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3 Editorial 4 Glühwein 4 Gluten Free Madrid 5 News from CYE board 6 Certify Or Advise 7 Coeliac Disease & Military Service 8 Military Service Norway 9 Military Malta 10 GF Wheat 11 Glutenfree in Romania 13 New year’s eve in Morocco

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Content

M asthead On the cover: Winter mountain road Production Coordinators: Luca Pocher, María Van Der Hofstadt Rovira Designers: Marvin Müller, Daniel Grima, James Grima Beat the Wheat published quarterly by the coeliac youth of Europe Check www.cyeweb.eu for updates.

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Editorial Hello readers!

This is the 17th issue of Beat the Wheat and it’s the fourth edited by this editorial staff. Our aim this time was to talk about some curious and important themes, such as the condition of coeliac people in the military, the difference between certifying products and advising restaurants and the scientific research aimed at producing gluten free wheat.

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We’re in the middle of wintertime, but we hope you are still eager to hear about our news from all over Europe. It’s not always easy to find stories to publish, but once again we tried to collect articles from different countries, warm places included, so get ready to dream about next summer!

Romania and Madrid. Check them to find out how is gluten free life in these places. We remind you that we’re happy to publish your articles if you’re interested in sharing your experiences with our gluten free community. We’d also be happy to receive your ideas to find new arguments and write articles about them. You just need to send an email to editors. beat.the.wheat@gmail.com with all your suggestions.

We wish you an amazing 2018! As always, we want to share with you some personal experiences from Your editorial team. young coeliac people. In this issue Luca and María we have stories from Morocco,

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Glühwein

Gluten Free Madrid

In Italy it’s called Vin Brulè, in France they name it Vin Chaud, in Germany and Austria Glühwein, its English name is Mulled Wine. Every country has its own definition, but the beverage is more or less the same. From Northern Europe to the Alps when winter comes it’s traditional to drink this tasty mix of red wine, sugar and spices. In the course of the time they invented many different varieties of Glühwein, made with white wine, cider or juice. In this recipe, however, you can find the most classic version.

Ingredients for 4

people

ine (better the w d re f o l m 0 5 7 • lühwein!) G e th r e tt e b , ty li a qu • 2 spoons of sugakr • 1 cinnamon stic • 5 cloves • ¼ of orange peel

Last November I had the pleasure of spending a weekend in Madrid, which is not only a beautiful city to visit, but also a great place to eat gluten free. The first evening we went to Taberna La Concha (Calle Cava Baja, 7) at La Latina neighbourhood, where on Sunday morning you can find the rastro and where we ate gluten free tapas, toasts and meatballs.

The following day we had breakfast at the Celiacoteca (Calle de Preparation Eraso, 3), one of the best Pour the wine into a pot and cook gluten free bakeries I ever it together with the sugar, the visited. It’s not very close spices and the orange peel. Turn to the city centre, but you off the fire just before the boiling can get there quite easpoint (the Glühwein should never ily with the metro (Metboil!). ro stop: Diego de Leon, many different metro When you serve it make sure to re- lines stop there), so you move the cloves and the cinnamon shouldn’t miss it. stick. You should drink it in a cup, rather than in a glass.

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After walking at the Retiro Park and enjoying the city, at lunch we went to Celicioso (Calle del Barquillo, 19) where everything is gluten free. In this shop they also have salty options, so we ate a gluten free sandwich, but they have a nice selection of gluten free sweets too. Nowaday It’s a small chain, so they have other shops in Madrid and in other Spanish cities. If you're still hungry and you’d like to find gluten free "churros", you can go to Maestro Churrero (Plaza de Jacinto Benavente, 2), a café in the neighbourhood of Lavapiés (quite close of the city centre) specialized in this traditional Spanish sweet. They have a great hot chocolate that you can enjoy especially now with the cold weather.


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Hi young coeliacs!

