Last week was my second week in Marrakech and while I really enjoyed the food there, there is no doubt that sticking to healthy eating habits in a foreign country is always a bit more challenging (at least it is for me!).
For those who asked me if I had any gluten-free places to recommend in Marrakech, I’m afraid I don’t but to be honest, moroccan food is very vegetables based so if you stay away from those delicious pancakes, bread and pastry, you can have some deliciously tasty tajines and salads.
I’m not big on pastry so I stayed away from those and Morocco being a muslim country, drinking wine was a very rare occasion. However, sugar was a bit of an issue…
At first, I really enjoyed drinking mint tea in the souk with the various vendors I was chatting to, then I realised that they were adding quite a lot of sugars in it. By the second week, my body was really struggling to process all this sugar and I finish the week back on black Earl Grey tea.
I had pancakes every morning for breakfast and a few slices of bread at lunch now and then (similar to pitta bread) but I didn’t get bloated a single time. I did feel full-up though and very often, we all felt like not eating in the evening.
I start the day with two glasses of lukewarm water, a yaourt, some grapes and two pancakes with honey. Mint tea is served with added sugar.
Lunch is a chicken burger in pitta bread mixed with guacamole and curry at the Café des Epices + water. It was delicious and filing.
Diner: I’m not really hungry have just 3 pieces of coconut we bought from the market.
I start the day with 3 glasses of lukewarm water to get my system going and then have a yaourt, a small banana and two pancakes with honey. Mint tea is served with sugar
Lunch takes place at La Famille, a vegetarian restaurant that is fast-becoming my canteen. I have a delicious salad with bulgur, avocado, peanuts, cottage cheese, mandarines and Mila and I had un fondant au chocolat. I feel I have eaten too much and napped for two hours afterwards. My body doesn’t seem to agree with the bulgur.
Breakfast is the same: yogurt, grapes and a couple of pancakes with mint tea
At lunch time, we go to see my friend Lau who makes a delicious, fresh salad with tomatoes, avocados, nuts and rice + grilled marinated turkey and a bit of Moroccan bread.
I still feel too full at diner time and have just a few grilled almond nuts.
Breakfast is 2 French pancakes, a yogurt and an Earl Grey tea instead of mint (I can’t really feel that my body can no longer cope with the amount of sugar there is in min tea wherever I go).
We go to the house of Designer Valerie Barkowski for lunch who makes us a feast out of vegetables from her garden. Starters is made of aubergine cavia (which I promise myself to make once back at home), tomatoes, green salad and roasted pepppers. Then she serves us the most amazing tajine of chicken with quinces and apple tart for desert.
Diner: none of us feel really angry in the evening and we have just a few grilled almonds bought from the market.
Breakfast was a couple of Moroccan pancakes, 1 yaourt, some fruits and an Earl grey tea before setting off for a day in the desert to ride camels (which was awesome!).
At lunch time, we have grilled turkey with lots of vegetables: carrots, aubergines, tomatoes and a fruit salad (that I don’t eat).
Diner time is a nice tajines of beef with dried prunes and a few peanuts (no bread).
I go to the Souk early to pay for the two benches I ordered and then have 1 French pancake, 1 prune and some Earl Grey for breakfast.
As this is our last day in Marrakech, we go back to La Famille where I have fresh raviolis filled with with pea mash and cheese (amazing!). I’ll try to do a gluten-free version at home.
Diner in the plane is a box of mezze with houmous and a few crackers.
Back in France with an empty fridge and shops closed, I have some old brioche full of gluten and sugar.
Lunch is a bacon & egg pie made by Steve and diner is two bowls of vegetable soup my mum made for us and some basmati rice.
I start the day with a glass of lukewarm water and thank my chicken for providing me with fresh eggs so I can have two poached eggs with basmati rice.
At lunch, I have grilled duck with potatoes and have again a bowl of basmati rice and vegetables soup in the evening.
CONCLUSIONS: If I wasn’t too sure before, now I’m absolutely convinced that whatever I eat, has a positive or negative impact on my mood but also my energy level. I feel really tired and considering I slept 8 hours each night, this tiredness can only be the result of what I fuelled my body with while on holidays. The good thing is that I go back to my normal, healthy habits very quickly and find that drinking a glass of lukewarm water in the morning and ending the day with plain basmati rice helps me to recover quickly from the excess sugar I drank.
Photography by Pauliina Salonen
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