Category Archives: Uncategorised

Why I Decided To Be a Vegetarian?

My journey towards being a vegetarian were rooted to different reasons. I had an up and down relationship with avoiding meat. It had been difficult int he first bouts but now. I don’t feel any desire to eat dead animals at all.

For me, eating only vegetables has always been the right choice. It has helped me save money, time and also made me a kinder and more compassionate person.

The First Time

I had two tries in being a vegetarian. The first was when I was in highschool. I had felt bad when my father slaughtered a pig that I had grown to love. It made realize that being vegetarian is more humane and compassionate.

However, I dated a man who did not like vegetables. And marrying the same guy made me eat meat again. Fast forward into a few years back, I have gained much weight and have become diabetic. This made me realize I needed a lifestyle change. But I could not give up meat. I mean I ate veggies most of the time but I also did eat meat.

But deep in head there was a call for kindness and compassion. I have pets specifically two cats, Milo and Bingo who I love to bits. They made me question eating meat.

A Change of Heart

So after having some struggle with being a semi vegetarian I decided to go full on vegetarian. I still do eat eggs at times but I try to avoid them as much as possible. Why I decided to go full on is the realization of how much animals suffer because of us humans. We raise them in farms and treat them like they don’t thoughts or feelings. I could just not bear being one of those people who made other sentient beings suffer.

I have also been into practicing Buddhism. I have learned that food should never be a cause for the suffering of any being. So I decided to give up meat totally.

Why Should Anyone Be a Vegetarian?

The path of being a vegetarian is way more than the food you eat. It is a meaningful path to take towards helping others, the world and yourself. It gives me purpose to live and helps me also to save money.

1. Being compassionate – Being vegetarian means you do not partake in the killings of other sentient beings. You might argue that humans are meant to eat animals because we are omnivores or whatnot but can you ever kill an animal? If no, then why are you eating it’s dead body?

Choosing to be a vegetarian means you do not want to partake in harming other creatures. You do not want to be a part of the industry that exploits animals for food. You also do not want to hurt others. Being a vegetarian means choosing a path of kindness and compassion.

2. To be healthy – Studies have shown that red meat causes your body to go acidic. Vegetables are highly alkaline in nature and helps keep the acidity level in your body down. This helps you avoid or control various sicknesses such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer, heart problems and many others. It also helps you have good looking skin.

3. Look great and feel great – Have you ever felt so tired and exhausted. Studies have shown that eating too much meat makes you feel sluggish. Going green also helps you manage your weight. Vegetables are a natural source of fiber. Fiber helps you control your weight and manager your body. Vegetables also help you fight acne and keep your skin healthy and glowing.

4. Help the envirolment – One of the leading causes of global warming is surprisingly the consumption of meat. It takes sixteen pounds of grain to produce a pound of meat while a pound of grain needs only a pound to produce it! Cows raised for milk and meat give off a big amount of CO2. Pigs and chickens upset the ecological balance of a place since their fecal matter cause pollution.

Some companies in the US who sell chicken meat and raise poultry have already encountered various lawsuits because of improper waste disposal that lead to the poisioning of some rivers.

5. Save money – Meat is far more expensive than veggies. You can get protein from veggies at much lesser cost than having it from meat. You can cut down your food expenses by more than a half if you do not eat meat.

Basically there are so many reasons why you should ditch eating meat and start eating veggies. But the point is you have to choose this path. Better do it now before it’s too late.

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How to Live with Meat Eaters As a Vegetarian

Being a vegetarian has become easier and easier recently. You can now buy lots of fresh veggies, fruits, tofu, mushrooms and even vegie meat from the supermarket. You can dine in restaurants and find many vegan and vegetarian choices. Easy recipes can also be found online.

But what do you do if you life with meat eaters? What if you are the only vegetarian at home? How do you handle that? What about going out with friends and going to parties? So here are a few tips on how to live peacefully and happily as a vegetarian while you’re with meat eaters.

Peace Be With You

When you are a vegetarian, you normally live a more peaceful life than others. Whether you do it for health or humane reasons, being a vegetarian greatly helps nature and the environment. However, a lot of times may you face issues and problems with people who are non vegetarians or even other vegetarians.

1. Respect others – When you are a vegetarian, you have to stop yourself from preaching to others. A person’s dietary choice is like a religion or politics, you should always respect what they want. You cannot make others believe the same beliefs you have.

You may tell them the benefits of going vegetarian. You may make them try delicious vegetable dishes but it all boils down to personal choice.

Respect others’ food choice if you want them to respect yours.

