyme, pimento (aka allspice), garlic, scallions, root veg, tomatoes, carrots etc.

An appetizer Photo by Kimberley (c)2013
An appetizer
Photo by Kimberley (c)2013

For more Rasta fare, see:
Eat Jamaican

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4 thoughts on “Meatless Monday – Thank God for the Rastas!

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