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Vibrant health means you can live life to the fullest. Empower yourself with the steps I used to free my life of chronic disease and medications.

Reader Interactions

104 Comments

  1. hello! Great post, I agree with you. But sometimes you just want to style up your smoothie with a good protein powder. And I can help people trying to lose weight. I did my research and I love the green protein from body ecology (sorry to adversize). It is a blend of fermented veggies and algae so highly digestible and quality. And yummy! The only thing I don’t like is the soy lecithin in it 🙁

    • It sounds like a unique product and I wasn’t familiar with it. There’s no need to apologize for sharing your experience with a product! I looked it up and here are my two cents: it is great that the ingredients are fermented and it is certainly much preferable to other protein powders. It contains flaxseeds, which I don’t recommend, because they have hormone-disrupting levels of phytoestrogens (plant substances that are interpreted by your body like estrogen). And some of the ingredients – even though they are fermented – can be hard for some folks to digest.

      • What is your take on a good vegan protein powder? I don’t make smoothies but twice a month or so but like to have some protein powder around. The one I most recently got is Organic Hemp Pro Fiber Plant Based Protein Supplement from Manitoba Harvest. It’s only got the one ingredient…Raw Cold Milled Organic Hemp Protein Powder. It’s green and sort of tastes a little like sweet hay lol but my hubby and I like it!

      • What are your thoughts on Healthforce Nutritionals protein powders. There are a few different ones. As someone who struggles with being underweight, and due to a severe corn allergy can not eat most meats (due to corn derived products used to clean meat or equipment at butcher as well as corn derivatives in packaging) and what little corn free meat I find is way too expensive on my income to afford more than a few servings a week. Also I can never eat prepared foods from a restaurant or store due to so many food allergies and sensitivities and even most fruit and veggies from a commercial source (organic included) have corn derived waxes, preservatives, shellacs or packaging. I am a celiac with an intolerance to nightshades, goat and cow dairy, beef, egg yolks and can’t gag down fish so my affordable protein choices are severely limited. I attempted paleo autoimmune protocol but found I was starving since there were not enough carbs or affordable meat and veggies for my crazy fast metabolism so I’m back on Teff, sorghum flour, and sprouted- quinoa, rice, garbanzo and lentils. Also due to damage from years of undiagnosed celiac and corn allergy, LGS, and frequent diarrhea or loose stools, I retain very little of the nutrients I consume. I’m under the impression mega dosing with these powders really helps because every time I go off of them my labs start coming back very nutritionally low even though I eat local veggies and high protein teff/quinoa all the time. My partner works for a supplement dept at a Natural food store and so we get Healthforce products free or super discounted and so their green and protein powders have been a lifesaver on busy days especially when there are no leftovers to pack as a to go meal. I blend with coconut oil or coconut milk, bananas, coconut water and H2o then put in thermos to get me through till I have access to a kitchen with time to prep my whole foods from our local farms. Also we just started trying some free samples we got of Green Smoothie Girl and Garden of Life Raw Protein which seem better than typical protein powders as far as quality and digestibility and are certified organic like Healthforce is.

    • Very informative post, Lauren G. I was searching for healthy smoothies, many of which called for protein powders (yuck!). So I did an additional search for alternatives and that’s how I found you! The only thing I’d add to your list is plain organic whole yogurt (I like Angie’s). Full of probiotics and balanced protein, it is my favorite smoothie additive!

      To Vanessa’s comment – soy lecithin is actually awesome! It clears away cholesterol from veins and arteries and carts it out of the body. It’s not to be mistaken for estrogen laden tofus and other soy products. Just an fyi. 🙂

    • That’s a great question and here’s my opinion: I think that all nuts and seeds should be limited and not be relied on as a dietary protein source. This is because the fatty acid profile of nuts/seeds, while beneficial in small amounts, can cause inflammation if consumed heavily. If someone has an autoimmune disease or hormonal imbalance (for women this could be PMS or for men low testosterone) I recommend eliminating all nuts/seeds until healing has taken place.

  2. Great post! Every time I look at fitness blogs, they all promote all kind of protein powders. I just don’t get it! What is natural or good about something so processed? Why can’t they just get some fresh meat/fish, raw cheese, etc? Is it because they’re trying to save money? But then a good quality protein powder costs a fortune too. There is nothing that Mother Nature can’t provide us with.

