Going green this year . . .

March 15, 2014 by admin  
Filed under Food, Nutrition News

Adding superfoods like spirulina is a simple way of optimizing your health.

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, many people choose to add green food coloring to their drinks.   A healthier alternative would be to sprinkle some Spirulina in the drink.  Not only will you be in the spirit of this festive holiday, but you will also be doing something simple that is incredibly good for your body.

Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is considered a superfood. It is nutrient dense and has many hard to get vitamins and minerals as well as possesses anti-viral, anti-cancer and antihistamine properties.  This powerful superfood dates back to the Aztecs who used it as a supplement in their diet.  The following are some fun facts about Spirulina:

  • Spirulina is the most nutrient dense food per acre.
  • It provides 200 times more protein than beef.
  • It was used by NASA as a supplement for astronauts.
  • It contains 8 essential amino acids and 10 non-essential amino acids.
  • It is rich in B vitamins, essential fatty acids and carotenoids.

Chlorella, like Spirulina, is another green superfood with several health benefits.  It is a single-cell, fresh water algae that is considered Spirulina’s cousin.  It, too, is nutrient dense and is packed with vitamins, minerals and Chlorella Growth Factor, which helps your body in its cellular rejuvenation.1 It is also a great detoxifier.  Some fun facts of about Chlorella include:

  • Chlorella binds to mercury and helps remove it from the body.
  • It is high in Chlorophyll, which helps the body block absorption of carcinogens.
  • It contains Astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant, anti inflammatory carotenoid.
  • It helps remove PCBs (chemicals found in plastic) from the body.

Adding dark green leafy vegetables is another great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and to dramatically improve your health.  Kale (also known as “borecole”), for example, is a type of cabbage that is either purple or green in color.  Along with being high in fiber, it is a powerhouse of other nutrients and antioxidants, specifically beta-carotene.  Kale also contains many health promoting phytochemicals, such as sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol that help to protect against breast, prostate and colon cancers.2 It is also high in folate and B6, which can help prevent heart disease, dementia, and osteoporosis.  Kale is most often steamed. This helps preserve the nutrients. Flavor it with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and/or onions and enjoy!

  1. Wolfe, D. (2009). Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future.
  2. Auborn, KJ, Fan, S., Rosen, EM, Goodwin, L., Chandraskaren, A., Williams, DE, Chen, DZ, and Carter TH. Indole-3-Carbinol Is a Negative Regulator of Estrogen. The Journal of Nutrition. (2003), vol. 133 no. 7

Reducing the flames

February 17, 2014 by admin  
Filed under Exercise, Food, Lifestyle, Nutrition News

Conditions like heart disease are the outcome of low grade, “silent” inflammation that is systemic and chronic.

Many chronic diseases are mediated by your body’s inflammatory response. Conditions such as multiple sclerosis, depression, arthritis, obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease and even obesity are mediated by chronic inflammation.1, 2 When you experience an acute infection or sustain an injury to your body, your immune system mobilizes an inflammatory response to neutralize the infectious agent or initiate a healing response.  Your body cannot combat acute infections or heal damaged tissues without inflammation. However, conditions like heart disease are the outcome of low grade, “silent” inflammation that is systemic and chronic.

Several over the counter and pharmaceutical medications (e.g., NSAIDs like ibuprofen, COX-2 inhibitors such as Celebrex) exist to reduce inflammation in your body.   While these drugs do lower inflammation in your body, they bring with them several side effects (i.e., ranging from mild skin reactions and stomach ulcers to more serious conditions such as heart attacks, thrombosis and strokes).  Thankfully, you can balance your immune system and modulate your body’s inflammatory response by changing your lifestyle.

Knowing your fats and improving your ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids will go a long way towards balancing your body’s inflammatory response.  Your body’s inflammatory system is regulated by your immune system and hormone-like substances known as prostaglandins.  Prostaglandins are enzymatically derived from fatty acids and exert their physiological effect at localized tissue sites.  Omega 6 fatty acids act as the building blocks for inflammatory prostaglandins.  Omega 6 fatty acids are found primarily in nuts and seeds, processed vegetable oils, grains, legumes and conventionally raised animal foods.   Omega 3 fatty acids help your body to produce anti-inflammatory prostaglandins.  Rich food sources include small cold water, fatty fish, grass fed and pasture raised animals, dark green, leafy vegetables and some nuts and seeds.  Ideally, you will eat a 3:1 to 1:1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids.  Unfortunately, the average American eats very SADly (Standard American Diet) and consumes a 16:1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids.3

In order to decrease your levels of systemic inflammation, prevent many chronic diseases and optimize your health, you must reduce your intake of unnecessary omega 6 fatty acids.  Processed vegetable oils used for cooking and in most processed foods are often high in omega 6 fatty acids.  Instead, cook with animal fats or plant sources of saturated fat that are more stable and do not oxidize easily.  Tallow, suet, butter or ghee (grass fed) and coconut oil are healthy choices.  In addition, make sure you increase your intake of long chain omega 3 fatty acids (i.e., EPA and DHA) by including food rich sources at least twice a week.  While long chain omega 3 fatty acids like EPA have powerful anti-inflammatory effects in the body, plant sources of medium chain omega 3 fatty acids such as ALA are important for optimal health.  Nuts, seeds and leafy dark greens are rich sources of medium chain omega 3 fatty acids.  Make sure you include several servings a week.

To reduce systemic inflammation and optimize your health, you must also reduce your intake of refined and starchy carbohydrates.  Excessive consumption of quickly digested carbohydrates (i.e., high glycemic index) contributes to the production of proinflammatory Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs) that wreak havoc inside your body.  AGEs are formed when simple sugar molecules bind to protein or fat without the enzymes necessary to control the reaction.  You can also reduce AGEs by using low heat cooking methods such as steaming or light sautéing and reducing your consumption of animal proteins that have been browned or charred.

Regular exercise can also help to further reduce systemic inflammation by enhancing your body’s production of the anti-inflammatory, cytokine interleukin (IL)-10.4 Cytokines are chemical messengers that work to orchestrate your body’s immune system and inflammatory response.  Aim to exercise for 30 to 45 minutes, four to five times per week to achieve optimal results.    And, remember to have fun and play with your workouts.  Vary your workouts and try adding brief, intense exercise routines a couple times a week.

Healthy Fats

  • Long chain omega 3 fatty acids: grass fed, pasture raised animals or wild caught, cold water, small fish. (e.g., sardines, herring, anchovies, sock eye salmon, bison, beef, venison, lamb).
  • Medium chain omega 3 fatty acids: dark leafy greens, walnuts, seeds (chia, flax, hemp, sacha inchi).
  • Omega 6 fatty acids: nuts, seeds (black currant, chia, flax, hemp, sesame, sacha inchi, pumpkin).
  • Saturated fats: grass fed, pasture raised animals, butter, ghee, tallow, suet, coconuts.
  • Monounsaturated fats: avocados, olives, grass fed, pasture raised animals, nuts (almonds, macadamia, cashews).

To learn more about how working with a Miami psychologist and holistic health coach can help you to optimize your health, contact the staff at Full of Radiance to schedule a free consultation.

The information, published and/or made available through the www.fullofradiance.com website, is not intended to replace the services of a physician, nor does it constitute a physician-patient relationship. This blog is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use the information in this post for diagnosing or treating a medical or health condition. You should consult a physician in all matters relating to your health, particularly in respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.  Any action on the reader’s part in response to the information provided in this blog is at the reader’s discretion.

  1. Perry, V.H.   The influence of systemic inflammation on inflammation in the brain: implications for chronic neurodegenerative disease. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. (2004), 18 (5): 407–41.
  2. Sin, D.D., Paul Man, S.F.   Why Are Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease at Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases? The Potential Role of Systemic Inflammation in Chronic ObstructivePulmonary Disease. Circulation. (2003), 107:1514-1519.
  3. Simopoulos, AP. The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy. (2002), 56(8):365-79. .
  4. Ostrowski, K., Rohde, T., Asp, S., Schjerling, P., and Pedersen, B.K.  Pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine balance in strenuous exercise in humans. Journal of Physiology. (1999), 15; 515(Pt 1): 287–291.

