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5 Things You Need to Know About Rastafarian Diet

By Livestrong Contributor ; Updated July 18, 2017

The Rastafarian Movement Provides More Than Weight Loss

The Rastafarian, or Rastafari, movement is a religious movement that began in Jamaica and now has members throughout the world. The movement encouraged Jamaicans and people of African descent to redeem Africa as their homeland and cast off feelings of inferiority. While people often stereotype followers as people with dreadlocks who smoke ganja, or marijuana, true followers have many looks and strive to live peaceful lives.

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Eat Your Vegetables

Unlike modern day diet plans, which promote weight loss, the Rastafarian diet stems from religious beliefs. The Rasta, or followers, do not like to be around dead animals. Many believe you allow your body to become a cemetery when you eat meat. While this is a common belief, not all Rastafarians follow a strictly vegetarian diet. Some followers eat meats like chicken and beef, but most Rasta do not eat pork.

Go Fishing

Though many Rastafarians follow a vegan diet for religious purposes, their diet can include fish, such as codfish, as long as the fish measures less than 12-inches long. The Rasta consider fish longer than 12 inches as a symbol of the Babylonians who feed off others. The religion does not restrict the type of fish followers may eat, but does prohibit the inclusion of shellfish like shrimp or crayfish in their diet.

Take a Natural Approach to Eating

The Rastafarian believe people should live in harmony with nature. Some Rasta refuse to eat foods changed from their natural appearance, such as peeled or cut fruit, while others won't eat any processed food. They avoid coffee or other stimulants and base their diet on foods indigenous to their region. This way of eating creates a natural weight loss program and provides the body with the nutrients it needs to function. People use the term Ital to refer to natural foods or vital foods in conjunction with the Rastafarian diet.

Use Ital Foods for Your Diet Program

Eating raw or natural foods often promotes weight loss. Ital foods include pimento, the Scotch Bonnet pepper, coconuts, callaloo, breadfruit and bananas. The Rastafarian diet uses callaloo the way most people use spinach. The coconut provides milk and oil. Some Rastafarians eat diary products and eggs. Other foods outside of the Rastafarian diet may qualify as Ital food. Any food grown naturally in your area would be an Ital food. You may want to follow a diet based on what foods are in season to avoid using canned or frozen foods. Don't forget to include berries, nuts and seeds as natural foods.

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