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Does it come gluten-free?

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There are more and more people who are becoming gluten and lactose intolerant. Being a coeliac is not uncommon anymore and there are some people who even decide to quit gluten and dairies by choice. After all, the bread and milk we usually buy is lacking nutrients and is full of transgenic pesticides or antibiotics.

I am one of those people who eats neither gluten nor dairies. I wish it was a choice because, after all, gluten and dairies, even if transgenic, are so nice and yummy… But it’s not. I get sick and I really have to watch out. But, how to watch out for lactose and gluten in Belgium?

Let me tell you this is not an easy task, since enjoying the national cuisine and drinking nice Belgian beer involves getting your system full of these substances all the time. I know I always compare Belgium with my country but this time, I really would have expected Belgium to be more organized and aware about this issue which is affecting a lot of people.

It is difficult to go to a restaurant in this country since most dishes are either cooked in butter or contain some kind of flour. Salads do always have some kind of crouton or cheese and I’m still dreaming about having a gluten free bread option for that beautiful Belgian bread with butter you get served at the beginning of a meal.

Most people eat a sandwich for lunch here. But I always bring my lunch from home.  I work in a really nice corporate village with many cafes and restaurants around. Some of them even refer to themselves as ‘healthy, organic’. Silly me, I thought this could also mean ‘gluten and lactose free options available’.

When I go to Spain this is different. Most restaurants will have gluten free bread available and the menus will clearly indicate if the food is gluten, lactose, nut and soy free. I can always have a gluten-free beer in any pub around or a nice salad with those things that are always nice to find in a salad: veggies.

So this is not a complaint but a call to create awareness so more options are available. It is a call to let the country know that a lot of people are secluded to eat at home where they can eat safely or they live with limited options: Asian or full on alternative vegetarian organic restaurants where safe options are a reality.

I’d like to go out and be able to eat without getting a strange look that says ‘What the heck is she talking about? Gluten?’ I’d like to go to a pub and be able to drink a beer, and I’d love to be able to eat some bread for starters as everybody else does. And finally, I’m not a huge waffle fan, maybe because I can never eat them, but wouldn’t it be nice being able to do the whole thing? Some nice bread, some nice gluten free beer and a waffle to finish the treat. Lekker!

Marta Cembrero
Blogger, dreamer, wish writer, Sherlock Homes on the net, translator, communicator and vegetarian food lover. Find out more about her at www.martacembrero.com.