My review of EPIC Protein Bars

January 27, 2014 by admin  
Filed under Food, Lifestyle, Nutrition News

Reading the December 2013 issue of my Paleo Magazine, I noticed an ad for the EPIC protein bar.  As someone who loves good food and enjoys the convenience and indulgence of the occasional treat, I was intrigued and decided to do more research.

In addition to wanting to enjoy the flavor of the food that I eat, I want to make sure the food is good for my body, the animals and planet.  After liking what I read about EPIC, I decided to purchase a box of their Turkey Almond Cranberry bars.  There are many aspects of the company and the protein bars that I really appreciate and like:

EPIC protein bars are nutrient dense, gluten free, low glycemic and taste good!

  • The protein bars are made from humanely treated, pasture centered and/or organic raised animals, which means that they are sustainable and have a positive impact on the health of the planet.
  • The other ingredients in the bars are all whole foods that I easily recognize with names that are easy to pronounce.
  • All their food bars are gluten free and low glycemic so they won’t spike your blood sugar levels and cause health problems if you have a gluten sensitivity or intolerance.
  • They are good sources of many nutrients like omega 3 fatty acids, CLA, and vitamins A & E.
  • They are available in a variety of flavors that include beef, bison, turkey and lamb.
  • They taste very good!

While I don’t plan on eating EPIC protein bars every day, I do think that they are a great snack food much like traditional Pemmican bars.  They are also a great food source of protein before or after you workout and are very nutrient dense.   And did I mention that they are very tasty!  You can buy EPIC protein bars online and at your local Whole Foods Market.

To your good health,

Dr. Sandoval

To learn more about how working with a Miami holistic health coach and psychologist can help you to optimize your health, contact the staff at Full of Radiance to schedule a free consultation.

The information, published and/or made available through the www.fullofradiance.com website, is not intended to replace the services of a physician, nor does it constitute a physician-patient relationship. This blog is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use the information in this post for diagnosing or treating a medical or health condition. You should consult a physician in all matters relating to your health, particularly in respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.  Any action on the reader’s part in response to the information provided in this blog is at the reader’s discretion.

Eating for Energy

March 6, 2013 by admin  
Filed under Food, Lifestyle, Nutrition News

The start of day light savings time marks the official start of the Spring season.  With this shift, the days are longer and for many people it also means less sleep and energy.  Your food habits contribute to these patterns and learning to eat whole, clean foods can enhance your sense of energy and vitality. Many foods can also decrease your energy.

Below are some foods that you may want to reduce or eliminate in order to enhance your energy and vitality.

  • Coffee and soft drinks
  • Highly processed foods
  • Sugar and artificial sweeteners
  • Foods that contain trans fats
  • Excess meat or dairy


While some these foods may appear to give you a boost of energy, they actually deplete your body of essential minerals and nutrients that are necessary for your body to produce energy and keep you healthy.  Many of these foods are also very addictive.

In order to enhance your sense of vitality, optimize your health and increase your energy, follow the recommendations below.

  • Whenever possible, focus on the highest quality food that you can afford.  Local and/or organic foods have fewer chemicals that can burden your body and rob you of your health.
  • Add more foods that are alive and have life force. They are often raw and will spoil if left out.
  • Eat primarily whole foods: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans. They are foods that have not been processed and thus keep all the components of their original, natural state: fiber, vitamins and minerals.
  • Add superfoods that have very high levels of nutrients. Leafy greens like kale, collards or Swiss chard and sea vegetables such as kelp, dulse or wakame are powerful sources of nutrition and energy.

To learn more about how working with a holistic health coach can help you to improve your well-being and maximize your sense of energy and vitality, contact the staff at Full of Radiance to schedule a free consultation.