    • @Kassie,

      I am not vegan however I have used vegan protein powders. Just be carefully most brands use soy, artificial sweeteners or plenty of sugar disrupting hormones and making it hard for the body to digest.

      Obviously I haven’t seen many protein powders in the stores that are vegan and quality but let me refer to the following brands (all vegan/soy free)

      Sun Warrior (Makes 2 Kinds Warrior Blend & Classic Protein Powder)
      or Vega Brand (Makes 2 Kinds: Vega One and Vega Sport)

      do price compare around both online and at local health food stores or at Whole Foods. My local Whole Foods carries both brands and I bought several of the 1 serving packages of Vega in a variety of flavors (though I preferred the vanilla over chocolate)

      Also I have used the S.W. Warrior blend in vanilla and some people complain of a chalky texture so make sure to blend well.

      ~Hope these help, Chelsea

      • I was a raw vegan for 8 months and lost almost 30 kilos, but I believe that I harmed by body to a level at which I may never be able to recover the lost muscle mass. Yes, they say there are good vegan sources of proteins, I tried them all and I even tried Sun Warrior for 6months. I was also a superfood junkie consuming everything from hemp seeds, maca, spirulina and all that good stuff. I ended up 30kilos lighter, built little or no muscle and ended up looking like an anorexic. Worst thing that happened was that I went from looking like 45 to 65. By the way, if you attempt a raw vegan lifestyle, make sure you carb up enough –our bodies DO need carbohydrates and it needs fat too.

        Eat a healthy, well balanced diet. I do not advocate meat eating, but we do need some animal products in our diet. I now eat crooked brown rice, cooked quinoa, consume milk, eggs and fish. I also eat some cooked vegetables. I consume green smoothies, lots of fresh fruit and veggies too. Don’t go extreme, but by all means incorporate healthy eating a PLENTY of freshness to your diet.

        Here is a word of caution : There are lots of people who proclaim to be 100% raw vegans on Youtube and elsewhere. Some have now accepted that raw veganism is not the best for their health, it may work for some, but beware that there are many people who make a living out of promoting raw veganism because they either are paid by the industry, or have a business in it themselves.

        Sun Warrior may not have hurt me, but I saw no advantage or gain in it. Keep it simple,eat a well balanced diet and you will never fall short of nutrients. Extreme diets are time consuming and you will find that it will become more of a dogma than anything else. Your friends will be reluctant to invite you to socialize, your own family might find you distancing yourself from them at meal time – unless you are careful about timing the preparation of your “Special food”

        I wish I had not become a radical and harmed myself. PLEASE be careful, research your new diet as much as I recommend you research your protein powders.

      • Ashley, I’ll say that it is safer than whey for sure, but I personally did not find t helpful as far as muscle building goes. Sun Warrior is mostly sprouted brown rice protein. Eating coked brown rice won’t harm you. If you wish to remain raw, learn to make buckwheat porridge and also linseed porridge. Both need to be soaked overnight and then blended with raw almond milk. I also throw in a banana for the sweetness and then throw some chopped up fresh fruit over it. Both of the above are excellent sources of protein.

  3. Hi Lauren, see what you think of this product, we have been put onto this by family who have done some serious digging to find the right product, all the way from NZ.
    A few years ago Oxfam scientists discovered an unusual star-shaped nut pod in the Peruvian Amazon. The locals had known about it for centuries and said it was the “Legendary Sacha Inchi”. They said the whole Incan nation had been built on it – in fact artefacts have been found that indicate it was a chief food source as far back as the pre-Incan era. Scientific analysis found it contained one of the most pure and potent forms of protein on the planet. The analysis came back with 63% pure protein, the whole spectrum of essential and non-essential amino acids, a perfect rare balance of Omega-3,6,and 9, as well as a natural balance of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals – a true powerhouse of nutrition sitting hidden from the Western world for centuries.

      • We also use it, we are in NZ and its amazing. We have had far better results from it than normal protein powder and it has a nice little nutty flavour too. I would say not too much more expensive than normal protein powder to (well, here in NZ anyway) and without any of the crap in it 🙂

    • They’re not, but they have that convenient aspect of protein powder. Raw yolks thrown into a smoothie are a wonderful way to boost nutrients, but raw egg whites should be only eaten occasionally because they are hard to digest (due to the uncooked albumin protein).

  4. I agree with you that there are many protein powders out there that are just junk, but there are also some good ones as well that are clean and pure. You do list a couple of them, but there are others as well. Being a good label reader is key.

    I love my gelatin powder but I find it does not fill me up as when I use my other protein powder. Do you experience that?

    I am curious what your take is on shakes with the powder and then adding coconut oil or MCT oil for the fat?

    Have you heard of Sun Warrior’s Warrior Blend? This is a vegetarian source of protein powder that gets tauted a lot.

    • I think adding raw egg yolks to a healthy protein shake is a great way to boost the healthy fatty acid content. MCT oil is another option, like you mention. I’m not familiar with Sun Warrior, but in general I think whole food sources of animal-based protein are the optimal protein.

  5. What do you think about Spirumeal (a spirulina-based protein powder) sold at GNC? I’ve been using that since my dermatologist thinks that I don’t get enough protein and that may possibly be why I’m losing my hair at such a young age. I’m definitely going to order some collagen hydrolysate since this is the second time in as many weeks that it’s been recommended. Thank you for writing such good articles!

    • Gelatin is fantastic for hair growth. If you are concerned about thinning hair, I would concentrate on getting nutrient-dense protein balanced with good fatty acids (healthy fats will be lacking from any plant-based protein shake) – like the eggs and raw milk. Coconut oil, 1-3 tablespoons per day, is often helpful for thinning hair.

  6. I feel compelled to add: denatured protein is good for your body. With ingesting any protein source the chains between amino-acids are broken down and thus “denatured.” The result is faster absorption (therefore awesome after a workout) and easier digestion on the body.

    • Well, the proteins in most protein powder are denatured by very high heat and caustic chemicals. When we digest proteins into amino acids, it is due to the high acidity of our stomach acid. These are two different things – digestion breaks down protein into intact amino acids, but processing most protein powder damages the amino acids so they are not useable by our body.

  7. Hi Lauren

    Thanks for all your great info and recipes. I am a recovering vegetarian, learned to eat meat again a few years ago but only recently figuring out that fats aren’t bad and other little important details. I have food allergies, including cow/beef and am wondering if you are aware of any other (non-bovine) animal source gelatin products? I can only make so much bone broth and wish to increase my uptake of gelatins and fats as my body is responding really well to them.

  8. This is why we ONLY use Perfect Protein by Maximized Living because it has no artificial flavors, no additives, no colors, is casein free and sweetened with Stevia. ML teamed up with Jordan Rubin of Garden of Life to develop.
    It is NOT processed with high heat or caustic chemicals.

  9. It would seem that The Organic Whey powder may not be raw, despite the front label that says “thoughtfully raw”. I checked their website and it appears that it’s made from pasteurized milk, though I’m not 100% certain. Can you verify this one way or the other?

  10. Have you evaluated Radiant Life Vital Whey, Synergistic Nutrition One World Whey, Tropical Traditions Mt Capra whey, or Defense Nutrition Warrior Whey?

    I wholeheartedly agree with the recommendation to eat whole, real foods, but I have these concerns for others in my life who feel the need to add in protein powders.

  11. I actually bought one of those raw whey powders a few weeks ago… we are on the same page! I don’t use it very often – maybe once or twice a week I’ll add a scoop to a smoothie. Or I save up my own whey from my raw milk yogurt – I skim off the whey to make a thicker yogurt, but then use it to soak grains overnight or to make a refreshing Indian-style drink – I blend it with a spinkle of salt and ground cumin. I find this very yummy. 🙂 I also love Great Lakes gelatin though I am trying to make my own broths more often… but the Great Lakes stuff is very convenient. I have never made my own pemmican… hmmmm…

  12. What is your suggestion for sever reactive hypoglycemia .. My husband and I have to eat every 4 hrs to keep it up and shaklee 180 protein helps us to feel so much better without the horrible drops… And we eat low carb and low sugar ..

  13. Dear Lauren,

    First all thank you for your blog and the hard work behind all your endless research. Were you able to contact the Company you previously posted about – “Maximized Living Perfect Protein”. If so could you please comment on this. I am a big preacher of healthy eating and support all natural food.

