Bread – it is the substance that has been at the basis of life for thousands of years. It has infiltrated various cultural and even religious traditions for years. People for generations have depended on bread as a basic food source and part of life. Yet, as with so many things, today’s bread is far from a nutritious food or one that should be depended on as part of a regular, optimally healthy diet. In fact, the only bread that I am comfortable to consider for optimal health today, is a bread known as Ezekiel bread.
Ezekiel bread is 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. Most whole grain breads are made of whole wheat flour, which has many of its own problems and they contain various unhealthy additive ingredients, like sugars and hydrogenated oils. Either way, upon detailed analysis one can find that over 90% of the average grocery store’s breads are highly processed foods. There is a tiny number of higher quality breads, made of different grains, organic and clean ingredients, but these are few and far between.
Ezekiel bread is made by several companies out there. To date I have found two. One is ShaSha Bread Company – a small company in Ontario, Canada dedicated to nutritional excellence. The other company is Food For Life; a well known company in the natural health food circles throughout North America.
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.
To date I have had a chance to try each of Food For Life’s Ezekiel breads, which include: regular, sesame, cinnamon-raisin and regular low-sodium. I have found all of them to be wonderful in terms of taste, texture and ingredients, but my favorite and most commonly purchased is the sesame variety, which this review will be based on.
In terms of ingredients, the bread is pretty much perfect, being completely flour-less and made with whole, sprouted grains and beans. It is also made from organic ingredients. Nutritionally, the only way this can get better is if the product was not subjected to high heat. Of course there can always be room for improvement and in the case of this bread I would like to see the removal of free gluten as an ingredient. Even though I can digest gluten just fine, and this gluten comes from organic ingredients, I believe we have enough data to show that high gluten diets are not conducive to our intestinal and overall health.
In terms of nutritional value, the bread offers a complete protein, no harmful fats, fiber, no sugars, low-sodium and nice potassium amount. It also offers a fair amount of various vitamins and minerals (see nutritional profile below).
In terms of taste, the bread is delicious! Of course this is based on my personal taste buds. However, anyone I had try the bread felt the same way. It has a fresh nutty taste, with no sweet or bitter tastes.
In terms of usability, the bread also rates extremely well. It is not too hard, spongy, dry, or crumbly. It has an excellent texture and does well with anything as smooth as hummus spread on it, to something tougher like a nut butter spread on it. The bread freezes really well and always comes out fresh upon thawing. I normally keep any loaves I have frozen, and use only what I need at any given time that I choose to eat bread.
In the end, if I am going to eat bread or recommend bread for others to eat, it will pretty much only be Ezekiel bread. Food For Life has done a great job with this product and as long as you do not require a gluten-free product, I highly recommend this bread if you are choosing to eat bread, as it can be considered optimally healthy.
Yes, a few may cringe a bit at the price, but given the quality of the ingredients, we cannot expect it to cost as little as nutritionally-deficient, highly processed breads. My advice with respect to the price is lower your reliance on bread period. Then, when you do choose to eat it, invest in the best possible product for your health. Alternatively you can also look at companies in your area that may be providing all natural Ezekiel bread. Enjoy!
Ingredients (Sesame variety)
- Organic Sprouted Grains (wheat, barley, millet)
- Filtered Water
- Organic Malted Barley
- Organic Sprouted Lentils
- Organic Sprouted Soybeans
- Organic Sprouted Spelt
- Fresh Yeast
- Organic Wheat Gluten
- Sea Salt
- Organic Unhulled Sesame Seeds
(per 1 slice – 34g serving of Sesame variety)
- Calories = 80
- Fat = 0.5g
- Saturated Fat = 0g
- Trans Fat = 0g
- Cholesterol = 0g
- Sodium = 80g
- Potassium = 75g
- Carbohydrate = 14g
- Sugar = 0g
- Fiber = 3g
- Protein = 4g
Vitamins & Minerals
- Iron = 4%
- Zinc = 4%
- Magnesium = 6%
- Phosphorus = 8%
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) = 8%
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) = 2%
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin) = 6%
- Vitamin B6 = 4%
The bread comes as a typical loaf that is pre-sliced. It is 680g. It comes in a plastic bag, and is double bagged in a sealed plastic package inside for maximum freshness.
Price (as of this posting)
- Around $5-$7 US/CAD per loaf at health food, grocery & online stores
- $4.74 US each, as part of a 6 pack for $28.44 from Food For Life
- Widely available at natural health food stores across Canada & US, like Whole Foods
- To find a store near you, check the store finder
- Excellent ingredients
- Organic ingredients
- Flour-less bread
- Nutritional benefits of real, whole grains
- Excellent nutritional value
- Excellent taste
- Vegan & vegetarian friendly
- Diabetic friendly
- No added colors or flavors
- Fairly available
- Contains gluten as an added ingredient
- Not suitable for people with gluten and/or soy intolerance