GymBug

I've caught it. Fortunately, it's not treatable.

Archive for the tag “fruit”

Fuel your day!

Hi there!

I’m going to try and get more regular posts out now! I’ll be a bit more room bound now that exams are racing round so will have a bit of time to sit down and write! Today, I’d like to post about breakfast. My favourite meal ever and I love trying out new things to give me a great, healthy kick start to the day! I thought I’d share a couple of my favourite recipes! Unfortunately, there are no photos, except ones of breakfasts I’ve already posted! Unless otherwise stated, all recipes are for 1 person.

1) My Rock n Roll 10k breakfast; I made this just this weekend to prepare me for my first 10km race. I ate it about 1 hour 30 minutes before I started and it kept me powering through! It needs to be left in the fridge overnight.

Ingredients;

  • 1 portion of natural/greek yoghurt (your preference here)
  • 1 protein scoop of oats (this is about 25g worth of oats)
  • 6 frozen strawberries
  • Optional; 1 teaspoon cinammon/agave syrup/golden syrup

Method;

  1. In a resealable tub, mix the oats with the cinammon (if using).
  2. Chop 3 of the frozen strawberries into chunks and pile on top of the oats.
  3. Add the yoghurt.
  4. Cut the remianing strawberries and place them on top of the yoghurt.
  5. Drizzle the agave syrup/golden syrup on top (if using) or sprinkle more cinammon (if using).
  6. Leave this covered in the fridge overnight.

2) Power Up Pancakesfollow the link for the recipe!

Protein Pancakes

3) Avocado & Egg Toast; oats aren’t everybodies cup of tea, so here’s a more savoury option for those dreary mornings!

Ingredients;

  • 2 slices wholegrain bread
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 2 medium eggs
  • To season; ground black pepper, smoked paprika, salt, tabasco, you’re condiment of choice

Method;

  1. Slice the avocado into strips.
  2. Scramble the eggs (try use olive oil rather than butter here).
    If you want, feel free to boil/poach/omlette your eggs!
  3. Toast the bread whilst the eggs are cooking.
  4. Put the avocado on top of the toast first.
  5. Add the eggs on top.
  6. Season.
  7. Devour.

4) Super fruit bowlfor a fresher, lighter start to the day!

Ingredients;

  • 1 small banana
  • 1 small apple
  • Handful of berries (you choose)
  • 1 portion of natural/greek yoghurt
  • Optional; cinammon, golden syrup, agave syrup, cocoa powder

Method;

  1. Chop all the fruit and pile into a bowl.
  2. Mix the yoghurt and any optional toppings you fancy.
  3. Simples!

These are 4 super easy and healthy recipes you can whip up for breakfast to keep the day starting right! I always find if I start the day on a good, healthy note, then maintaining my healthy eating throughout the day is so much easier. I also feel more energetic and have more energy right through to snack time.

Have a great week guys! Anyone else counting down the days until summer!?

Gym Bug

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Healthy snacks for on the go!

Hi there!

I’m one of those people who needs snacks handy for work, university, being out and about because I hate buying things out (I’m always tempted by unhealthy choices) and I always find them to be sort of dissappointing. So I thought I’d list some of my favourite on the go that you can prepare at home and grab and go! This particular post is for those snack that require no cooking! Once I start exprimenting when I’m home (and have access to an oven) I’ll do some snacks that you can cook.

  • Hummus and vegetable sticks (celery, carrots, cucumber, courgette etc).
  • DIY Trail mix (mix bran flakes, raisins, nuts. other dried fruit for a great, protein packed snack).
  • Ham slices wrapped around cucumber or carrots sticks (can bring some hummus long too).
  • One yoghurt pot mixed with 2 tablespoon of oats (best allow the oats to soak in the yoghurt for an hour or more).
  • One yoghurt pot with grapes, banana, apples etc.
  • Handful of pretzels (watch the salt content of the pretzels you buy).
  • Soreen.

These are a few of my personal favourite snacks. I really love makng a big tuperware full of trail mix and putting some in a little tub! Also, Soreen is something I wish I could eat all day!

Gym Bug

Oats!

Hi there!

Warning: I will use oats and porridge interchangeably.

