Scandal's Dan Bucatinsky's Gluten-Free Diet! (Healthy Hollywood)

“Scandal” fans know Dan Bucatinsky as journalist James Novak on the much-buzzed about ABC drama — Dan even nabbed his first Emmy award for his role.

The busy actor/writer took time out of his schedule to hop on the phone with Healthy Hollywood to chat about another of his passions – healthy eating.

Over 10 years ago, Dan discovered he had celiac disease and his eating habits were making him sick.

“I got used to living in a certain way. I got used to not feeling great after every meal. I was always crampy and I didn’t deal with it. I felt that’s the way it is after eating almost anything,” Dan explained.

More than 2 million Americans have celiac disease and millions more are have gluten sensitivity. And, many folks, like Dan, go undiagnosed and ascribe their ill health or symptoms to something else. This auto-immune disease can wreak havoc on your body and can cause such conditions as anemia, fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome and joint pain.

“Autoimmune diseases are also triggered by stress and I think mine kicked in after my father passed away,” he continued. “Right after his death was when I was diagnosed. Once I knew that I had Celiac Disease, even if I didn’t feel any symptoms, I knew that inside my body was an autoimmune disease that had to be treated and I cleaned the gluten right out of my diet.”

Dan tells me the hardest part of getting rid of gluten in his diet was discovering which foods had it as a hidden ingredient, noting, “The most daunting part was to go through the grocery store aisles and stare at every package because there’s gluten in soy sauce and in million additives.”

During his grocery story travels, Dan discovered gluten-free LARABAR, which are made with only 2 to 9 ingredients. Now, he and Lara Merriken, founder of LARABARS, have teamed up to help educate others about gluten-free foods and also the evils of processed foods.

“My motto is less is more,” Lara revealed to Healthy Hollywood. She is sensitive to wheat and wanted to create a gluten-free bar made from healthy, whole foods. “The idea was to eat foods that are naturally grown and not processed. To eat lots of fruits, nuts, and vegetables that are part of the earth and not something created in a lab.”

Dan, who has two young kids, also says he’s gotten creative in the kitchen. To get his kids to eat healthier, he will top a Carrot Cake LARABAR with cream cheese or make pancakes with gluten-free mix, added mashed bananas and top with LARABAR Banana Bread crumbs.

“I’m not afraid to get into the kitchen. I’ve been cooking a long time. It’s just making fun foods for the kids. I’ve even started rolling out LARABAR flat and using cookie cutters. For some reason, if you anything into a shape your kids will want to eat,” Dan concluded.

-- Terri MacLeod

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