    Kind Regards

    Joseph

  14. This is an awesome concept!!! I write for one of the top 200 sites on the internet (wikihow.com) as a volunteer editor and contributor. I would like to write an article based on this concept. I would reference your site and you might even get some traffic from it (actually should). What do you think???

    PLEASE feel free to visit my user page and see articles I have written.

  15. Hi Lauren,

    I was wondering if you knew which was better for healing a “leaky gut”: gelatin or bone broth? Is the broth really necessary when doing GAPS or could someone eat gelatin in place of the broth and get the same (or at least similar) benefits?

    I ask because I am a vegetarian but desperately want to heal my gut. I could handle adding powdered gelatin to my foods but, for obvious reasons, do not want to obtain and prepare the ingredients needed for a bone broth (plus it would taste too much like meat :/).

    Thanks!

  16. Sun Warrior’s Warrior blend is great. I have used it. I have met the company owner’s and even visited their
    corp office Truly great, RAW, Non gmo, dairy free, soy free, gluten free. Combination of Hemp, Pea Protein and Cranberry sweetened with Stevia also has MCT from CCN oil.
    Both Chocolate and Vanilla tastes great.

  17. I was excited to hear about raw milk until I looked it up and read several articles, one from the food and drug administration that talked about the risks involved in consuming raw milk. Salmonella and E.coli to name 2 things. Can cause paralysis for one thing. Good thing I did a little research.

  18. So I’m wondering about how to get adequate protein after having had gastric bypass surgery. I am told to consume at least 64 g of protein a day, but with a 4 oz stomach, it is hard to get that in every meal and snack I eat. I am currently using protein shakes to make up for the protein I’m missing out on in the food I eat. I would like to cut out the shakes as they are expensive and I don’t like using them because I eat as close to a whole food diet as I can, and they don’t fit into that.
    Your input would be great! Thanks!!

  19. Lauren, what is your reasoning for recommending eggs and dairy so often? I have recently found your site and purchased your book. b/c I am on a very strict “Repairvite Diet”, through my cousin, a N.D. I have many chronic issues (Fibromyalgia, RSD, Interstitial Cystitis, Grave’s Disease, IBS, Leaky Gut, Asthma, Sciatica, Chronic Dry Eye, , etc. ) that have left me debilitated.
    I found a Gluten Sensitivity on my own, before my cousin was a N.D. I was told Dairy, esp. eggs are very bad for all these auto-immune, inflammatory conditions. Yet, they are very soothing to the I.C. and it has actually taken a turn for the worse with this plan. I am told to eat all the flax seeds I want, but avoid all other seeds and nuts (most of this also coincides with I.C. info). Stevia is touted as a “good” sweetener, while honey and maple syrup are bad. All citrus is bad (for I.C. too), yet it’s in most recipes. Two of the worst GMO foods, the literature says, are yellow squash and zucchini, yet they are in all the recipes, and heavily used in Paleo. Repairvite is similar to Paleo, except for banning nuts, seeds, eggs, pork, honey and maple syrup. Meanwhile, the I.C. info is all over the place on all of these, with the 1 main concern being low acid foods.
    The only protein powder allowed is pea protein. I haven’t even asked about the gelatin yet.
    After quickly losing 13 pounds and suffering severe exhaustion, I was allowed to re-introduce nuts.
    For your recipes, I replace the egg with flax seeds and water. It doesn’t always work, but my body feels better with something of “sustenance”. I do however, have a hard time with the lengthy prep (& shopping time) in all these plans, due to the RSD in hands. After quickly losing 13 pounds and suffering severe exhaustion, I was allowed to re-introduce nuts. Overall, your recipes and way of thinking seems to be the best fit for me! Any information or articles you can send me to pass along would be greatly appreciated!
    P.S. I loved “The Maker’s diet information, but thought the plan was too extreme for me to ever do, at that time. lol

    • I know, food is just so confusing! 😉 While I do think there is a line between certain good and bad foods, it really does come down to the individual and the health concerns of the individual. I support local, organic, real foods but even within those guidelines we need to alter our diet to meet our needs, and I’ve discussed this in others posts, such as this one: http://empoweredsustenance.com/autoimmune-paleo-protocol/.

