Live Chat 8am - 8pm
Fast & FREE Delivery*
FREE lifetime support

What you should be eating every day instead of bread, rice, pasta or potatoes!

If you’re kefirising in order to get on top of a skin condition or autoimmune disorder, we recommend eating “good grains” to help support the action of the kefir inside your system.

What’s a good grain?

Let’s start by examining what’s NOT a good grain. In a word – wheat.

I know, it’s bad news, but unfortunately, wheat – which we put into just about everything – is a bad grain. This is true for two reasons:

  1. Wheat contains gluten. Gluten is a nasty allergen that will trigger your skin condition and IBS.
  2. Wheat is high-GI, which means that it is burned into sugar very rapidly inside your system.

What does high-GI mean?

Everything your body eats is turned into sugar, or glucose. The question is how fast this happens.

Think of your body as a fireplace, and your food as fuel. High-GI (Glycemic Index) foods are converted to sugar very quickly inside your system, like burning newspaper in a fireplace.When you burn paper it flares rapidly, then disappears. This is exactly what happens when you eat high-GI foods like bread, pasta, rice and white potatoes. Your system releases a huge wave of insulin to deal with the sudden wave of sugar, and this insulin wave damages your microbiome.

Over time, this continual peak-and-drop of insulin will give you type 2 diabetes, as your insulin system gets exhausted.

So to protect those hard-working bugs inside your system, that you’re boosting with your daily dose of kefir, you want to eat foods that are low-GI. Low-GI foods burn slowly inside your system – like burning solid wood in your fireplace, instead of loads of paper. This slow-burning food releases a constant trickle of sugar, which keeps your microbiome ticking along nicely without damaging it.

This means that bread and pasta made with wheat, (as well as rice and white potatoes, because they’re also high-GI) are off the menu while you kefirise and get your issues under control.

The problem is that here in the west, we are absolutely addicted to wheat, and we put it into everything!

Other cultures around the world do a better job than we do on this count. They tend to consume more different kinds of grains. The Russians eat buckwheat for breakfast, and call it kasha. (Despite it’s name, buckwheat is not related to wheat, and is a great example of a good grain – low-GI and gluten-free.) The Japanese make their soba noodles out of buckwheat. Amaranth is consumed regularly in Africa, Indonesia, China and India – but few of us in the UK have even heard of it!

So we’ve taken one grain, wheat – that’s not very good for us – and used it exclusively in almost everything we eat. We’re going to have to push those grain boundaries out a bit, and adopt some better grain choices from our neighbours around the world.

What are these good grains?


This is the old classic, but it’s as good as food gets. Low-GI and gluten-free, as well as being anti-inflammatory. A bowl of porridge in the morning in the perfect breakfast, especially if you add a spoonful of coconut oil, a handful of blueberries. Oatmeal itself is gluten-free. If you’re coeliac, it’s worth dishing out the extra money for gluten-free oatmeal, but all this means is that it’s been grown in an exclusion zone where no bird can drop a seed of anything other than oatmeal, thus avoiding gluten contamination.


Despite it’s name, this gluten-free, low-GI beauty is not related to wheat! While most people think of buckwheat as a whole grain, it’s actually a seed that is high in both protein and fibre. It supports heart and heart health and can help prevent diabetes and digestive disorders. In fact, buckwheat seeds, also called “groats,” are so packed with nutrients and antioxidants that they are often called “superfoods.”Commonly eaten as roasted buckwheat groats, you can go with sweet or savoury toppings to this nutty-tasting grain. To cook dried buckwheat groats, rinse them well and then combine with water on the stovetop in a 2:1 ratio, so two cups of water for every one cup of buckwheat. Simmer them on low for about 20 minutes, checking to see when they are plump and their texture is what you’re looking for. If they aren’t absorbing all the water and appear to become mushy, try straining some of the water out (some people prefer to use only 1.5 cups of water to one cup of buckwheat to prevent this from happening).


Amaranth is a native crop in Peru, and it’s grown in Africa, India, China, Russia, South America and North America. The grain is gaining popularity today because of its startling health benefits. It’s a great source of protein, reduces inflammation, improves bone health, lowers cholesterol, fights diabetes, aids digestive health and promotes weight loss. When cooking amaranth grain, use the ratio of 1 1/2 cups water to 1/2 cup amaranth. Heat the mixture in a small saucepan until it begins to boil. Then reduce the heat and let it simmer, uncovered, until the water is absorbed. This typically takes about 20 minutes.


Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is a 7,000 year old grain that originated in the mountainous regions of South America. Quinoa has gained a lot of popularity over the last few years due to its significant nutrition and health benefits. Quinoa is high in protein, gluten-free, a great source of fibre, antioxidant, good for heart health and weight loss, a nutritious superfood, helps prevent cancer and diabetes, fights disease, and is very plain tasting, so is very versatile. To cook quinoa, you need 1 cup of uncooked quinoa to 2 cups of liquid. Bring quinoa and liquid to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork.


If you think millet sounds like bird food, you’re not alone! While widely referred to as a grain, millet is actually a seed. And while birds do love it, it’s easy to see why humans choose it, too. It’s naturally gluten-free, high in fiber and low on the glycemic index, keeping your blood sugar levels stable. It’s also an alkaline food, meaning it’s easily digestible, a good option for those with sensitive stomachs. If you’ve never cooked with millet, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Depending on how it’s cooked, millet recipes can have a creamy texture like mashed potatoes or a fluffier, slightly crunchy one like quinoa or rice. To cook millet, you’ll need 1 cup of raw millet and 2 cups of cooking liquid (water or broth). In a large, dry saucepan, toast the raw millet over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until it turns a rich golden brown and the grains become fragrant. Add the water and and a pinch of sea salt to the pan, stir. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the grains absorb most of the water (they’ll continue soaking it up as they sit), about 15 minutes. Avoid the temptation to peek a great deal or stir too much (unless its sticking to the bottom). Stirring too vigorously will break up the grains and change the texture. Remove from heat and let stand. Like most grains, millet needs a little time off the heat to fully absorb the liquid. Allow it to sit, covered and removed from heat, for 10 minutes. Fluff and Serve!

Think food bowls, not sandwiches

When you’re thinking about grains, think about making a bowl of food. Usually we use wheat products as a base for things, and then we load stuff on top. Bread makes a sandwich, pasta gets sauce on top, pizza dough gets – well, pizza toppings.

The other things we use as bases to fill us up in the UK are commonly jacket potatoes – another bad choice, as large white potatoes burn to sugar inside your system faster than ice cream. We also use rice – not great, as both white rice and brown rice are high-GI, and burn too quickly inside your system as well.

So think about using good grains as a base for your meat, veg and sauce. You can simmer these grains like rice, in some water until the grains are soft and cooked. Then put them into a bowl, (or a tupperware dish if you’re making lunch to take with you!) and layer your chicken, beef, veg and sauces on top. Simples!

71 thoughts on “What you should be eating every day instead of bread, rice, pasta or potatoes!

  1. What is the name of your book with recipes please Shann.
    Just started kefir after 40 years with IBS.
    Anxiety and low emotional state . Am wary of anything I put in my mouth now?
    Can I have a 1:1 session with you for some encouragement please?

    1. Hi Janey,

      You can find recipes in The Kefir Solution 🙂

      If you’d like to book a consultation with Shann, please give us a call on 01239 654072 and we’ll be happy to help.

      Best wishes,

  2. Seem to have an intolerance to bread pasta rice and loving using buckwheat , quinoa and amaranth . I use my kefir every day . What about oatbran ? Thank you . I love your articles and books

    1. Hi Rona – So glad you like the book and articles, and that you’re enjoying good grains along with your kefir! Oatbran is great – oat is an anti-inflammatory nervine tonic, and bran is great resistant starch. ; ) Best, Shann

  3. Hello very good Kefir!
    I guess most of these suggestions are for people with intolerance.. I agree to diversify the source of carbohydrates but we should not cross out foods. At the end of the day the the nations with longest life expectancy are Italy and Japan which are based on Mediterranean diet one and similar grains the other. In the mediterranean countries we have been eating barely, spelt, millet, rye, wheat but also pulses and it is not a novelty. In the absence of serious or diagnosed disorders is more about varying the diet. Wishes!

    1. Hi Walter – These suggestions are for people following the Kefir Solution, which means that we are trying to reduce the number of inflammatory ingredients in their diet, so that their gut can heal. Best, Shann

  4. Shann
    Loving your blog. So helpful with loads of information. And I have been taking your Kefir for over a year and have never felt better! I try hard to avoid gluten but struggle with interesting recipes so an looking forward to your book whenever you get round to writing it given everything else you cram into your busy life.
    Best wishes to all on the Farm

    1. Nope – because as you point out, barley contains gluten. I recommend grains that are low-GI and gluten-free. Best, Shann

      1. I have just been diagnosed with early rheumatoid Arthrits and want to follow an anti inflammatory Diet.
        What would you suggest?
        Many Thanks

        1. Hi Natasha,

          The general dietary advice that we give can be found here – this is an anti-inflammatory diet.