Chewing

March 26, 2012 by admin  
Filed under Lifestyle, Nutrition News

When it comes to increased health, it’s not just what we eat but how we eat. Digestion actually begins in the mouth, where contact with our teeth and digestive enzymes in our saliva break down food. But these days most of us rush through the whole eating experience, barely acknowledging what we’re putting in our mouths. We eat while distracted—working, reading, talking and watching television—and swallow our food practically whole. On average we chew each bite only eight times. It’s no wonder that many people have digestive problems.

There are many great reasons to slow down and chew your food.

  • Saliva breaks down food into simple sugars, creating a sweet taste. The more we chew, the sweeter our food becomes, so we don’t crave those after-meal sweets.
  • Chewing reduces digestive distress and improves assimilation, allowing our bodies to absorb maximum nutrition from each bite of food.
  • More chewing produces more endorphins, the brain chemicals responsible for creating good feelings.
  • It’s also helpful for weight loss, because when we are chewing well, we are more apt to notice when we are full.
  • In fact, chewing can promote increased circulation, enhanced immunity, increased energy and endurance, as well as improve skin health and stabilize weight.
  • Taking time with a meal, beginning with chewing, allows for enjoyment of the whole experience of eating: the smells, flavors and textures. It helps us to give thanks, to show appreciation for the abundance in our lives and to develop patience and self-control.

The power of chewing is so great that there are stories of concentration camp survivors who, when others could not, made it through with very little food by chewing their meager rations up to 300 times per bite of food. For most of us 300 chews is a daunting and unrealistic goal. However, you can experience the benefits of chewing by increasing to 30 chews per bite. Try it and see how you feel.

Try eating without the TV, computer, Blackberry, newspaper or noisy company. Instead just pay attention to the food and to how you are breathing and chewing.

This kind of quiet can be disconcerting at first, since we are used to a steady stream of advertising, news, media, email and demands from others. But as you create a new habit, you will begin to appreciate eating without rushing. You have to eat every day—why not learn to savor and enjoy it?

Celebrating organic food and non-GMO awareness month

October 28, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Nutrition News

Why Organic?

Originally, all foods were “organic.” They were grown and prepared without pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, hormones or irradiation. Foods were unrefined, whole or minimally processed. Since World War II and the advent of chemical farming and food processing, the soils and foods of much of the world have been depleted of many important minerals and nutrients.

Our food these days, whether of vegetable or animal origin, is not only deficient in nutrients, but also full of pollutants and farming chemicals. The modern process of denaturing foods via heavy refining and chemical treatment deeply affects the life force of our food supply, making it difficult to foster equilibrium and health.

Pesticides, which have been shown to cause cancer and liver, kidney and blood diseases, create extra work for the immune system. They lodge and accumulate in tissue, resulting in a weakened immune system, and consequently allow other carcinogens and pathogens to filter into the body and affect our health. Organic certification is the public’s assurance that products have been grown and handled according to strict procedures without persistent toxic chemical

Reasons to buy organic:

  • Keep chemicals off your plate.
  • Protect water quality.
  • Improve health.
  • Help small farmers.
  • Support a sustainable  economy.
  • Flavor.

Why Non-GMO?

October is national Non-GMO awareness month

Genetically Modified Organisms or GMOs are foods that have had the genes of other plants, animals, viruses, or bacteria inserted with into their DNA in order to make the product more resistant to harsh conditions (e.g., pesticides, drought, disease). The alarming reality is that GM foods are put on the market without adequate testing to ensure their safety for human consumption. Animal studies suggest that consumption of GM foods can lead to decreased fertility, immunological alterations in the gut, organ failure and exacerbation or creation of allergies. Currently, Venezuela, Hungary, Germany, Austria, India, Ireland, Zambia and Greece are anti-GMOs. Many of these countries have actually banned GM crops. There is no U.S. law requiring companies to label GM food. However, if something is labeled organic, it is supposed to be non-GMO. Yet, due to cross-pollination, even this is no guarantee.

