Meat Dreams

Vegetarians Experience Dreams of Eating Meat

Gillian Corona, Reporter

“I was eating a chicken leg inside a movie theater!”

Those are the words that vegetarian, junior Deana Trautz, had used to describe a dream she had one night. She’s been a vegetarian for almost a year, and says that these “meat dreams” are quite common.

“I’ve had dreams where I’m eating chicken or another type of meat and then go into a panic after I realize what I’m doing,” Trautz said.

People have told her that these dreams are caused by a protein deficiency, but Trautz says she thinks the body simply acts a bit different when one changes their diet.

“If you weren’t a vegetarian, you obviously wouldn’t have meat dreams, because you satisfy that craving for meat,” Trautz said. “Everything is a little bit different when you change the things you put in your body, [since] what you fill your body with is a pretty big part of how your body functions.”

English teacher, Michelle Iskra, has been vegetarian for over six years. She says that memories seem to be attached to foods such as the meat that she traditionally ate at family events. 

Whenever I think about the environmental effects, I like to think that I’m making a difference, even if it isn’t on a large scale,

— Kendall Smith

“I have really fond memories of my grandfather barbecuing chicken in the summers when I would go to their lake house,” Iskra said. “I remember the smells and the experience of having that chicken that had been made with my grandfather’s love.”

While there are many different reasons why people become vegetarian, it is often because of a concern for animals and the environment, economic reasons (meat cost more than beans or rice), health issues, religion and/or a desire for a more natural diet.

“There are lots of reasons why I became vegetarian,” Iskra said. “No one has to die for my dinner, and then it’s so much less expensive.”

Senior Kendall Smith says that she became a vegetarian because of her concern for the environment.

“It was a documentary we watched in APES, but also because I just wanted to be healthier,” Smith said. “Whenever I think about the environmental effects, I like to think that I’m making a difference, even if it isn’t on a large scale.”

While cravings could be a cause for meat dreams, if vegetarians stay on top of what they eat and their protein intake, then the dreams should not be a sign of deficiency (in theory).

Meat-eaters may believe that being a vegetarian leads to an automatic protein deficiency, however this is not exactly true. For example, a three ounce serving of skinless chicken breast provides approximately 25 grams of protein. Seven teaspoons of peanut butter will give you the same amount of protein- so will 100 almonds, 1 ⅔ cups of black beans, or two cups of plain low-fat yogurt.

“I think people have been told that they are not going to get enough protein from eating a vegetarian diet, but that sounds to me like whoever wants to be vegetarian doesn’t know what to eat,” Iskra said. “For example, a third cup of dried peas is like 13 grams of protein. That’s [about] as much as a whole steak, that tiny bit of peas. It’s so much more nutritious for you, it’s easily digestible and you’re full, you stay full. I just don’t get hungry like I used to.”

Iskra is correct in her steak/dried peas comparison, according to the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service; 197 grams of steak and 197 grams of dried peas both equal about 48 grams of protein.

I think it’s interesting how your dreams can be altered depending on how you live your life,

— Deana Trautz

“I can make a pot of black beans and season it with all kinds of delicious vegetables and herbs and stuff like that and I don’t have to refrigerate it or worry about it going bad. I mean I’m not going to do that indefinitely, but from breakfast to lunch it’s going to be okay for me to still eat it at lunch,” Iskra said.

Trautz says that while her body works a bit differently since she became a vegetarian, she doesn’t regret making the switch.

“In the beginning, I thought be vegetarian would define me and be an obstacle, but as I went months without meat, it just became something about me,” Trautz said. “It’s sometimes scary when I have a meat dream and feel like I messed up my streak of eating no meat, but it’s just part of my vegetarian experience.”

She says that these dreams have made her fascinated with what the mind does on its own.

“I think it’s interesting how your dreams can be altered depending on how you live your life,” Trautz said. “Your mind always knows what you’re eating even though it may not seem like it.”