          We would also recommend our kefir – Kefir will help with rheumatoid arthritis as it works to reduce inflammation around the body, this in turn will alleviate aches and pains associated with this condition.

          Best wishes,

  5. Hiya I have been on your kefir 21day drink now 2wks today. My psoraisis is just amazing skin getting really clear. Was severe last few months. Have cleanser & lotion too. I have eliminated all the foods mentioned in your booklet. I have had psoraisis 40yrs since 7yrs. Was always told skin condition untill now after reading your info.

    Have been adding coconut oil & avocados to my diet.

    Can you suggest anything else.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Donna – Great news that your psoriasis is clearing up so quickly! I’d be happy to work with you personally on this – if you ring 01239 654 072 to book a consultation, you can tell them that Shann said to waive the fee – Best, Shann

  6. Thanks so much for this invaluable info. I have only just started this diet and trying to find food to eat has become a challenge. Now that I know about these grains I certainly will be trying them.

    Any recipes you can suggest that I can use these grains in?

    1. Have a look here Rosie -

  7. Hi Shann, how strict do you need to be when it comes to food containing smaller amounts of higher GI foods? i.e. I have found some sweet potato wraps at Tesco but they contain brown and white rice flour, and a lot of the gluten free items I have found also contain sugar too. Thanks! Kate

    1. Hi Glynis – Pearl barley isn’t much use because it’s very highly processed. Barley in a less processed form does contain gluten, but has health benefits if you are not very gluten-intolerant. Best, Shann

      1. Another thing, sorry, what about unsweetened almond milk in porridge for breakfast after your 170ml of kefir? Is almond milk safe to drink alongside without counteracting? And oats are ok!?

  8. Thanks for this but I have a question, but can we assume 100% buckwheat pasta to also be good as the groats are.

    1. Hi Charles – Buckwheat pasta is a good option – more processed than the groats, but better than wheat pasta. Best, Shann

    1. Hi Sandra – Unfortunately, brown rice is nearly high-GI as white rice. Chickpea pasta is fine. Best, Shann

  9. Hi just starting with the milk I do not eat bread, but like crispbread eg ryvita are they ok and I like a couple of oat biscuits at supper time e.g. Hobnobs what do you suggest

    1. Hi Lynne – Ryvita are ok. Hobnobs you should avoid, as they are full of sugar! ; ( Best, Shann

  10. When I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease about 50 years ago, I was advised to avoid milk. More recently, since lactofree cow’s milk has been available in the shops, I have started using it with no obvious ill effects. Is there something else bad about cow’s milk apart from the lactose? I believe goat’s milk does contain less lactose than cow’s milk, but it is not lactofree. I have been using goat’s butter for many years and also cheese made from sheep or goat’s milk. What would you advise me to do?

  11. I’m experimenting with buckwheat flour to make pizza dough, can I use yeast to leaven it? I am really enjoying the kefir and the effect it’s having on my skin!

    1. Hi Sophie – So glad you’re enjoying the kefir and the effect it’s having on your skin! ; ) Yes, you can use yeast to leaven the dough, let me know how it works – Best, Shann

  12. Hi Shann, many thanks for all the helpful information. As I’ve suffered lots of attacks of diverticulitis, I’m taking my “Kefirisation” very seriously. The only problems for me is not having bread, so I was delighted to hear about Sorghum flour and look forward to seeing your bread recipe.
    In response to a few of your readers’ comments, perhaps the following will be helpful.
    1. Two gastroenterologists have told me that they had operated on diverticula for 30 odd years and never seen a seed or pip in one, and advised me to continue to eat food containing them.
    2. I like pasta and was very pleased to find, in Waitrose, that you can buy gluten free red lentil pasta and green pea pasta, both only contain lentil and peas.
    I have a question of my own. I’ve started making my own goats milk yoghourt but it is very runny. Apparently, it becomes nice and thick if you add milk powder – the question is, where does one get goats milk powder from. I googled it but was not successful in being able to order any, although it appeared that it was produced.
    Thanks so much for all your encouragement, help and advice.

