This Tortilla Looks Like A Regular Tortilla, But It’s Completely Different
When you’re Latino, food seems to be the center of every family gathering. But no matter how much family and food go hand in hand, everything changes when you have a disease that overwhelmingly restricts your diet.
Veronica Garza grew up battling multiple symptoms that affected her skin, muscles, kidneys. It seemed like almost everything she ate had a negative effect on her.
“For me, the obvious symptoms were icky joints, constantly feeling tired, rashes on my body, so I couldn’t be out in the sun without developing rashes…and just this general inflammation. I was even having issues with my kidneys. At one point the doctor was telling me that because I was so young, if it kept going in the same direction, I would probably end up on dialysis,” Veronica Garza told mitú.
After being diagnosed with both lupus and ITP, Veronica knew she had to make a serious change in her lifestyle, starting with her eating habits.
But she wasn’t alone. Her family also joined this change to make the transition easier for Veronica.
“I think we all understood that it’s easier to do things together, to be successful together, so I never had [the issue of] showing up to family gatherings and feeling like I was left out,” she said.
Even though Veronica had the support of her family, it was still difficult having to miss out on such a huge part of her culture – the food. So she decided it was time to experiment in the kitchen.
“We would get together and we would still try to eat tacos; we would just wrap fajitas in a piece of lettuce instead. That was okay for a while, but we did miss the foods that we had grew up eating, which led me to come up with my first tortilla, which was the almond flour tortilla,” Veronica told mitú.
After coming up with the grain-free, almond flour tortilla, there was only one thing that worried Veronica, and that was: what would her family think about these non-traditional tortillas?
“It took a little while. At first it was just me testing it out, eating it by myself, trying to feel comfortable about it. Then I started putting them on the table for people to try them without really saying much about it”, Veronica told mitú.
“It took my dad a little while to even attempt to eat the tortillas. He just wasn’t having it. But as soon as he did have them, they became a part of his diet. Now they’re the only tortillas he will eat,” Veronica added.
It was with her family’s support that Veronica and her brother Miguel Garza took it upon themselves to share not only their tortilla recipe, but their story as well. That’s when they founded their company: Siete Family Foods.
“One of our goals is to provide education and knowledge as to how we can remove processed food from our diets and include more real whole foods. Along the way it’s never really been like, ‘Oh awesome, we’re starting this business.’ It’s really been more about, ‘We have something that we really want to share with you.’ There’s no exciting entrepreneurial background. We do things together as a family and we just happened to be blessed to be able to share some of our passions with other people,” Miguel told mitú.
Whether it’s because of lupus, ITP, or another health condition that requires strict dietary restriction, Miguel and Veronica want to be able to offer a healthy but delicious food alternative.
“What we’re trying to do is create a product for people that may not have been able to enjoy it because of specific dietary restrictions. We want to encounter people that have a similar story to us. Hopefully this product allows them to experience some of the nostalgia of growing up with that culturally significant tortilla and still be able to enjoy it with family and friends,” said Miguel.
Despite the rollercoaster of running a business, Miguel and Veronica couldn’t be happier about how much their food products have changed other people’s lives.
“There are days when you wake up and it’s super exciting that you get to share something with people across the country, and there are also days that you just have a massive headache because of the stress of being involved in the business. It’s both exciting and scary at the same time. You wake up every day and just hope to do your best. I think one of the biggest hopes is that we’re making a difference beyond selling tortillas and tortilla chips – that we’re actually making an impact in people’s lives,” Miguel told mitú.
Ultimately, Siete Family Foods has been a blessing for the Garza family, and they hope to continue distributing food products that accommodate different autoimmune diseases across the country.
Veronica told mitú, “My brother had said that these tortillas are life changing to a lot of people, and that is something that I’m really proud of. It’s something that makes me happy every time. We get emails or messages from people and they tell us that the chips or the tortillas have changed their lives.”
From the kitchen, to the shelves of stores across the country, Siete Family Foods continues to grow, and the Garza family couldn’t be more proud.
“It’s definitely humbling. I know I make sure to stop by at a natural foods grocery store so that I can see our products on the shelves and take a picture. It’s still very exciting everywhere I go. There are people that I’ve never even met who are enjoying the products that we make,” Veronica said.
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