Beatriz, James and I are just back from Madrid, where we held our first meeting of the year 2017-2018. For a start, a big THANK YOU to María and FACE, for hosting us during the stay! We discussed and proceeded in many fields of CYE’s activities. First, we If you travel to Madrid, or to Spain defined terms and conditions, in general, I recommend you to objectives, dates and prizes for visit the website of the Spanish Co- the first CYE competition – as you eliac Society, FACE. There you can might remember, making compefind a list of the food chains that titions was approved as this year’s offer gluten free food all over the Annual Project in the Belgrade country. Many famous brands as assembly. We aimed at making it as Mc Donald's, KFC or Telepizza have simple as possible, hoping to reach gluten free options in Spain. as much people as possible so they can learn about the CYE and join In order to find a list of the cafés youth activities! and restaurants in a particular Spanish city you need to visit the We created a lot of social media website and get in touch with the material: follow local regional society, but you can the CYE Facealso ask for a travel license of the book page to app FACEmóvil. Otherwise just ask discover them all, the Spanish Youth Group, FACEjo- day after day. We ven will be happy to help you! also uploaded a new page “Tips Luca Pocher for Summercamp” on the CYE website. It should help future candidates

who are interested in hosting this summer event, as well as national summer/winter camp organizers. We also uploaded the first video made in the Belgrade conference on the CYE website.

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The last day as a goodbye we went to La Buha (Plaza de la Cebada 10) in the quarter of La Latina to eat the Tortilla de patatas, a common dish in the city. It’s really tasty, but make sure to arrive there with an empty stomach, otherwise you won’t be able to finish it!

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News from CYE board

It is aimed at raising awareness on coeliac disease, letting people understand how it feels to be a coeliac. Why not having a look at it? Finally, we proceeded with usual CYE tasks: we reviewed the main schedule and objectives for the present year, got updated on the ongoing projects and planned to improve relationship with missing countries. Last but not least, being in Madrid with a “local” was a great chance to make some typical Spanish youth life: we tried tapas, local cervezas, sangria, vermouth and enjoyed the city all filled of lights and Christmas spirit! The CYE Youth Committee

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Certify Or Advise What is the difference?

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Therefore, what is the practical difference what the work that the What's the meaning of a restaurant coeliac societies do? advised by a coeliac association? A product is certified when an auWhat is a certified product? ditor belonging to a certification It is important to know the mean- office accredited goes to the facilities of a company to check if it ing and identify the differences complies with the requirements that exist between the terms cerestablished in the Regulations of tify and advise. If these words are the European License System (ELS). used incorrectly, you can create After the annual audit, the certifyconfusion and send the wrong ing entity prepares a report and, in message. For this reason, coeliac associations consider it essential to cases where the result of the report is satisfactory, the Certificate establish a distinction between. is issued. According to the dictionary, the To obtain the certification this meanings of these words are as product must be properly packfollows: aged and labeled, therefore, before the launch of the product, all the information about it is reviewed by Certify the different coeliac associations 1. Ensure, affirm, take something who work with the cross grain for granted. symbol. 2. Obtain, by payment, a certificate or receipt by which the In addition, certification can be postal service is obliged to send a letter or a package to be sent to applied more easily to industrial products, since the manufacturing that destination. 3. A fact declared by a competent process is mechanical, food safety protocols are more rigid and the authority. Fix, point out with cerfinal product that reaches the containty. sumer does not suffer any kind of manipulation, once it leaves the Advise factory. 1. Give advice or opinion. 2. Take advice from the legal adviOn the other hand, many coeliac sor, or consult his opinion. 3. Said of one person: Take advice associations, through its Gluten Free Eating out Programs, are able from another, or illustrate with to advise establishments or restauyour opinion. rants chains, but never certifies.

