Katie from 3 Squared uncovers the truth about going gluten free

GOING gluten free is a growing trend, with 43% of Brits regularly eating or shopping free from wheat, gluten and dairy, and one in 10 people in the UK avoiding gluten all together. Some of the increase is due to a rise in the number of diagnosed coeliac disease sufferers or those with the less severe condition gluten intolerance or non-coeliac gluten sensitivity, as it is also known.

However, if you’re reading this and don’t make gluten-free choices, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. Food is food and it’s there to be enjoyed, right? Over to Katie McIntosh, co-founder and director of 3 Squared in the Royal Exchange Arcade and one of Manchester’s first ‘free-from’ cafés. The answer is, under normal circumstances, you don’t need to avoid gluten, but if you do cut out this particular ingredient (found in wheat, spelt, barley, rye and brewer’s yeast), Katie says there’s a long list of benefits, including a reduction in bloating, headaches and joint pain and an improvement in mental clarity, with 39% of those adopting a gluten-free lifestyle doing so because it makes them feel better and 27% doing so as part of a healthy lifestyle.

At 3 Squared Café, everything on our menu is naturally gluten free. We never use processed or packaged foods

‘If you want to feel amazing,’ says Katie, ‘you have to do whatever you can to reduce inflammation in your body. That means looking at the inflammatory ingredients in your diet and finding ways to exclude them as far as reasonably possible.’ One example of an inflammatory food is gluten, but dairy, refined sugar, hydrogenated fats, red meat and alcohol also contribute.

3 Squared Gf Breakfast Roll

Katie continues: ‘Most whole foods are naturally gluten free, including a number of grains such as rice, millet, buckwheat and oats. Of course, all vegetables are also gluten free, as are meats, fish and eggs. Those who adopt a gluten-free lifestyle for health purposes should be leaning towards natural foods to achieve this, not replacing regular biscuits with gluten-free ones. The latter – replacing a processed food with its gluten-free counterpart – will not contribute positively to an improvement in health. The claim that a gluten-free lifestyle is healthier is really referring to selecting naturally gluten-free, unprocessed foods as the cornerstone of your diet.

3 Squared Veg Breakfast

So how does 3 Squared come in? ‘At 3 Squared Café, everything on our menu is naturally gluten free. We never use processed or packaged foods and go out of our way to source suppliers, such as Rude Health, Doves Farm and Booja Booja, who guarantee that their products are free from hidden ingredients, and responsibly packaged and labelled. Everything is cooked completely fresh on site and done so in a kitchen that has no gluten, dairy, wheat products present so there is no risk of contamination.

‘The menu is created to suit you, rather than expecting the customer to make do or settle for something that they know will likely make them feel bloated or sleepy. We also recognise that customers are looking for nutritionally balanced meals, which is why we ensure there is a substantial plant- or meat-based protein source in every main meal. Carbohydrates can be incredible for those who are suited to them, but some people prefer to stay low carb, so we can easily cater for that as well.

2019 03 08 3 Squared Chickpeas 1

‘All this said, we love food and we want you to love food too! This isn’t about making any particular food group your enemy, this is about doing everything you can to feel the absolute best that you can every day. In that regard, gluten is not the only culprit. There are many reasons why people don’t feel their best, from poor sleep to too much stress, and we want to assist in making you feel invincible with your dietary choices sitting right at the top of the list.

See the 3 Squared menu and book a table here

Read Katie’s full article here

3 Squared Cheesecake