4 Common Foods You Should Avoid for a Healthy Life

Looking to get healthier? It's important to know what not to eat. Here are four foods to avoid on the road to good health.
foods to avoid

Today we’ll be talking about some of the most poisonous foods lurking in your diet that you must resolve to avoid this year. We’ll also suggest a few healthier alternatives that you can include in your diet.

1. Sugar: Empty Calories, No Nutrition


Historically, sugar was used in its unrefined, raw form, taken directly from sugarcane juice. Clarified juice was boiled to a crystalline solid, broken down into gravelly masses and consumed as sugar. Today, however, much of the commercially available sugar is chemically processed and refined. According to the United States National Institutes of Health, such refined sugar provides “empty calories” because the refining process removes almost all vitamins and minerals, drastically depleting the nutritional value of the sugar.

Natural Sugar vs Added Sugar

The American Heart Association differentiates between intrinsic or naturally occurring sugar, which refers to the sugar found naturally as an integral constituent of fruits, vegetables, and milk products, and extrinsic or added sugar, which refers to sucrose or other refined sugars added to soft drinks, food, and fruit drinks. Their report suggests that there may be evidence that high sugar consumption could worsen atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), diabetes control, and contribute to nutritional deficiencies.

Alternatives to Sugar


alternatives for sugar - jaggery


  • Jaggery is the unrefined, raw form of sugar that was used in ancient times. It is widely used in India and South Asia as a sweetener
  • It retains the minerals, nutrients and vitamins present in cane juice
  • It is used in Ayurveda – the ancient Indian medical system – to treat dry cough, improve digestion and to cure a host of other health issues

Note: Today, super-phosphate is added in some types of jaggery as well. White, neat-looking jaggery is super-phosphate jaggery. It should be avoided. Instead, go for the “ugly”, dark-looking jaggery.


alternatives for sugar - honey


  • Honey is a wonderful, natural substitute for sugar.
  • Daily consumption of honey can do a lot, especially for people with excess mucus problems and asthma.
  • Honey is very good for the heart and brain, and keeps the mind alert.
  • Honey has different impacts on the human system depending on how it has been consumed, whether raw, mixed with cold water, or mixed with tepid water.
  • When honey is mixed with tepid water and consumed every day, it raises the red blood cell (RBC) count in the circulatory system, enhances the blood’s hemoglobin levels, which takes care of anemic conditions.

Note: Honey should not be cooked. That makes it poisonous. Mix honey with tepid or warm water, not in boiling hot water. Honey should also not be given to children under the age of one.

2. Milk: Undigestible by Most Adults


Only children below three have the necessary enzymes to digest milk completely. Except for a few regions in the globe, milk is mostly indigestible for a majority of adults worldwide. The undigested milk is mucous-forming and causes lethargy. Yes, milk has traditionally been believed to be a good source of calcium. But there are several other good sources as well.

Milk Alternatives

Whole Grains (see below), lentils and nuts are an excellent alternative to milk, in order to get the daily dietary requirement of calcium. For example:


alternatives of milk - Groundnuts


  • These are a complete diet by themselves.
  • In India, many yogis go on a 100% peanut diet because it is a complete food by itself, if it is eaten raw.

Note: Peanuts must be soaked for a minimum of six hours in water, which takes away certain aspects which in Ayurveda are called Pitta. If you eat peanuts without soaking them, it tends to cause rashes and nausea.


alternatives of milk - horsegram


  • A good source of dietary iron and calcium and among the richest vegetarian sources of protein.
  • However, the calcium and iron are combined into certain chemical compounds, rendering them un-absorbable by the body.
  • Germination of the horsegram is a simple method of food processing that increases the availability of iron and calcium, resulting in increased nutritive value. Sprouted horsegram is also digested much more easily.

Note: Horsegram tends to increase the level of heat in the body, which can help tide over coughs and colds during cloudy and rainy weather. However, when the sun is up, if the horsegram is heating the body up, it must be balanced by eating sprouted green gram.

3. Refined Grains: Stripped of Nutrients, Minerals and Fiber

A grain in its natural state is structurally composed of three components.