I’ve already done a post on Stoats, which is a great porridge company based in Scotland. I love their oats and recommend trying their flavours to mix breakfast up! However, if you prefer making your own delicious oats, I’ve made a list of easy toppings that you can cook into the porridge (just cook the toppings with th oats) or throw on after cooking. I usually cook my oats in the microwave also a make it slightly drier.

  • Banana; very simple. If you microwave your oats the banana disappears and creates a delicious and creamy mix.
  • Banana and honey; bit sweeter.
  • Pineapple; this becomes insanely hot in the microwave, but it’s a great sweet and sour flavour. Add some dried/fresh coconut to make a tropical breakfast.
  • Dried fruit; cranberries, raisins, sultanas, apricots, dried coconut, the list goes on! Bananas and raisins are also delicious.
  • Cinnamon; powdered cinnamon is brilliant, throw it in with bananas, apples, raisins for even more flavour.
  • Apples; cook them with the porridge too for delicious, hot breakfast.
  • Berries; strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries. Again, add these on top or cook into the porridge. Cooking them creates a lovely compote.
  • Peanut butter; on its own, with cinnamon, bananas or apples.
  • Jam; a bit more fruit (and a bit more sugar).
  • Peanut Butter and Jam; watch the portions here, but it’s a delicious treat.
  • Dark chocolate; a couple of squares, great if you’re craving some chocolate.
  • Cocoa powder; not as tasty as dark chocolate but better if you’re watching your calories.
  • Yoghurt; I really enjoy cooking up a nice, hot bowl of porridge and adding a tablespoon of low-fat natural or fruit flavoured yoghurt.
  • Granola; top your bowl with a modest amount of granola for a lovely crunch.
  • Almonds; adds a nice crunch and delicious flavour. Best add these in and cook for the final 20 seconds or crush them into your porridge.
  • Protein Powder; I recommend mixing up the protein and milk in your shaker then adding that to the oats before cooking to make sure the protein dissolves well.

You can also make porridge savoury, but I’ve never tried this (yet) but here’s a list of recipes from Shape to try if sweet porridge is not your thing!

If hot porridge is not your thing then try mixing your oats (typical 40g portion) with yoghurt in an airtight container (I use Weight Watchers individual pots, one per breakfast, great flavours), throw in some toppings listed above  and leave it overnight. Next morning you’ll have delicious cold oats, they must be left overnight however to ensure the oats soften. I’ve already mentioned overnight oats before with a recipe for Bircher’s Muesli that my mum makes.

IMPORTANT; porridge doesn’t need to be just for breakfast. Porridge can be a brilliant recovery food. Over the Christmas holidays I enjoyed cold, overnight oats post-run. You can get a great balance of carbohydrates and proteins and some sugars to help your body recover.

I’m a huge fan of porridge in case no one noticed.

Gym Bug

Breakfast; The Most Important Meal of the Day

Hi there!

Today I shall be discussing the most important meal of the day; BREAKFAST. Studies have repeatedly shown breakfast is vital if you’re looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy lifestyle. Literally, Google the importance of breakfast and see what happens!

The whole idea behind ‘breakfast is the important meal of the day’ relates to the fact that you haven’t eaten for a considerable amount of time whilst you’ve been sleeping. It’s roughly an average of 5-7 hours. That’s a long time for your body not to receive fuel. Yes, your metabolism is not running at such a high rate when you’re sleeping but you are still burning calories to breath and function, right? Eating breakfast gives you the energy to perform better, concentrate, exercise and generally tackle the day better. It may also reduce hunger throughout the day, leading to weight loss or management. Overall, breakfast is a must-have if you’re looking to make healthier lifestyle choices. Plus, it’s absolutely delicious and it can be quick if you need it to be!

Here are some excellent breakfast options;

  • Porridge
    A huge favourite of mine. I usually have this for breakfast every day and I never get sick of it. The best part about porridge is that you can change it up all the time. Try it with sliced banana, apple, berries, pineapples and more fruit! I love cooking the fruit in with the porridge to soften the fruit and get the juices mixed with the oats. You can also add honey, agave syrup, seeds, cacoa powder, dark chocolate drops, nut butter and cinnamon! Also if you’ve made it rather thick, a good spoonful of yoghurt is delicious too. Porridge is a low glycaemic index food which means it’s slow releasing, keeping you fuelled and focused until lunch (or maybe snack time).
  • Pancakes
    I’ve done two different pancakes posts; Protein Power Pancakes and 2-Ingredient Pancakes. There are literally hundreds of recipes out there though and you can make variations on both these recipes. The best and most versatile thing about pancakes though is the toppings. Go for fruit, syrup (watch the quantities), nut butters, yoghurt, some cinnamon to make them sweet. If you’re wanting something a bit more savoury pancakes are great with eggs (maybe not the two recipes listed above, but a more neutral pancake mix), bacon, sausage (not the healthiest options), even have them with some ham and tomato or avocado.
  • Overnight oats
    I have had Bircher’s Muesli that my mum made once and it’s phenomenal, I’ll post the recipe below for you to try but overnight oats are becoming insanely popular. These are great if you need a grab’n’go breakfast.
  • Eggs
    Have them scrambled, boiled, poached, in an omelette, however you like them! These are a great source of protein which will keep you going until lunch. Have a veggie omelette, veggie scramble, boiled eggs with whole wheat toast, scrambled eggs and avocado, again the possibilities are endless!
  • Muffins
    You’re probably thinking I’m crazy, it sounds strange but you can create some delicious and healthy breakfast muffins for another grab’n’go breakfast. It’s all about preparing the night before and making sure you’re not buying your breakfast muffin! Here’s a recipe below I found for delicious Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins.
  • Smoothies
    Another grab’n’go one here. Through in your favourite fruit, some low-fat yoghurt, oats and blitz it! You can also make vegetable juices or through in some spinach, kale etc to make different combinations of smoothies. Freeze the fruit for an ice-cold serving of breakfast. Also, if you’re taking protein feel free to through in a scoop of your powder to really get a packed breakfast.

These are but a few options. Here’s a link to my Breakfast board on Pinterest for more inspiration  I’m constantly updating it with new finds and I’ll post on here when I use new recipes and let you know the verdict!

Now for the Bircher’s Muesli (for 6, overnight recipe)

Ingredients;
1 cup rolled oats
1 ¾ cups water or milk
1 green apple
1-2 tablespoons honey
1 ½ cups plain yoghurt/non-fat greek yoghurt/ low-fat fruit yoghurt
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Method;
1. Combine the water or milk and oats, cover and leave overnight.
2. The next morning make sure your oats are nice and soft.
3. Core and grate the apple into the oats.
4. Add the honey, yoghurt and (if using) the cinnamon to the oats and apple.
5. Stir until all is well combined.
6. Serve as it is or with your favourite breakfast toppings.

Some favourite toppings; banana, dark chocolate drops, berries, raisins, nuts.

This is a delicious breakfast and one I’m sneakily hoping will be prepared at some stage when I’m home, I may even make it myself!

With all these amazing recipes why would you want to skip breakfast!?

Gym Bug

Pickled In Scotland

Pickled In Scotland

Hi there!

Today is a post about another excellent Scottish company called ‘Pickled In Scotland’ who are based in Edinburgh. They produce vegan friendly preserves, free from artificial preservatives, colours or flavour enhancers. They also never use concentrates.

They have a great selection of cordials, fruit drinks and fruit cheeses to try. What’s fruit cheese I hear you ask? It’s a way of preserving ripe fruit with sugar and forming a ‘cheese’ round that’s then left to mature. It was used in the past when there was no fresh fruit around. Typically, they were eaten with dairy products like cheese, but I reckon they’d be brilliant on oatcakes or some toast too!

Pickled In Scotland use Scottish fruits, so you’ll find delicious rhubarb, gooseberries, quince, raspberries, strawberries and more! A delicious way to get your fruit.

I’m not going to lie I don’t have a lot of experience with their range, I sampled some of their fruit cheeses once however, and they are amazing. They were so fruity and natural; there was nothing artificial or fake about them. They’d be a great new way to get more fruit into your diet. Their cordials are also really fresh and refreshing.

I recommend checking out their website and trying a few of their products. I’d love to be able to sample more of what they’ve got so I’ll be poking around their website too and hopefully I’ll spot them at a local place one day too!

