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DIY | Creating Your Own Kitchen Pharmacy Ep 34

Iva 1:11

This is part two of a conversation that we started last week with Teresa Pena when we spoke with her about Hormonal Health and everything to do with our hormones as women approaching perimenopause and menopause. In this second part, we really wanted to switch gears and dive deeper into another amazing topic, which is all to do on how to create your own kitchen pharmacies. So, Teresa, it's so great to have you here again with us, welcome.


Teresa 2:03

Thank you! I really enjoy being back here.


Desiree 2:07

We learned all about Teresa last week. As you may remember, she is a Holistic Nutritionist and the founder of Balanced Nutrition Lab. She's an educator, she's a nutritionist, and she's so passionate in understanding what food does to our bodies, right. So that's why she started doing what she does now. And she really teaches us that nourishing our bodies doesn't have to be boring. It doesn't have to be bland. And her mission really is that Food Matters, eat happy. And last week, it was such an amazing episode I seriously went back to listen to it like as a listener and not as a co-host right? So many women who I think need to know all of that information because it's really everything at home, right. And we started talking about food and you started mentioning so many different things in the kitchen. Oh, you should be adding macca and this and we talked about like, we're like wait a second. Wait a second. This could be like a whole topic on its own. It's so interesting what we can do which is things we have in the kitchen, things we can add to whatever we're eating already right to just go back to nature and nourish our bodies that way. So we're like that's it Teresa. You need to come back and we need to talk about the kitchen pharmacy. So here we are.


Teresa 3:35

Yeah, I mean, I think it's important to know that, especially nowadays that we tend to go in find a quick solution to whatever health issues we suffer. And so we go to the pharmacy we go to, you know, a store that sells vitamins and supplements and medication and we just take painkillers and we take antibiotics and we take serums for coughing and we don't realize that every time every time that we take something, it's going to alter the microbiome in our gut, and our gut has about 80% of your immune system in there. So anything that is going to alter your microbiome is you know, is going to affect your health. And we've seen a huge shift on our health. It's we have seen that there are certain diseases and certain conditions that are on the rise. And we wonder how much of that has to do with what we do to ourselves, right? If we're giving a child cough syrup or antibiotics from a very early age, how is that affecting their immune system and how is that affecting their mental health? How is that affecting, you know, their chances to develop an autoimmune disease if they have that switch that could be turned on or off? Right? We don't know what switches we have. So anything that we do that could alter our microbiome can have a huge impact in our overall health. So the pharmacy kitchen is about finding solutions, finding things that can support our health that can kind of in a way do that. Had that medicinal factor. And so that way we don't have to rely as much on medication and just leave medication for when it's actually need. It is questioned in that time where I go to the doctor and they prescribe you antibiotics. You have to question your and say do I really need it? Is this something I really need to take? A very simple example is I went once to the to the dentist and the dentist gave me I had to replace a crown I think and I just went to the counter and the lady at the counter gave me five or seven day’s worth of antibiotic and I said Do I really need it? Do I have an infection? And she's like, I don't think so. But just in case. I was like, Huh, okay, so then the dentists came and I say hey, do I really need it? Because you said I don't have an infection and he said ‘Just, in case’ I say ‘okay, let me just asking a different way. Will you take it?’ ‘No.’ Okay, that that's enough.


Desiree 7:01

Yes. Wow. Wow. It's like, oh, I have so many things to say about that too. Because first, like you mentioned the children, right? Because that's also what I teach in my own business that we don't need to give kids that from an early age they need to learn like they're learning how to crawl, how to walk, how to talk, how to eat, they ask the body also needs to learn how to heal itself. It's exactly one of those processes and it needs to do that undisturbed, right? Let them go through the fever, let them go through the cold, they need to get stronger. And that's why I always said I'm the total advocate for natural remedies, right with what I do with essential oils as well. And everything but like not, don't give them him the medication or this and that Yeah, it's really bothers me so much that our society nowadays, just listen to the doctors blindly, that this fixes the doctors knows best but do they really? Do they? Yeah.


Teresa 8:06

Yeah, I mean, we consider that doctors have only a 15 minute window to see you. It's gonna give you a remedy that is going just to fix it. But we have to remember that when you have a child is going through a fever. He's probably growing at the same time and that fever is causing you is caused because your body is going through a change and fever is a way to kind of alert your immune system that something needs to be done. So if you suppress the immune system, if you suppress that it's like a bell that is ringing then your immune system is not going to really work efficiently. So sometimes we have to go through the whole process of being ill. And obviously, if things are getting a little bit out of hands, it's like the fevers going up or if my child is vomiting or my child is really pale, right? You have to take and make sure that you're getting the right medication for that. Every time that we have a have a cough, yes. Zero painkillers. Little bit of this Yeah.


Iva 9:18

That's also advice that I heard well, you know, with this, I have learned a lot of course, and also our naturopath. She also shared she said whenever we're always giving the children anti fever, you know, medication ibuprofen or whatever. It's not allowing them to just break the fever. There was a reason why in olden days, you broke the fever. And there was something that was accomplished with that. But moreover, she said I have seen a big correlation between this type of behavior of parents, you know, always giving anti fever medication and then later, kids are coming here with respiratory conditions. So I'm seeing that there is something that seems there. And it really, it really goes back to as you say, allowing our body to heal itself. But also I want to, I want to add up another angle to the conversation just to really make it very holistic or multi-dimensional, because some people might be receptive to you know, from the nutritional aspect. Other people from Desiree’s point of view of saying like, you know, yes, we need to help ourselves with natural solutions, and I also know that the gut is the second brain and when we are talking about our lives as human beings and us as human beings, and I have a lot of women that come to me that they don't know what they want in life, they don't know what their purpose is. They don't know what you know, eventually they're here on this earth to do and a lot of times we forget that our body has all this receptors and imagine if the gut is our second brain how many receptors it has to taking millions and billions of data from you know, this experience is human experience that we're having. To interpret them in such a way that it comes through insights. It comes through intuition, it comes through inspiration. And as you say, when we mess up with the delicate ecosystem that lives in our gut, we are also mixing up with our ability to connect with ourselves and the highest power to guide us and move most us forward in life. So I think it's this is a multi-dimensional thing. It's like it links up in so many ways. And that's why we love having you here and just bringing this conversation home because regardless of how you look at it, keeping your gut healthy and making sure that you do have access to your pantry and your kitchen and knowing that there are so many medicinal things already laying there that don't have to come in those like bottles that the doctors give you that they don't even think you need. Right because that was the story. They don't even think that you need it. But the just in case I mean, this is such a litigation society that we live in, right. Oh, because you also need to cover themselves right? Insurance. So it's good to be critical.


Teresa 12:37

Yeah, no, no, it is and you always have to question your doctor and say, Why do I need to take this is this crucial? What will happen if I don't take because there are many situations, like every time I go to the doctor for any reason I come home with a huge bag of medication, and I never take it and say I only take what I believe is going to really make a difference because you have to be critical, you know, have that, you know, critical thinking, where it's like do I really need to do this what will happen if I don’t?  Do I need to take this painkiller not can I kind of is this a pain that I can kind of like you know, yes, you know, it will go away in a couple days. Remember once I was in a doctor that was a great doctor actually went to the doctor in the UK my throat was killing me was the time when I was a teacher. It was like, I got an appointment to see my doctor. And I was he's gonna give me something because I'm dying and it was really, really bad. I go to the doctor in the afternoon and he looks at me I say fine, okay, you know and I say you're not gonna give me anything and you say no, I mean anything. Just to kind of like take, you know, like some soup and some honey and some lemon. And you'll see how by tomorrow you feel better. Yeah, I was almost crying. I was almost crying like that. Give me something. Oh, I started feeling better. And it was true. I didn't actually need it. Any other doctor would have given me everything possible to make sure that I was leaving and happy. Right. But yeah, that's what brings us so for example, there you know, they, they promised the key tip. It's kind of like creating your First Aid kid you write with things that you can use in the kitchen. So things such as having aloe vera plants around your you know, around or even just buying it likely in many countries, especially in Asia. You know, you can buy just in the supermarket that one leaf of aloe vera. Yes, you can buy the gel if you can, and that's something that you can use just every time that you know I need to soothe or I need to cool some say my child came from playing outside is really hot. I'm just gonna put some aloe vera so we can call him down right? Or he got scratches or a sunburn. I'm just going to put some aloe vera so it can reduce inflammation and promote healing. That's one thing that you can easily find in your kitchen wall honey. Again, amazing for antimicrobial properties. And you know, you can use it on your skin just to kind of like you know for minor cuts or scrapes or you know just mass infection right. And then you know manuka honey, you can consume it as well in that fantastic course so our throats or even you know infections like manuka honey for example, it said great if you take for example, three teaspoons of manuka honey a day. It can really help for a bacterial infection such as HP Laurie. So sometimes HP Laurie that resides in the stomach is very hard. To eliminate even with antibiotics. Manuka honey scientifically were in that it can really support the elimination of bacteria and that's something you can have at home. We have also apple cider vinegar is another antibacterial you know, it has a lot of antibacterial properties, and it can be diluted and used as a natural antiseptic for cleaning one's for you know, relief for insect bites or stings and you know, and then it's fantastic to help with your digestion. So having an apple cider vinegar right before your meal is gonna help for people that suffer from acid reflux, for example. So instead of taking a acid reflux medication, you know, like guiding stone or something like that, or a ppi. Then you can tie apple cider vinegar, but it's also gonna help you maintain your blood sugar stable, so it's going to really even help you you know,


