Vegan would be the equivalent to ital, meaning non-animal or animal by-product based diet. Yet there lies a difference between the two. The difference is: tofu, seitan, tempeh, veggie chunks and all processed meat substitutes, that is commonly accepted as vegetarian, couldn't possibly qualify as Ital for two reasons:
(1) Ital is rooted in a botanical consciousness therefore, there can be no meat substitute, as this is of a carnivorous mentality which contradicts the principles of the Ital way.
(2) Meat substitutes are heavily processed foods. Ital dictates fresh and wholesome as opposed to refined, canned, packaged and over-processed foods. Natural and organic is crucial to Ital consciousness.
Vegetarian food is a general term that is wide in its scope, and can be broken down into groups with sub-groups within each category:
Group (A) Vegan-vegetarian (no dairy or eggs)
Group (B) Lacto-vegetarian (includes dairy, no eggs)
Group (C) Ova-vegetarian (includes eggs, no dairy)
Group (D) Lacto-Ova-vegetarian (includes dairy & eggs)
It would appear to some, that ital is a general term for Rastafarian vegetarian food cooked with little or no salt, but in reality, ital is Rastas unique way of preparing their cuisine. It's their roots gourmet to be exact, and a sacrament for the temple, the word used by Italist to refer to the body.
An Ital diet can be cooked or be uncooked. When cooked, preferably in a yabba (African clay pot), it is primarily a low sodium meal, seasoned in coconut milk, sometimes simmered down to a rich savory sweetish sauce, commonly called run-down. Coconut is the foundation of Ital cooking and baking. It gives the food a unique flavor while supplementing essential nutrients with a variety of health benefits
The following products are excluded from the use of the Ital seal:
(1) Animal flesh (meat, fowl, fish, seafood)
(2) Ingredients derived from meat or bone products (in soups, sauces or other preparations)
(3) Animal fats (including milk fat) frying fat or margarine containing fish oil or similar animal products
(4) Gelatin, Aspic and Gelling agents of animal origin
(5) Royal jelly/honey
(6) Any products containing ingredients originating from slaughter-house by-products
(8) Genetically modified organisms
(9) Animal testing
(10) Cross contamination in the production process.
(11) iodized salt
(12) Refined sugar
We understand that many vegetarian or vegan companies lease non-vegan kitchens and equipment from other companies to produce their products,for various reasons. Cost effectiveness and organic certification are some of the most common.
On the strictest level of ital, there would be no approval seal, as mass-produced, over-refined, over-processed, canned or packaged foods automatically disqualify. Nevertheless , we live in a world made up mostly of concrete metropolises with a dwindling and decaying forest habitats. We no longer grow our own foods. The manufactured food industry has made it convenient for us to have whatever we want, however, and whenever we want it. There is no need for us to cook, we've left that up to some faceless assembly line personnel or a high-tech fast-food making robot in a food manufacturing plant somewhere. Yet, there are those of us who prefer to set personal guidelines and standards by which we consume in a world dominated by mass consumerism. The choice is ours to make.