Happy 2011!  As we commence the New Year, many of us are taking time to reflect upon what we would like to change or improve in our lives.

A common New Year’s resolution is to go on a diet.  Some people choose to do so to lose weight, while others choose to go on a diet to improve their overall health.  As a result, many people embark upon some new-fangled diet that is in fashion at the moment, from the Atkins diet to the popular “Cookie” diet.

Diets Don’t Work

As a holistic health care practitioner, I can say that most weight loss diets don’t work.  Almost 95% of people who go on a diet to lose weight end up gaining back the lost the weight plus some extra pounds.

Furthermore, there is not a single nutritional diet that works for all people.  People have different body types and so the optimal eating plan will vary from person to person depending on their constitution.

In fact, if you follow the tenets of Chinese or Ayurvedic medicine, one’s optimal diet will change from season to season.  For example, in the hot summer months it is good to eat cooling watery foods like watermelon; but the same watermelon will be too cold to consume in the chilly winter months.

What I recommend most to my clients is to learn how what they eat affects their mood, their energy level, their mental functioning, and their overall health.  This means each person must learn to pay attention to the subtle signals from their body.  One of the best ways to discover the optimal healing eating plan for you is to pay attention to the clues in your dreams.

The Dreamatarian Diet

In 2008, while attending the IASD’s PsiberDreaming Conference, I became acquainted with the work of Ed Kellog, PhD.  In his workshop entitled “Mind-Body Healing through Dreamwork” Ed shared the story about his discovery of the “Dreamatarian Diet”.

In the late 1970’s Ed started paying attention to how foods appeared in his dreams.  He also decided to act upon the dietary advice given to him by the dream.  When a food appeared in his dream in a positive context, he would eat this food; if the food appeared in a negative context in the dream, he would avoid this food.

[1]

Positive examples of food in dreams:

  • A glowing persimmon
  • A cauldron of mouth-watering mushroom soup
  • A magical walnut

Negative examples of food in dreams:

  • Cheese infested with worms
  • Chocolate covered in filth
  • A piece of pizza lying near the trash can

Ed’s next step was to divide the foods that showed up in his dreams into five categories:  “Super,” “Good,” “Fair,” “Poor,” and “Poisonous.”  [2]

After years of examining his Dreamatarian Diet research, Ed discovered that his dream diet recommendations were consistently confirmed by the latest nutritional and scientific research.  In fact, often his dreams were informing him about healthy food choices years or even decades before that particular food was “discovered” and promoted by science and the media.[3]

Nutritional Advice from Dreams

After learning about the Dreamatarian Diet, I began to track my own food dreams.  One night, I had two contrasting food dreams.  In the first, I am looking in a refrigerator and find a pack of rotten hot dogs:

Someone finds the hot dogs & cooks them up.  I take one bite and realize they are really old & spoiled.  I find the package of hot dogs on the counter and notice they are all rotten.  Clearly we shouldn’t be eating them.

Later in the night, I have a dream of being at a raw foods cafeteria:

I arrive at the cafeteria very hungry.  Food is laid out decoratively on silver platters.  Everything is raw.  I find a salad bar and think to myself that it would be a good thing to eat and I start to assemble a salad for myself.

The contrast between these two dreams is striking.  The imagery in the first dream (“old”, “spoiled”, “rotten”) was strongly advising me what food to avoid (hotdogs, or perhaps all processed meat in general).  In the second dream, the food imagery was illuminated positively (“laid out decoratively on silver platters”), clearly suggesting which foods would be healthier for me to consume (salad and perhaps raw foods in general).

These dreams both occurred early in the month of May 2010.  According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, spring is the season of that corresponds to the Wood element and to the Liver and Gall Bladder meridians.  In this healing tradition, during springtime as the weather warms up it is the natural time for a gentle cleansing of our physical bodies.  A simple way to do this is to eat less heavy & fatty foods like meat and to start eating more cleansing foods like fruit and raw vegetables.

As a dream duet, these two food dreams helped me to pay closer attention to which foods I was consuming in waking life.  Both dreams were reminding me to adjust my eating patterns to help my body be better attuned to the seasonal shift and to also assist my body in its natural detoxification processes.

Healing Advice from Moldy Bread

Last year in the DreamTribe dream forum, a participant dreamed about being in a grocery store:

I start bagging up my groceries (not sure why they weren’t bagged in the store) and pick up the bread.  I look at the bread and notice the end is moldy.  I look up at the other women and ask them if they have ever had troubles with moldy bread at this store.  They shake their heads and say they have. “(Dream excerpt)

My first impression about this dream was that it was a message about the dreamer’s health.  I responded to this dream by first describing the basis of the Dreamatarian Diet.  Next, I advised:

If it were my dream, I would pay attention to how bread makes me feel when I eat it. As a heath care practitioner, I have seen many cases where people need to reduce or eliminate their consumption of bread due to a gluten allergy or intolerance.  Also, many people need to avoid bread because the yeast (mold) in bread can exacerbate a candida (yeast) infection.

So I am wondering about your health, and in particular your digestion, energy level and degree of pain in your physical body.  Poor digestion, low energy & chronic pain can all be signs of candida or undiagnosed food allergies.

The dreamer responded:

Wow Atava, before I fell asleep I asked for my dreams to tell me what is making me crabby and mildly depressed (which I equate to low energy).  It didn’t even occur to me to think that I should take the moldy bread literally.  I was told a couple of years ago by my OB/GYN to eat more protein, less carbohydrates and exercise.  She felt this would give me more energy and help with my mild depression.  Although, I try to be careful I haven’t been doing a good job lately.  I guess I should start listening better!

Unbeknownst to me, the dreamer had actually been asking her dreams a question about her health when she had this dream.  Her symptoms of being crabby, mildly depressed and having low energy are all common symptoms of a candida infection, which is yeast (mold) overgrowth in the body.  The dietary protocol to rid the body of candida is to eliminate from one’s diet the foods that feed the yeast, including all sugars, processed foods, and bread.

Along with the other comments from people on the forum, the dreamer was able to work with her dream both symbolically and literally and was able to reap a lot of healing benefit from the dream.

Tips for Beginning your own Dreamatarian Diet

  1. Pay attention to which foods show up in your dream and in what context.
  2. Rate the foods according to Kellogg’s five categories:  Super, Good, Fair, Poor and Poisonous.
  3. Evaluate your state of health at the time of your food dreams and note it down in your dream journal.  Some questions to ask yourself are:  How is my overall health?  What is my daily energy level?  How am I feeling emotionally?  Do I have pain or discomfort anywhere in my body?  Do I have any symptoms of poor health?  Have I been diagnosed with any disease?
  4. Incorporate positive dream food suggestions into your diet and eliminate the negative ones.
  5. After you have incorporated & eliminated dream foods from your diet for a few weeks, reevaluate the state of your health.  Has anything changed or improved?
  6. If you have specific health related questions, work with one of these questions to incubate a dream for guidance about your health.  Pay special attention to any foods that appear in these dreams.

Note: Dream “diet” suggestions can also come in the form of herbs, vitamins, nutritional supplements, exercise or other healing practices.  Make note of how these items appear in your dreams as well.

References:  Mind-Body Healing through Dreamwork by Ed Kellogg, Ph.D.; http://www.asdreams.org/psi2007/papers/edkellogg.htm.


[1] Kellog, Ed.  Mind-Body Healing through Dreamwork. http://www.asdreams.org/psi2007/papers/edkellogg.htm. 2.

 

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid