Thursday, February 26, 2009


I attended my first yoga class the other day, and found it to be a very positive and healing experience. It requires a focus, an absolute awareness of one’s self, more so than anything I've done in the past. It's more than just movements, positions, and flexibility; it's about finding that connection between body and mind; something that's lost in today's world.

The movements are fluid, each having a purpose, each new one beginning where the last left off. The positions are a workout for both the body and the mind, some more difficult than others, but each a strategically chosen destination where form means everything. They're held with the utmost concentration, long enough for you to become aware of every muscle being used, and every breath being taken, thinking of nothing else. With breathing at its core, yoga requires an empty mind, with all of the day’s stresses left at the door. You must be centered, in almost a meditative state for lack of a better word, freeing yourself of life's distractions and harnessing energy from within.

The health benefits of such practices (meditation, controlled breathing, and total awareness) are real and have been documented many times by many people. My experience with yoga was a positive one, that I am convinced can improve my health beyond the point of a healthy diet. It's important to rid yourself of life's stresses in order to live a healthy life. The body is designed to handle stress, but in short bursts, not to be carried on our shoulders day in and day out. This burden taxes our immune system, and although a healthy diet is crucial in order to replenish our bodies with the nutrients necessary for dealing with these stresses, it's important to lessen this burden before it becomes too much to handle and yoga may just be the answer.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Buckwheat Flax Pancakes

1/2 c Organic Oat Milk
1 Egg (Organic)
1/2 c Buckwheat Pancake mix
1/4 c Organic Milled Flax Seed
1 Tbsp Olive Oil (Organic Unrefined)
1 Tbsp Pure Organic Maple Syrup
1 tsp Organic Cinnamon

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Food Allergies can be an Open Invitation to Disaster

Allergies, especially food allergies, can be an open invitation to a world of unwanted trouble. From the seemingly innocent yet extremely common skin rash or itching and swelling symptoms, to the more intense but often overlooked stomach cramping and intestinal issues; from the more frightening respiratory and heart conditions, to the most extreme and often fatal anaphylactic shock, your body is constantly sending out warning signs that all too often go overlooked, ignored, or simply looked over during diagnosis. More people are suffering from food allergies than are currently aware, and it has been documented that many of today’s health problems can be linked to these food intolerances.

It may seem like a stretch, linking food allergies to most health problems, but in reality this should not be a difficult connection to make. Allergic reactions to food starts with improper digestion, a process that begins in the “Cephalic phase” of digestion, which occurs long before the food ever reaches the stomach, triggered by nothing more than the sight and smell of food to the very first bit of saliva produced from that initial bite. This is a crucial part of digestion because the food must be properly broken down before it ever reaches the stomach or the gastric phase of digestion. The stomach is designed to continue the digestive process, not start it, and this is why the Cephalic phase of digestion is so important. Improperly chewed food not only deprives your body of the nutrients that would otherwise be obtained, but also greatly hinders the effectiveness of the next crucial phase of digestion.

During the “Gastric phase”, digestive enzymes living within the stomach do their part by breaking down proteins. Although this may be thought of as a harsh almost terrestrial environment within the body, it’s one that requires a precise pH in order to support these tiny yet necessary helpers (digestive enzymes). The importance of this phase cannot be overlooked since many food allergies are a direct result of the body’s inability to properly breakdown proteins within the food. It’s this unfortunate chain reaction of improper digestion that began in the mouth long before the stomach ever came into the picture, which undoubtedly sabotages the final, and possibly most important digestive phase.

In this third and final phase of digestion, the “Intestinal phase”, digestion continues. It’s here in the small intestine where a precise mixture of digestive enzymes and juices do the bulk of the digestion. During proper digestion nutrients are absorbed through the intestinal walls, carried through the blood stream, and delivered throughout the rest of the body. Unfortunately when poorly digested food enters the small intestines, these undigested food molecules are collected along the intestinal wall, some of which are absorbed into the blood stream where they are perceived by the body as foreign bodies (invading the body), while the rest continue to build up where the food begins to rot creating a perfect environment for unwanted parasites and bacteria.

All of this taxes the immune system, making us susceptible to other allergies, viruses, and diseases. I have experienced this first hand, living many years with an undiagnosed dairy allergy. As I unknowingly ignored my body’s initial cries for help, my immune system became weaker and weaker. Although I maintained what I thought was a healthy diet, I was slowly poisoning myself, causing damage that would later be diagnosed as the primary cause to other, more severe health problems. With my immune system operating in this compromised state my body became unable to properly digest other proteins specifically those from soy. For years I continued to live oblivious to both my dairy and soy allergies, only later to find out that this unintentional abuse on my body would be the cause of even more severe health problems all of which could have been prevented.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Date Nut Muffins

Try this very tasty treat...with a healthy allergy friendly twist.

1 1/2c Dates (chopped) (Organic if available)
1c chopped Walnuts (Organic if available)
3/4c Raw Honey (Organic if available)
2 Eggs (Organic)
1 3/4c All Purpose Flower (unbleached)
3/4 c Organic Palm Oil
1 c Whole Wheat Flower
1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 c Water

*Soak the chopped dates in hot water for about 10min to
soften them up; let cool.
*Combine ingredients and bake for 20-25min
*makes 12-16 muffins

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Organic verses Organic

Organic food is becoming more and more popular as people begin to realize the health benefits of eating foods that haven’t been exposed to the harsh chemicals and toxins as their non-organic shelf mates. As demand for these nutritionally superior foods goes up so does the potential for profit, which can cause a problem when greed has a negative impact on the integrity of the product. Sales of organic foods have risen to over 20 billion dollars in 2008, which is nearly twenty times what is was in the early 90’s. With profit margins like these, it was inevitable that the large food manufactures would want (and undoubtedly get) a piece of the action. This transition though, from the local organic farm to the hands of large corporations, has been the subject of many debates. On the one hand it enables everyone, not just those living in the country, to have the choice between buying organic or non-organic foods at their local grocery store, since only the large corporations have the money and the manpower to mass-produce and transport these foods across the country…across the world.

From this standpoint it can be looked at as a blessing, but at what cost? Since large corporations have no real tangible relationship with their customers (unlike the local farmers who are part of the community in which they sell) there only real concern is money in their pocket, and this money enables them to influence the ever evolving standards at which the organic food industry is governed. This is evident in the organic section of your local grocery or health food store, where you’re bound to find frozen pre-made ready to eat meals; sure they have organic ingredients but they also contain additives and preservatives (to help maintain a long profitable shelf life) that surly conflict with the core ethics behind which the organic industry was started. Who thought the day would ever come when you could go to the store and buy an organic microwavable meal; it’s an oxymoron if there ever was one. Its just another great example of large corporations using the average persons busy on-the-go life style to their monetary advantage, and why not?

So what is the poor innocent shopper to do when faced with all of these seemingly “healthy choices”? For starters, if it sounds to good to be true than it’s probably not the healthiest choice. The key with any food product (organic or not) is minimally processed. Each process a food must undergo affects the nutritional integrity of the product itself. Another good tip is to choose products that have the least amount of ingredients; avoid the additives and preservatives that are so often found in packaged foods. Finally and most importantly make sure that at the core of your healthy diet you have plenty of whole foods (fruits, vegetables, and grains); they have the highest content of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that your body needs.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Healthy Sources of Sugar

Have a bit of a sweet tooth? Do you think your body’s craving sugar? The truth is we all are…all animals…all living things; it’s one of the main products of photosynthesis. Believe it or not glucose (or simple sugar) is a crucial part of healthy diet. Our bodies use it as a source of energy, and it plays an important role in cellular respiration. It would not be an exaggeration to say that from a biology standpoint, glucose is one of the most important carbohydrates for all living things. Leave it to humans though, to turn this biological necessity into an unhealthy human craving. If its sugar you’re after then why not get your fix and stay healthy at the same time.

Your body needs sugar, but not the refined white sugar or corn syrup most people consume in the form of processed foods, snacks, candies, and soda. You may be tricking the brain by “satisfying” the body’s need for sugar with these harmful, extremely unhealthy foods, but you’re only fooling yourself and the staggering number of people suffering from obesity and diabetes is your proof.

There are many natural minimally processed forms of sugar that will fulfill not only the body’s basic need for sugar, but the human desire for it as well. A few good substitutes for refined white sugar are Raw Honey, Pure Maple Syrup, Pure Molasses, and Dates. Each of these is not only a great source of sugar, but is also packed with many important nutrients that are crucial for a healthy body. So let’s take a look at these often overlooked natural wonders.

Raw Honey is basically unprocessed honey, and contains the phytonutrients that are lost during processing. It has very high antimicrobial and antioxidant qualities when consumed in this raw state. It has many documented health benefits, and has been successfully used as treatment for many disorders ranging from digestion problems, intestinal ulcers, stomach ulcers, respiratory problems, allergies, as well as topical treatments for burns and wound healing. Teaspoon for teaspoon this tasty treat packs a powerful punch when it comes to health benefits; it’s a high quality source of sugar with the added benefits of no fat.

Pure Maple Syrup is another natural wonder; as with all foods though minimally processed is the key. Do not mistake the popular brands of processed syrups that are so commonly used by most people, with the far healthier pure maple syrup. It’s a great source of both manganese and zinc which greatly benefits the heart as well as the immune system, not to mention its antioxidant benefits. Add to that the fact that its low in both calories and fat, and it makes a great substitute for refined sugar.

Another great healthy source of sugar is Molasses. Unlike the popular yet unhealthy refined white sugar and corn syrup, molasses has not been stripped of its nutrients. It’s a great source of both copper and magnesium, as well as good sources of iron, manganese, potassium, and calcium. So the next time you’re looking for a sugar substitute in your recipe, try pure organic molasses for a healthy treat.

Last but not least on our list of healthy sources of sugar are dates. It’s common knowledge that all fruits contain sugar, but dates have more sugar per calorie than any other fruit. Not only is it a great source of healthy sugar, theses small tasty fruits have been found to be beneficial for proper digestion and many intestinal disorders.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Just because you have a dairy allergy doesn't mean you have to give up this refreshing treat.

* 1 med Organic Banana
* 3 Organic Strawberries
* 1 Tbsp Raw Honey
* 1 cup Organic Oat Milk (alternate 1/2 cup)
* 2 Ice Cubes (alternate 1/2 cup Vanilla Sorbet)


Friday, February 13, 2009

Make the Choice to Live Healthy

Why do so many people take their health for granted? Why do so many abuse their bodies by smoking, drinking too much alcohol, taking too many drugs (prescription and over the counter), eating unhealthy foods, and not getting enough sleep? I think it’s a common misconception in today’s world to think that a “healthy state” just comes naturally with little effort. Add to that all the stress and environmental toxins our bodies are subjected to on a daily basis, and what you have is a recipe for disaster. Maybe in a controlled environment where you have to forage the land for your food as our ancestors once did, free from today’s many health hazards this would be true, but it’s just not the case. It takes a conscious effort on the part of each individual person to maintain a healthy diet, and a little common sense to avoid the many unhealthy temptations. Sure it’s easier to fill your shopping cart up with unhealthy foods, but is the time and money saved from checkout to the kitchen table worth it in the long run. If people spent the time and money they so effortlessly do on maintaining their material possessions (cars, boats, houses, etc.), and put it towards becoming healthy we wouldn't have nearly as many health related problems in this country.

Being healthy is a life choice, and it starts with a healthy diet. The benefits are endless, but the consequences of neglecting ourselves of this most primal need (proper nutrients) is often deadly. You wouldn't pour water in your gas tank (or use it in place of the engine oil) and expect to drive very far, yet you're doing it to yourself every time you consume unhealthy foods (heavily processed foods, refined sugars and flower, artificial additives, chemicals...), and Americans are consuming these foods at an unprecedented rate...and no one’s thinking twice about it. Only when something becomes a headline on the 6 o’clock news does it grab the public’s attention, but once the dust clears its right back to poor diet choices and a general lack of health concern.

It would take only one expensive bill from the mechanic for you to learn your lesson, yet a single American will spend thousands of dollars on doctors visits, medications, and major medical perseguers, all of which could potentially be avoided but instead are looked at as being "just part of life". Pharmaceutical companies would love for us to live forever, so long as we’re taking a handful of their “latest and greatest” pills that promise to solve all of our health problems. The truth is these medications (over the counter and prescription) simply suppress the symptoms, without ever curing the problem. I guess it’s a clever pitch though to a naive public; eat as poorly as you want, just take our drug once your body begins screaming for help (with all its aches and pains), and everything will be ok.

The sad thing is that with all our knowledge in the fields of science and medicine, we are far from the healthiest civilization on this planet. With all of todays "wonder drugs" and "modern medical miracles", our life expectancy for what we consider a "healthy person" is 40-50 years shy of some of the healthiest civilizations ever documented. It's not out of reach though, a healthy diet full of fresh organic fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and minimally processed foods, along with exercise, and you’re on your way to a long healthy life.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Zucchini and Rice

Cook Separately: Cook for about 45min
*Organic Long Grain Brown Rice (1/2 c)
*1c Water

Sauce: Cook over med heat for about 20min
* Organic Tomatoes 28oz can (drained & chopped)
* 3/4 cup Organic Tomato Sauce
* 2 tbsp Organic Garlic (minced)
* 2tbsp Organic Parsley
* Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper to taste

Pour Sauce over ingredients below and bake for
about 30min
*2 small Zucchini (sliced)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Breakfast...Do It Right!

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We’ve all heard it before, but so few of us actually act on it. What you feed your body in the morning can be the difference between staying alert and energized throughout the day, or feeling tired and lazy. It can be the difference between staying focused at work, or finding yourself mentally drifting off not able to concentrate on the job at hand. It could be the difference between staying full until lunch, or constantly snacking throughout the day. Studies show that those who eat a healthy breakfast not only snack less, are more focused, and have more energy throughout the day, but also tend to be thinner than those eat an unhealthy breakfast (or skip it all together). It can literally be the difference between good health and poor health, and should definitely be taken seriously.

Never skip breakfast; in fact you should eat within an hour of getting up, that’s when your body needs refueling. When you wake up your body will have gone 8 to 10 hours without food (give or take depending on how long you slept), and it's running on reserves. The body uses stored fat as energy when it’s not getting this energy source from outside sources, and if the body knows it will be a long time before it gets refueled, then it will store extra fat as reserves for a later time.

So what’s secret to a healthy breakfast? There are three main ingredients to this recipe; a desire to be healthy, healthy food on hand (whole grains, organic fruit, nuts…), and an appetite. It’s that simple!

The first thing to remember is forget everything you thought you knew, or shall I say everything you’ve been made to believe. The typical American breakfast consists of foods loaded with fat, refined sugars and flowers, and artificial preservatives (chemicals); processed cereals, breakfast treats, bagels, toast, pastries, donuts, just to name a few. Although some of these products are marketed as healthy they are quite the opposite, and one of the leading causes of obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease in this country. The truth is these processed foods have become nothing more than science experiments by food manufacturers to see how cheaply they can produce and sell a product with a long shelf life, using the most readily available resources as possible. With the help of clever marketing such as “fat free” (which really means high in calories and sugar), “sugar free” (which really means high in fat, and calories), or “low in calories” (which means high in everything else), these highly processed nutrient deficient fake foods are loaded with artificial dyes and flavors and fortified with vitamins and minerals (all of which are lost during processing) and advertised as “part of a healthy breakfast”; all at our expense.

Instead, give your body what it really wants. The key here is eating a healthy breakfast, in order to give your body the nutrients it needs to function properly. Try fresh organic fruit, and some mixed nuts. The fruits will give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs, not to mention a healthy serving of flavonoids (which have been shown to have antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antitumor and antioxidant qualities), while the nuts provide a good source of protein, omega-3, and healthy fat (all crucial elements to a healthy diet). Another great breakfast choice is whole grains. Stick with the organic minimally processed grains; these tiny seeds have everything necessary for creating life and are just what your body needs for maintaining yours. Try organic oat groats or hulless barley for a healthy and tasty breakfast.

Last but not least enjoy. Not only will you be laying the foundation for a healthy day by eating a healthy breakfast, you may actually just start looking forward it.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Synthetic Food Dyes and Your Health

Look at the ingredients label of almost any non-organic processed food (as well as jarred foods) and you will undoubtedly see synthetic food dyes.; FD&C yellow #5, FD&C blue #1, FD&C Red #3 or #40. They're in most of the products often advertised as being healthy (cereals, juices, soups, etc.), and they're most definitely in those that are not (snacks, candy, soda...). The truth is you'd be hard pressed to find a non-organic packaged food that doesn't contain synthetic dyes. The question is, are they hazardous to your health?

There has been a lot of research done on this very topic, with the evidence piling high against them. They have been linked to allergies, tumors, depression, sleeplessness, as well as handful of others. These toxins often work against vital nutrients within our bodies, causing many of the afore mentioned disorders. One bad combination in particular is yellow #5 and it's affects on Vitamin B6 in the body.

Vitamin B6 plays a crucial role in cell development within the body, as well as maintaining a healthy immune system. As with many nutrients within the body there are opposing forces (enemies if you will) in the form of toxins working against them, leaving the body’s immune system weakened. Just as air pollution can affect levels of vitamin C with the body, yellow #5 has been shown to have a negative affect when it comes to maintaining optimum levels of B6 within the body. Deficiencies in a key nutrient such as B6 can lead to a number of disorders such as kidney problems, depression, and carpal tunnel syndrome, all of which have seen rises in the number of diagnosed cases within America that seems to conveniently correspond to an increased usage of such dyes (as yellow #5) within the food industry.

These dyes have become so commonly used within the food industry that the intake of yellow #5 for example is in many cases greater than that of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin B6; about 8 times to be exact. So with the use of these toxins at such an alarming level, as well as the typical American’s unhealthy diet (high in processed foods), what chance are we really giving ourselves to live a healthy pain free, disease free life?

The only real way to eliminate these hazards from our lives is with a diet rich in fresh organic produce, whole grains, and minimally processed foods. It’s what your body is asking for, so isn’t it time we listen?

Thursday, February 5, 2009


*Based on what I have recently learned (over the past 6mo or so) regarding grain consumption within modern day factory or industrial farming societies, and its adverse effects on human health ultimately leading to many of the illnesses and diseases affecting Americans in epic proportions, I have changed my stance on the importance of such monocrops (grains and legumes) within a healthy human diet. The human digestive system was not designed nor has it evolved to a point to effectively digest such foods like grains and legumes without the body suffering from its harmful side effects; inflammation and damage to the gut. Since evidence shows inefficient digestion and inflammation are the root cause for nearly all human diseases be it heart disease, diabetes, cancer, crohn's disease, autoimmune diseases, and chronic inflammatory disorders in all its forms, a healthy diet should promote a healthy gut (fermented foods) and be anti-inflammatory based (grass-fed meats and eggs, wild caught fish, fresh organic fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds) instead of high in foods promoting inflammation such as grains, legumes, and factory farmed meats, poultry, fish, and eggs.

A Great Rice Alternative!

Organic Amaranth(1/2 cup)
1 1/2 C Water
1/4 med Organic Onion (chopped)
3 med Shitake Mushrooms (chopped)
1 tsp Organic Cilantro
1 tbsp Organic Turmeric powder (or curry powder)
Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper to taste

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Salmonella in the News

It is becoming all too common of an event; salmonella is making its way into our foods and the FDA doesn’t seem to be able to get a handle on the problem. If it’s not tainted meat, it’s packaged lettuce or spinach that’s bringing this danger into our homes, our lives. There was the jalapeƱo scare that affected many prepackaged peppers, and not so long ago the big scare was tomatoes. The areas within the food industry it affected were astronomical; from the local grocery stores, to restaurants and fast-food joints. If that wasn’t bad enough, the latest scare may even top that one; tainted peanut butter. This has affected many prepackaged and processed foods, going way beyond the simple jar of peanut butter.

So what does this tell us about the current state of our food Industry and those who govern it? It tells me that it’s become such a profit driven money hungry business that safety and quality are less important as the bottom line, and with pockets this deep unsanitary practices and working conditions are somehow “overlooked” by those who are supposed to be there to protect us. Since it could take years, if at all, for such a broken system to right itself, we must see this as a wakeup call and rethink the way we eat. We have let our busy on-the-go lifestyles govern the way we eat for far too long, depending on manufactures to do all the meal preparations (premixed, precooked, premade) which allows the average person to know nothing more than how to operate a microwave. It’s time to get back to the simplicity of food, and leave behind what food manufactures are trying to pass as such.

Throughout all of the salmonella outbreaks I’ve mentioned, I have been able steer clear of the hazards without having to change my buying and eating habits. This is because my diet consists of mostly organic whole foods and minimally processed foods. The less number of processes food goes through, the less number of times it is touched by man or machine, and limiting this handling limits the chance of contamination; not to mention yields a food much higher in nutrients (which is commonly lost during processing and later added back in as in the form of synthetic vitamins and minerals). Instead of packaged produce, look for the fresh organic variety; local health food stores or farms can be a great place to purchase these, and your support will go locally instead of to the already deep pockets of large corporations. Instead of highly processed foods, look for organic minimally processed foods. Take the current peanut butter scare; I purchase freshly ground organic peanuts. That means there is nothing in the peanut butter other than, well, peanuts…fresh organic minimally processed peanuts.

Now compare that to the ingredients of a typical jar of peanut butter from a popular brand:
  • “Made from Roasted Peanuts and Sugar, Contains 2% or Less of Molasses, Fully Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils (Rapeseed and Soybean), Mono- and Diglycerides, Salt”
In deciphering this you can see they have sugar listed twice (once as sugar and again as “molasses”), and fat listed twice (once as “mono- and diglycerides” and again as “Fully Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils “), both of which require a lot of processing; not to mention, neither of which are helping the obesity problem in this country. All of this added to increase the shelf life, but at what cost to your health?

Maybe people would be less likely to buy highly processed foods if the labels listed in detail these processes instead of their “pseudo names”. What if instead of “Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils”, the label read, “Hydrogenation is a high tech process. Vegetable seeds are cleaned and bleached to remove all color, taste, smells and impurities. The liquid vegetable oil is then heated to high temperatures and a catalyst (commonly nickel, but could be palladium, platinum or rhodium) is added. Hydrogen is bubbled through the liquid. The mixture is then filtered to remove the metal, leaving hydrogenated vegetable oil. Water, whey, salt, vitamins, colorings, flavorings and emulsifiers may then be added to produce hydrogenated margarine.”; or instead of “mono-glycerides and di-glycerides” the label read “The MGs and DGs added are usually by-products of fats and oils processing such as partial hydrogenation and various forms of extraction and interesterification processes.”

It’s time to simplify what we eat, down to the basic organic ingredients, and leave behind all of the processes found in highly processed foods!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Quinoa Stew

*Based on what I have recently learned (over the past 6mo or so) regarding grain consumption within modern day factory or industrial farming societies, and its adverse effects on human health ultimately leading to many of the illnesses and diseases affecting Americans in epic proportions, I have changed my stance on the importance of such monocrops (grains and legumes) within a healthy human diet. The human digestive system was not designed nor has it evolved to a point to effectively digest such foods like grains and legumes without the body suffering from its harmful side effects; inflammation and damage to the gut. Since evidence shows inefficient digestion and inflammation are the root cause for nearly all human diseases be it heart disease, diabetes, cancer, crohn's disease, autoimmune diseases, and chronic inflammatory disorders in all its forms, a healthy diet should promote a healthy gut (fermented foods) and be anti-inflammatory based (grass-fed meats and eggs, wild caught fish, fresh organic fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds) instead of high in foods promoting inflammation such as grains, legumes, and factory farmed meats, poultry, fish, and eggs.

This is a great wintertime meal, and it's very healthy. I recommend Organic for all ingredients.

Quinoa (3/4 cup)
2 C Water
1 Lg Potato (cubed) (or 2 Lg Parsnips sliced)
2 Lg Carrots (sliced)
2 Lg stalks of Celery (sliced)
½ med Onion (sliced, then sliced in half)
½ can (Peas or Corn)
1 tbsp Turmeric powder (or curry powder)
Salt and Pepper to taste

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