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Why not? Because they establish collaboration agreements. Companies receive advice in training their employees, establishing protocols to avoid cross-contamination, or help to choose properly the ingredients to prepare suitable dishes for coeliacs. In this sense, the work of coeliac associations is to raise awareness of coeliac disease in the restaurants and catering sector, help by reviewing the products that will be used, and explain how food should be handled to avoid cross-contamination, so that the establishment offers safe gluten-free menus. But, neither coeliac associations can certify restaurants because they do not have a team of auditors that apply specific regulations. The agreements between the establishments and the coeliac associations are collaboration agreements, and although they give details of the obligations that both parts must comply with, are not comparable with the regulations that industries must comply with to produce certified products. In addition, the safety of the packaged products can never be compared to the dish that the coeliac guest receives at the table. Quality and Food Security Department FACE, Spain


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life conditions of people with coeliac disease have greatly improved and providing gluten free products is much cheaper than in the past. Now it seems necessary to change this regulation and allow coeliac people to join, if not the active military forces, at least the police and the gendarmerie.

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Ever since in the course of the last century the first diagnoses of coeliac disease were made, people affected with this condition faced, among many others, a serious problem when it came to service in the military. In many countries there was a compulsory military service and the first coeliac males who turned eighteen had to do it even if no gluten free diet was guaranteed.

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Coeliac Disease & Military Service

The determination of the coeliac societies to achieve this goal is strong, but at the moment the situation seems similar in all the main European countries, for example in Spain, France, Italy and Germany, and a step forward will require more time. This doesn’t change the fact that an important job career such as the one in the police shouldn’t be precluded to coeliac people anymore.

Through this link you can reach a summary (in ItalLuckily for the genera- ian language) of the situation in Italy, written by the tion who followed and Italian Coeliac Society after years of contacts with the thanks to the precious competent authorities. The safeguard of the work work of the European coeliac societies, the authorplace of the people who work for the military or the ities recognized the gravity of the situation and repolice and are diagnosed with coeliac disease was lieved coeliac men from compulsory service. At the the most important success during this negotiation: same time, but for a reason that at the time seemed http://www.celiachia.it/NORME/Norme.aspxreasonable, the voluntary military service was pre?SS=346&M=1382 cluded too. The police forces and – for the countries that have one – the gendarmeries, took similar provisions and stopped accepting people affected with coeliac disease. As soon as these measures were in act another grave problem came to the attention of the coeliac societies. What was going to happen to the people who were already working for the military forces? It’s not a small problem, as many people who had built a career were now facing the prospect of losing their job. Moreover, in the last years the

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Military Service Norway Gluten free in the military

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that I only got some bread and not a proper dinner. The food wasn’t 2014 was the first year that people very advanced and often tasted with coeliac disease could join the bad. The allergy food was placed in a corner away from the other food military in Norway. We talked to and it didn’t feel good to always Dennis Matoshi Bekkelund who stand out and eat different when was amongst the first coeliacs in Norway to spend a year in the mil- you usually prefer not to stand out too much in the beginning. We itary. He shares his experiences from a gluten free year as a guard were only two people eating gluten free out of approximately 400. soldier. But when I got into service the How was your time in the military? gluten free offer was much better. I was lucky and ended up in a camp I had a great time in the military. where they have apprentice chefs There were so many nice people, who are eager to learn and wants a great atmosphere and you got to make good food. We got great lots of new friends. It was a once food and they were really good in a lifetime experience. Everyat arranging allergy food. I think body gets treated the same way and people are no different except this camp, called Lutvann, should set the standard for all the other from their personality. camps as well. What expectations did you have Did you feel like you stood out when it came to being coeliac in compared to others because of the the military? I actually didn’t know that they just diet? recently started accepting coeliacs. Being a recruit you feel kind of left My expectations were quite high and I assumed they would try their out because of the food restricbest to make me feel comfortable tions but once I got to service it got way better and nobody cared and provide gluten free food, especially because of all the advertis- about allergies. People just didn’t talk about stuff like that which ing about unity and safety. felt nice as you often don’t want to stand out and just want to be How was the gluten free offer? It was a big difference in the gluten treated as everybody else. free food depending on where in Did you come across any challengthe military you were. On the recruiting, which is the first part ev- es in particular? erybody goes through it was pret- One of the biggest challenges ty bad. It happened several times were when we had field exercise. The field rations were often dried

