In 1996, esteemed clinical psychologist George Weinberg wrote The Heart of Psychotherapy, a book which has been considered to be ground-breaking by many of his peers. In it, he describes a certain condition he coins; ‘the hunger illusion’. When a person is restricted from or restrains themself from an addictive behavior, a phantom hunger arises, a hunger which does not accurately reflect the person’s real situation.
Well into our meat pledge period, we’ve been getting interesting reactions from some of the participants. While we’re not claiming that anyone is addicted to meat the way in which the word is used for drugs or tobacco, being without it seems for a couple of our participants to trigger a survival instinct. They’ve begun to feel as if they aren’t getting enough, even though their diet shows that they are getting enough protein, and their nutritional needs are being met. For others, there is just a reaction of longing when they see or smell meat dishes that they enjoy.
First time I regretted that I’m not eating meat for lunch, when I was at a farmers’ union office for lunch with very delicious looking meat dishes.
And Sofie felt left out, when her husband brought home sandwiches for a family lunch:
Unfortunately they all had meat in them, so I just had some bread and cheese – but they looked so good!
Jacob had an even stronger reaction:
I’m experiencing a kind of withdrawal and really long for meat. And I’ve been compensating by eating more cake and candy, which is not so good.
And Linda had a little drama on a return trip from a weekend abroad:
Sailing back on the ferry at around suppertime, I was suddenly transfixed by the sight of the deep-fried special with chips in the cafeteria. I had been increasingly aware of the fact that I wasn’t eating very much at all, and might be missing some meat protein…or something. I finally succumbed, and bought some of it, feeling like an adultress while I guiltily ate my forbidden food.
Why does this happen for some people but not for others? Have you had a similar experience?