Who Knew There Were Others Like Me?

About a week ago a friend of mine added me to a new group on Facebook. It’s a group of Health minded moms who are working hard to create healthy families. This wasn’t the first time I joined a “healthy” group like this, and so I wasn’t really expecting that much. The last group I was added to was also for Jewish folks, who wanted to cook healthy and such but ehh. Often times I find a similar thing with so-called healthy cooking magazines where the recipes are “lightened” up but still a far cry from truly being healthy. But I suppose as long as we are trying and doing the best we can, then we are on the right track. Hey, it’s not like I’m miss perfect either!

However, this new Facebook group has completely astounded me. We’re talking hard-core crunchy granola moms!!! In fact, I’m beginning to feel like the bad one since I’m not THAT strict when it comes to organics and natural products! But it is incredibly refreshing to join in conversations that I can add my comments (things I’ve learned or picked up along the way) and hear other peoples experiences and ideas as well.

The truth is that very often I feel like an outsider when it comes to my health ideologies. That I take herbs instead of antibiotics or that I visit chiropractors and naturopaths instead of medical doctors. The fact that I try hard to eat as fresh as possible because I sincerely believe that our government regulated industries are causing detriment to the nutritional value of our food (i.e controlling farms, GMO production, etc) So often times, when I’m with friends or family, I tend to keep quiet about the weird things I do, or eat.

I had FINALLY convinced my sister in law to taste my freshly juiced Wheatgrass and she spit it out saying it tasted like Moose balls …. (Or something like that) So you can see that often I feel like the Salmon (or Goldfish Smile) swimming upstream amongst the mainstream swimmers. I’m not complaining. I always was the one who enjoyed going my own way and doing my own thang but generally I tend to water down the things I tell people and keep the details to a minimum.

So I must say that this new Facebook group is really quite wonderful. Sure, I have many acquaintances that are health minded like me …. People who I’ve met online, or through my Doctors, but finding a group of Jewish women, all who were raised in the same type of system as me, and all who are looked upon as a bit “nutty,” well, it’s really enlightening to feel at home amongst these women.

No, I wasn’t paid to advertise, but if you are feeling a little adventurous and want to add a little more natural to your life, then I highly recommend the Healthy Homes for Jewish Families group on Facebook. (you may have to request to join, I’m not sure. I was added against my will Smile) But feel free to look around. You might just learn something funky!


Posted by on May 9, 2012 in Physical Health


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We’re Going to Kentucky… we’re going to the Fair….


My dear friend Chevee sings this song to me EVERY time I mention something about Kentucky. Or something about a fair. Or just pretty much anytime we time we talk. Smile

I mention Kentucky and Fairs – because if there was ever a time to relish in living in the Southern state of KY – this is the month to do it! This past Saturday was the grand poobah of City wide events — the Kentucky Derby. While the actual derby race is only about 2 minutes long (literally) the city of Louisville has created a month long party out of the entire thing. For the past few weeks, there have been festivals, fireworks, concerts, a huge parade, hot air balloon launches and lots of late night festivities as well.

On Friday, my hubby was at the grocery store, and when the cashier handed him the receipt she wished him a “Happy Derby!” How incredible! The public library and many local shops are closed in honor of derby weekend. My neighbor told me that when she moved to Louisville years ago, the realtor couldn’t make it to the Friday closing on their house because of Derby. (I was SHOCKED when the mail service was still running on Saturday!)

For those following my blog, you probably have noticed that there’s one “pillar” I don’t talk much about: Recreational Health.

I often put work ahead of fun. It must be my hardwire or something but I always felt that we need to do our chores and only then can we go play. Sure, this is what we are told as kids …. “clean your room and then you can go to your friend’s house.” But I’m finding that this really doesn’t help me as an adult. Yes, I have a top notch work ethic…. But its dreadful that there isn’t much time left to play. Either the day has completely escaped me, or there isn’t any energy left to go and have that fun.

Obviously having fun is important, or I wouldn’t have considered it a founding Pillar to our health !!! Well, the past few weeks have taught me this wonderful lesson that ALL WORK AND NO PLAY doesn’t work very well.

I took the local magazine (a special magazine is published JUST for the Kentucky Derby Festival events) and I took my planner – and I marked down ALL the events we wanted to go to… and whaddya know? We had the time of our lives!

My hubby, who grew up in Louisville told me the other day “I never really did the derby.” Yes, he lived here as a kid but he was experiencing the festivals for the first time alongside me. In fact – on Friday, after we spent a VERY long Thursday evening at the Derby Parade, he asked me “So, what’s on the agenda for today? We going anywhere?” He was very thankful to hear that we were officially recuperating from our hopping around town.

My point is (and I do have one) that Louisville turns into this incredibly magical city during this time of year. People are so proud and honored to be part of this awesome city. A city that has small town written all over it, yet a 2 minute drive downtown allows you to feel like you’re in the hullabaloo and excitement of a big city. It’s truly the best of both worlds.

We got quite a reality check the past few weeks…. Seeing Louisvillians at their best… watching the pride in their city (and their sports coaches!) and I was really thrilled to be part of the experience.

Below, are some pictures of the goings on from Derby Season…. I figured you all would enjoy them…. (don’t worry you’ll get to see ALL the pictures when I post an album on Facebook)

Happy Derby !!!! Smile 


At the Preview Party. This is Pegasus himself… (or herself?) – that’s me in the corner. You can see how huge the balloon is!


me with a very annoyed (and scared) horse Smile 

me and a scared horse

me & the hubs (aren’t we adorable?)

me and hubs

Derby Parade! (Reminded me of the Lag Ba’omer marching bands)

marching band

Duby and her band of Pirates! Arghhhhhh….


I couldn’t believe it! The Red Hat Society really exists!!!! How wonderfully Southern Smile 

the red hat society

She decided to bring her snake to the Parade. like seriously.


oh look! another picture of us Smile 

me and shemeel better


Posted by on May 6, 2012 in Recreational Health


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Let’s Keep the Healthy Stuff Healthy, shall we?

veggieWould you like to know what’s on my mind this week? Not much to tell you the truth. Lots of fun exciting things happening in the life of Duby – including collecting Cheesecake recipes and ideas for a children’s program I’m planning for Shavuos.

On the health side though – not too much happening. (sorry Smile)

But with all the cheesecake and dessert planning, it has occurred to me how awfully ironic and strange that someone who touts healthy this and healthy that, has found herself in charge of Yom Tov desserts. (ps – I requested to be in charge and my mother in law happily agreed) Of course, I give this a lot of thought. My 8 year old sister in law doesn’t know me as the carrot crunching naturalist, but more as the girl who bakes fresh Cinnamon Buns and Chocolate Rugalech, and brings them over for a pre-Shabbos treat. Quite a contradiction isn’t it?

A few weeks ago, my hubby was at someone’s house and was snacking on cucumber slices, dipped in salad dressing. He was snacking with the kids of the household and they were all super proud of their very healthy snack choice. Yes, they could have chosen the cookies or the twizzlers, but instead they chose the veggie and dip so they could grow up big and strong! (the kids, not the hubby Smile) well, whaddya know, after munching for a while – my husband decided to check the label of the dressing bottle (more for fun I suppose to find out what made it so yummy). I’m sure you can guess what he found on the bottle. The thing was loaded with chemicals and sugar up the whazoo.

The point of my story (and I do have one) is that I propose we keep the healthy things healthy so the dessert can be dessert. When we eat a cookie, we are aware that we are eating a “treat” (as in something that shouldn’t be eaten all the time – not in the sense of a reward). Even the new age Cookie Monster gives a disclaimer that cookies are great IF you eat them AFTER you’ve had your dinner / fruit / vegetables etc.

How are our kids (and ourselves) supposed to differentiate between what’s really healthy and what’s really not, when the supposed healthy foods aren’t much better than the dessert?

Let me break it down for you.

If the salad is filled with nutritious and fresh vegetables, but the dressing is loaded with ketchup, sugar, soy sauce, do we still call it a salad? (if a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it….:)) I’m sure I’ll get a lot of criticism for this statement but here goes anyway:

What’s the difference between eating the sugar loaded vegetable dish and eating a chocolate chip cookie?

The difference is that when we’re eating the sugary salad – psychologically – we believe we’re eating something healthy.

A quick anecdote I’d like to throw in here for fun. (and because I just thought of it). Years ago, I once spent Yom Tov at someone’s house (no, I won’t tell you who). They’re food is heavenly. Like YUM. Duby at this point was trying to watch what she ate, and knew in her mind to just eat the healthier foods and stay away from the bad ones. (sounds easy right?)

I’m sitting at the Yom Tov table and I’m realizing that there was no healthy option!!!!! Every vegetable was turned into some sort of Kugel, farfel, muffin, or cake type of thing. And that wasn’t even the starch product for the meal! I sat there in disbelief. The healthy stuff was compromised and I ended up eating things that I really hadn’t wanted to.

We are trying to teach our children how to choose healthier foods and make healthier choices – but what are we doing when NEITHER is the healthier option?

Granted, I haven’t done the breakdown of the nutritional differences of said Chocolate Chip Cookie and Said Sugary Salad – but it’s my opinion that it is teaching a convoluted message.

So yes, I’ll confess in front of a jury that Duby the healthy weirdo bakes NON healthy desserts. If you’ve been following my blog you probably remember my experience of baking healthy. (You can click here if you want to read about that adventure) but I’ve realized it’s not for me. Maybe when I have kids, I’ll change my tune and embrace the coconut oil- raw honey-oatmeal cookies, but for now, I’m keeping my desserts as DESSERTS, and the healthy stuff HEALTHY.

An oxymoron? Perhaps. But at least I know that the nutritionalangel value of my veggies are not compromised and you can rely on the fact that my Cinnamon Buns aren’t compromised either Smile

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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Physical Health


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Never Leave Home Without It :)

Well, as promised I have begun my Earth Day resolutions. First one on the list – committing to only using re-usable bags when grocery shopping!

So far so good… it really isn’t very hard. It’s more about remembering to take them with you, or into the store.

I was in Whole Foods yesterday, and I ended up chatting with our cashier about this very funny clip about re-usable bags from a TV show called Portlandia. (I highly recommend it !) 

For a little Wednesday afternoon pick-me-up, here is that clip on the importance of bringing a bag Smile

(ps – if the video doesn’t embed properly, feel free to click the link to watch it. Yes, I’m making you do extra work)


Posted by on April 25, 2012 in Misc. Ramblings


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Happy Earth Day! – Go Hug a Tree!


“Earth Day is a day each year on which events are held worldwide to increase awareness and appreciation of the Earth’s natural environment.” (thank you Wikipedia)

Believe it or not, when I was a kid, I was a huge environmentalist and feminist. I thought all boys were stupid and inferior and I thought everyone should recycle and stop killing animals just for their fur, tusks and other materials.

At some point in my childhood (I wish I remembered how old I was) there was a big legislation going on about the killing of innocent dolphins due to the nets used by the fisherman catching Tuna. Dolphins were often swept up along with the schools of Tuna and by the time the fisherman loaded the nets onto the boat, the poor dolphins would have already been dead. Back then, there were specific tuna companies that would label their cans saying “Dolphin Friendly” or the like. My mother had told me about these unfortunate dolphins and I remember feeling so angered that for a school writing assignment I wrote a long story about a family of dolphins that lived in the ocean.

Thinking about Earth Day – I realize I’m not much of an environmentalist anymore and hardly much of a feminist either. (I would almost say I’m sexist at this point in my life!) Sure, I read about the tigers that are quickly dwindling away, or the polar bear fiasco in the north, and of course that dreadful oil spill not that long ago. I’m sure we all remember sitting and watching the little meter on TV counting each and every gallon of oil gushing into our waters.

Can I Save a Tiger?

So I sit and I read – and I don’t have that childlike frustration and anger anymore. I notice that I don’t get all up in arms, screaming and yelling passionate for change! No, instead it’s a feeling of helplessness that has turned into numbness. Can I save a tiger? Not exactly. Can I tell poachers to stop killing beautiful elephants just for their tusks? Yeah, I’ll be on a plane to Africa tomorrow. What can I do?

