When I go and do kitchen inventories I will often find tortillas in the fridge. And a lot of the time they are whole wheat tortillas because people are trying to make a smart healthy purchase. Before going through the ingredients with them, I will ask a simple question, ” How many ingredients should be in a wheat tortilla?”. Most clients will answer along the lines of “flour, salt, oil and water”. We instinctively know more than we think about real food. Yet we trust too much in our food industry to provide use with food that not only won’t hurt us, but is also actual real food.
A common brand of tortillas I find are the Mission brand.
These are the ingredients in the Mission brand Whole Wheat Tortilla taken from their website.
Whole wheat flour, water, vegetable shortening (interesterified soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil and/or palm oil), contains 2% or less of: leavening (sodium bicarbonate, sodium aluminum sulfate, corn starch, monocalcium phosphate and/or sodium acid pyrophosphate, calcium sulfate), sugar, salt, preservatives (calcium propionate, sorbic acid and/or citric acid), cellulose gum, distilled monoglycerides, enzymes, wheat starch, calcium carbonate, antioxidants (tocopherols, ascorbic acid), dough conditioners (fumaric acid, sodium metabisulfite and/or mono- and diglycerides).
What about their Zesty Garlic Herb Tortillas? On top of the 4 main ingredients one should just have herbs added. Here is their list.
Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Vegetable Shortening (Interesterified Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil and/or Palm Oil), and contains 2% or less of: Seasoning (Sugar, Maltodextrin, Salt, Modified Corn Starch, Spices, Garlic, Red Bell Pepper, Tomato, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Onion, Toasted Sesame Oil), Salt, Sugar, Leavening (Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Aluminum Sulfate, Corn Starch, Monocalcium Phosphate and/or Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Calcium Sulfate), Preservatives (Calcium Propionate, Sorbic Acid and/or Citric Acid), Distilled Monoglycerides, Enzymes, Wheat Starch, Calcium Carbonate, Antioxidants (Tocopherols, Ascorbic Acid), Cellulose Gum, Dough Conditioners (Fumaric Acid, Sodium Metabisulfite and/or Mono- and Diglycerides).
This is NOT okay. Our foods should not look like this. Our foods do not need to look like this. We as consumers should not accept that we are told that it is okay buy these “foods” and feed them to our families. I’m not a scientist. I’m not a doctor. But it doesn’t take a PhD or MD to know that our food system is broken and that a tortilla needs 4 ingredients, not dozens. And the fat used in the tortillas above- vegetable shortening- doesn’t belong in any real food. My rant on industrial vegetable oils is for another post and when I have my editor around to keep me from using too many choice words to describe my anger of how horrible most vegetable oils are for us yet are in just about everything including almost every chip you will find in the grocery store, health food stores included!
Sure, the tortillas made from my recipe below won’t last as long as commercial tortillas. But guess what? That is a GOOD thing! Real food does not and should not last for multiple months unless it has been dehydrated, frozen, fermented or canned properly. That being said, I can make a batch of tortillas in 30 minutes and 10 of those minutes involve the dough resting so they are not time consuming at all. These also cost a fraction of what healthy or organic tortillas cost!
Reclaim your kitchen and save money!