2. Do not force them to taste your food! – One of the biggest no-nos is making another person taste your food when they clearly don’t like or hate veggies! You don’t want them to hate you and vegetables right?

3. Vegan or vegetarian – I know each of these food choices have their benefits and points. Don’t preach to one another who is better or who is worse. Respect begets respect.

How to Live With Meat Eaters?

The home is where the heart is, right? But how about if your partner is a non vegetarian or your children hate veggies?

When it comes to your children, you can teach and train them to eat veggies. However, with your partner it’s a whole different story. He or she may have grown in a whole different.

1. To cook or to take away – Having two different food choices may be a bit tricky. If you cook food at home, it means you need to cook two different kinds of food. The question is if who should cook? You need to first decide if you will cook or buy pre-made meals.

Cooking of course is a cheaper and healthier way to go about it. Take aways may be pricey if you don’t watch out. You can buy reduced food from the supermarket or find a good cheap place.

2. Who is cooking – If you decide that you guys want to eat at home and cook food, you need to decide who cooks the food. This is crucial thing you need to settle to achieve peace at home.

If both of you know how to cook, you may take turns cooking or each may prepare his or her own meals.

3. Prepare easy meals – Don’t torture yourself in the kitchen. You can prepare easy to make dishes. Roasting, baking and slowcooking are good choices because they are easy to do.

You may also make meals that are easy to freeze so you can eat them again on the other days of the week.

4. Prepare neutral food – You can make pasta and then separate the part with no meat first for the person whose vegetarian and then add the meat afterwards. You may also make dishes that you can share like mashed potato and then the meat eater can have a grilled dish and the vegetarian can have some beans to go with the mashpo.

3. Don’t tamper with each other’s food – Don’t put stuff in your partner’s food that he or she may not like. You wouldn’t want him or her sneaking in some bacon bits into your food right?

4. Have some vegetarian friendly snacks and TV dinners – If ever you are too lazy to cook you would thank those prepacked dishes or snacks. If you hate the ones that are filled with preservatives, buy some from the supermarket’s cooked dishes and put them in the freezer. You can do the same for the meat eater.

Going Out

Going out as a vegetarian used to be tricky, but now, it has become much much easier. Many restaurants carry vegan and vegetarian dishes that even meat eaters would like. However when attending parties and the like you can find it a bit tricky.

1. Find out what place you’re going to – You need to know if you need to bring something you can much on or if they offer vegetarian food.

2. Bring some crackers or something with you – Some bars only serve meat or maybe non vegan food. If you are a vegan, you may have limited food choices so you may need to bring some munchies with with you as a back up. Same goes for vegetarians.

3. Be polite and not preachy – If your friends’ party do not serve vegetarian food, do not fret, there can always be something that can be done. You can call a place that delivers food. You can ask them if they have some salad greens. But remember to do it nicely.

Bottom Line

Being a vegetarian is a choice that requires commitment. You need to learn how to make compromises. You need to learn to choose peace instead of trying to convert someone into a vegetarian too. It may be difficult. It may be that you do know what meat does to people but the point is, you can make others become you.

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Vegetarian or Vegan?

Becoming a vegetarian a big life changing choice. But what about being vegan? Both of this paths are more humane to the world and a healthier choice than consuming meat. But which one is better and which one is for you? Should be a vegetarian or go all out vegan?

What is a Vegan?

A vegan is a person who does not consume or use any products that have animal content in them. They do not eat, drink or partake in food that have come from animals because they believe that animals are sentient beings and eating them is a violation of their rights. Veganism is not just a food choice, it is also a life style. It goes beyond a person’s plate. If you declare yourself vegan, you will not use any products which has caused harm on animals. You will not wear leather or fur, will not use animal tested cosmetics nor will you ever eat desserts that have milk in them.

Veganism means living a life that is full of respect for other beings, may they be human or not.

1. No dairy – Being vegan means saying no to dairy. The white milk you see in the super market is not white when you get it. It has red in it. Red from the blood of the mother cow. A lot of young cows are forced away from their moms, killed at a young age because they cannot share the milk which is to be sold to the market.

2. No eggs – Eggs, in order to be put on your table required hundreds of hens all cooped up in tight, dark and damp spaces where they can barely move. They are made to lay eggs all their lives and when they are past their prime, they are disposed alive in garbage trucks or bins. Some are put in grinding machines alive with their bones being broken while they are still alive.

Male chicks are ground up alive because they are unable to produce eggs so they are regarded as waste. Many documentaries have been made about the egg and poultry industry.

3. No leather or fur – Leather comes from crocodiles and alligators. They are killed for their precious hide. Fur come from furry animals. They are normally shaved to the point of bleeding. Wool is also a by-product of cruel sheep trade.