GM foods:

  • Soybean
  • Corn
  • Alfalfa
  • Sugar beets
  • Hawaiian Papaya
  • Crooked neck squash
  • Canola oil



Why Non-GMO?

October is National Non-GMO month

Genetically Modified Organisms or GMOs are foods that have had the genes of other plants, animals, viruses, or bacteria inserted with into their DNA in order to make the product more resistant to harsh conditions (e.g., pesticides, drought, disease). The alarming reality is GM foods are put on the market without adequate testing to ensure their safety for human consumption. Animal studies suggest that consumption of GM foods can lead to decreased fertility, immunological alterations in the gut, organ failure and exacerbation or creation of allergies. Currently, Venezuela, Hungary, Germany, Austria, India, Ireland, Zambia and Greece are anti-GMOs. Many of these countries have actually banned GM crops. There is no U.S. law requiring companies to label GM food. However, if something is labeled organic, it is supposed to be non-GMO. Yet, due to cross-pollination, even this is no guarantee.

Are you a “Fat Head”?

May 20, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Film reviews, Nutrition News

I recently watched “Fat Head.”  For those who have not heard about the film, “Fat Head” is Tom Naughton’s, former comedian and health news writer, documentary response to Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me.”  The film is both entertaining and informative.  Tom begins the movie by going on a diet and eating mostly at fast food restaurants.   Over the course of 28 days, Tom loses about 12 pounds and improves his blood lipid profile.  To the astonishment of his personal physician who admonishes Tom for his actions, the film proceeds to dispel several faulty assumptions and misinformed beliefs that are conveyed in “Super Size Me” and are recounted by the masses, including the FDA and USDA, that saturated fat is harmful for your health and that vegetable oils and carbohydrates in high quantities and from processed foods are healthy.

The second half of “Fat Head” features several well researched and surprising facts regarding the poor health of most Americans in this country.  Namely, the film outlines the dual damaging effects of high insulin production (i.e., your body’s response to high intakes of starchy carbohydrates) and low saturated fat and cholesterol levels.    While most people understand that insulin helps to lower your blood sugar levels, most people do not understand that the main function of insulin is to act as a fat storage hormone.  And while most Americans have bought into the blood lipid hypothesis regarding heart disease, few understand the real dangers of having low saturated fat intake and serum cholesterol levels.  Saturated fat is essential for your brain’s functioning.  Saturated fat actually improves the functioning and protects omega 3 fatty acids in your body.  Saturated fats also are an important component of your cell membranes.  Saturated fat and cholesterol are essential in order to manufacture most of the hormones in your body.  Cholesterol is essential for the integrity and functioning of your cell membranes.  Low levels are associated with an increased incidence of depression and even suicidality.    Without cholesterol, your body cannot synthesize vitamin D.  It is also needed in order to produce the myelin sheath that surrounds your nerves.  Low levels of serum cholesterol will lead to impaired serotonin activity as the receptors for serotonin will not function properly without cholesterol.  And according to observational studies, cholesterol levels below 160 are associated with an increased incidence of death while high serum cholesterol levels (greater than 200) are associated with longevity.

In all, “Fat Head” is a very well produced film that is both humorous and educational.  Tom Naughton also has two very informative  lectures that outline many of the facts grounded on good science that are spelled out in “Fat Head“: “Big Fat Fiasco” and “The Food Cops.”  If anyone wants to learn more about how a low carbohydrate (i.e., limiting carbohydrates to non starchy, plant based and low sugar vegetables and fruit) and moderate fat and protein diet can improve your health, I suggest reading any of the following books:

Celebrating Easter

April 22, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Exercise, Nutrition News

In the spirit of celebrating Easter, we share with you a humorous newsletter filled with simple, health promoting tips.  Happy egg hunting!

Eat more Eggs. Why Eggs?

  • Eggsellent source of protein  (about 6 grams).
  • Low in calories (about 70 cal).
  • Eggs contain all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.
  • Contains naturally occurring vitamin D, as well as A, E and K.
  • Promotes healthy hair and nails.