Yes, I’ve heard – that “every voice counts.” Or “Call your congressman!” But I guess it’s a fatal flaw in me, that I really don’t believe my little itty bitty phone call to my congressman will do much to help the animals or the water or whatever cause is going on at this moment.

But frankly, I don’t like this attitude either. It reminds me of the older generation such as our parents (sorry dad!) The people who have become set in their ways and jaded by the negative occurrences in the world. I suppose that after many years it’s natural to become de-sensitized to the issues. Want to find the most passionate excitable people? Go to a nearby college campus and see what they’re protesting (or drinking Smile)

While I guess you can say I’m officially an adult now (the big 3-0 is just a few months away) – I certainly don’t want to settle into one of those adults who are burned out with no more energy claiming “it is what it is,” or “back in the good old days.”

So I gave it some thought. In honor of Earth Day – it’s time for some action!

Yes, I know I probably won’t be able to do much saving the tigers and whatnot, but I can do something.

After a few moments of thinking I came up with 3 (small) things I’d like to do in honor of Earth Day. (no, I haven’t cleared these with the husband yet, so let’s hope he’ll be on board Smile)

1) Enough with the Plastic Bags already!!!!

About 2 years ago we began collecting re-usable shopping bags from various stores (whole foods, trader Joes, etc.) I must tell you it was kind of fun knowing we were doing something good and helpful to the environment. But then we kind of stopped. We left the bags at home, or in the car, or they ended up being used for other purposes.

The studies show that those ‘innocent’ plastic shopping bags can take hundreds of years to break down. As they break down, they release poisonous materials into the water and soil. (nisht gut!)

Long story short, it’s not that hard to do – so let’s get back into it!! And, as an added bonus, it’s TOTALLY like OMG in style to carry chic reusable bags SmileSmile

2) Recycle those damn bottles!!

I love Louisville. I really do. I can write an entire blog about the cool things in this city and why I enjoy living here. One thing that I am disappointed in – is their recycling policy. Back in NJ, if we didn’t recycle we were FINED! Our garbage would NOT be picked up if bottles or papers were found inside. (who exactly would inspect our garbage I’m not quite sure) But we always recycled.

Here in Louisville, if you WANT to recycle – it COSTS YOU EXTRA MONEY. (disclaimer: It only costs extra money in MY specific district). So, let’s think about this, shall we? I can be lazy and save money OR, I can work a little extra and have to pay. Hmmm… I wonder which one I’ll choose? Granted, I told my hubby as soon as we moved in “We are a family that recycles.” And while I still hold to that moral, I’m sad to say we’ve stopped recycling because frankly, it’s difficult to pay for it.

The excellent news is that there is a recycling dumpster right down the block from us where we can bring our recyclables and drumroll…. Its free! Well, isn’t that a win win ?

On a side note, taking a bit of inspiration from my childhood “Save the dolphins” self, I plan to write a letter to our Mayor and district councilman to tell them of my disappointment. Imagine how many MORE people would be inclined to recycle, something that’s SO easy to do, if it didn’t cost extra money. We all know what a big impact recycling has on our environment… and you never know, maybe I can make a difference. (I’ll keep you posted if I make any headway.)

3) Water, Water, Water…..

This, I have to admit is the toughest one. I seem to have a bit of a dependency on plastic bottled water. I have read far too many articles about the wastefulness of all the plastic bottles, and there is an argument that the water in a bottle isn’t that much better! (PS – I loved the scene in the movie The Lorax – where the ‘bad guy’ sells people ‘air in a bottle.’ He brilliantly claims that if you put things in a bottle, people will buy it!) But getting back to the conversation, it is pointless and truly careless to use water bottles at home. Time to invest in a glass or aluminum thermos!

What needs to be decided is what kind of water filtration system to have at home. My naturopath is a big proponent of Distilled Water systems. He feels they are the purest, but of course it comes with a big contraption (small kitchen) and costs a pretty penny (but lasts a lifetime.) So for this one, I’d like to say that by next Earth Day – perhaps we’ll be a Plastic Bottle Free house, and until we figure out the best sort of water filter for us, I believe we have a Brita pitcher floating around somewhere that we can use.

