When we are interested in eating for optimal health, we need to seriously assess several food areas, one of those being grains. Grains have played an important role in human civilization for roughly the past 10,000 years, but the quality and amount that we have been eating of them, especially over the last 100 years or so, is destructive to our health. When it comes specifically to bread, it is hard to find any bread in the grocery store today that is worthy of being called “healthy”. Most are composed partly or entirely out of refined grains, which wreak havoc on our sugar levels and weight, causing nutritional imbalances and poor health in general. The more “whole grain” based options still each have various problems of their own.
This is why my recommendation (if we are interested in optimal health) is first a major reduction of all grain products, specifically flour products. Secondly, we should be consuming grain products only in their most natural, whole and/or sprouted form. It is not a bad idea either to avoid all conventional wheat, regardless if we can tolerate gluten or not.
To date, I have found less than a handful of companies who can provide a “bread” product that meets my optimal health standards. One of those is the company Food For Life. In a previous review I shared with you about their organic, sprouted grain Ezekiel bread, and today I wish to share with you about their organic, sprouted grain Ezekiel burger buns.
Ezekiel bread products are named so after an ancient recipe from the Bible (Ezekiel 4:9). It is flour-less and instead uses sprouted, whole grains and legumes. Why is this important? We know today that white flour is stripped of its natural nutrients and acts like sugar in our body, thus any breads based on this are nutritionally inadequate. Whole flour is definitely a much better step up, but all flour, due to its large surface is still digested more like sugar than complex carbohydrates. Not to mention, the chemical processing that most flour undergoes today has to be accounted for too.
Food For Life is a company that started over 40 years ago in California. Today, it has grown to serve North America with its numerous bread and grain products. What differentiates Food For Life from other such companies is their commitment to sprouted grains. For optimal health, it is best to ingest only whole, sprouted grains. In such form, people have noticed easier digestion of grains and decreased, if not altogether absent allergies or intolerances. Sprouted grains avoid the use of flours, which are digested more like simple sugars, and increase our chances of eating real, living food. Food for Life explains that their products are made from the finest natural ingredients—many of which are organic—offering optimum nutrition and maximum taste. They also state that no conditioners, additives, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives are ever used in any of their products.
My Experience with the Burger Buns
On a recent trip to one of the local grocery stores, as I often like to do I stopped by the frozen health food section to see what new products they were carrying. To my surprise and happiness I saw that they started carrying Food For Life’s Organic Ezekiel bread, but also something else caught my eye. They also had Food For Life’s Organic Ezekiel burger buns. Now normally this would not excite me much, as I have never been a fan of burgers (whether I ate meat in the past, or not) or in need of buns really. But having enjoyed making the odd chickpea and bean patties over the past year, I thought it would be great to try them.
Food for Life produces the original sprouted grain buns, and a sesame variety. They also have sprouted grain hot dog buns, although it defeats the purpose of a healthy bun if one is going to eat hot dogs in them. If one is interested in the bun products, it is best to use them with other optimally healthy foods, like various vegetables (roasted or raw), hummus, or homemade bean burgers, and such.
In terms of ingredients, the buns are even more perfect than the bread. They are completely flour-less, organic and made with whole, sprouted grains and beans. What makes them better than the bread is that they contain no added gluten. Nutritionally, the only way this can get better was if the product was not subjected to high heat. Their only downfall is that they will not be suitable for those who cannot tolerate gluten, due to the wheat, spelt and barley used. And although I do recommend staying generally wheat-free, small amounts, especially of organic wheat should not pose any problems for those of us who can digest gluten.
In terms of nutritional value, the buns offer a complete protein, with a whopping 9 grams per bun! They do not contain any added oils or any harmful fats, or sugars. They are rich in fiber, potassium and good on the sodium. They also offer a great amount of B vitamins and various minerals (see nutritional profile below).
In terms of taste, the buns taste great. If you are coming off of white buns, I have no idea how they will taste to you, but to me they have a rich flavor, without being sweet or bitter.
In terms of usability, the buns hold together very well. Their texture seems excellent too without being too moist and sticky, or too dry and crumbly. They can be considered a perfect bun product for those who are looking for optimally healthy buns. (Pictured on the right is the Ezekiel bun with a homemade chickpea burger; homemade pickles; organic lettuce, tomato, avocado; and homemade vegan mayonnaise from cashews.)
My only negative comment about them is their thickness, or better put, denseness. For those used to eating buns, this will probably be a positive attribute as the buns are normal-sized (not too big, not too small) and hardy. For me, having very little bread in my diet today, and no buns or any such products, it is just too much dense “bready” material. No matter how healthy it may appear, it can make for a heavy meal. So while I probably won’t mind having some of these a few times per year, as part of a homemade bean burger, I would not have these on any regular basis. Keep in mind too that 1 bun is not equivalent to 1 slice of bread, but rather closer to more than 2 slices of bread in terms of volume, calories, nutrients, etc.
Another aspect to keep in mind when looking for these buns, is that these buns and similar bread products are almost always in the freezers, as they contain all natural ingredients with no preservatives. This ensures they always reach you at their best, and taste great naturally thawed or warmed in a toaster oven. They should therefore be kept in a freezer or fridge at all times.
In the end, I think it is most valuable to know that products like these exist today, and can be fairly easy to find throughout North America. If your health food or grocery store is not carrying them, I always recommend talking to the managers about it. The more they hear from people who want healthy options, the more likely they are to carry more nutritionally valuable options.
These buns definitely capture the best of whole grains in every aspect. What else can be useful about them is that even if we ourselves don’t eat them, it can be useful to have for guests so that we are not sacrificing our nutritional standards in what we serve to others.
Of course like with the Exekiel bread, the price is a bit more than a typical bag of buns. However as with the bread, may this inspire us to choose quality over quantity, thereby reducing our reliance on bread products altogether.
- Organic Sprouted Grains (wheat, barley, millet)
- Organic Malted Barley
- Organic Sprouted Lentils
- Organic Sprouted Soybeans
- Organic Sprouted Spelt
- Filtered Water
- Sea Salt
Nutritional Information (per 1 bun – 76g serving)
- Calories = 170
- Fat = 1.5g
- Saturated Fat = 0g
- Trans Fat = 0g
- Cholesterol = 0g
- Sodium = 170g
- Potassium = 180g
- Carbohydrate = 34g
- Sugar = 0g
- Fiber = 3g
- Protein = 9g
Vitamins & Minerals
- Iron = 10%
- Zinc = 8%
- Magnesium = 15%
- Phosphorus = 15%
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) = 20%
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) = 6%
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin) = 6%
- Vitamin B6 = 8%
The bread comes in a plastic bag, with 6 buns per package, totaling 454g.
Price (as of this posting)
- Around $4 – 6 US/CAD per 6 pack of buns at major health food and grocery stores
- $4.05 US each, as part of a 6 pack (of 6 buns) for $24.30 from Food For Life
- Widely available at health food stores across Canada & US
- To find a store near you, check the store finder
- Excellent ingredients
- Organic ingredients
- Nutritional benefits of real, whole grains
- Enhanced nutritional benefits due to sprouting
- Excellent nutritional value
- Excellent taste
- Good texture
- No flour used
- No preservatives
- No added colors or flavors
- No added fats or sugars
- Vegan & vegetarian friendly
- Fairly available
- Fair price
- Not suitable for people with gluten and/or soy intolerance