Fruit cheese could be a great addition to any Christmas cheese platter or an interesting addition to Christmas breakfast? Cordials are great in cheeky cocktails too. Or even buy them as presents!

This is a great shot taken from the homepage of their website. I do not own this image.

Just beware not to get your recommended dose of fruit and veg purely from fruit, it does contain sugar!

Gym Bug

2-Ingredient Pancakes

Hi there!

Last night was pancake night! A friend and I had decided to make some pancakes to give ourselves a break from studying. However, we used a recipe neither of us had tried before. I was slightly sceptical, there is literally 2 ingredients in these pancakes but they were actually really, really good.

Ingredients; (for one person, about 3-5 pancakes)

1 large, ripe banana
2 eggs
Cinnamon (optional, we actually forgot)

Method;

  • Mash the eggs, bananas and cinnamon (if using) all together to form a smooth batter.
    You could use a blender here if you have one.
  • Heat a little oil in a pan (on a medium heat).
  • Fry the pancakes until browned on each side, about 2 tablespoons per pancake works well.
  • Serve with your favourite toppings!

We had jam or honey or a bit of dark chocolate on ours, but try with yoghurt, fruit, dark chocolate drops, maple syrup, whatever you love on pancakes! They are sweet because of the banana, so watch out for that!

A couple of cooking notes;

  • The ‘batter’ will be quite thin if you leave your bananas slightly chunkier (like we did), it still works really well, plus you get delicious hits of warm banana through the pancake.
  • They are paler than normal pancakes, to ensure the egg is cooked leave about 2-3 on each side.
  • If you’ve left banana chunks in there; you will find wetter parts through the pancake as you are eating it, the pancake is cooked (if you’ve left it long enough) it’s just the banana making it a bit more moist.
  • Next time I think I’ll add some raisins or dark chocolate drops to add to these a bit.
  • If you’re looking to bulk them up a bit add some peanut butter in there or any nut butter (or you could use these as toppings).
  • Chocolate craving? Cocao powder in there.
  • These average out at about 25 calories per pancake (untopped), that’s about a 20 calorie saving per pancake compared to generic pancakes!

These were such a great mix up to my usual boring dinners! Love them! There are some photos below (on my iPhone, apologies about the quality) of them cooking and one finished pancake!

Pancake Cooking

Pancake cooking

One completed pancake

One completed pancake

The set-up

The set-up

It’s a Monday! Did you get your Monday off to a great start with a workout!? I did not, the gym is closed so I went yesterday instead! But if you can go on a Monday I recommend it! It sets you up for the week!
Here’s to a great week.

Gym Bug

Water- Liquid Gold

Hi there!

So, water. It’s actually really important if you’re looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle. A lot of you are probably thinking “Yeah, duh, Miss State-the-obvious” but sometimes it needs said!
We lose water throughout the day through sweating, breathing and going to the bathroom and we need to make sure we consistently replenish our water levels throughout the day. This doesn’t mean downing a glass of water every hour, you also get hydration from foods and other non-water beverages.

Why is it important?

Hydration is essential for any form of physical activity. Poor hydrations causes muscle fatigue, reduces coordination, makes us light headed and can cause muscle cramps. Also, if you become dehyrated during sports or physical activity, you reduce your body’s ability to cool-down through sweating. Not to be extreme, but it can lead to heat stroke which has some very serious consequences.

Hydration is also essential for weight loss. Water (particularly the cold stuff) can help boost our metabolism. Also, it can help curb cravings, overeating and boredome eating. If you’re about to sit down for a meal, have a glass of water first, it will reduce your chances of tucking in for more than you nee by filling your stomach up a bit. Proper hydration also reduces bloating.

Dehydration is also a main cause of headaches and fatigue. Keeping hydrated is essential to allow your brain to function normally too and is important for concentration, cognition and general ability to function at a normal level. It also helps the heart pump blood more efficiently around your body and is general good for the function of all muscles.

