Ital or I-tal (/ˈaɪtɑːl/ eye-tahl) is food often celebrated by those in the Rastafari movement. It is compulsory in the Nyabinghi mansion though not in the Twelve Tribes of Israel or Remi mansions. The word derives from the English word „vital“, with the initial syllable replaced by i.This is done to many words in the Rastafari vocabulary to signify the unity of the speaker with all of nature. Rastafari derive their beliefs and morality from intense personal meditations and prayer, and therefore there is no single dogma of Rastafari belief. Due to this emphasis on individual personal meditation in Rastafari, the expression of Ital eating varies widely from Rasta to Rasta, and there are few universal „rules“ of Ital living.
The primary goal of adhering to an Ital diet is to increase Livity, or the life energy that Rastafari generally believe lives within all human beings, as conferred from the Almighty. A common tenet of Rastafari beliefs is the sharing of a central Livity among living things, and what is put into one’s body should enhance Livity rather than reduce it. Though there are different interpretations of ital regarding specific foods, the general principle is that food should be natural, or pure, and from the earth; Rastafari therefore often avoid food which is chemically modified or contains artificial additives (e.g., colour, flavourings, and preservatives). Some also avoid added salt in foods, especially salt with the artificial addition of iodine, while pure sea or kosher salt is eaten by some. In strict interpretations, foods that have been produced using chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizer are not considered ital. Early adherents adopted their dietary laws based on their interpretation of several books of the Bible, including the Book of Genesis („Then God said, „I give you every Seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.“ (Genesis 1:29)), the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Along with growing dreadlocks and the sacramental smoking of ganja, observing a vegetarian diet is one of the practices early Rastafari adopted from Indian Hindu indentured servants living in Jamaica. Rastafari’s unofficial founder Leonard Howell, affectionately called „Gong“ and „Gyangunguru Maragh,“ though not of Indian descent, was fascinated with Hindu practices and was instrumental in promoting a plant-based diet in the Rastafari community of Pinnacle.
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