Iva 17:16

It also helps you absorb better the nutrients from the food that you eat, if you take it before meals is that right? 


Teresa 17:25

Yeah, yeah. So that's very simple things. Then we have something as simple as baking soda that you know, you can use as a paste and just with a little bit of water and he helps to alleviate eat or irritation. You know, caused by insect bites or skin rashes. And whereas some mild exfoliator to remove that skin cells, right.

And then chamomile tea bags. You know, to soothe irritated skin. If you have mild eye irritation, just put the chamomile tea bag in on the eye, or whatever part that it has that little inflammatory inflammation because it has an anti-inflammatory and calming properties. So those are for example for me things that I will always have in my kitchen available so I can use, you know, for that kind of like First Aid, you know, that you need to have so that's, that's one way then we have obviously, ingredients that are going to help us to be healthier, because they have a lot of potential healing properties right. 

Besides the Manuka honey as we say, I'm gonna go honey then we have like Shiitake mushrooms, when they're fantastic to support your immune function. So if you really want to boost your immune system, Shiitake mushrooms are one of those that will just have you know on a weekly basis 


Desiree 19:16

I love how I

I love how I am so lucky living in Japan we cook so much with mushrooms, right like oh, they're just they're so good. Yeah. 


Teresa 20:34

And then you have certain ingredients that I always tell my clients to have on a regular basis because they're so good for you because they're feeding your microbiome. We're talking about those fermented foods like kimchi. Sauerkraut, it's natural probiotics. So there is no need to be taking probiotics as a supplement. We just take them through foods. And the difference is that when we take them through or taking a natural fermented food with live bacteria that has been kind of absorbed or been fermented in that particular area. So you have the variety and the diversity of the bacteria. So it's not just one particular bacteria like lactobacillus that comes from a lab is a bacteria that is alive around you because it's been fermented somewhere. 


Desiree 21:47

Yeah, your kombucha as well, right?


Iva 21:51

Yeah, yeah. 


Desiree 21:53

I was very careful though taking all of these I guess a disclaimer for pregnancy, like while you're pregnant, right. All of these with like these live bacteria in it sort of like to stay away from that while you're pregnant. Just yeah, the moms out there listening are pregnant at the moment. Just skip that one for now. 


Teresa 22:12

Yeah. so having those for example, we populate your microbiome with more diversity than taking a probiotic because what we don't know is what is lacking in our gut. So you might be given taking a probiotic with certain types of bacteria that you might have quite a lot of, but you might not have one strain of bacteria that might not be found in that probiotics, so it's always better to eat live fermented foods, because the variety and the diversity of bacteria will be higher. So the chances for you and for a family perfect with children, you know that you want to develop a healthy microbiome, especially for children that have been born with a C-section because they haven't really had the opportunity to get their bacteria from the mother. When they're passing through the vaginal canal, they get their microbiome, or the first bacteria that they develop is the one from their mother's canal when they're coming out. That's the bacteria that they that when you were born in a with C-section, you will get that and so you're lacking sometimes that bacteria, so you need to repopulate with bacteria. There's going to be very diverse and you know, and so that is one of the things then obviously, you know, so that will be kind of like foods that you will want to have to develop in boosts your immune system for example.


