Ital, also spelled I-TAL, is food often celebrated by but not limited to those in the Rastafari movement. In fact it is an inclusion of all plant-based lifestyles (i.e. Vegans, Alkaline, Fruitarians, etc.). The word I-TAL derives from the English word "vital", with the initial "v" removed. This is done to many words in the Iyaric vocabulary to signify the unity of the speaker with all of nature. The expression of I-tal eating varies widely from person to person and there are few universal rules of I-tal living.
The primary goal of adhering to an I-tal lifestyle is to increase Livity, or the life energy that lives within all human beings. A common principle 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 I-tal regarding specific foods, the general principle is that food should be natural, or pure, and from the earth; therefore avoiding foods which are chemically modified or contains artificial additives (e.g., colour, flavourings, and preservatives).
Some I-TALIST (one who adhere to an I-tal lifestyle) 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 discipline interpretations, foods that have been produced using chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizer are not considered I-tal. 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). Along with growing locs (not "dreads" as it means against or greatly feared) and the sacramental steaming of herbs, observing a plant-based lifestyle is one of the practices early I-talist adopted from Ancient African tradition.
Since meat is dead, eating it would therefore work against Livity elevation. It is also practiced because as discipline adherents to natural living, upon in dept research the human body is a natural vegetarian (plant-based) based on human physiology and anatomy. I-talist are in a modern sense, discipline "vegans", as dairy is not considered to be natural for human consumption either. The most discipline interpretations also avoid the consumption of food that has been preserved by canning, and even prohibit the use of metal cooking utensils to avoid ingesting chemicals. In this case, only clay and wood cooking pots, crockery, and cutlery are used. Few I-talist follow the most discipline interpretation due to contemporary living ; some Rasta do not adhere to them at all.
I-talist do not consume store bought alcohol. However, they can drink naturally fermented; homemade, herbal brews made from barks, fruits & veggies. Balance is key to not reach a level that clouds the mind or reduces livity. Cigarettes are disapproved due to the serious health concerns associated with their use, and many avoid coffee and other caffeinated beverages. In fact some I-talist are self-sufficient growing their own coffee, sugar, and chocolate.