Heart Healthy Month

Heart Healthy Month

Exploring ITAL

As February unfolds, love is not the only thing in the air; it’s also the perfect time to prioritise the health of your heart. What better way to celebrate Heart Month than by visiting the renowned I-TAL Restaurant at BodyHoliday? Located at the top of the resort’s organic garden, this culinary gem offers not just a feast for the taste buds but also a commitment to heart-healthy dining.

I-TAL Restaurant: A Culinary Oasis

The I-TAL restaurant, with its organic garden, is tucked behind Coubaril Valley, and sits amongst the trees on top of a beautiful hillside. Guests are invited to discover a world of organic gardening and to experience lunch or dinner with a panoramic view of Cariblue Bay. Enjoy a different culture with a sustainable meal that is equally healthy, nutritious, and organically grown—completely organic and filled with all the nutrients to fuel the body, mind, and soul.

The I-TAL restaurant furthers the resort’s commitment to health by focusing on I-TAL cuisine – a form of Rastafarian plant-based cooking that emphasises natural and unprocessed ingredients.

Embracing I-TAL Philosophy

I-TAL cuisine is not just about sustenance; it’s a lifestyle choice that prioritises the consumption of fresh, organic, and locally sourced produce. The philosophy aligns with Heart Month’s emphasis on making heart-healthy choices, encouraging guests to embrace a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and plant-based proteins.

I-TAL, standing for “Vital” in the Rastafarian culture, is a plant-based diet principally intended to improve health and energy. Based on the lifestyle and culinary choice of Rastafarians in the West Indies, it centres around the philosophy that a natural diet focused on the vitamins and minerals available in plants, without harming animals, can enhance one’s life and help bring them closer to the universal life force energy in Mind, Body, and Spirit.

I-TAL cuisine typically avoids or minimises the use of processed and refined ingredients, which are often high in saturated and trans fats. By opting for natural and unprocessed foods, individuals following I-TAL dietary philosophy can help manage their blood pressure and maintain healthy levels. The absence of excessive salt and the emphasis on potassium-rich foods in I-TAL cuisine further support blood pressure regulation. High potassium intake is associated with vasodilation, reducing the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular complications.

A Symphony of Flavours

Upon entering I-TAL restaurant, guests are greeted by various vibrant colours and tantalising aromas. The menu is thoughtfully crafted to showcase the diversity and richness of plant-based ingredients. From hearty salads bursting with local produce to inventive dishes that redefine vegetarian cuisine, every bite celebrates wholesome flavours.

Don’t believe us? Here are some of the restaurant’s signature dishes:

  • Mango Avocado Salad: A refreshing medley of locally sourced mangoes, creamy avocados, and crisp greens, drizzled with a zesty citrus vinaigrette.
  • Coconut Curry Quinoa Bowl: A satisfying blend of quinoa, colourful vegetables, and coconut curry sauce, providing a nutritious and flavorful experience.
  • Grilled Plantain Tacos: Soft corn tortillas filled with grilled plantains, black beans, and a tangy mango salsa – a fusion of West Indian and I-TAL influences.
  • Heart-Healthy Smoothie Bowls: A selection of smoothie bowls featuring antioxidant-rich berries, bananas, and nutrient-packed toppings like chia seeds and granola.

Educational Initiatives

In the spirit of Heart Month and beyond, The team at I-TAL doesn’t just offer delectable dishes but also strives to educate guests about heart-healthy choices. The menu is accompanied by informative explanations highlighting the nutritional benefits of various ingredients, empowering diners to make informed dietary decisions.

Ratoya, the restaurant proprietor, is more than excited to share her knowledge with guests as she offers a wealth of knowledge on the benefits of the lifestyle. One of the things she can confirm is that a plant-based diet and elimination of animal products have been associated with a decreased likelihood of heart disease and mortality among adults. This is attributed to the fact that animal-derived foods, such as milk and meats, often contain high levels of saturated fats that elevate blood cholesterol levels. Elevated cholesterol levels, in turn, heighten the risk of stroke and heart attack.

Individuals who follow a vegan lifestyle or consume a higher proportion of plant-based foods tend to have a diet rich in fibre and lower in calories. The reduction in calorie intake diminishes the risk of obesity, a significant contributor to various heart diseases. Furthermore, the consumption of high-fibre foods may contribute to lower overall blood cholesterol levels by decreasing levels of low-density lipoprotein, commonly known as “bad” cholesterol. Additionally, these foods play a role in reducing blood pressure and inflammation, promoting overall heart health.


The I-TAL Experience

Embark on your journey at I-TAL with a guided stroll, as our skilled gardeners lead you through our enchanting sloping hillside oasis. The organic garden, a vibrant mix of local and exotic edible plants, along with fruit trees, awaits your exploration. Discover the myriad benefits of our diverse crops, which will later be expertly prepared before your eyes at I-TAL. If the alluring aromas pique your interest, our Chef and culinary team are eager to elucidate the flavour profiles of each dish. This immersive experience allows you to recognise how seemingly unexpected pairings harmonise perfectly and how food can both nourish your body and engage your senses.

At I-TAL, a range of options awaits you. Lunch can be accompanied by a delightful 40 to 50-minute garden tour. For those seeking the magic of Sunset at I-TAL, the experience begins in the afternoon with a condensed 30-minute tour. Opting out of the garden tour? No problem – guests can arrange for a convenient pick-up via Concierge. I-TAL restaurant serves lunch and dinner on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with the flexibility for private functions and cooking classes available at alternate times.

Embarking on a culinary journey at BodyHoliday’s I-TAL restaurant during Heart Month is a sensory treat and a conscious choice for heart-healthy living. By blending the principles of I-TAL cuisine with the beauty of Saint Lucia, this dining experience becomes a holistic celebration of well-being. So, why not indulge in a feast that satisfies your taste buds and nourishes your heart and soul.


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