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Laura Bell Bundy Shares Her Struggle With Wheat!

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Laura Bell Bundy

Singer and actress Laura Bell Bundy was so insightful when we chatted with her about fitness that she has graciously agreed to be a special FitPerez guest blogger!

Check out Laura Bell Bundy's insightful words on how being gluten-free changed her life (below)!

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LBB’s Body Blog

“You CAN Stop the Wheat”

Do you still struggle with your weight even when you think you are doing everything right? No matter what you do—count calories, points, steps, exercise for hours, or train for a marathon—nothing seems to work and losing weight seems to be a lost cause? Well, you may be suffering from an unknown allergy– more specifically, a wheat allergy, gluten intolerance or in extreme cases Celiac Disease. Now, I am not a Doctor nor am I a Nutritionist, but I have lived and breathed the ups and downs of food allergies. My body has been my guinea pig. I’m giving it you as a normal gal who had to learn the hard way. Hopefully, I can save you some trouble and some flatulence! This is what I went through and it literally spun me into a practical depression and almost succeeded in giving me a serious body complex.

When I was about 18 years old I started gaining weight quickly and I noticed serious changes in my body. I had always been able to eat whatever I wanted without worrying about my weight. Most of my life I was very active. I had been in dance class since I was a toddler until I was 14 years old. I also ran track and Cross Country in high school. Working out always seemed to do the trick if I need to tighten up my body. But, suddenly that stopped working. It was like I gained the “Freshman Fifteen” –even though I had decided to defer going to college in what would’ve been my freshman year. I didn’t drink alcohol so that wasn’t a contributor. (That phase started much later in my adult life… and that’s another blog altogether!) I had never been on a diet so I decided, why not?

And thus, the weight loss spiral began…

I first

Keep reading after the jump!

tried Jenny Craig. I bought the meals (most containing wheat and gluten) that they basically make you buy. It cut my calories intake down from over 2000 a day to 1000- 1200 calories a day. Now, as a Kentucky girl, I was “a good eater”– the kind that licks her plate before she even realizes she’s full. Well, there wasn’t much difference in doing Jenny Craig than being a starving child in Africa. So, of course I lost weight! But, inevitably, I gained it back because I couldn’t sustain starving myself. I also became absolutely ravenous after I completed the diet. Eating an entire box of cookies became heaven to me!

This was the beginning of becoming obsessed with losing weight. After you try one diet and work really hard to lose weight only to gain it back, it is like being on a virtual weight loss emotional rollercoaster. You find happiness when the scale has gone down. You become totally depleted when the scale goes up. And people, that is not a way to live! Life is too short for that kind of obsession… but brother was I obsessed!

Nothing I did to lose weight seemed to work! I tried everything after Jenny Craig–Weight Watchers, Veganism, the “Fat free” craze, Adkins, Body For Life, Fit for Life, Marathon-ing, fasting, etc, etc. Oh yeah, I found some success in these fad diets but I always hit a “plateau” and nothing ever lasted. Of course this was the case, I would be on a diet that would decrease the amount of wheat or gluten I consumed but wouldn’t completely cut it out. Thus I could never reach my “goal” weight.

I found myself constantly thinking about food and having terrible cravings! I even gained weight on a few of them! Throughout the course of two years, I had doubled that “Freshman Fifteen.” My lowest point was when I gained weight while I had gone vegan AND was training for a marathon. Can you imagine running six miles a day, eating no meat and cheese and GAINING weight?!! Yup, if I die and go to hell, that is where I imagine I will be. Eating a banana running around and around Central Park gaining a pound with every lap. Not to mention I had a doctor tell me I had developed arthritis in my knees. Arthritis at 20 years old?! Oh, hell no!

The correlation I DID find was that I would lose the most weight on low carb diets and I had the least amount of cravings. Hmm, very interesting… I started to see a pattern in this… Then I got two books that changed my life forever: “Eat Right For Your Blood Type” and “The Diet Cure.” Both of these books shed some amazing light on my weight loss struggles.

In “Eat Right For Your Blood Type” Dr. Peter J D’Adamo takes the stance that a person’s Blood type determines the foods that are beneficial or harmful to them. Certain foods can be good for one blood type and terrible for another. It also explains that certain foods can cause significant and sometimes chronic problems for people including weight gain and slowing down one’s metabolism. I am Blood Type O – and so is 62% of the world’s population. The number one worst offender for Type O’s is wheat and gluten. {Other big no no’s for “O’s” are milk, coffee, and corn… but that will be in my blog specifically dedicated to Blood type… if P nasty lets me do it}.

“The Diet Cure” by Julia Ross is a book about all of the issues a person can have that prevent them from losing or gaining weight. Ross discusses thyroid issues, yeast & Candida, parasites, hormonal imbalance, hypoglycemia and of course, WHEAT allergy & Gluten intolerance. This is a VERY insightful book and I highly suggest it to anyone suffering with his or her weight. It’s important to get to the bottom of your problem instead of bottoming out emotionally.

Well as I read these books, the light went off! … I had quite a lot of the symptoms associated with this “wheat/gluten” issue— trouble losing weight, bloating, gas, water retention, joint pain, arthritis, constipation, Irritable Bowel syndrome, acid reflux palpitations, eczema, tiredness and lethargy (see complete list below). So I decided that I would go get checked for a Wheat allergy. Low and behold, I was actually allergic—not just intolerant.

I completely cut wheat out of my diet—bread, pasta, muffins, cookies, breaded & floured foods. I literally lost 5 pounds in one week! My body had been trying to flush itself of something that was toxic and as a result my body became swollen with excess water weight. This water retention is called Edema, and for me, it was my lymphatic system’s way of flushing the wheat “toxin” out of my body. As soon as I cut out the wheat, the water my body was holding flushing with left my system. I could see it in on my whole body but my face and knees especially. It was incredible! It was also incredibly hard to learn how to live without wheat but I managed… especially because I began seeing results and feeling so much better… than before!

When you are allergic to something like wheat the body reacts by putting you in your “flight/fight response.” This releases tremendous chemicals that can actually make you feel good (increased heart rate and adrenaline) but only briefly (just like sugar). Very soon after you crash and feel you need to eat more of that substance to feel that good again… The beginning of an addiction. This is why many people feel addicted to wheat (as well as sugar and alcohol among other things).

The reaction you feel is from your BODY trying to fight an intruder NOT necessarily from the intruding substance itself. It’s like a hystemic reaction we would get during “allergy season”—runny nose, itchy watery eyes, and swollen throat. This is the way our body is fighting substances such as pollen and mold. Thus, we take anti-histamines to stop the body’s over-reaction. Allergies tend to be related to over active immune systems. In fact, much research indicates the Gluten intolerance is an autoimmune disease and could be connected to Thyroid disease, Crohns disease, Autism and Diabetes.

Over time, I took it a step further, and went completely “gluten-free.” I noticed that all grains gave me issues—except for rice. This REALLY helped me. I had way less digestive issues, and became… oh dare I say it! … “regular.” What a relief it is to know that you won’t let a out a toot whilst your trying to seduce some hottie! Not to mention, the “arthritis” I had in my knees virtually disappeared. Now the only joint pain I get is when I run on hard pavement or I’m on my feet for an extraordinary amount of time—normal reasons for joint pain.

With wheat/gluten eliminated, I was able to lose weight by eating healthily and exercising a few times a week. I do believe people should sweat at least once a day and get their heart rates up at least three times a week from cardiovascular exercise (run, walk, dance, cycling, etc).

Eliminating wheat/gluten was not about eliminating carbs (even though that can be very helpful for certain body types). I could eat potatoes, rice, corn, fruit (but not combined with other foods) and yes, chocolate for my carbohydrate intake. I focused on getting proper amounts of protein so I didn’t need bread to satisfy my hunger. I wasn’t starving myself anymore! I stopped being so obsessed and focused on my body because I was losing weight normally. When you begin to see results you stop obsessing so much. I was gradually returning to the shape I had been in high school and actually, I am currently in better shape than I’ve ever been.

Now, I try to put things into my body that I know are good for MY body. We are all different and not one thing works for everyone. It is so important to listen to your body. If your stomach hurts, you are having skin breakouts, or you’re retaining water chances are there is a food(s) you are consuming that your body rejects. For many people, this food is wheat and gluten. You must pay attention. You only have one body. Besides, it may lead to that six-pack you’ve always wanted.

The good news is that you can find “Gluten Free” and “Wheat Free” foods everywhere now. It’s become so common that even Betty Crocker has a Gluten Free brownie mix. You can find them at natural health food stores and Whole Foods always, but now most grocery stores such as Kroger, Pavilions’ and Wal-mart have Gluten Free sections. Also many restaurants offer “gluten free” menus or alternatives. My personal favorites are P.F. Changs, The Pancake Pantry (Nashville, TN) and Maggiano’s. In fact, just the other day while on a road trip in South Carolina, I wanted to know if the restaurant I was about to eat at, Fuddrucker’s, supported a gluten free diet. So I used the google search engine on my iphone and entered the words “Fuddruckers gluten free.” I found instantly that they had gluten free options and that I was safe to eat their burgers (without a bun) and their french fries. There are also several Iphone apps dedicated to Gluten Free establishments so that can make the change in lifestyle a lot easier. You are almost always safe with meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, plain white or brown rice and regular classic potato chips if you are in a bind.

Related Articles and websites:
www.celiac.com
www.4yourtype.com
www.thedietcure.com
www.glutenfree.com
www.glutenfreemall.com
glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com
www.triumphdining.com (5000 Gluten Free Restaurants!)
www.glutino.com
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/725146?src=emailthis

Helpful Books:
Eat Right For Your Blood Type – Dr. Peter J D’Adamo
Live Right For Your Blood Type–Dr. Peter J D’Adamo
The Diet Cure—Julia Ross
The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide-Elisabeth Hasselback
Gluten Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide—Shelley Case

Here is a short list of foods that have wheat/gluten in them. For a complete list of gluten-free foods and where to find them go to www.celiac.com.
• White and Whole Wheat Bread
• Wheat flour
• Cookies, Muffins, Cakes made with white or wheat flour
• Crackers
• Breading on “fried” foods
• Pizza crust and dough
• Pasta (semolina, whole wheat, artichoke)
• Soy Sauce (this is a BIG offender—so be careful when you eat Asian foods to avoid it)
• Beer
• Whiskey and some Vodka’s
• Cous Cous
• Tempura
• Many packaged foods—check labels!
• Malt, malt flavoring and caramel coloring (which is in dark colored soda’s such as Coke)
• Gravy
• Dumplings
• Wheat Cereals—i.e., Raisin Bran, Fiber One, Cheerios, Grape nuts, Lucky Charms
• Oats and Oatmeal (wheat free but not gluten free)
• Certain Additives—check those labels!

SYMPTOMS OF WHEAT/GLUTEN INTOLLERANCE:
• Arthritis
• Water retention
• Gas
• Acid reflux
• Bloated stomach
• Constipation
• Trouble losing or gaining weight
• Chest pains
• Depression or mood swings
• Diarrhea
• Eczema
• Feeling dizzy or faint
• Joint and muscle aches and pains
• Nausea or vomiting
• Palpitations
• Psoriasis
• Skin rashes
• Sneezing
• Suspected irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)/similar effects
• Swollen throat or tongue
• Tiredness and lethargy
• Unexplained cough
• Unexplained runny nose
• Watery or itchy eyes

[Image via WENN]

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