      • Steph C – have you ever had a blood spot or serum testing done for hormone imbalance? This is different from blood serum testing – which is not an accurat measurement of hormones stored up in fat cells, simply put. I recommend ZRT labs – which will send a test kit direct to your home and provide results. I did this for myself before beginning my journey back to renewed health.
        The reason I suggest it is several symptoms you list are indicative of estrogen dominance/progesterone deficiency. You cousin can help once you have results. Good luck!
        http://www.zrtlab.com/hormones-101

  20. FYI: A cooked egg is also denatured: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denaturation_(biochemistry)

    And question: Why are organic products so frequently sold in such tiny packages? Many people who want to supplement with whey powder want to do so on a regular basis, so why do those two organic companies only sell their product in 12 oz bags? If organic, eco-friendly companies really want to change the world, they should sell in bulk to make their products more affordable. Make no mistake: they’re in it for the money.

  21. I am sensitive to gluten, egg, cow dairy, goat milk and quite a few nuts and seeds. I don’t use soy or flax because I have hormone issues….. I’m not vegan or vegetarian by a long shot……. any tips for non meat sources of protein o I can switch it up a bit?

  22. Hi Lauren G,

    I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism (Graves Disease) about 5 years back and for 3 years I’ve been in remission.

    My current height is 5’9 and 170lbs. I workout 3-5 times a week and have used various whey proteins.

    The problem I’m getting is that when I take whey protein I feel really wired so that I don’t sleep well. I’ve read that too much protein can be hard on the system for people that have had hyperthyroidism.

    Do you think the 2 whey proteins you recommend on Amazon could be better for me and that it wouldn’t make me feel so wired? I’ve been lifting weights hard for almost a year and can’t put on any weight. I want to incorporate a clean source of whey protein into my diet to gain muscle so that I’m 180lbs to 185lbs.

    Thanks for help. AJ

  23. How do you feel about organic pea protein powders, unflavoured, where the only ingredient is 100% certified organic pea protein isolate? Being an A blood type I can’t eat/digest red meat well, and although I do have some white meat and eggs, I just find using this may help me get my protein needs? Thanks in advance!

    • Cherie – we have tired organic pea protein, bleh!!!! I found a cold processed, non hydrolyzed soy-free vegan that is yellow pea, brown rice and cranberry blend. 20 gms of protein per serving, and has better bio availability than whey based, scores 100% for the 20 esseential amino acids with zero trace metals. Best part – kid tested and approved. My organic red meat consumption is also very limited – and I have to be careful of too much iron, the one I use has zero iron added. Keep searching…I am sure you can find a good tasting one. if you can’t stomach it will likely be a waste of money.

  24. I’m a fan of Sun Warrior’s Warrior Blend too. I add Great Lakes gelatin, an egg and banana to my smoothies.

    Couple of things:

    Powdered gelatin isn’t exactly a whole food either, right?

    Is raw egg white actively bad for you or is it simply that you don’t gain all the goodness by eating it raw?

  25. What about subbing for protein powders in baking and other recipes? There is one website where I like her recipe ideas and the recipe itself many times, but she’ll make a protein cookie or something and I want to make it but with something other than protein powder. P.S. I’m so glad I found your site, I really agree with a lot of your nutrition thinking it seems!

  26. Hello, I was just wondering about the Great Lakes one you talked about. I’m bit really wanting to use protein powders for anything other than to make me feel fuller for longer, I love smoothies and I’m just looking for something to add to it. Would that one be a good one to use? Or is there something else I could use? I hope your still reply to these as it was posted a while ago 🙂 thanks xx

  27. Hi Lauren,

    I live in Ontario Canada where raw milk is illegal. Only pasteurized milk is sold and I live in the city so I’m not close in vicinity to the farming c0munities. I normally drink organic goat milk that has been pasteurized. Do you think this is ok or should I avoid all milk since all of it would be pasteurized?

    Thanks and love your blog,

    Madeline

  28. Hi Lauren! I make kefir from raw goat milk. Sometimes I strain it a bit to give it a thicker consistency. I save any excess whey in a jar in the frig and then a once a week after a workout I’ll make a smoothie with it. One day I’ll use it for ferments but for now I don’t want to waste it. I always eat fat with the smoothie too, usually coconut oil or a spoonful of butter. I can’t tolerate eggs. What do you think?