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food in bags and not all of them were gluten free. I had to inform them about my diet several times and still didn’t always get gluten free food. You could end up going hungry, which doesn’t work very well when you are in activity. At some point I even had to eat normal food just to get some nutrition. Luckily I don’t react too bad when consuming gluten, but this is of course not something to recommend to a coeliac as it affects the body on the inside as well. It was just a last resort for me. What do you think the military should do to improve? They should have their own plan for those with allergy food and recommend what camps would be best for those who need dietetic. We who have coeliac disease are a recourse like everybody else and can contribute in the same way as everybody else as long as we’re on the right diet. Do you have any tips for people wanting to join the military? I would recommend to do some research before joining on which camps are good on gluten free food and where you’d like to go. I would also recommend bringing your own food for field exercises, just to be sure to get some food. You can ask the officers if they can inform in advance so you have time to prepare some food. And if they won’t do it, just complain to someone higher up in the system!


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I would also make sure that everybody working there, especially in the cafeteria, knows that you are coeliac, and if the don’t have experience with making gluten free food, say that you can help them with ideas and tips.

different food. Sooner or later everybody will stand out and you get to know each other based on personalities, then nobody are going to care that you need different food.

Finally I just want to say that you should not be afraid Enjoy your year in the military, to show who you are. Don’t be scared that people will it is an amazing year! think you are different just because you need

Military Malta Are there no European countries that admit coeliac people in the army? That’s not really true, as there is at least one place where it’s possible. The rather small military of the Republic of Malta (around 2000 active personnel) seems to have no problem to it.

Of course there weren’t a lot of cases in which this occurred, but an officer of the Maltese armed forces confirmed that coeliac disease isn’t considered a discriminant when applying for the voluntary military service (the country has no compulsory service). We can only hope that in the near future other countries will follow this example.

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GF Wheat

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“Gluten-free” wheat develop- The objective of the study, which ment without adverse effects lasted 90 days was evaluate the safety of wheat flour with gliadin on health.

Glutenfree in R

An Italian coeliac in Romania When you leave for a new experience abroad, and you are coeliac, reduction (called E82). 50 male one of the first questions you make and 50 female of rats were fed with is “will I find something to eat?” Gluten is a protein found in the seeds of many cereals (wheat, bar- doses of 1.42, 2.83 and 5.67 g / kg ley, rye, triticale and in some oats). / per day of the E82 transgenic line This was my main concern before leaving for Romania knowing that It represents 80% of the proteins in and a control group were used. I had to spend six months there. wheat and is composed of gliadin and glutenin (prolamines) that are So far the results have been satis- Now that I have already been here for some months, I can say that at responsible for providing elasticity factory, since no adverse effects the beginning most of my worst to the doughs but they also cause were observed when consuming this wheat in addition to providing expectations found a confirmation. diseases such as coeliac disease. nutritional and organoleptic prop- Actually, in the town where I live Researchers of Plant Biotechnology erties similar to the products that the information about celiac diswe currently find in the market. ease is so lacking that it is normal from the Sustainable Agriculture Transgenic wheat flour with a low for people to ask you “how much Institute of the Superior Council amount of gliadins showed a reare you coeliac?” of Scientific Investigations (CSIC) of Córdoba, Spain, have managed duced T cell response, good bread making properties, and good sen- Life in a small village in the counto reduce between 95% and 98% sory properties. tryside is never easy if you have of the quantity of gliadins of this a food intolerance or the coeliac transgenic wheat. We hope that the research in this disease; moreover, when you move field will progress in order to give from Italy to Cristuru Secuiesc, in The author of the article ‘Safety the heart of Transylvania, the situaevaluation of transgenic low-glia- more secure and nutritional option is even worse. Concerning the din wheat in Sprague Dawley rats: tions to the coeliac group. shopping in the market and the An alternative to the gluten-free Original article: ‘Safety evaluation chance to buy safe and certified diet with no sub-chronic adverse effects’ Francisco Barro, presented of transgenic low-gliadin wheat in food, the first impact was hard. the results on December 1st at the Sprague Dawley rats: An alternaSEEC Symposium (Coeliac Disease tive to the gluten free diet with no subchronic adverse effects’. Food Spanish Society) explaining the and Chemical Toxicology. safety of this “gluten-free” wheat and the new fronts that are presented to them to investigate, such as the role played by ATIS (amylase Marta García Espinosa, Quality and Food Security trypsin inhibitors) in coeliac disease and sensitivity to non-coeliac Department, FACE, Spain gluten.