Desiree 24:00

What about some other like, things you can add, I know it's so popular, for example, to add things to smoothies, smoothie bowls or any like, all the differences and I know you touched on the seeds for like your menstrual cycle as well like 14 days. I think it was sesame seeds that you should be really -was it sunflower?


Teresa 24:27

Yeah, yeah. It's basically. So things that we can do to help us for example, to regulate our hormonal cycle to make sure that we minimize the symptoms of PMS or you know, to make sure that we feel happier and better every month. As women, it's to do what we call sit cycling and seed cycling is when you do a combination of seeds on the first part of your cycle. And then you do a second on the second part of your cycle. So we have exactly so we have for example, the first part of your cycle what we call the follicular phase is the day one of the menstrual cycle until ovulation. That's about approximately day 14. You want to consume more flax seeds and pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds so just add them more at least a teaspoon of those every day. And you can have them in your smoothie on top of your cereal, in your overnight oats or your chia pudding, on your salads. I mean as a snack and they're great because they help to balance your estrogen effects. And pumpkin seeds also have zinc which will support progesterone production. So that it's exactly so and then the second phase is your luteal phase and that's from ovulation until the start of the next menstrual cycle right so they 15th to the 28th and during this phase, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds are typically consumed and they will have to sesame seeds. They contain something called lignans that are believed to support progesterone production. And then sunflower seeds are rich in Vitamin E that will help to balance your estrogen levels.


Iva 26:37

And you went into this in more in depth in in the first part episode (Ep. 33) right? So if you want to go and take out that episode, go because you were so illustrative on how you spoke about estrogen and progesterone and how do they work and all of that so it's great to dive into this and understand why it's important. My question would be the amount- the quantity- doesn't have to be that much right amount we're talking per day as you say like a spoonful and


Teresa 27:15

You don’t need too much as a spoonful will be enough to help you kind of slowly start regulating your hormones. So you kind of have okay minimize the symptoms during that month, especially if you suffer from pain or a tender breast or moodiness that will help to balance the ratio of estrogen and progesterone and reducing inflammation that happens during you know, especially the start of your menses, right.


Desiree 27:46

Yeah, yes, yeah. Amazing. And then there's so many other ones that I'm always so confused about, like spirulina powder. Yeah. All of this is like, standing sometimes in the health food stores like Okay, which one which one or all of them or do you suggest?


Teresa 28:08

Yeah, so I mean, there are many things out there and we need to understand that first is like, what is that you need? Like what's your body like asking you right? So I do low in energy. Are you suffering from moodiness? Are you suffering from joint pain so you have to fast there's so many things out there, you don't want to be taking everything, but it's like a pharmacy you go for an ailment that you need because you know, you need something to help you with a condition so this time, so for example, if you're suffering from low energy for example, and you're suffering from low iron absorption, and that's causing you like hell laws, low energy, then something like spirulina is a fantastic addition because it's spirulina. Is a fantastic kind of like so it's a great addition to your diet. So dietary supplement, because it's really rich in nutrients like protein, VB vitamin in iron, so it's a very complete supplement if you need to, and you can just add to your smoothie, you can add to your oatmeal, and you know, and it's going to give you that boost that you need for you know your daily you know, activities. It also helps to support your immune system. So you're also fantastic for that I have a lot of anti-inflammatory effects. So spirulina for example is a great addition if you feel that your immune system you feel sick often. Your iron levels are always on the low side you feel entire since spirulina is great. If you just need like, you know, pick me up. I want to feel a little bit more energetic. Every day I don't want to rely on coffee, for example, then something like maca powder is a great addition. It's a macro so roots is it comes from Peru and they just make it into a powder form. And it has a very earthy flavor. So it's really pleasant and you can just add it to your you know your latte like you know, with old milk or almond milk. This add a little bit of maca, you know and turmeric if you want to or other spices, or you can just add it to your oatmeal for your you know for breakfast or even a smoothie I added to energy bowls for example like my husband does dragon boats and I just made these energy balls for him for the weekend but when he has to love with them and I Yes, exactly and I just add quite a bit of maca powder so you can give him a natural boost instead of him taking those


If you just need like, you know, pick me up, I want to feel a little bit more energetic every day I don't want to rely on coffee for example, then something like maca powder is a great addition. It's a it's a Makoto roots is. It comes from Peru and they just make it into a powder form and it has a very earthy flavor so it's really pleasant and you can just add it to your you know your latte like you know, with old milk or almond milk, just add a little bit of Matka you know, and turmeric if you want to or other spices, or you can just add it to your oatmeal for your you know for for breakfast or even the smoothie. I added to energy balls for example like my husband does dragon boats and I just made these energy balls for him for the weekend and I just add quite a bit of maca powder so you can give him a natural boost instead of him taking those yes you know that sometimes when you're competing people take those gels and other stuff that you know you never know what the effect will be on time. So he's actually taking those for those days that he needs to really kind of perform a little bit better. And then you have things like Reishi Mushrooms where you know, they're kind of like fantastic to support your immune system. And there also are adaptogens so they're going to help you adapt to the stress. And in that is a any has a very calming effect on the nervous system for those people that sometimes have to rely on meditation to help them to feel less stress and less anxious. Inquiry says something like Reishi Mushrooms will be a great way and again you can have it on your tea on your coffee. You know in a powder form 


Iva 32:23

Is it Lion Mane’s related? Is it the same?


Teresa 32:28

It's not the same. I mean Lion Mane is another type of a type of mushroom. Okay, it's another edible mushroom and you can actually eat it the form is really funny looks like a sponge is more for cognitive, cognitive function, right? People don't like to focus, better support memory focus, right and you know that's but it also helps with mood and mental well-being. So it's similar. 


Iva 33:04

Teresa, I have a question. My question is about hydration, which I know it's very important. And you have mentioned like the intake of herbal teas, for example, that that is a good way to get your hydration in or flavored water. Right. That could be another option. But my question is a little bit more on the how do you is it best to just gulp like a big amount of water in one go? Or is it better to be always sipping? You know, like, take a sip, or sips throughout the day, is it is it is better one way or the other or does it depend or really doesn't make any difference? I've always been intrigued by that. But that aspect because there's a lot of people that walk with big jugs and I'm just wondering, is it expected to be consumed throughout the day? Or is it just for you to be mindful that every certain time you do have this intake?


Teresa 34:05

Well, it's Yeah, well, it's actually much better to sip water throughout the day because it allows your body to efficiently absorb and utilize the water. Drinking Water one go can result in kind of the body is creating a large portion of it through urine. And so it's gonna limit the time your body has to absorb and utilize your water effectively. That's one thing. And then when you're sipping water regularly is gonna helps you maintain like a consistent level of hydration your body throughout the day and also we have to be careful because we want to make sure that their kidneys are not being bombarded with a huge amount of water that they have to filter because they have to filter everything right. And when you have too much in one go that can cause a kidney issue. And also you might have more water retention in your body because your kidneys are not gonna be able to excrete that huge water in one go and also the nutrients that are going through your body and do might not absorb the nutrients as well. So sleeping throughout the day is way better than saying I'm gonna drink this huge red water.


Desiree 35:36

That's good. Yeah.


Iva 35:37

And this this conversation wouldn't be, we wouldn't be able to close this conversation if we don't touch on one food item that you haven't mentioned that I want to ask because I want to feel better about myself-which is dark chocolate if and there's so many percentages of dark chocolate. I tried to go as dark as possible. But I just wanted to touch upon that because I do like to nibble on a few pieces here and there during the day. And I just wanted you to validate the fact that I'm doing something good for myself 


Teresa 36:17

So dark chocolate is very high in magnesium. So even a small pieces of chocolate is going and in magnesium. It's it's a neurotransmitter it helps with so many functions in our body. Most people are deficient of magnesium I will say 90% of the population is deficient in magnesium. Even magnesium is present in dark chocolate like a little square of chocolate. I will say anything above 75% better and so go 75% onwards, but I'm in having that one square of dark chocolates fine. However, we need to be careful with the amounts because very recently a biggest study came out on dark chocolate and heavy metals. And unfortunately, dark chocolate is no matter_ the heavy metals are in the cocoa beans so it's in the soil. So it's not the way it's been processed. And it's not about the brand that is making the chocolate is that cocoa. And cacao basically absorbs a lot of the heavy metals that are in our soil. Unfortunately we have more heavy metals in the soil. So I will say don't take more than


Desiree 37:38

End the conversation. I don't want to hear it


Teresa  37:46

So I don't recommend people to indulge on. I'm gonna have like dark chocolate milk every day or I'm gonna have like a lot of chocolate because it's very high and heavy metals. And so having one is square before bed or a couple of squares throughout the day is fine, but I wouldn't go beyond that. 