Wheat kernel nutrition


  • Endosperm: The seed’s food supply
  • Germ: This contains the plant embryo
  • Bran: The protective covering that surrounds the germ and the endosperm

The endosperm is high in starch

The primary component of the endosperm is starch, which serves as the major energy supply for the germinating seed. The endosperm however, is relatively scarce when it comes to vitamins, minerals, fibre, or phytochemicals.

The bran and germ contain the nutrients

The bran and germ in contrast, are rich in a majority of these nutrients including B vitamins, amino acids, phytochemicals, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium and iron.

Processing grains removes nutritional value

Alternatives of refined grains - rice

However, before grains are commercially sold, they are often refined to improve texture and shelf life. Known as refined grains, these grains go through a process where the bran and the germ are separated and discarded, leaving only the starchy endosperm. The result is a grain from which most of the nutrients, minerals and dietary fibre have been lost.

A majority of the grains sold commercially today, go through some process of refining. Common examples include white rice and white flour.

Whole Grain Alternatives

Whole grain products such as brown rice and whole wheat are increasingly available these days. Whole grains are rich in many components that have been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, obesity, type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases. Most of these components are found in the germ and bran, which are more or less totally removed during the processing of refining.

It is important to ensure that our diet includes more than just one or two cereals. A variety of highly nutritious, yet oft-neglected cereals are available, which can be important components of our diets.

Finger millet

Alternatives of refined grains - finger millets


  • Also known as ragi in Hindi, this millet is considered among the most nutritious of cereals.
  • Finger millet’s protein content has high biological value, so it is easily incorporated into the body.
  • Several amino acids crucial to human health are found in the grain. Some of these amino acids are deficient in most other cereals.
  • Dietary minerals are also found in abundance, especially Calcium which is available in concentrations five to thirty times greater than other cereals.
  • Phosphorus and iron content is also high.

Note: Finger millet can be made into rotis, dosas, porridge, cookies and even tasty laddus.

Pearl millet

Alternatives of refined grains - pearl millets


  • Also known as bajra in Hindi, and kambu in Tamil, this millet has high levels of vitamins B, and dietary minerals potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc copper and manganese.
  • It is gluten-free and is ideal for those with wheat allergies.
  • Pearl millet has been found to be nutritionally superior to rice and wheat.
  • A study based on research in India showed that pearl millet and pulses are somewhat better at promoting human growth than a wheat diet.

4. Tea/Coffee: Destroys Stamina in the Long Run

Tea coffee

Tea and coffee are nervous stimulants. Nervous stimulants create a sense of energy for a short while, after which the body’s energy levels drop. Consuming too much of nervous stimulants destroys stamina in the long run, and affects the body’s ability to store energy.

Alternative Energy Drinks


Ash gourd Juice


  • Drinking a glass of Ashgroud (wintermelon) juice in the morning would make you very energetic and also keep the nerves very calm.
  • Daily consumption of ashgourd greatly enhances one’s intellectual capabilities.

Lemon-Ginger Tea Recipe

This Lemon-Ginger Tea recipe could also leave you feeling fresh and invigorated, without the side effects of caffeine:


  • Boil 4.5 cups of water in a saucepan.
  • As the water boils, crush a 2-inch piece of fresh ginger with about 25 to 30 Tulasi (Holy Basil) leaves.
  • Add the paste to the boiling water along with 2 Tsp of dried coriander seeds (optional).
  • Continue to boil for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Strain the tea into cups and add a Tsp of lime juice and jaggery to taste. Serve hot!

  • The Joy of Eating

As important as it is to make sure you get a good balance of nutrition in your daily meals, you need to remember not to get paranoid about the food you eat.

Don't become a food freak – “I will not eat this, I will not eat that. I have to eat like this, I have to eat like that.” No, eating joyously is more important than eating properly. Food has influences on you but it is not the deciding factor. The true joy of eating is that you are conscious of some other life willing to become a part of you, to merge and mingle with your own life and become you. This is the greatest pleasure that a human being knows, that in some way, something that is not him has become willing to become a part of him.” - Sadhguru

So focus on the foods that leave you filled with energy and try to avoid the foods that make you lethargic. We wish you a happy and healthy year ahead!