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Romania

Firstly, I had no idea of what expecting of living here, but definitely, I was not ready to face the total absence of gluten free products in both the small and big markets in the town. In fact, the only certified products that I found were one type of chocolate, one of rice cakes and one of salami. Not the healthier and best food to eat for six months. Secondly, I had to face the cross contamination problem. Reading the ingredients of the products in the markets, I found out that the phrase “may contain gluten� was written on most of them. Even those that are supposed to be naturally gluten free, like yogurt, meat and spices contain this caption.

Concerning eating out gluten free, the matter is a bit different. In Romania, there is no project regarding certified restaurants, and most times the restaurateurs are not informed on this topic. In the town where I live and in those next to it, the best information you can find is the European allergen list that is usually in the menu. However, of course, it is not so easy. In fact, if there is the list, it is not automatic that the allergens are reported in the dishes of the menu, or that the waiter knows how to advise you. Differently, travelling in bigger Romanian cities, such as Bucharest, Brasov and Cluj Napoca, the situation changes. Thanks to the help of tourist websites, I was able to find many restaurants where I found gluten free dishes and waiters that are well informed about the celiac disease. In conclusion, after these two months I can say that the life for a coeliac is not easy as in other parts of Europe, but not impossible. I had to give up some of the comfort I had at home, like sweets or more sophisticated products, and follow a diet scarce of carbs and full of vegetables. By the way, there is always the mini-market where I can buy chocolate to cheer me up in the rainy days. Sara Orcalli Italy

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Fortunately, after a few weeks, I stepped into a small shop, which sells some basic gluten free products, and recently a new market with a greater variety of gluten free food opened.


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NEW YEAR’S EVE IN MOROCCO It is shocking that a country that is so close to ours can be so different... but I can tell you that according to my experience in Morocco over the last few years, I can only define it as the country of contrasts. A country that survives in its own disorder, a country without limits and where there are rules, but they do not comply them and, in contrast, very beautiful landscapes and full of kind people in some areas: chaotic traffic with pedestrians, animal draught vehicles, bicycles, motorcycles, tricycles, cars, trucks and buses circulating through non differentiated paths; electricity cuts between provinces; vehicles loaded like you would never have imagined; low lighting; dangerous roads; and corruption, smuggling and barter; but yes, amazing landscapes and a delicious food that make it worth venturing to get lost in the mountains and deserts to get to know its more rural culture. I guess this is the reason why I have come back every year since 2014!