    1. Hi Annie – Great info, thanks for contributing and helping out your fellow kefirisers! Good luck and keep up the good work – ; ) Best, Shann

  13. Hi, just started kefirising today 🙂 I will also be trying to cut out the bad grains and potatoes. Should I also avoid using wheat flour to make gravy and sauces? what would be a good replacement?
    Is sweet potato a good replacement rather than white potato? a Sunday dinner won’t be the same without some sort of potato 🙁

    1. Hi Gemma – Never fear, the news is not all bad! ; ) You can have new potatoes and sweet potatoes with your roast dinner. Cornstarch is probably the most readily available ingredient to sub in for flour in your gluten-free gravy—and you probably already have it in your pantry. The only catch is you’ll skip the roux-making process. Once you’ve deglazed your roasting pan and added stock, transfer about 1 cup stock mixture to a medium bowl. Whisk in cornstarch until smooth (you’ll need 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch for every cup of gravy base in the pan). Return slurry to gravy base in roasting pan and whisk over medium-low heat until thickened and smooth. Let me know how you get on! x Shann

  14. Hi Shann

    I feel a cookery book coming on !! l will be your first customer!
    I have cooked quinoa in water and found it tasteless. Its tastier with low sodium stock and herbs. Will try buckwheat next
    Best wishes

    1. Great stuff Ros, let me know how you get on – I do indeed feel a cookery book simmering, and I want all the kefirisers to contribute their favourite recipes!x

  15. My teenage girls and I are loving this. We are all Kefir nuts. Forget gadgets, cooking and eating for health has become the no. 1 hobby around here. This fabulously succinct advice is now on my cupboard door as a permanent reminder. Thanks Shann

    PS Despite being a big fan of your goat kefir, what are your thoughts on Kefir made with organic cows milk.

    1. Hi Tania – Fab, thanks for the enthusiasm Tania, please let me know any recipes that particularly work for you! We’re collecting them for the upcoming cookery book. I wouldn’t touch kefir made with cows milk – it’s a nasty allergen and trigger for a lot of autoimmune probolems. Best, Shann

  16. Not sure if my first message went. Could you provide any recipe idea’s with these alternative grains please. Would be helpful particularly in convincing the husband! Thank you so much

    1. Hi Rachael – Will be putting recipes in future posts, stay tuned! ; ) Thanks for getting in touch -x

  17. This was so helpful I have been gluten free since Last October and never felt better. I sleep better, am not bloated, my aches and pains have gone and I have so much more energy. At the same time I cut out potatoes. I still have the occasional brown rice. I have fallen in love with buckwheat. I make it into porridge and pancakes. Quinoa is also very tasty and versatile. I will certainly be trying the other grains.

    1. Hi Margy – Thanks for getting in touch, great to hear you’ve been having such a good experience with good grains – let me know how you get on! ; ) Best, Shann

  18. Hi, I have diaverticulitus, and have read to avoid seeds and nuts, most of the things you suggest are seeds or seed based, any ideas, as to how I can over come this.
    Many Thanks

    1. Hi Mandy – Try working with sorghum flour – nice and smooth. Kefir of course is the best thing for diverticulitis! Best, Shann

  19. Great post Shann, very informative. I only eat quinoa or buckwheat (which aren’t grains anyway), and have cauliflour rice instead of white rice (biriyani made with that is awesome!). I really don’t miss grains at all. Mind you I have been gluten free for years so am used to experimenting 😀.
    Love what you’re doing.

    1. Thanks Roni – sounds like you’re well ahead of the curve with your diet, keep up the good work! Glad you’re enoying the posts – Best, Shann

    1. Hi Katie – I’m using sorhgum flour these days, with 1 TBSP of potato starch added in. Delicious flour, and is my favourite guilt-free flour so far! Will be putting up a post soon with a recipe – ; )

  20. Hi Shann
    Thanks for the grains info., I will try this and hopefully stop the bready snacks.
    Would you mind if I used your article about wheat to add to my Healthy Mind & Body section on my wife’s counselling website?

    1. Hi John – Thanks for the info! Yes, feel free to post my article on your wife’s counselling website – Best, Shann

    1. Gluten-free is good, but it also needs to be low-GI! You need to check the glycemic index of the product involved. Best, Shann

  21. Interesting. I have a question though. In your ‘how to kefirise’ article you state that one should remove all cow products. Would this also apply to RAW milk? I get fresh (never older than 48h) unpasteurised and unhomohensied milk. I’ve seen plenty of evidence that RAW cows milk also contains health gut bacteria!? Thoughts!?

    1. Hi Greg – Yes, we advise that you remove all cow dairy including raw. It is a harmful allergen for most people and trigger for many autoimmine conditions including eczema. Best, Shann

    1. Hi Andrew – Spelt contains glutens and should not be eaten by anyone who is gluten-sensitive or has celiac disease. Best, Shann

  22. Thanks for that – excellent information as I have just started drinking kefir and love it but of course its only as good as the other food you put into your body. All the grains youI introduce will support it. So yes, thanks XX

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *