‘I had a meatmare’: Why flesh haunts the dreams of vegetarians

Kate Yoder in Grist:

MeatmaresfeaturedimageOne night, it came to me in my dreams, dripping juice and melted cheddar, the crisp lettuce a mere afterthought. I held it in my hands and took a bite.

Instant horror: I stared at the burger like it was an alien object as the realization that I’m a vegetarian stopped me cold. I woke up deeply disturbed. The mere unconscious thought of taking an eager bite of red meat felt like a personal failure.

I had just had a meatmare. Yes, I found out with just a bit of online research, that’s a real thing. The internet is crawling with accounts of vegans and vegetarians who dream of eating bloody steaks, burgers, bacon, tuna, and pepperoni-tainted pizza.

Although you can find these tales sprinkled across our collective social media consciousness, I couldn’t find any good answer for why they occur. Some people ascribe it to guilt at clean-eating imperfection; others to deeply buried carnivorous cravings.

What, I wondered, would make me dream of eating flesh again after a decade of vegetarianism? I set out to solve this meaty mystery and determine whether there’s a deeper meaning behind it.

No psychologist has clinically studied meatmares, according to a spokesperson at the American Psychological Association. But from what I’ve found, there’s clearly a lot to untangle.

More here.