This year we made a route of 4,640km by car from Barcelona to Lake Iriki, in the south of Morocco. On December 25th, I took the opportunity to visit Isabel and celebrate together a little piece of Christmas. The next day, after eating some pancakes with chocolate cream that would surely be the envy of all Americans, I went to Almeria via Valencia, where I met with

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Carles and Aurea, a couple I met the first time I went to Morocco. After the traditional stops along the way, we got to the Hotel Gran Fama in Almería. Right after leaving our luggage in our rooms, we went straight to the Restaurant La Piedra, an Argentine Grill with a gluten-free menu recommended by Bea from Face Joven. We had a suckling pig and a sirloin “to the stone” which were delicious and, for dessert, a caramel cake to top it off. We had to take advantage of eating such good food, since the chances of not eating anything like that in the next 12 days were very too high! 27th of December at 12 o’clock we had to be in the port of Almeria to board the ferry that took us to Nador so, after a good gluten free breakfast at the hotel (if you go there remember to inform them in advance so they can have everything ready for you), we went to buy the last supplies for the trip and we headed to the port. There, while waiting to board, we prepared some sandwiches for lunch, since the journey from Almería to Nador lasts 6 hours and. After arriving to Morocco and crossing the border - you never know if it will take 5 minutes or 4 hours, nor how much money it will cost to pass - we still had to drive 5h to Midelt, where we had the first hotel... we got there at 2am. I can’t tell you a lot about the hotel Taddart in Midelt because we have always arrived very late at night and have


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After sleeping very few hours but knowing we had 400km of track ahead to Erfoud, we could not get up very late. Unlike last year, this year was very cold... when we got up, we were at 3 or 4 degrees below zero and that day we did not go over 8 degrees, as we crossed the Atlas in a southeast direction to reach Erfoud, where we stayed in one of The hotels of the Xaluca Group. We made the route my friends called the “Monument Valley route”, passing through eroded places like those of the USA or the Bardenas Reales of Navarra (in Spain). The route was beautiful because as we climbed the Atlas we found areas with snow and, upon arriving at the top, we were rewarded with amazing views of the plains behind. Going down, we passed a couple of rural small villages – those made of adobe bricks, with the cattle walking around and without any kind of utilities - where we stopped to give clothes and toys for the children previously collected by Carles and Aurea in Spain. The next time we go down, apart from clothes and toys, we will also bring them pens and notebooks so they can go to school. The kids asked a lot for this material. If you remember, keep it in mind and bring some when travel there – of course, if you have space left in the suitcase. Before finishing the route and taking the road to go to the hotel, we saw the sunset from an Oasis... amazing. Sweet memories from other sunsets during 2016 came back to my mind! I missed her a lot!

We arrived at the Xaluca Hotel of Erfoud around 7.30pm. After a full day of driving, stopping for pictures, eating, resting and having very cold temperatures, a hotel like this is the perfect reward for a good rest. Hot water, heating and stable electricity is the minimum you need and, beyond all this, in this hotel there is an SPA for a better recovery. Also, if you go there in summer you will be able to enjoy the drinks from the bar inside the pool. Awesome! At dinnertime, the maitre came straight to greet my colleagues and when I showed him the gluten-free travel card, he told me what dishes the buffet could eat. In the buffets of these hotels the risk of cross-contamination is very small because each tray has its own spoon and the separation between trays is very big. And if you do not feel comfortable with it, just talk to the kitchen manager so they can prepare something apart for you. For sure they will do it without problem. If you go on your own, let them know in advance. The same if you are going on an organized trip, just make sure the guide is aware of your diet requirements. That day I ate a couple of dishes of roasted potatoes, chicken and beef like the one in the photo. Delicious!

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left very early in the morning. What I can tell you, and this applies to all hotels, is that you should bring your own food for breakfast - and if you go on route during the day, you should also bring something gluten free, just in case. For dinner, by showing the gluten-free travel card, you will not have any problem. At least, this is my experience.