  29. Hi Lauren, Great Write-up! I used whey for many years as I was growing up, but I have recently switched to Hemp Protein. I thinks its a great alternative to Soy Protein (which is not great for men, due to potential hormone side effects) and is rich with Amino Acids, Omega 3s and other good stuff.
    I was wondering if you mind that I reference some of the “Protein Danger” information from your post on a site i started called FitHemp.com.
    Let me know
    Thanks

  30. Really liked this article. I just had bariatric surgery and, consequently, am on a 3/day regimen of protein shakes. Surgery was 2 weeks ago. I welcome your input, as I would much prefer a more natural protein source. I must aim for 60-80g protein daily. Your thoughts? Thank you!

  31. I have no objection to those who take protein powder of whatever brand however, the problem I faced after taking protein powder is increased hair on my body which I never had before. So, I immediately stopped taking the protein powder.

    Any suggestions on how to stop or avoid hair growth and still be able to take protein powder ?

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  34. I enjoyed this article, and agree with most of your suggestions. I do wonder, though, why you endorse the use of gelatin in a powder form? Are the amino acids in the collagen not subjected to the same high heat and degradation as the amino acid profile of the whey protein during the manufacturing process?

  35. Lauren,
    Thank you for this article! I had a gastric sleeve 1 month ago. Due to small food intact in first months, I need to complement with protein supplement my needed 60gr protein / day. I got the garden of life raw protein only to found later is full of heavy metals … What is the best way to get most protein in small quantity ? My new stomach can only handle small quantities. Gelatin powder? Thank you very much in advance!

  36. Hi Lauren.
    I found you because I was recently diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. My first flare happen as I was on a diet in which I was consuming two whey protein shakes and a protein bar daily. I was looking into how to replace these shakes with when I came across your site. How did you know to eliminate grains etc to help your colitis? I believe it was the protein shakes that set me off since I was having so much of it. All other food was basically chicken and veggies. So would I try eliminating all dairy? Thank you so much. I was put on hydrocortisone and had a severe reaction to it. They prescribed something else but I’m afraid of it and, like you, don’t want to be on medicine the rest of my life. Any help or guidance is appreciated. Thank you.

  37. Nuts are extremely healthy as has been established by many recent science based studies, especially almonds, walnuts, and a few brazil nuts. Flax seed also. Please do not deter visitors from eating healthy foods. (Everything in moderation of course) YES, a small minority seem unable to tolerate some foods. (The list would include probably everything edible) What we now have is an epidemic of the worried well, and the concomitant rise of self appointed dietary gurus, with there own agendas, making unscientific and unjustified claims based on the reports of a tiny minority of individuals with dietary problems. The “Wheat Belly” brigade is a classic example of how to generate anxiety, even hysteria, while amassing a fortune. (Incidentally this publication is a classic example of really bad science)
    Vegans claim that their diet is the healthiest on the planet? If so, why is it that the healthiest and most long lived people are residing on certain Greek Islanders and others who consume fish, dairy, plus a great variety of fruits and vegetables.
    Vegan claims are based on comparing vegan diets with the western junk diets. NOT with a balanced organic based omnivorous diet which is still the most natural of all.
    Fact is! Gluten is NOT a poison and the problems that some people have are more likely to be related to modern wheat processing. I bake fab bread and Pizza for myself and friends using Einkorn, Kamut and Spelt. All organic and with no additives, and VERY little salt.
    I make soup using mixed organic beans, onions, tomatoes, flaked quinoa, flaked barley, and spices. All organic. A large pot lasts me five days.
    I am 73 and fit.
    Blessings,
    David

  38. I am very interested in using Vital Protein collagen product daily. My concern is reading about increasing the risk of breast cancer when you increase collagen.
    I would very much appreciate your opinion.
    Thank you

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Lauren Geertsen, NTP

I’m an author, entrepreneur, and nutritional therapy practitioner (NTP). I began this website at 19, to share the steps that freed my life of chronic disease and medication. Now, Empowered Sustenance has reached 30 million readers with healthy recipes and holistic resources.

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