The dreaming mind emulates all five senses with such precision, most dreams are mistaken for reality. Among other things, many oneironauts exploit the realism of dreams for wish fulfillment – to experience any and all things the heart desires. Indeed, REM sleep has been aptly regarded as the harbinger of sweet temptations, which as well as flying, sex and epic adventures, can extend to guilt-free midnight feasts.
The idea of satisfying food cravings during lucid dreams is not new, despite being touched upon only a handful of times in lucid dreaming literature. One such account of dream-aided weight loss was included in LaBerge’s classic ETWOLD:
A few years back I was trying to lose weight. I would dream that I was in a grocery store, bakery, or restaurant, and food was everywhere. I was conscious that I was dreaming and therefore could eat whatever I wanted. I proceeded to pig out on the feast before me, even tasting the food. These dreams would satisfy my craving to gorge myself. I would wake feeling satisfied – not full, but satisfied – and if during the day I got the urge to eat something I shouldn’t I just thought, “I’ll eat it tonight in my dream,” and I did!
– excerpt from Exploring The World Of Lucid Dreaming by Stephen LaBerge
Take the red sweet
Despite existing only in the mind, food within a dream tastes as real as the pasta you had for dinner. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve also enjoyed stuffing my face while lucid. There is however, a less thought-of benefit to experiencing dream flavours so vividly… Engaging your sense of taste is an easy method of anchoring awareness and stabilising dreams.
When I first began to explore lucid dreaming, I was curious as to how food might taste in my dreams. In one dream I became lucid whilst walking around a supermarket. I reached for the first thing I saw: a lime green packet of Doritos. I opened them up and popped one in my mouth. The texture, the crunch, the flavouring on my tongue – it all felt too real. Interestingly however, whenever I swallow food or drink in a dream, I never feel anything go down my throat. This is a bizarre feeling, to say the least.
Taste the dream
Amazed at how realistic dream food could taste, I devised an unusual method of holding onto lucidity. I scribbled the idea down in the back of my dream journal: taste stabilisation, with my weapon of choice being sweets (a.k.a. candy). Once lucid, I would reach into my pocket for a nice chewy sweet. As is always the case when it comes to dream control, expectation is everything. If I strongly willed a sweet to appear, there it would be. Of course there were several occasions where something completely absurd showed up instead. Car keys don’t sound very tasty. Once I had a sweet, I’d chew on it and concentrate on the flavour for a moment. The more vivid the sensation, the better. I’d think about what my goals were once lucid, then go about my business. If at any point the dream began to fade, I would focus on the taste of my sweet until my visuals were stable. Sometimes, I’d fall into a false awakening, or the scenery would shift, but I’d still be lucid, chewing on my stabilisation sweet.
I also found that taste stabilisation could help with recalling hazy dreams. For those new to keeping a dream journal, the biggest hurdle when it comes to recalling dreams is scraping that first little fragment… A face. An object. The scenery. What did I see? How did I feel? Once the first piece of the puzzle springs to mind, the rest of the jigsaw comes rushing back. Recalling the taste of my sweet during the dream was another sense to draw upon, which made recalling dreams that little bit easier.
Over the years, taste stabilisation has been just one of many techniques that I’ve employed while lucid. I’ve found that it can compliment other methods such as examining hands and verbal commands. Nowadays, I use subtle methods such as these at regular intervals during dreams, which helps to maintain stability and overall clarity. Then, when it comes to more forcefully delaying an inevitable awakening, I tend to use the trusty spinning technique.
I still enjoy reaching for a sweet while I’m dreaming. It’s become a habit of sorts, a nostalgic trip to when I first began to explore lucidity. Taste stabilisation may not be foolproof, but it’s stalled a lot of dreams from fading before my eyes, and it sure does taste good.
Geo is a lucid dream enthusiast from the UK, and the creator of lucidsource.net which hosts guides, articles and resources for oneironauts.