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After becoming vegetarian, I repeatedly had dreams of eating meat—either accidentally or intentionally. In the morning I woke feeling guilty. I've heard this is not a unique experience.

How can this be handled?

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    Only my speculations: You're deficient of some nutrient that is common in meat (protein, B-vitamins). Start having protein shakes and pour yeast flakes on your food. Eat lots of tofu. I used to have dreams where I ate huge amounts of cream desserts, and it stopped abruptly in the moment when I started adding Ω₃ fats to my diet. Anything short of that speculation, I can only recommend seeing a psychologist and not feeling guilty. It's a dream, it's not your conscious decision. – Turion Feb 6 '17 at 9:58
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    "I can only recommend seeing a psychologist and not feeling guilty. It's a dream, it's not your conscious decision." [2] – Ramon Melo Feb 6 '17 at 23:01
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    @Turion Unlikely to be a deficiency. This kind of "signs" usually comes when the person is awake and can actually fulfill that deficiency. It works similarly to hunger/thirst, it is unusual to dream about drinking water. – Ramon Melo Feb 6 '17 at 23:04
  • @RamonMelo, that's interesting you say that. I personally have different experiences. I sometimes dream about drinking huge amounts of water in a warm summer night, and wake up from the frustration that the thirst isn't drenched. I assumed this effect extends to nutrients. – Turion Feb 7 '17 at 9:29
  • This is almost certainly related to taste and texture rather than 'nutrients' as proposed by other comments. The human is an experience-driven animal whose simplist instincts involve seeking out hedonism. The decision to have a vegetarian diet is a conscious one, the enjoyment of meat is an unconscious non-decision. Your subconscious has noticed the absense of something it enjoys and it is attempting to remind your conscious mind in order to get a 'hit' of enjoyment. The dreams should pass with time, or when you find something vegitarian that can match the taste/texture in a suitable manner. – Pharap Mar 24 '17 at 0:27
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Having had the same thing I think it can be handled by feeling relieved that it didn't really happen.

If you think about it, your mind wanders around thinking about hypothetical situations both good and bad while you are awake, it stands to reason that your subconscious mind doesn't necessarily have all the answers either, I don't think you should treat it as an urgent message that needs your attention.

While awake, whenever I realise there's an aspect of eating meat that I miss slightly, it's only ever the overall experience (like being able to go have burger and fries with my friends without the hard work) that I'm actually craving, not the animal flesh. Maybe your subconscious wants an excuse to put ketchup and mustard together again, could be something boringly simple.

  • I concur, this is a good rationality for any kind of dream featuring 'taboo' actions. – Pharap Mar 24 '17 at 0:28
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You are suffering from meat "blue balls". Your brain is used to that and is taking some time to adapt. Relax about it, stay in shape, and check with your doctor that everything is otherwise all right with some quick blood work. The more you feel comfortable about being vegan, the more the fact will "sink in".

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Dream the best sauce with it - get the best bang for your guilt :)

And realize there is no guilt at all in the craving, since you already have decided for a lifestyle that does not allow the negative effects (animals being slaughtered because you paid for the meat) to manifest.

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