Megan McKenna, 29, says that she had “quite a rough childhood” as she was “poisoning” herself with food she didn’t know she couldn’t eat. Megan was unknowingly battling coeliac disease before her diagnosis at the age of 10 and was plagued by excruciating symptoms like stomach aches, bloating and diarrhoea.
The condition means that Megan’s immune system would attack and damage her gut whenever she ate gluten.
In a new interview with Express.co.uk, Megan says her condition had a particularly adverse effect on her childhood.
She explained: “I was very, very skinny when I was 10 and that was when I was diagnosed with everything.
“It did take a few years to get myself strong again because I had been basically poisoning myself by eating the food I didn’t know I couldn’t eat for so many years.
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“Back then, coeliac disease wasn’t known so I had quite a rough childhood.
“But I think I am lucky that I went through it when I was younger because now I am so much healthier and I know what I can and can’t have.
“I had to go for numerous tests and I had a homeopath so I could be guided in the right way.”
Despite eventually receiving the diagnosis, Megan’s struggles would continue into secondary school as she felt “embarrassed” about being “different”.
The reality star has now decided to help others suffering with the condition.
The X Factor: Celebrity winner has released a gluten-free cookbook called Can You Make That Gluten-Free?
It features 80 recipes with everything from “starters to cakes, posh dinners and cheaper meals”.
Discussing the book, Megan explained: “If people follow the recipes in my book they will be really surprised.
“I think people get so scared when you say ‘gluten-free’.
“They think they have to eat something really plain and boring, but you can make everything gluten-free.”
Can You Make That Gluten-Free? By Megan McKenna is published by Hamlyn, £20.00, www.octopusbooks.co.uk