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Desperate Housewives actress Dana Delany says scoring her starring role in the Vietnam drama, China Beach, helped her beat a long-running eating disorder.

“When I was a teenager and in my 20s, I had eating issues. I binged. I starved,” Dana tells Prevention magazine about her early struggles with food. I was one step away from anorexia — a piece of toast and an apple would be all I’d eat in a day.”

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But she got eating under control when her career took a turn for the better. “When I turned 30, my life got interesting and I stopped focusing on eating,” she says.

“Part of it was doing China Beach. I needed to have energy to work those long hours, and so I started eating more healthily.”

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How would she describe her diet now? “I don’t like meat, so I don’t eat it. I just prefer vegetables, tofu, and fish. And recently I was told by my endocrinologist that I am gluten intolerant.

“I’m not supposed to eat bread or pasta, which is really hard when you don’t eat meat. But I’m trying gluten-free pasta, bread. It makes you less bloated and sluggish when you cut it out of your diet.”

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Dana also opens up about a brush with Botox that left her permanently scarred. “Something nobody ever talks about is doctor error. Seven years ago, I had never even heard about Botox.

“My dermatologist was saying, ‘You should try it.’ He injected my forehead, hit a nerve, and created a huge hematoma. The nerve has been dead ever since. It affected the muscle in my right eye, so my eye has started to droop a little bit.

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She adds: “I notice it more than anybody else, but I was symmetrical before and now I am not. I stopped going to him right then.”

Like her co-star Teri Hatcher who has recently exposed how much her youthful looks rely on makeup and good lighting, Dana says she’s determined not to go under the knife, citing Hollywood’s greatest names as inspiration for aging gracefully.

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“We are getting to the point that nobody says, ‘That’s a beautiful woman.’ Instead, they say, ‘She’s had good work.’ And I hope that at some point we can stop dyeing our hair. I’m not saying I’m not dyeing my hair — I have to because I’m on camera — but wouldn’t it be nice?

“We would all save so much money and time. My hat’s off to Jamie Lee Curtis. She’s so smart, and she doesn’t dye her hair or anything. And Meryl Streep still looks like herself. Diane Keaton, too. I think the really great actresses don’t worry about that kind of thing.”

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