Take the Chewing Challenge

Slowing down to chew your food offers a bounty of benefits. Follow these tips to get the most out of your meals.


The No. 1 question I’m asked is, “What’s the most important thing I can do right now to feel better, be healthier, and lose weight?” My answer is always the same: You need to chew your food.

Most of us grew up without being taught how to actually chew our food. Yet if we don’t chew our food thoroughly, our bellies have to do more work, which leads to gas, bloating, and other common digestion issues. When you chew your food to liquid, your body has to do less work to break down the food — which leaves more energy for you!

I constantly remind my community, “Your stomach doesn’t have teeth! So don’t expect it to do your chewing for you.” I even offer a 21-day Chewing Challenge during which I send daily emails, recipes, and inspiration to make this new practice fun and easy. Here are some tips for healthier chewing:

  • Look at your food before you put it in your mouth. Breathe. Allow your state of mind to be relaxed and aware, so that chewing can be a conscious act.
  • Chew each mouthful 20 to 50 times, depending on the food. 
  • Slow down. Chewing slowly is the best way to give your brain enough time to catch up with your belly. It takes at least 20 minutes for your body to process that it’s eaten something, but it’s not uncommon to finish a large meal in less time than that. This means you’ll often clean your plate before your body has a chance to tell your brain that it’s had enough.

A certified wellness expert, Robyn Youkilis is the author of Go With Your Gut: The Insider’s Guide to Banishing the Bloat With 75 Digestion-Friendly Recipes. She has been featured on Today and CBS News. Youkilis divides her time between New York City and Los Angeles. Learn more at www.RobynYoukilis.com.

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