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NEW YEAR’S EVE IN MOROCCO The next day I was surprised... the breakfast buffet is the dream of anyone who likes bakery. Of course I could not eat anything, so I took breakfast from my provisions. The maitre came to greet us and was alarmed when he saw that I had bread on my plate. He immediately told me that I could not eat that bread, as he thought I took it from the buffet. I thanked him for his attentions while I told him not to worry, that I had brought this bread from Spain. It’s nice to see how they remember and care about you. This does not happen in some European hotels... After checking out at the hotel, we headed to M’Hamid, a village in the south of Morocco, quite close to the border with Algeria. The target was to arrive at Lake Iriki the next day, since the previous year we couldn’t arrive because we lost a lot of time helping a broken vehicle that we found along the way and another that was stucked in the Erg Cheggaga dunes. That day we crossed huge plains before reaching a mountain range. While we were eating, a flock of camels passed by our side and, after several failed attempts to speak with the shepherd, we decided to continue to the hotel Chez La Pacha of M’Hamid. To our surprise, upon arrival, the hotel manager told us that we could only stay one of the two nights, as the second night they had the hotel full... and we wanted to take us to another hotel they had close by. Aurea got really angry, and explained to the manager that we had the booking confirmed since weeks and that he should moved the other group. They took it quite seriously because we got a couple of very nice rooms, especially theirs. While checking in, I gave the gluten-free travel card to the hotel manager and he told me not to worry. He scanned it and handed it

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to the cook. At dinner they already knew who I was and they had everything prepared for me: vegetable soup and roasted turkey with rice and potatoes. For dessert tangerines, they are very good down there! We had already completed the first part of the trip and, same as in previous years, I didn’t have any symptoms of having eaten gluten... That was good news! The first night at the Hotel Chez La Pacha, even with the heating up to the maximum all night, I could not get rid of the coldness... I started to feel the tiredness and the temperature changes that we suffered during the day, getting in and out of the car... besides, that night was quite cold. Thanks to the special dinner they prepared for me at the hotel, I got up full of energy and looking forward to arrive to the Lake Iriki which, to our surprise, was not at all like the maps showed...


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When we saw the panorama, we decided to finish the tour, which gave us a circular turn around the area going down south, passing very close to the border with Algeria, where we passed several passport controls by the Moroccan army, and then driving North towards Foum Zguid, where we turned East to return to M’Hamid. Like the previous year, the night caught us again and we did the last two hours of route with a very limited vision, crossing the sand rivers and dune banks, trying not to get stuck and not lose the track. That day we had a typical Moroccan dinner, with a soup of vegetables and a kefta tajine, a typical Moroccan dish that are a kind of beef or lamb meatballs made from minced meat and spices, which serve

with eggs and rice and vegetables as side dish. That day the hotel was packed, and we enjoyed dessert while the staff played typical songs to the sound of the tam-tams.

The next day, I had breakfast from my provisions again, because there was nothing gluten-free in the buffet. There was always the opportunity to ask them to prepare me an omelet or something apart, but I never asked for it. It was December 31 so we had to go back to Merzouga, where we would celebrate New Year’s Eve with some friends. Upon leaving the hotel, we went to Zagora by road and, after filling the tank, we started the route towards the Hostel Atlas

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When we left the hotel, we were looking for a gas station but... in that village there was none… well, it was full of posters of “Gazoil Essence”... so, after considering whether we would fill the tank with that liquid, finally we decided to buy 20 liters each... then, after passing a stretch of dunes, a large plain and a couple of sand rivers we arrived at the lake... or to what used to be the lake because it was dry... dry!? How can it be!?? The map was showing a lake the size of a sea! What a pitty...


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NEW YEAR’S EVE IN MOROCCO du Sable, just in front of the Erg Chebbi dunes. That day we crossed many villages and stopped to give lots of clothes and toys. It is impressive how they can survive in such arid lands... in fact, when we stopped to eat, we were quite far from the last village and, after a while, we realized there was a boy observing us about 200 meters away... although it seems that you are alone in the middle of the desert, I don’t know how, but someone always comes to sell you handcrafted souvenirs or simply to observe you... the rest of the route was quite difficult and we were about to celebrate the end of the year in the middle of the desert, since we got stuck twice in the dunes... luckily Carles was able to find an alternative route with his other navigator. The Erg Chebbi gave us an impressive welcome with the sunset, offering us a tricolor sky at the beginning - blue, pink and white - and then an orange-colored sky that highlighting the color of the dunes. It was beautiful!

