(above is a picture of me and a bag of wheat, my host parents thought it would be funny if I posed with the food I was allergic to that is also found in most meals in Morocco)
Hubs, hubs everywhere! When we first arrived to Rabat, we went to a small traditional restaurant a few blocks away from our hotel. Like most restaurants, they brought out bread before the meal. I did not touch it because I am gluten intolerant and allergic to wheat. At the time I did not care for carrying my antihistamines with me. There were several gluten free options either way.
Forward to two weeks later, my host mother was very excited to show us the different types of pastries they serve during Ramadan. During tea time, she brought out 4 different types of breads. The first was the basic french bread that we had every single morning along with jam, laughing cow cheese and honey. The remaining three were a Moroccan flat bread, traditional handmade Rzeeza, and Chebakia, a delicious sesame cookie dipped in honey. My host mother laughed at me and said “Viri, get out your medicine, you have to try everything.” Of course I had to try everything, but after having sat there regretting my decision as my hands swelled up and the tiredness began to set in, I thought to myself, “this is why Diabetes is so prevalent in Morocco.” Weather you are eating breakfast, having a snack or feasting after having fasted all day, there is a great number of carbohydrates in the daily Moroccan diet. While I have noticed that most people walk due to not owning a car, it is hard to believe that they are burning off the amount of carbohydrates or better yet the amount of sugar that is consumed through the sugary coffees and green teas. I find myself having a difficult time burning off the food I eat. In fact, I have yet to feel hungry, in most cases I am still full from my previous meal. It is a feeling that I am thankful for, but it is difficult to keep up. As far as my new favorite drink goes, I learned the other day that for 5 cups of the famous Moroccan tea, it requires 14 sugar cubes. That’s right, I said 14 sugar cubes and these sugar cubes are not small. While the tea does taste amazing, I will not be following the recipe when I return to the states with my own bag of Moroccan green tea.