Download Now

The book is available on a “name your price” basis. Pay as you wish or click "Claim for Free". Food Body looks at the kind of foods the body is most comfortable with and explores the most appropriate ways of consuming such foods. The 33-page booklet is a first step to tune into your body and figure out what suits it best.

Editor’s Note: Excerpted from Sadhguru’s discourse at the Isha Hatha Yoga School’s 21-week Hatha Yoga Teacher Training program. The program offers an unparalleled opportunity to acquire a profound understanding of the yogic system and the proficiency to teach Hatha Yoga. The next 21-week session begins on July 16 to Dec 11, 2019. For more information, visit www.ishahathayoga.com or mail info@ishahatayoga.com

Login / to join the conversation1
7 years 5 months ago

There were many things i didn't know, now i am going to use this knowledge that i have gained after reading this article. As it is better late than never.

4 years 10 months ago

Milk which was used 1000 years back was way different than what we drink now. Now we are drinking something similar to milk (A1). Before it was A2 milk. The milk you drink now is not naturally produced but by pumping of steroids and lactating drugs, cows are loaded with antibiotics, Artificial insemination is another bane. And have you seen what city cattle eat nowadays?? Even now if you want to drink milk-your body your wish

7 years 1 month ago

i use to drink 1 tall glass of milk every morning.....since i read this i replaced it buy fruit juice and peanuts.... and i really feeling great... its like healing :)

7 years 5 months ago

Taste-wise it may be similar, but there's nothing like fresh tulsi leaves. You could consider growing a Tulsi plant. Tulsi plants grow easily even in apartments & are easily available for purchase.

5 years 11 months ago

Although I completely agree Hinduism or ayurveda only talks about milk being good, except for saying too much of dairy will increase rajasic qualities there is nothing bad mentioned in our ancient texts. But today the milk industry is so corrupted. So much of violence on animals, automated machinery and artificial hormones resulting in mass milk production, everything has become so industrial, so much of chemicals and early milk production by cows, its all profit based. Dont think that only KFC is doing it to chickens, in every part of the world similar things are happening to every animal (and human) "extracting maximum by giving minimum" is the order of the day for the industries. I have read personally that many masters in recent times (not just Indian gurus but others also) mentioning to limit the amount of milk for physical health, mental health and other karmic reasons.

7 years 5 months ago

The crushed ginger & tulsi leaves are the paste.

4 years 7 months ago

If anyone has a sugar tooth, try out in Cafe Peter Doughnuts; Aundh, Pune, Maharshtra

7 years 5 months ago

This is super useful!! I wish everyone knows about this. Sugar, Tea/coffee, Milk- All so common and assumed as completely fine to consume. I have tried avoiding these but the society (including at my own home) dont allow me to avoid- making fun.... How do we overcome this?

6 years 9 months ago

sorry madam if any one has given you the wrong information on horse gram.
horse gram means 'kulthi'. and choulai means amaranth.

7 years 5 months ago

I have used Isha Ruchi honey as well as Dabur Honey in all seasons, I don't see any impurity - honey is clear with no sediments at all. whereas I have seen other impure honey looking in different colours and with sediments.
However, this is only my experience.

5 years 10 months ago

Any tea is tea because it has those leaves which contain theophylline... and this is the nerve stimulant... but anything in moderation is always alright.

7 years 5 months ago

I used to buyIsha Ruchi n use theKambu n Ragi powder for porrideg to take inthe morning n they are very tasty.EVERYITEMS IN THE rUCHI ARE GOOD N HEALTHY

4 years 7 months ago

world of doughnuts..

7 years 5 months ago

Informative article. Unfortunately, the honey that is marketed today also contains superfluous amounts of refined sugar. This can be clearly seen during winters, when the sugar settles down. It's hard to find unadulterated honey in the market nowadays! This is the case with Isha Ruchi honey also. The Isha Ruchi pickles also, are too spicy, because of the red chilli powder used, which Sadhguru clearly says is non-pranic. Even asafoetida is used. A pickle can be as tasty, and more nutritious, without these ingredients.

6 years 5 months ago

Food to live not live to eat food my dear friends...

7 years 5 months ago

Thank you..where can i purchase the plant..?

5 years 10 months ago

Should I feel guilt or shame if I drink coffee in the morning? :/

7 years 5 months ago

Yes i il..thank u..

4 years 4 months ago

There is no caffeine in sukku coffee its just ginger tulsi and other things....

7 years 5 months ago

Wonderful article!! Thank you for posting this! I am also enjoying the recipes you have posted, too!

6 years 4 months ago

I liked this article & its very useful.

7 years 5 months ago

Thank you..where can i buy the plant..?

5 years 10 months ago

Milk is not bad in fact it's good but what you will have to understand is that human body and animal body maintain different ph level and if you are having milk ,dilute it with water and then it's ok or else it will not digest, which means the mass and the energy/vitamins will not be separated and absorbed by body .

7 years 5 months ago

Very informative and must follow one.Thank you Sadhguru,for a healthy blog.

4 years 4 months ago

Can you please them me the healthy fruit drinks for a nutritious diet?

7 years 5 months ago

Is Ishaan Ruchi available in the US? I live in California.

6 years 2 months ago

You should drop the fruit juice as well. What you have there is all the sugar without any of the good stuff.

7 years 5 months ago

Thanks for the article Isha, would anyone know where to find ocean salt that can be added to food.....

5 years 3 months ago

Avoid MILK for healthy life?
Avoiding milk is not good idea, especially for Indian Vegetarians. And problem of digestion is for those who have lactose intolerance. But, rest can surely drink. In fact, biological value ( is a measure of the proportion of absorbed protein from a food which becomes incorporated into the proteins of the organism's body) of cow milk is 91% with respect to Egg (if Egg BA is considered as 100%).

7 years 5 months ago

This is great ...
Thank you

4 years 1 month ago

i am doing yoga regularly after that i will do gym in morning when i wake up i feel hungry and feeling less energy during work outs can u suggest what to eat before yoga asanas and how much time to wait before to do yogasana please guide me

7 years 5 months ago

Thank You Dear Sadguru for taking such a great care of US

6 years 1 month ago

Preeti.I think It's moong n math...which always go together....right

7 years 5 months ago

This Lemon-Ginger Tea recipe could also leave you feeling fresh and invigorated, without the side effects of caffeine:

Boil 4.5 cups of water in a saucepan. As the water boils, crush a
2-inch piece of fresh ginger with about 25 to 30 Tulasi (Holy Basil)
leaves. Add the paste to the boiling water along with 2 Tsp of dried
coriander seeds (optional).

What do you mean by Add the paste to the boiling water? What paste?

5 years 2 months ago

Hi, if milk is not good to take then how about Yogurt/Curd? are they good to take on a daily basis?

7 years 4 months ago

What about "Green Tea"... ?

3 years 4 months ago

Asking questions are truly pleasant thing if you are not understanding something fully, however this article
presents pleasant understanding yet.

7 years 5 months ago

Very educational! I learned something today!

6 years 1 month ago

Articles like this should appear more often. They are packed with lot of valuable information.

7 years 5 months ago

This is great information. Thank you

5 years 1 month ago

Namaskaram Sadhguru what is the role of fennel seed after food

7 years 4 months ago

Green tea is also a good choice,it is good for our body too.but I prefer lemon tea,it is little sour,hah

3 years 3 months ago

I see your site needs some unique articles.
Writing manually is time consuming, but there is solution for this.
Just search for: Masquro's strategies

7 years 5 months ago

Hi..i loved the ginger lemon tea during IE program and i am looking for the recipe ever since ..but i dont have access to holy basil plant..can i use tulsi powder ..?thank you..

7 years 5 months ago

Please ask elders in your home. We find it here in our local market at Haridwar. But you know it will far away.

5 years 1 month ago

Why does Isha shoppe sells Coffe, if it is not good for health??

7 years 3 months ago

Can you please tell me Indian name (HIndi) for horse gram. I cannot recognise this grain. Pranam

10 months 1 week ago

How at this point Online Safely

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Seeing the whites regarding eyes might be a cliche, But it's a cliche this remains relevant. It gives you a sense of your companion. Because we don't have major benefit of that personal contact online, There are some extra safety precautions that need to be taken.

In actuality, could meet potential dates at parties or bars, And often embark on group or double dates. You are in the unfortunate position online of not having enough information to determine whether you should trust the information you have. Can you trust that the image really is of that person, That the person is even real to begin with and that all the person's information and devices are legitimate?

A safe practical experience can often depend on a safe dating website. Not all sites are the same. Here are some questions to ask to help find a site that is right for you:

Does the site screen vet individuals?

How does the site lower the prospects of abuse?

How does the site handle abuse if it takes place?

Do the service terms allow explicit content?

Does the site review webcams, Chats and dvds?

Does the site provide users with tips on how to safely and properly navigate the site to avoid predators and scammers?

Does the site provide an emergency cellular phone number?

Does the site run all users through a recorded sex offender database such as SSP Blue's RSO SAFE?

It's comforting to think that everyone on dating sites is just as earnest as you are: Looking for love and looking for a soul mate. regretably, Even the online dating world has scammers.

One of the more common scams involves a lovely woman with a gorgeous photo searching for a new love in America. Her story is a touching one: No family to communicate of, A big mind, A need see men she meets online. Eventually, This woman asks for cash, Perhaps to help with a ticket or because she has been detained hoping leave her home country.

the person wires her money, And then she goes away. This is frustrating, heartbreaking and all too frequent. This is several scams. here is additional information here.

If you wind up making an online connection and wish to meet in person, Meet in a customer place, if at all possible well lit, Familiar to you and in an area with which you are comfortable. While these guidance apply strongly to women, Men would do well to please be aware as well. should and scammers are not all men.

Engaging in safe internet dating, In some methods, Is no different from dating safely in person. But given that you can't see the whites of his or her eyes online, Your own eyes and ears need to exercise extra safety measure.

7 years 5 months ago

Hi...i loved the ginger lemon tea during IE program and have been looking for the recipe ever since..but i dont have access to tulsi plant so can i use tulsi powder instead..?

6 years ago

thank you it's quite useful, particularly avoiding milk and it's products really helped me overcome my sinusitis problem.

7 years 5 months ago

thank you sadhguru

5 years ago

Hi Radhika, A good alternative to a lot of issues and general nutrition and health is Moringa. Great for thyroid, weight loss , detox and host of other things (Google PubMed for moringa and thyroid, weight management etc). Can also check http://monikaxing.myzija.com/ for moringa powder (called supermix or smartmix) supply to your country. It has been great for me. All the best. Can write to me at msmoringacanada@gmail.com for any further queries.

7 years 3 months ago

Preeti, I think it is called chouli !

7 years 5 months ago

Hi i loved lemon ginger tea during IE program and have been searching for the recipe ever since..i dont have access to tulsi leaves so can i use tulsi powder instead or just make it without tulsi..?thank u..

6 years ago

Awesome! Thank you so much for this article.. :)

7 years 5 months ago

Wow this is such an informative article. I am also surprised with what I have read as most if not all of these are found right in our very own kitchen. I am also glad because alternatives were given too.

4 years 10 months ago

Nice lifestyle tips.

7 years 1 month ago

Can you please blog about how to fast on Ekadashi and how to break the fast ? Specially, we are supposed to eat lot of greens on the next day with lime pickle - i.e., vegetable made out of drumstick leaves or Avisa leaf.

7 years 5 months ago

Shreya, You can grow you own Tulsi plant.

6 years ago

Can anybody share a study done on INDIANS which shows milk is bad for them? We have been drinking milk for 1000s of years. Cow milk is part of everyday diet (and also curd, buttermilk and Ghee). Ayuveda doesn't say that milk is bad.