by Mimi Pettibone
Food comes in many varieties, shapes, and forms, as do our dreams about it. Food can be healthy or unhealthy, we can have too much or not enough of it. We can have religious, cultural, familial, or spiritual beliefs that influence our relationship with it. Some people use food to escape, or stuff down emotions, while other deprive themselves of it in attempt to meet an aesthetic standard or out-of-proportion body image. Some people do not have access to enough food, others may have enough quantity but are not getting proper quality via good nutrition. So, what does it mean when we dream about food?
Just like the wide range of foods out there, and the diversity of our relationships with it, so too our dreams about food can hold a variety of meanings. Two important elements to explore are the feelings of the dreamer, and their relationship to the food in the dream. If the dreamer is experiencing pleasure, happiness, and feeling satisfied in the dream, chances are that they have either recently experienced something that brought them such feelings, or the opposite: they could use some of these feelings in their waking life. It may serve as a reminder either to have a good meal, or to contemplate what else besides food might bring them these feelings of satiety.
If the dreamer is eating something that is ‘forbidden’ to them for whatever reason (due to dietary restrictions, religious beliefs, etc.), it’s important to consider whether they are enjoying the food, or perhaps they are feeling guilty, repelled by, or ashamed about eating it. If the dreamer is enjoying the food they might contemplate whether a little bit of that food might actually be OK to have, or whether it is symbolic of them imbibing in some non-food form of ‘forbidden pleasure’. It is then up to the dreamer to decide if it is healthy (emotionally, physically, etc.) for them to do so, should they decide to take action upon it in their waking life. Sometimes pleasurable dreams are a reminder that we could use a little bit of that feeling in our day to day life, and the dreamer can decipher whether it is actually about food or if the food is a metaphor for something else. How the person feels about the food in the dream: upset, guilty, embarrassed, aroused, etc., could be worth exploring to see if there is a link to any similar feelings in waking life.
When a person dreams they are eating something unhealthy for them they may be literally eating or considering eating unhealthy foods, but it’s important to check if there is anything else unhealthy in their life they are participating in such as getting involved with toxic people, or engaging in behaviors that are emotionally unhealthy for them.
While dreams are often metaphors, sometimes the root cause of a dream is simply biological. Studies have been conducted where participants were deprived of food, then monitored in a sleep lab to see what they dreamed about. Not surprisingly, they dreamed about food! In other situations, some people report dreaming of foods that help them heal from health issues. Other times yet, people say things like “it must be that late-night pizza that gave me those weird dreams”. While it is true that anything we ingest affects our bodies and can thereby affect our dreams, it is still important to consider what the individual dream story has to say for that dreamer. Not everybody who eats pizza dreams about the same thing, after all.
Working with dreams is a multidimensional process, and by exploring their symbolism we can uncover the messages that guide us to a life that is emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy for us.
Mimi Pettibone is a professional dream worker who offers private consultations at East West Bookshop and by phone. Her practice includes dream interpretation and personal growth work focused on relationships, communication and authentic life path. She also offers tarot and oracle readings and is the creator of the Enchanted Art Oracle Cards. Her background includes humanistic and social psychology, relationships and communication skills, spirituality, consciousness, and linguistics. Mimi is also a monthly dream columnist for the New Spirit Journal.
For more info on Mimi, or to book a consultation: www.thedreamdetective.com