Meat is everywhere. Fleshy slabs hang behind the deli counter at your grocery store; the smoky aroma of your neighbor’s cookout wafts through the window. Vegetarians and vegans are constantly confronted by the choice of eating meat, and they routinely have to ask for accommodations and explain the rationale behind their diet. Anxiety around these encounters, Bentley says, could explain why meat keeps turning up in dreams.
Eventually, 86 percent of vegetarians return to meat, according to 2014 study from the Humane Research Council, and 43 percent say that they find it difficult to keep their diet “pure.” Perhaps meatmares encapsulate a tug-of-war between body and mind: The impulse to bite into that burger was unwelcome, and it tested the strength of my self-control. Temptation won out — and I woke up feeling terrible about it.