Last November 15th, the Spanish youth group known as FACE Joven hosted its second national conference in Madrid. It was my first time attending this type of event and couldnʼt be happier about having done so. Not only the speakers delivered very useful information, but I also got to meet with very nice coeliacs from all over Spain and even Europe.
I have previously attended seminars and small conferences, but they were mainly focused on the medical side of being coeliac. This II Jornadas FACE Joven however, introduced us to a wide variety of topics, which made the conference very enjoyable. We had a quite busy day ahead (from 10am till 9pm!) but time flied quickly.
The conference opening was done by no other than the president of FACE Joven, Juan Carlos García. He introduced us the association, the Board of Directors and all past activities that had been done so far, including the 2012 Conference.
On the afternoon session we learnt about Coeliac Youth Europe. Giacomo Filippo, ex Project Manager at CYE explained us all the details on the project, the Board of Directors, this magazine “Beat The Wheat” and all the activities that CYE is up to.
Next, M.D Esther Caparrós showed us the difference between allergy and intolerance. The Q&A session afterwards was quite lively, and she did a great job as she explained things clearly and in a very informative way.
From Extremadura (a region in Spain) came Angélica Trejo to present us the project theyʼve been involved for a couple years in Sahara region. Among other things, they help to diagnose coeliac disease (apparently the coeliac rate is quite high there) and offer the population information on how to take charge of being coeliac (mostly they depend on international aid and gluten free products are not as easy reachable as here in Europe).
Mateo Sierra, the next speaker is a celebrity in Spain. He is a young student that participated in a famous cooking program and despite the challenge of being the only coeliac in the competition, he made it to the final. Needless to say that we are all very proud of him and we really enjoy hearing about his experience on the program and the challenges of haute cuisine has to face on (finally) adapting to gluten free.
Following cuisine topic, the roundtable with owners of different restaurants that offer gluten free food was also very interesting, as we had a view on whatʼs underneath the business.
On the evening session we enjoyed a lively roundtable with some travellers and a travel agency specialized in gluten free travels that encouraged us not to fear being coeliac and to keep traveling around the world. I really enjoyed this roundtable has I feel identified with this life philosophy. It was really interesting hearing about their travels experiences and how they dealt on following the gluten free diet, even in so far places like Southeast Asia.
During coffee breaks and lunch time we could take a break while enjoying a wide selection of gluten free food, including sweet and salty options. A feast just for us!
Last but not least, the closing ceremony took place. But the day wasnʼt over yet, as we had yet to enjoy a closing dinner in a restaurant called Pizzasana (which, of course, is certified by FACE). This informal gathering was a nice closure to a great day.
To sum up, it was a very pleasant conference and Iʼm looking forward the next one. I would like to give a big shout out to FACE Joven, organising an event like
is not easy (and Iʼm talking by experience), but they really did a great job.