Why Don't Rastafarians Eat Meat?

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Why Don't Rastafarians Eat Meat?

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We all know the obvious signs of Rastafarianism: the dreadlocks, the reggae and the lion of Judah and of course the ganja. But this movement is not limited to that! Rastas follow a particular diet and precepts. Have you ever heard of the Ital diet? No ? Well, it's time to find out more about what a real Rasta eats.

As you probably already know, I'm Caroline, a big fan of reggae music since I was a kid, I'm also a big supporter of the Rastafari movement. Today, I'm going to explain you why the rastaman doesn't eat meat, but not only...

Rastafarians don't eat meat for religious reasons but also out of respect for their bodies. Rastafarians value well-being and consider meat as a dreaded poison that causes many pathologies and violence.

Through this article, you will discover:

  • What is the diet of the rastaman
  • Why meat is not eaten
  • The other particularities of this diet

    Make yourself comfortable, we're taking off!


    1- What exactly is the Rasta diet?

    Well, we are not going to come back on the principles respected by the rasta movement in detail. But nevertheless, it is essential to refer to some points to better understand the diet of the rasta.

    a) Religion as a reason for not eating meat

    You know it (we hope so anyway), the rasta is a very religious man (or woman). His daily practice is based on various biblical texts, including Exodus, but also the Books of Solomon, an "ancestor" of the movement's supporters.

    In these books, there are many mentions concerning the authorized and prohibited food.

    We can find two very important quotations for the rastas:

    • "God added: "Now I have granted you every grass that bears seed on all the face of the earth, and every tree that bears fruit that will become trees by the development of the seed. They shall be for your food." Genesis (1:29).
    • "Only you shall not eat flesh with its soul, with its blood. Genesis 9:4 "

    It is then clearly stated that the food to be favored consists of fruits and vegetables. The forbidden foods are also clearly defined: meat of all animals. A similar mention is found in Leviticus (17:14) :

    • "You shall not eat the blood of any flesh; for the soul of all flesh is its blood: whoever eats thereof shall be cut off.

    These texts are the basis of the non-consumption of meat by the rastas. Jah says that one should not eat meat, the rasta will not eat meat!

    b) Other reasons for not eating meat?

    Not to eat another animal is also to have respect for the divine creations. By killing an animal created by Jah, one openly shows his or her disinterest in divine creations. This is totally disrespectful.

    If the Rasta does not eat meat, it is also so that his body does not become a graveyard.

    Another Rasta consideration regarding the ingestion of meat is that it is a poison. This principle can be found in the works of specialists of the movement, such as Moses Culture (Zion, the faith of the Rastas). Meat is the cause of many diseases, of human aggressiveness, of obesity but also of famine. And therefore of the injustice that many people suffer. Particularities that fit perfectly into the Rasta way of thinking: every being is equal and therefore has the right to the same food.


    A good Rasta must therefore abstain from eating meat in all its forms.


    2- Is it safe for every rastaman?

    Okay, you may have already met a Rasta who doesn't say no to a good fish or a piece of chicken even though meat is officially forbidden in the Rasta diet. Some followers will still eat white meat or fish. We can then rightly ask ourselves: why? 

    a) Small differences?

    As in any religion and religious movement (which Rastafarianism is), there are small differences between people. Some are particularly intractable. Others allow themselves some small deviations. We can therefore find some Rastafarians who will eat a little chicken from time to time. Without denying their faith! Because only two types of meat are strictly forbidden and chicken is not one of them.

    • Pork
    • Red meats

      Pork is considered impure and remains, as for the Hebrews, an absolutely forbidden meat. 

      b) What about the fish? 

      As far as fish is concerned, consumption is more flexible. There is a major reason for this: it is not always easy to find food in Jamaica and some will have to supplement their meager vegetable rations with the fish they caught. After all, there are several mentions of fishermen (of fish!) in the New Testament:

      • "The apostles offered Christ a piece of grilled fish and a honeycomb" (Luke 24:42, for example).

      If some followers of Rastafarianism have no problem eating fish flesh, they explain themselves by the fact that Jesus multiplied these small animals and therefore one can eat them because there are many. However, they do not eat all types of fish and are satisfied with those that are small (less than 12 cm). Crustaceans and seafood, as well as pork, are strictly forbidden. This is again found in the Jewish religion to which the Rastafarians belong.


      3- Alors que mange le rasta ?

      Have you ever heard of Ital?  It is the diet of the rastas. If you want to know more about it, you can read our article. This diet does not include, ideally, any meat.

      a) What does the rasta eat? 

      The Rastafarian eater will then turn to the vegetables and fruits he finds in his garden or in the surrounding gardens. He is indeed a fearsome locavore! He favors unprocessed food and cooks very little. The Rasta cook does not use salt because it is naturally contained in the food.

      Growing what he eats is an important act for the Rasta.

      The Rasta eats to be well and to elevate his soul:

      • "Ital food is a remedy for nourishing not only the body but also the mind, uplifting it, and ensuring a saien and pure livity [vitality]." Ras Bobby Morgan

      He will therefore eliminate all products from the vine (and mainly alcohol). He is careful about what he eats and is not satisfied with religious texts. He bans salt which heats up the blood pressure and will irritate the men and lead them to violence, just like alcohol.

      Not eating meat is not a punishment for the Rasta. As we have already seen, meat comes from a dead animal and its ingestion will make your stomach a graveyard. As he wants to preserve his body as best he can as a divine creation, he cannot approve this pollution.

      b) Food in the spotlight

      We will find this principle of healthy food in many songs. We can listen to Lutan Fyah in his song No bones no blood saying:

      « No bones, no blood inna we kitchen:
      We nah go mix up inna vampire livin’.
      No bones, no blood inna we kitchen:
      Said Rastafari a my greatest ambition » 

      Nevertheless, even if you start a Rasta diet and succumb to a piece of meat once, you will not be judged by your peers! Rasta is cool and non-judgmental. He is inherently tolerant. It is, however, a problem with your own opinion because you will know that you have succumbed and displeased God and your body. The Rasta flag has three colors but it could also display vegetables and fruits!

      4- A healthy mind in a healthy body

      The fact of privileging a healthy food and respectful of all the other living beings on this Earth, the rastaman feels good in his body and his spirit.

      You will have understood, the diet of the rasta is mainly composed of fruits and vegetables. Even if this is part of the basic principles of Rastafarianism, you will not be judged if you do not succeed (yet) in getting rid of this habit of eating meat and/or drinking alcohol. Above all, each person is free to make his or her own choices without having to justify them to others and thus infringing on his or her freedoms.

      Always be proud of what you believe in, no matter what religion you are, where you come from or what you look like. If you also share the values of the Ital diet, you should love our Rasta items, which are a love of nature.

      To discover it in detail, click on the image below:

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