4. No meat of course – Aside from being more humane, not consuming meat means that you leave a smaller carbon foot print. One pound of meat requires sixteen pounds of grain to produce. Livestock produces methane gas which causes air pollution. Studies have shown that if livestock were not raised we can minimize green house gases by 65%

What Should You Eat if You Go Vegan?

Being vegan is a life path that may be difficult but rewarding. Many people think that they will lose out on protein but many plant based sources provide a healthy alternative to meat. Aside from the common tofu and mushroom there are other alternative choices that you can have to add protein or just get that umami or meaty flavor and taste.

1. Tofu – Tofu is one of the most popular meat substitutes out there. Since the dawn of time, tofu has been used as a meat substitute by Buddhists in the east. It is made from soybeans, a rich source of protein. It has a nice texture and can be marinated for more flavor

2. Texturized vegetable protein – TVP is a good source of protein. It is made from extracting oil from from soybeans. This is a good substitute for animal protein because when it is dry, it can have about 50% protein. It can be rehydrated by adding vegetable stock or water and it will double or triple in size. It can come in chunks, grains and different shapes and sizes.

Personally, this product is best for spaghetti or “chicken” curry. It does have a really good and chewy taste that mimicks meat.

3. Mushrooms – Mushrooms are used as a meat replacement for a very long time. Shitake mushroom has a very meaty texture and has that umami taste. Portobellos are hearty addition to pastas and soups. Black fungus has a fun and chewy feeling to it.

4. Gluten veggie meat or Seitan– Gluten veggie meat comes from gluten from wheat. It is one of the oldest forms of substitutes for meat dating back to the 6th century China. It was made firstly to go with noodles. It is commonly known as mock beef, chicken or mock duck in the east. Many buddhists consume this because it has a stringy texture similar to beef or pork.

5. Eggplants – Eggplants have a nice texture that is both squeeshy and firm that resembles meat. It is good in pastas, soups, fried or grilled. It is good for those with soy allergies or gluten intolerance. Mediterranean cooking uses a lot of eggplants as a meat replacement.

Being Vegetarian

Being vegetarian means not eating any meat. You may be consuming eggs and or cheese or not. Cheese and dairy consumers are called lacto vegetarians, egg eaters are ovo vegetarians. Some who eat both are called lacto ovo. You can also be a pure vegetarian who does not consume any food product that comes from animals.

On the other hand, vegetarians can still use animal products like bags, clothes, shoes and other house hold items. They do not have a much stringent life as compared to full vegans. Going into this direction can also be the first step before becoming a full on vegan.

What to Eat?

Aside from the ones stated about, vegetarians have a wide spectrum of food that they can eat. Omitting meat is the only thing to consider. If you eat eggs and consume dairy, you will be able to eat most food and desserts except those meat dishes. On the other hand, if you don’t consume eggs or dairy, you can still have specialized desserts such as those using almond mink or soy milk.

Vegetarian or Vegan?

Ultimately this question is yours alone to answer it asks if you are willing to stand for animal rights or if you want to just live a healthier life. It asks how committed you are to something.

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Vegetable Soup for the Vegetarian Soul

If there is Chicken Soup for the Soul why isn’t there a Vegetable Soup for the Vegetarian Soul? Well maybe there ought to be one. Like somewhere people who are living a violence free existence and eating healthy can be inspired by stories of other vegetarians.

Well I do love reading Chicken Soup for the Soul, but being a vegan, my friends started to tease me about it. I have thought that there should be a few stories of vegetarian people sharing inspiring acts to others. So here are a few I have gathered from my friends who have saved lives by rescuing stray animals or have fought for their fur babies till the end. I’m going to share my own story as well.

Story 1: Milo Took Away My Sickness

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I have a cat named Kitkat. She got pregnant with three cute kittens. I named them Milo, Oreo and Bingo. They were so cute and lovely. I noticed Milo was smaller than his brothers but he was a kind-hearted kitten. One day I fell sick. I did not have any money as I have just quit my job. I went to the hospital the doctor told me that I have severe strep throat and I needed confinement. But I was too broke and I did not have insurance. I did not know what to do. I decided to just go home. I googled my medicines and took them. I told my self I was going to wing it. This was also the time of my birthday. Milo suddenly fell ill too. As I was recuperating, he was getting sicker and sicker.

As I had a little money in the bank, I decided to bring him to the vet. He had severe worms and needed to be fed milk. We tried our best. We brought him back to the doctor but he did not get well. He died and I regained full strength. The doctor said if I was not going to get confined I may die due to severe infection. I guess Milo was my angel and he saved me.