This Is No Yolking Matter

  • About 90% of the nutrients found in eggs are contained in the yolk!
  • The yolk contains half the protein in an egg (about 3 grams).
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids that are great for preventing cataracts and macular degeneration.
  • An eggsellent source of Choline.
  • Studies show that eating two eggs a day does not raise your  blood cholesterol and it may even improve it.
  • All of the minerals, vitamins and  amino acids that make eggs  “healthy” are found in the yolk.

Eggsercise more frequently.

  • Daily physical activity can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Reggular eggsercise can reduce the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.
  • Daily eggsercise can also reduce feelings of depression and anxiety.
  • Weight loss or maintenance is a great eggsample of the benefits of eggsercise.

Going Green . . .

March 8, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Nutrition News

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, many people choose to put food coloring in their drinks to turn them green.   A healthier alternative would be to sprinkle some Spirulina in the drink. Not only will you be in the spirit of the holiday, but you will also be doing something beneficial for your body.  Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is considered a superfood.   It is incredibly nutrient dense, has an anti-viral, anti-cancer and antihistamine effect.   This powerful superfood dates back to the Aztecs who used it as a main supplement in their diet.  The following are some fun facts about Spirulina:

  • Spirulina is the most nutrient dense food per acre.
  • It provides 200 times more protein than beef.
  • It was used by NASA as a supplement for astronauts.
  • It contains 8 essential amino acids and 10 non-essential amino acids.
  • It is rich in B vitamins, essential fatty acids and carotenoids.

Chlorella, like Spirulina, is another green superfood with several health benefits.  It is a single-cell, fresh water algae that is considered Spirulina’s cousin. It, too, is nutrient dense and is packed with vitamins, minerals and Chlorella Growth Factor, which helps your body in its cellular rejuvenation.  It is also a great detoxifier.  Some fun facts of about Chlorella include:

  • Chlorella binds to mercury  and helps remove it from the body.
  • It is high in Chlorophyll, which helps the body block absorption of carcinogens.
  • It contains Astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant, anti inflammatory carotenoid.
  • It helps remove PCBs (chemicals found in plastic) from the body.

Adding dark green leafy vegetables is another great way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and to dramatically improve your health.  Kale (also known as “borecole”),  for example, is a type of cabbage that is either purple or green in color.  Along with being high in fiber and Vitamin A, it is a powerhouse of other nutrients and antioxidants, specifically beta-carotene.  Kale also contains many health promoting phytochemicals, such as sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol that help to protect against prostate and colon cancers.  It is also high in folate and B6, which can help prevent heart disease, dementia, and osteoporosis.  Kale is most often steamed. This helps preserve the nutrients. Flavor it with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and/or onions and enjoy!

Vitamin D in the news

February 4, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Lifestyle, Nutrition News

The importance of vitamin D continues to bear out in research.  Researchers from Karolinska Institute and Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm have now found that vitamin D is important in the prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections.  This study adds the growing body of studies that suggest that vitamin D is beneficial in reducing the risk of several conditions, including various cancers, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, heart disease and hip fractures.  Sun exposure or bright light therapy promotes the release of a variety of neurotransmitters in your brain as well that will enhance your mood.  This is no surprise when you consider that vitamin D acts as a hormone in your body and influences the expression of over 2000 genes.  What is surprising is that the majority of mainstream health care providers are not aware of this or actively urge you to stay away from the sun.

Our Paleolithic ancestors evolved in an environment vastly different than our modern world.  Before the advent of agriculture, clothing and buildings, we spent the majority time outdoors fully exposed to the sun.  The key to optimal health and wellness is to balance the added conveniences of our modern technologies and embrace our ancestral heritage.  Our bodies will function at their best when our vitamin D levels are in an optimal range.   This is particularly important considering that more than 70% of Americans are vitamin D deficient.

Sensible sun exposure is a simple step you can take to optimize your vitamin D levels and reduce your risk of numerous health conditions.  Spending 15 -30 minutes outdoors with your arms or legs exposed and without sunscreen can have a dramatic effect on your health in a matter of a few weeks.  What do you have to lose?

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