Well my friends, I hope you have a wonderful Earth Day. Maybe you’re not in the mood of planting any trees or joining beach clean ups, but it still would be cool to go outside and hug a tree. I may just do that Smile

Hug a Tree!!!! And Happy Earth Day!

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Posted by on April 21, 2012 in Misc. Ramblings


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Is Our Religion Getting in the Way of Our Health?


Matzah joke

Well my friends, it’s obvious that I’ve been neglecting my blog. I’ve been enjoying my other projects and you could say I use up all my writing energy elsewhere with not much left for my blog.

So I guess we’ll see what will be the fate of the 5 Pillars. Lord knows I don’t want to give up on the whole blogging thing, but at the same time, I often feel guilty when the posts aren’t frequent enough.

Let’s talk about something that has been weighing on my mind lately.

Really, this is more of a rant / vent about something I don’t have an answer for. This is something that has popped into my brain as I’m recuperating and getting back on schedule from our week long marathon called Pesach.

Is our religion getting in the way of our health?

Another way I would phrase this question is:

“Do our Holiday customs make us unhealthy?”


For those of my readers out there (and I know you’re out there!) who wouldn’t dare say a negative thing about our way of life, I’ll try to tread lightly, but I gotta tell you – this isn’t the first time I’ve thought of this concept. (please, spare me the hater comments)

Let me explain:

The holiday of Pesach comes along with many Laws and Customs. Many of which don’t exactly scream healthy. Let’s examine a few of them:

1) According to Hagaddah, we are instructed to drink 4 cups on wine in one evening. (and then do that again the next night)

2) We are instructed to eat Matzah:

a. 1 whole Matzah for the Matzah portion of the seder, (minimum you can eat ½)

b. ½ Matzah for Korech (the sandwich).

c. 1 whole Matzah for Afikoman

So according to the Haggadah – for those of us math whizzes – that’s 2.5 Matzahs that we HAVE to eat entirely. (oh and the first matzah needs to be eaten within a few minutes).

3) We have a full Yom Tov meal – usually 3 courses

4) Aside from the Seder, we are instructed to have a full meal for lunch after Shul, and then another full meal hours later for dinner. By full meal, I mean eat fish AND meat.

Shall I continue?

I am somewhat bothered by some of our traditions-turned-Halacha that have been solidified throughout our generations.

Allow me to continue.

Many of my friends, family and the wonderful world of the Imamother forum have similar complaints of digestion issues over Pesach. Many have constipation, others are running to the bathroom while others just feel fat, bloated with discomfort.

I gave this some thought and here’s what I have come up with.

It is WONDERFUL that our tradition is to do away with ALL processed foods on Pesach. It’s excellent that we don’t have chemicals and additives in our foods. Everything is homemade – from the juice we drink, to the seasonings – it really is excellent for our health.

However, (and this is a big however) – our diet over this holiday isn’t exactly one to be admired.

A) Meat, Matzah and Dairy products are not constipation friendly. They plug us up!

B) We have done away with many vegetables and fruits that help maintain healthy digestion. Foods like Broccoli, Spinach, Asparagus, Brussel Sprouts, kale, or berries which are very high in fiber etc …. are not allowed because they cannot be peeled. So other than a salad, we are left with very heavy and starchy vegetables (or kugels which aren’t very light on the stomach either)

Obviously I wouldn’t (publicly) suggest going back on years of traditions as I know these are important, but I cant help but feel some of our “Laws” (and I put laws in quotations because eating only a peel-able vegetable is NOT a law) are not very good for our health. I have a hard time understanding why our infallible Torah would instruct us in ways that can G-d forbid cause us to be ill.

Luckily, Pesach is just one week long and it only comes a year. And now that it’s over, we have just enough time to get back to our healthy habits before its time to combat all that Cheesecake on Shavuos! Constipation-Leunig


Posted by on April 18, 2012 in Physical Health


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What / Who are your Energy Suckers?


battery_drained_drained_tshirt-p235462129617598701z8npz_400With Valentines Day last week I was thinking a lot about relationships (and blogging of course), and the ever so popular topic of Toxic Relationships.

Instead of analyzing and dwelling on my difficult relationships and studying their level of Toxicity – I like to ask myself one simple question.

Are they an Energy Sucker, or not?

The truth is, it doesn’t really matter WHY or HOW – the answer we’re looking for is a YES or a NO.

(editor’s note: I suppose if the relationship is one you need / want to keep – you may want more specific answers so you can work through it)

What is an Energy Sucker?

Just as it sounds, an Energy Sucker is SOMEONE or SOMETHING that literally sucks your energy. It DRAINS the life out of you. (eek, sounds scary!) Ok, it might sound harsh, but in reality – we deal with these kinds of peoples and scenarios all the time.

The easy one: The friend who’s difficult. I’m sure you know the one I’m referring to (quick, without thinking, imagine a friend or family member that drains you! 1,2,3 – answer! – ok good.) They’re the ones that when their name pops up on your caller ID – your stomach does a little flip (even a little one). Or the one where you instinctively say “oh no, SHE’s gonna be there?” Or the person that after spending time with them, you hang up the phone, or leave their house completely and utterly emotionally drained.

This, my dear is an Energy Sucker.

Sure, we know all about those friends that drain us – we call them Toxic Relationships. But Energy Suckers is more than just a bad friend, or an annoying cousin (or grandparent.) Understanding Energy Suckers in our lives, help us realize that it’s MORE than just our relationships.

Here’s an example:


(my Louisville family members probably think I’m crazy) – but for me, Walmart can (sometimes) be an Energy Sucker. How so? The bright lights, the huge open store, the noise… sometimes it makes my head not feel so yummy and the experience isn’t so fun. On the flip side, a cozier library or book store is an energizing and soothing place for me.

An Energy Sucker can be a person or a PLACE… it can be a building (such as Walmart.) It can be your grandparents house (for whatever reason).

Here’s a more fun example:

It can also be an activity.

Remember the last time you called your Telephone company about your retardedely high cell phone bill? You then spent over 20 minutes pressing *0 for an operator, and instead kept getting connected to different departments only for your frustration and blood pressure levels to rise dramatically.

That is an example of an Energy Sucker. It was a situation, or something that drained your energy.

Before you get your undies in a knot – I KNOW that sometimes we need to do things because as adults, we have responsibilities that aren’t so exciting. (I mean, does anyone actually ENJOY doing their taxes? Except maybe my friend the accountant?)

It’s still good to know which activities drain us so we can monitor how much or how little time we spend doing them. Or, possibly delegating the task to someone else (enter: accountant!)

The first thing to do is….

You guessed it – create a list!!!!!!

Make a list of ALL the Energy Suckers in your life.

Top worst three people first – and then the rest.

Also include places or activities that rob you of your precious energy.

Ok, now what?

Now that you have your list made, pat yourself on the back for a minute because you’ve just taken the first step in taking back your energy. (yay you!!)

The next thing to do is figure out how to curb, or limit your interactions with said people or places on the list.

I read a story about this woman who had severe fatigue issues. She was instructed by her doctor to make such a list of Energy Suckers – and one of her top 3 people was her mother. How could she tell her mother,

“Hey ma, piss off – you’re an Energy Sucker!” – not really. The doctor suggested she limit phone conversations with her mom to 3 minutes exactly once a week. If the mother would start to nag, she politely tells her mom she needs to go, and gets off the phone.

It’s not a matter of being polite or rude it’s purely for the benefit of one’s health. Because if she WOULD stay on the phone for longer periods of time, all her energy would be drained – and would continue her cycle of fatigue problems.

Some Energy Suckers unfortunately are quite difficult and for a period of time, need to be stayed away from entirely. I have done this (and have had it done to me as well) and from first- hand experience, it’s extremely hard to do and it SUCKS (pun intended). If you do choose to stay away from an Energy Sucker entirely, you’ll most probably be seen as an Anti Social Bitch (or the male equivalent).

However, I firmly believe it’s important and crucial in the name of good long term health.

Well, my dear readers I hope you enjoyed Energy Suckers: 101.

Oh, and Happy Valentines Day (a week late Smile)

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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Emotional Health


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