But how much do we need?
We all have heard the “8 Glasses a Day” rule. But that’s no longer applicable. My water needs might be very different from yours and it is possible to overhydrate. This occurs when you drink so much you’re constntly back and forth to the bathroom and you’re removing nutrients from your system that you need (e.g salt), so watch out. You need to consider things such as climate, exercise intensity and duration, what you’re wearing, sweat levels and so on to get a reasonable idea of what you should be consuming.
DO NOT RELY ON THIRST. This is key because if you’re thirsty, then you’re already dehydrated.
A way of measuring how much you need is to weigh yourself before and after exercise, to see how much “water weight” you’ve lost. However, if you’re like me, you avoid scales because they do not always give accurate readings of your health (muscle weighs more than fat, but seeing an increase in weight is never fun).

I keep a bottle of water on me at all times and sip it periodically throughout the day. I also consume a lot of fruit and veg and drink green tea. Typically, I find I remain pretty well hydrated throughout the day as a result. Although I now can’t go anywhere without my water bottle.

Symptoms of Dehydration
These are things to look out for that indicate you may be dehydrated and should get some water pronto;

  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Headaches
  • Tiredness
  • Dry mouth, lips, eyes
  • Passing small amounts of urine infrequently
  • Passing urine that is dark in colour (basically, the clearer the better)

Sever dehydration has some pretty serious symptoms (I won’t go into them, check out NHS for a list) so try keep any of these symptoms to a minimum in terms of frequency!

And there we have it! A little educational lesson on the importance of water and why it is liquid gold.

I understand that there is probably people out there who genuinly do not like water (we’ll not start the “it’s got no flavour” debate) so here’s some ways to get water into your life!

  • Fruit-infused water (just add some lemon, lime, oranges, strawberries, apples etc to your water overnight to give a fruity flavour!)
  • Tea (it’s literally flavoured hot water, best go caffeine free)
  • Fruits and vegetables with high water content (lettuce, cucumbers, apples, oranges)
  • Other beverages (thinking milk, limited amounts of fruit juice and things)

I don’t know this as some innate knowledge, the sources I used are listed below if you want to have some extra reading. I have also included a fun info-graphic to break up the monotony of text-only posts!

Got to love it!

Got to love it!

Have a great evening!

Gym Bug

P.S One month until Santa makes an appearance…

Sources;

http://www.livestrong.com/article/438279-the-importance-of-hydration/

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/FitnessBasics/Staying-Hydrated—Staying-Healthy_UCM_441180_Article.jsp

 

Supermarket Tricks

Hi there!

It’s long been know that supermarkets place sweets close to the check-out to encourage impulse buying and huge displays at the end of the aisles are used for the same reason.  So I’ve written up some supermarket tricks to be wary of plus ways of keeping your food bill down!

The Tricks

  • Necessities/basic products are spread all over the store to force you to walk the entire length if it to get a basic basket worth of groceries.
  • Anything considered an ‘impulse buy’ will be found near the check-outs.
  • The more expensive brands are located at eye level on the shelves, lower quality but cheaper price brands are found at the top and bottom.
  • Complementary goods (e.g crisps and dip) are often stocked together to increase the chances of unplanned purchases.

Ways to beat tricks & keep your grocery bill from skyrocketting

  • Don’t shop hungry, trust me. From experience I know you end up leaving with more items and more unhealthy things too.
  • Make a list and stick to it. Know exactly what you’re going for. Get in, get the stuff, get out.
  • Make use of the reduced section, there can be great dels to be had here. These are typicaly found at the back of the store or somewhere out of sight.
  • Go to the shops just before closing, you’ll be able to take advantage of reduced prices.
  • Buy loose. Quite often it’s cheaper to purchase lose fruit and veg than it is to buy pre-packaged. Keep an eye on prices and you’ll see the differences.
  • Got a voucher and the products out of stock? Go to customer service and see if you can get a ‘rain check’. This means you’ll get the product when it’s back in stock even if the deal has finished.
  • Watch “3 for 2” or BOGOF deals. These make us buy more than we really need, evaluate if you truly need that extra amount. This also helps reduce waste.
  • Bulk isn’t always cheaper. I tend to look at the “price per amount” and compare products to see if I’m getting the best deal.
  • Stick to looking at goods in the aisles where you can see all available options and prices. Corner displays make you less aware of what’s really available.

These are a few of the ways I’ve learned to keep my bill from expanding and to keep my basket healthier (by avoiding those hunger-induced cookie rumbles). It’s not easy to avoid supermarket tricks, they’re used by all the supermarkets for a reason, but by becoming aware that they exist it’s a lot easier to spot them!

