LBB Shares Her Struggle With Celiac Disease – After years of struggling with food allergies and stomach distress, actress Laura Bell Bundy discovered the secret to wellness – a gluten free diet.

Laura Bell Bundy really hopes that nobody thinks she’s a diva. After all, she turns away the food that’s put out for the cast and crew on the sets of both “Hart of Dixie,” and “Anger Management,” opting instead to either bring her own or have it prepared for her. “I sound like a nightmare to deal with,” says the actress. “But the truth is that if I eat that food, I won’t be able to work.”

And the Tony-award winning actress, who played understudy to Kristen Chenoweth’s Glinda in the acclaimed Broadway musical “Wicked” and rose to fame during her run as Elle in the musical “Legally Blonde”, means business when it comes to her career and her health. After a rough childhood where she suffered from many food allergies and a heart murmur, Bundy was diagnosed with celiac disease.

According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. What does this mean? Essentially the body is attacking itself every time a person with celiac consumes gluten. Three million Americans suffer from celiac disease.

“I was allergic to milk, apples, peanuts and more,” Bundy says. “I was allergic to caramel coloring, too, which should have tipped off my family because it’s made of malt and wheat, but nobody made that connection. I had a heart murmur and any time I had to have dental work or had strep throat, I was put on antibiotics. When they are overused, you can develop celiac.”

When she was only 17 years old, Bundy realized that she was retaining water, but dismissed it as premenstrual syndrome. “Then I started gaining weight and ended up having terrible excruciating stomach pains for a few weeks. I thought I had an ulcer.”

The symptoms of celiac disease – abdominal bloating and pain, chronic diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, fatigue and weight gain – mimicked most of what Bundy was experiencing. At the time, the young actress was playing the role of Marah on CBS’s long-running soap opera “The Guiding Light.” “I was let go of my contract and I thought it had to do with the weight gain,” she says. “I knew I had to get to the bottom of what was going on with me physically.”

She went to an allergist, who told her that many people have sensitivity to gluten, but when the results of her tests came back, Bundy says she was told that her allergy to wheat was “off the charts.”

“That’s what was causing me to swell,” she says. So she eliminated wheat and gluten from her diet and immediately dropped 10 pounds and, she says, “ I went to the bathroom normally. I was so happy knowing what was wrong with me,” she says.

When Bundy was diagnosed more than a decade ago, there were limited resources and products for those who were allergic to gluten. “So you had to make everything you wanted to eat,” she says. “Now I always have a snack bag and bring my own food. I’ll undoubtedly bring my own food because they won’t have it.”

She says that since then, restaurants in the Los Angeles area have provided additional gluten-free options, which makes her life easier. Bundy says that she also stays away from foods with words she can’t pronounce, drinks a lot of green juice and eats a lot of turkey. “What’s saved me when it comes to snacks is Lay’s Classic Potato Chips because they are certified gluten free. There are a lot of great tasting gluten free products now. You can have things that taste amazing.”

The singer/actress has been extremely busy with dual roles, starring opposite Charlie Sheen on “Anger Management,” as Sheen’s sex-study research partner, Dr. Jordan Denby. “I feel that I look better at 32 than I did at 20 and that makes all of this OK,” she says.

For those who have just been diagnosed, Bundy suggests going to a doctor who has a real understanding of holistic health. “Remember that disease starts with what you’re putting in your body,” she says.

For more information on Laura Bell Bundy, visit her website at Check out the webisodes on her site where she talks nutrition as well..

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LBB Discusses Country Dance Music With Rolling Stone

Laura Bell Bundy, one of contemporary country’s most dance-savvy women (who like most of her female peers in the genre, is getting very little airplay at the moment) along with Dance Y’all, a troupe that taught audiences routines choreographed to her material. Bundy has performed on Broadway and sometimes brings her brand of witty, down-home camp to gay dance clubs. She makes a point to write with female listeners in mind, as she did with the buoyant girls-night-out single “Two Step.”

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