As more people awaken to the importance of natural, wholesome, plant-based nutrition, we are seeing an increase in food products that can help make our journey easier. Over the last several decades the intolerance to gluten in the population has grown significantly. The National Foundation For Celiac Awareness reports latest statistics at 1 in every 133 people having celiac disease—the inability to digest gluten. This is staggering considering that decades ago, this was almost unheard of, with numbers like 1 in a thousand or more. Clearly something is happening either to our bodies or our grains, in why we can no longer synthesize gluten properly.
Today, it is not only people who cannot tolerate gluten, or those that simply have a sensitivity to it that are forgoing eating gluten-based products, especially wheat-based products. More people in our population are understanding that something is not right with our grains—this is especially true for wheat—and are choosing gluten-free or wheat-free diets. As I researched this over the years, my theories proved true that there is something different about modern wheat compared to ancient wheat. From various hybridization techniques and toxic pesticide use on wheat to problems with storage and processing of wheat.
In this review, I will share with you about a company that specializes in making grain products that are optimally healthy, pure, and digestible. They have various organic and wheat-free and gluten-free options. The one I will share with you about in this review is their Brown Rice Tortillas.
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 intolerance. 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.
In terms of ingredients, the tortillas are pretty straightforward and simple, with no obvious, dangerous additives. The worst ingredient is xanthan cellulose, which although it is not a naturally occurring substance, is a bacterially fermented polysaccharide. Its has been established as safe, but its safety really depends on what it is derived from. Most typically it comes from corn, wheat or soy. Naturally, I would assume gluten-free products will contain gluten-free xanthan cellulose.
In terms of nutritional value, we have to be aware that this is a processed food product. Although there are various levels of food processing from minimal to extreme, this still isn’t food in its most natural state. The sodium level fares well, being only slightly above a 1 to 1 ratio with the calories (goal is to have sodium the same or lower than calories for a most optimal sodium level in the diet). There are no saturated or trans fats, and being a plant product it is naturally cholesterol free. There is a good range of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.
In terms of taste, the tortillas taste best when warmed or toasted. I found their taste rather lacking when simply used as is. They can be a bit tough to chew also.
In terms of usability, this is where the product has various shortcomings. I love making various vegetable wraps whenever I am traveling or must eat outside of the house, however doing so with this product was painful to say the least. The product is very delicate, crumbles and breaks up too easily to use it for wrap purposes. Even when I did manage to wrap it in the morning before an outing, by the time it came to lunch, the wrap was all cracked and broken exposing the insides. This made it impossible to hold or handle, making for a very messy meal. So not to discount the product entirely, as it can have some great value, it is good for those who choose to eat cheese and make something like quesadillas. It is also good to toast on its own, and break up into pieces, and use for dipping like one would with a tortilla chip.
In the end, as much as I love Food For Life (especially their breads), I am not too crazy about this product. Yes, it can suffice depending on your needs, and it provides those who really must have gluten-free options, another option, but overall it is not a product I can give high acclaim to. Some may think that if one needs gluten-free, why not just go for corn tortillas. However today, given that corn is one of the top 5 genetically modified foods, it would necessitate finding organic corn tortillas, which is no easy task. Plus, some people just do not enjoy the taste of corn tortillas.
If you wish to try it, it definitely cannot hurt, as long as your expectations are managed when it comes to this product. Will I buy it again? Perhaps, if I am traveling and stuck for healthy food options, but I would only use it in pieces, rather than attempting to makes wraps with it ever again.
- Whole Brown Rice Flour
- Filtered Water
- Tapioca Flour
- Safflower Oil
- Rice Bran
- Xanthan Cellulose
- Sea Salt
The brown rice tortillas come in a plastic, resealable bag with 6 per package. The package contents are 340 g, with about 56.6 g per tortilla.
Price (as of this posting)
- Around $3 to $5US/CAD per package at health food, grocery & online stores
- $3.37US per package, as part of a 12 pack for $40.44 from Food For Life
- $3.49US per package from Gluten-Free Mall
- Widely available at select grocery and health food stores across Canada and the US
- To find a store near you, check the store finder
- Great ingredients
- Vegan & vegetarian friendly
- No added colors or flavors
- Good nutritional value
- Good price
- Easily available
- Hard to use as wraps, as the product breaks up easily