Hope this is useful!

Gym Bug

Stoats; Fuelling you with Scottish greatness

Hi there!

Now, I’m a huge fan of porridge. I think it’s a super kick start to your day; excellent source of energy, filling, warm and low GI. For me, porridge ticks all the boxes and it’s NOT BORING. You can add fruit, sauces, chocolate, peanut butter; the list is endless with a good old bowl of oats! I eat a variety of brands of porridge but my all-time favourite has to be good old Stoats. It was my dad that picked up a box a while ago because it was on special in the supermarket. He came home with Apricot and Sultana, and the box didn’t last the week (my dad and I especially partial to this flavour).
The oats are Scottish (waving the flag here, you go Stoats) and they use all natural ingredients like fruits and seeds (always a huge bonus).
Here’s a run-down of what they’ve got;

  • Apricot & Sultana Porridge;
    Stoats get their proportion of fruit to oats spot on here. Juicy sultanas and dried apricots bring the occasional bite of sweetness without it being too much. You don’t even need to add anything; it’s delicious on its own.
  • Sunflower & Poppy Seed Porridge;
    My twin loves this one. I definitely prefer the apricot one but this always made a nice break. The subtle crunch of the seeds gave a nice, subtle flavour. I’ll admit, my sister adds peanut butter, but it’s a very good porridge with or without it (given my obsession with peanut butter, it’s very good with it).
  • Apple & Cinnamon;
    A tummy hug. Best way to describe it. I am not a huge fan of cinnamon, but they’ve again got the balance spot on. The apples compliment the cinnamon perfectly so rather than being overwhelmed and feeling like you’ve done the Cinnamon Challenge you’re left with a warm, fuzzy feeling in your tummy. This is excellent on a cold morning.
  • Original Oats;
    We usually have a box in the house as back-up in case we run out of the others. I chop through banana, blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, apple, raisins etc (maybe some peanut butter) to give it a bit more flavour. But these oats are very filling and perfect to get you up and going.
  • Quick Pots;
    These are one portioned sized boxes of porridge for on the go dining. As a snack or as a breakfast these are great for chucking in your bag and going. Like most oats, you can make it with hot water, so you don’t even need to worry about heating up milk. They come in 3 flavours; Apple & Cinnamon, Original and Cranberry & Blueberry. They DON’T offer the Cranberry & Blueberry in large boxes only in porridge pot form, but I recommend giving it a try, nice tangy berries always make a great start to the morning.
  • Porridge Bars;
    Energy packed bars for snacking or a quick breakfast. They come in 6 flavours; Apple & Cinnamon, Apricot & Sultana, Blueberry & Honey, Fig & Date, Raspberry & Honey and White Choc & Hazelnut. I’m a fan of Apple & Cinnamon as well as their Raspberry & Honey. But I can tell you, they’re all delicious and filling.
  • Oatcakes;
    I didn’t actually know they produced these. I learned this by checking out their website. I’m a fan of oatcakes (and cheese, anybody?), so I’m sure their amazing.
Taken from their Pinterest page

Taken from their Pinterest page, look at that range!

What’s also great is how much they care about customer feedback. My dad e-mailed them to let them know we’re huge fans and to ask a question about production. They responded with a really kind e-mail and then SENT US STOATS GOODIES. Now, I’m a sucker for freebies so that sends them from 0 to hero in my book. It shows a different level of customer commitment.  They were also incredibly helpful in making sure I got all my information correct for you readers out there!
I would like to point out the box of goodies event occurred months ago and Stoats is not sponsoring this post, the onset of winter and the finishing of my only box of Stoats here in Madrid prompted this post.

Something that’s also great is that they’re not necessarily for breakfast. My dad enjoys a bowl of Stoats to fuel him for his long-distance runs.

You can purchase their products on their online store or keep an eye for their oats, bars and pots in Asda, Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and lots of independent deli’s, cafes and farm shops! They’re also on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest (some great recipes).

Stoats of Scotland, woot woot! If you’re looking for a great meal (breakfast is the most important meals of the day) then go for Stoats. You won’t regret it.

Gym Bug

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