Iva 38:16

I need to digest this.


Desiree 38:19

That was me thinking I'm having a little bit of red wine and dark chocolate I'm doing something good for my house. you are a nutritionist. Your wealth of knowledge is incredible on this topic right? Now you really know how to help yourself and your clients. Obviously with the natural things in your kitchen. Now what are some things that you can't really find in food and you say okay, for this I really need to take a supplement or I need to add this because I cannot naturally nowadays get it through the food anymore. Do you have any recommendations of what is like absolutely necessary or really highly recommended?


Teresa 39:08

Yeah, yeah, I mean, there's a couple of ones obviously if you're vegan, you have to take a vitamin B 12 supplements. I mean these for most people after the age of 50 I always say is recommendable to take a vitamin B 12 supplements, everybody benefits because a B 12 is absorbed I mean it's you find the animal products, but the animals nowadays because they are not grass fed. So if you if the animal doesn't eat the grass, the farmers, give them shots. And that's why they have B12. So not all the foods that we're eating that we think have been B12 have actually the amount of B 12. So, especially after the 50s everybody is okay, benefits. And then vegans vegans, yeah, the other one is vitamin D, vitamin D, it's it's one that most people like, because we're not being exposed to the sun. We were sunscreens and we're spending most of our time indoors. If you live in a place where they have winters, you're not gonna be exposed as well to the environment v. So I always say those two are the ones that benefit we have to be on the lookout for.

but otherwise, everything else can be, you know, to  be accessible by foot unless you don't eat fish, then omega three is another one. Yeah, but if you eat fish at least twice a week, then you're fine. It's only if you don't eat fish or you don't like fish, then omega three is another one. But you can eat walnuts so you know that's as well.


Desiree 41:12

Okay, good. Oh, this is so helpful because sometimes you really question that right like how to stick to supplemented with the B12 And then but living in Japan. I do enjoy the fish here but yeah, Omega has always been part of it. But vitamin D noted on that. I think that's definitely something to start getting into more. Yeah, yeah.


Teresa 41:42

Otherwise everything else can absolutely be, you know, taken via food. Yeah.


Iva 41:51

This has been such an amazing conversation like we have really gleaned so much from you know, this this really like list of important things and staples to always have with us. And we know that you have a freebie for us today. Start Your Kitchen Pharmacy Meal Plan. And we love that you're going to be sharing that with us and with our listeners. And we're going to be sharing the link in our show notes. It is  going to be so amazing that you are offering this because this is a conversation that definitely needs to be front and center for all of us, you know not only for us as women but also for families and to start making much, much better choices. So we really want to thank you for sitting here with us today and continuing again to dive deeper into how important it is to take care of ourselves because let's face it without health we don't have anything, right. Nothing is possible for us. We did a previous episode with you all about hormones. So it's all coming together, right,  how the food is connected to our hormones, and how all of that needs to work in sync to make us feel not only healthy but energized and able to pursue all the things and go after our goals and we can share our gifts with the world. And if you want to connect with Teresa, you can always find her on Instagram her handle is @balancednutritionlab. And we are going to also share the links to her freebie but also to her Facebook page, her LinkedIn and her website as well in our show notes so that you can go check it out. 

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Teresa Pena

Teresa Pena is a holistic nutritionist and the founder of Balanced Nutrition Lab.  An educator, nutritionist, and avid yoga practitioner. She started her holistic nutrition studies due to her own health issues and discovered then the power of food. Her passion for understanding the effect of food on our bodies made her start her own practice. Helping motivated women, balance their hormones, hit their happy weight, and thrive on natural energy is what drives her. Nourishing our bodies doesn't have to be boring or bland. Creating easy but yummy meals is key to long-term success. Her mission is Food Matters, Eat Happy.


IG @balancednutritionlab





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