5 Food Types to Avoid (and What to Eat Instead)

This article originally appeared on Yoganonymous.com.

Image via Vogue Archives

Image via Vogue Archives

Do you always feel hungry, fatigued, and mentally drained? From packaged to processed, our food supply has plummetted into a nutrition-void black hole.

There are five major food types that people stear towards thinking that they’re choosing healthy options. However, these five food types may in fact be stealing your energy and causing heavy sugar crashes. So, here is a guide on what to swap out of your diet, and what to swap in so that you are feeling healthier and happier on a regular basis.

5 Food Types to Avoid (and What to Eat Instead)

1. Bottled juices and smoothies

I know, that Naked smoothie labeled Green Machine, looks like the perfect little snack to tide you over until your next meal. But guess what? It’s not giving you the health benefits that you think it is.

Packaged juices and smoothies made by major brands, such as Odwalla, Naked Juices, and Bolthouse Farms are all pasteurized, concentrated under pressure, and heated to such high temperatures that it kills most of the nutritional content.

So not only are these drinks void of vitamins and minerals, but they are also filled with sugars. Bottled drinks and smoothies, in most cases, will give you a sugar rush and a sugar crash.

If you love to grab and go, look for cold pressed juices—this type of processing keeps al the nutritional benefits in tact.

2. Processed starches

Refined carbohydrates such as pasta, packaged oatmeal, and white bread, are low in minerals and are essentially cooked sugars (aka starch). These foods will temporarily give you a rush of energy, as the sugars are broken down, but then the energy will drop off just as fast as it came.

Eating refined carbohydrates often linked with internal growths of candida (mold and fungus in your body), causing you to feel low in energy and lazy.

If you love these foods, what can you eat instead? For breakfast, go for steel cut oats. For lunch and dinner, go for brown rice and quinoa.

These unrefined carb options will be able to give you more nutrients while keeping you full for a longer periods of time.

3. Foods low in iron

If you aren’t eating an iron rich diet, chances are you may be feeling fatigued. Iron helps carry oxygen to your lungs, and helps our muscles and cells operate efficiently. Pair an iron rich food with a food that is rich in vitamin C to help increase iron absorption in your body (for plant based foodies, go for a kale salad topped with clementine slices).

Increase your iron intake, and chances are you won’t be hitting the snooze button five times each morning.

4. Heavily processed foods

Heavily processed foods (think: ready to eat foods) are not nearly as nutritious as organic, fresh foods. Many heavily processed foods contain extra sugar, salts, and fats, which all spike your blood sugar levels and leave you feeling drained.

If you need a quick fix, and you don’t know what you can eat that isn’t processed, grab some fresh fruit! It’s packed with nutrients, and is easy on your wallet.

5. Excess caffeine

Caffeine infused drinks boost your energy by blocking the sleep receptors in your brain­—jolting you awake. But long-term, what does this do to your body?

Excessive caffeine shocks your body, stresses your adrenal glands, and can lead to moodiness, stress, and long-term fatigue. These side affects are working to try to restore and rebalance your system. Your body needs rest just as much as it needs activity—so make sure you balance your lifestyle so that you aren’t burning the candle at both ends.

If you’re addicted to caffeine, swap your coffee with a cup of detox tea every few days. The tea will pull out toxins from your liver and kidneys and cut the chemical addiction in your brain.

Diya SenGupta