MBSR 1: Mindfully eating a pecan nut


Place a few raisins in your hand. If you don’t have raisins, any food will do. Imagine that you have just come to Earth from a distant planet without such food.

Now, with this food in hand, you can begin to explore it with all of your senses.

Focus on one of the objects as if you’ve never seen anything like it before. Focus on seeing this object. Scan it, exploring every part of it, as if you’ve never seen such a thing before. Turn it around with your fingers and notice what colour it is.

Notice the folds and where the surface reflects light or becomes darker.

Next, explore the texture, feeling any softness, hardness, coarseness, or smoothness.

While you’re doing this, if thoughts arise such as “Why am I doing this weird exercise?” “How will this ever help me?” or “I hate these objects,” then just see if you can acknowledge these thoughts, let them be, and then bring your awareness back to the object.

Take the object beneath your nose and carefully notice the smell of it.

Bring the object to one ear, squeeze it, roll it around, and hear if there is any sound coming from it.

Begin to slowly take the object to your mouth, noticing how the arm knows exactly where to go and perhaps becoming aware of your mouth watering.

Gently place the object in your mouth, on your tongue, without biting it. Simply explore the sensations of this object in your mouth.

When you’re ready, intentionally bite down on the object, maybe noticing how it automatically goes to one side of the mouth versus the other. Also, notice the tastes it releases.

Slowly chew this object. Be aware of the saliva in your mouth and how the object changes in consistency as you chew.

When you feel ready to swallow, consciously notice the intention to swallow, then see if you can notice the sensations of swallowing the raisin, sensing it moving down to your throat and into your oesophagus on its way to your stomach.

Take a moment to congratulate yourself for taking this time to experience mindful eating.


What did you notice with the raisin (or whatever food) in terms of sight, touch, sound, smell, and taste? Was anything surprising? Did any thoughts or memories pop up while doing this practice? Take a few moments to write down your reflections.

I had never noticed it before, but the pecan nuts have small dark “veins” on them, just like blood vessels in the nut. It has a thin brown outer layer underneath which is a creamy white core. On some spots, the outer layer has rubbed off. It looks like a brain with a stem on one end.

The surface is uneven, wrinkly, coarse to touch, yet smooth under the finger. Sliding the fingers over the surface breaks the covering layer into flakes that fall all over the place.

There is a rubbing sound that emits when sliding a finger over the nut. It’s even louder when doing it with a fingernail. It reminds me of wood. When I squeeze it at the right places, the pecan nut breaks into pieces. I usually break the nuts with my fingers when cooking my morning porridge.

The nut smells earthy, kind of sweet, yet bitter. It has a nice nutty smell.

The taste varies. First, it is very bitter when it is just sitting on the tongue and the taste spreads throughout the mouth quickly. As it mixes with saliva, it becomes sweeter. It has a bit of an old taste, like dusty or moldy or something that has been sitting on the shelf for a while. This makes me wonder when the nuts were bought.

I can feel the texture of the nut with my tongue and feel it bumping into the teeth, making sounds, including creaking when I bite down on it. I can feel the sounds in my mouth. The longer I hold it in my mouth, the easier it is to bite down on it. A piece went into what feels to be a cavity in my tooth and it hurts a bit. The consistency changes a lot. From a hard nut to a soft creamy mix of particles and drool. It is almost impossible to feel the mix go down the throat.

It has a dry aftertaste. Although there is saliva in my mouth, it feels dry, as if all moisture has been sucked out of my mouth.


Stahl, B., & Goldstein, E. (2019). A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook. New Harbinger Publications.

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