piece of potato omelette she had prepared for the guests, and indicated me what other dishes of the buffet I was able to eat: kefta tajine, stewed veal, roasted potatoes, boiled eggs and sirloin. The sirloin that Alejandro brings every year from Alicante... So tender… OMG! Hosted by people like this, it is very easy to travel without gluten! As we took dinner quite early, we returned to the dining room until the time of the 12 bell strokes... yes yes, like in Spain, but in Morocco haha! In fact they do it in a very special way, since Ali el Cojo (the manager of the Hostel) play the strokes with a tam-tam and... haha! let’s say he does not really have the rythm, as he starts slow and finishes very fast. And, to top it up, the famous Valencian traca and the fireworks of Pepe. I love it!

After that, the Berber party! First with some typical dances and then a group of music play very Spanish songs to make people dance... actually, there are a lot of Spanish people down there at this time! When we got to the Hostel we had another warm As always, we enjoyed ourselves a lot with the rest welcome from our friends. This is the best of these of the people but, as we were totally exhausted, we trips! Once settled and dressed up with clean clothes, went to sleep at around at 2:30 pm. we met everyone in the lounge, where we stayed until they opened the dining room for the New Year’s Eve dinner. Sandra, who already knew about my special diet, went into the kitchen and separated me a

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W a race that passes through some Of the sections of the Paris Dakar – I finally got ill.

Like last year, we went to eat at El Secreto restaurant, The rest of the days were much more relaxed beat 81 Calle Alfonso VIII in Cuenca. It is a restaurant locause we did not make long routes. From the 1st to cated in one of the “skyscrapers” of the city, overlookthe 3rd of January we drove through the dunes of ing to the Cerro del Socorro. Very beautiful! And best the Erg Chebbi. This year they were perfect and, to of all, of course, is their gluten free menu. The indicabe true, every year we get better too! We celebrated tions of the allergens are very clear, and the food is January 2nd at Hasan’s Maison Acacias restaurant, the great. This time we had a foie gras tub with a freshly restaurant where I met Carles and Aurea, 2 years ago. roasted gluten free bread that was delicious and, as Usually they serve a Moroccan salad made with rice, main course, lamb chops with baked potatoes. As chopped vegetables, boiled eggs, olives and sweet we could didn’t have space left for the dessert in our corn but this year they had to prepare me a separate stomach, we went for a walk. For dinner, we fancied one, since they put pasta in it... the opposite, so we went for a gluten free menu at luckily I could eat the chicken skewers with those de- the McDonalds. licious French they cook. Right after And of course... The trip could not end better! For eating, we decided breakfast, we took Pancakes with chocolate cream to go back to the and her Parents prepared for me a delicious chocShelter because we olate brownie - the best I’ve ever eaten - that I took were freezing... that with me to Barcelona... day was way too cold... and the day Marta Espinosa Garcia after, while we were in the middle of the dunes, cheering up the participants of the Africa Eco Race -

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After the race, we went back to the hostel to eat and go to the Hotel Xaluca of Erfoud to spend my last night. They stayed a couple more days, but I wanted to go back to Spain a bit earlier to visit Isabel before returning to the work routine. On January 4th, we had breakfast together and I took the opportunity to prepare the sandwiches to eat along the way and to have dinner on the boat that would take me from Nador to Almeria. Truth is that I was very excited to see Isabel again and to give her the HAPPY NEW YEAR in person. And give us the Christmas gifts haha!


Beat the Wheat 17  

17th issue of Beat the Wheat, the Coeliac Youth of Europe's official bulletin

Beat the Wheat 17  

17th issue of Beat the Wheat, the Coeliac Youth of Europe's official bulletin

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