Story 2: The Woman Who Has 95 Rescue Cats

Luchie was a woman of means but before she did not care much about cats. One day, her daughter brought home a stray kittens. They were in poor health and sickly. They decided to foster them and give them milk. They survived and lived. After that she started picking up stray cats. She gave them food and saved them from the streets. She wishes people would stop throwing kittens out and advocates for spaying and neutering of cats and dogs. She says that she saves cats because in this way she makes the world a better place.

Story 3: Grey the Fighter

My father’s house had a big field behind it. It was beautiful but had a lot of wild grass in it. Because of the grass, there may be bugs or snakes in there. My father had three cats, Queen, Grey and Yuki. Grey loved playing outside. He was energetic and adorable. He had a short tail. One day Grey did not go home. We found him dead with snake bites. Our neighbor saw his body near their house. They had a small baby who Grey liked to play with a lot. I guess Grey fought to save that baby. He gave his life to save his friend. Until now Grey’s death puts me to tears.

Story 4: Becoming Vegetarian Saved Her Finances

I met a friend who loved eating in fast food restaurants and loved eating meat. She rarely drinks water. One day she realized that she is really running low on funds and has no savings. I told her why not try to live healthy by eating more veggies and by this she can save money. She would not believe me at first. But she gave it a try. On the first week we would only eat vegetable selections in our office pantry. She was able to cut down her lunch expenses to about a half. She was able to save that money. She said she decided to do it at home. When she computed how much money she saved, she could not believe it! She was able to save enough money to open an online store that sells quilts and kids clothes. Now she still works in the office but has saved lots of money from her online store. She also feels healthier!

Please SHARE Your Story

Well being a vegetarian can sometimes be difficult. We need to encourage one another. I hope you can inspire others like you to also be vegetarian. Share your story here and inspire others too!

I hope I was able to make you smile by these few stories!

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I am Already a Vegetarian but I’m Still Fat

 

I am fat. I’m only 5”2 and I weigh 176lbs. I have been happy with my own size and shape for a very long time. I don’t think being fat is ugly, on contrary I think I’m very beautiful. I have long brown hair and I have an ample chest. I did not bother about my weight, not until I was diagnosed with diabetes last year.

At first I really followed the plan of lowering my sugar. But it was so difficult. I love baking and made cakes and pies and pastries all the time; the ultimate vegetarian indulgence was deserts. I was able to lower down my sugar for a while, but come Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, I had gained much weight and eaten so many forbidden food. What I did was just to double my medications when I ate sweet food. Food was my comfort zone. I thought I was healthier than most because I did not eat meat. I only had veggies, lots and lots of veggies and grains. But I also ate chocolates and ice-cream.

How Do Vegetarians Get Fat?

Many people are surprised how I became fat. When I was 18, I decided to become a vegetarian, I am a lacto-ovo vegetarian. I rarely consumed milk though. I ate healthy food and always had lot and lots of veggies. So why did I become a size 16 from a size 2? Simple my lifestyle. So here are the few things that I know made me fat.

Lack of Sleep – I worked as an IT officer and I was scheduled to work at night. This was when all system maintenance was done because people don’t use their computers. I was able to get sleep but not good kind of sleep. My metabolism slowed down because I slept in the day and it is said that after 8pm, our metabolic rate slows down. I’m not able to burn the lunch I had at 12 midnight. I also skipped meals and binged-eat when I have time. This was because of schedule again.

I Ate, a Lot – I thought because I was a vegetarian that I’m eating a much healthier diet than my friends and family. I knew in my heart I was not going to get fat. But I loved eating, maybe too a little too much. So I baked a lot. I made chocolate my friend. So the combination of lack of sleep and my food intake made me gain weight in a few months from 125lbs to 190lbs. I recently lost weight!

No Exercise – I had a pretty sedentary life. I don’t walk like I used to and I hate sweating. I don’t like exercising. I had tried to but I just couldn’t. I had no time for exercise. I had so many excuses.

My Journey to a Healthy Me

I want to lose weight.

A month ago I decided to take Yoga, not to lose weight but to release my stress. I started working out. Then I wanted to get cute Yoga clothes and that was where it all started. Then aside from Yoga I joined a dance class called NIA which really made me sweat.

A few days ago I went to an endocrinologist to get a clearance for a tooth extraction. He said if I lost enough weight, I don’t need to take any maintenance medications anymore! And now motivated me. I really wanted to lose weight. I ditched eating too much deserts. I ate only ¼ cup of ice cream so as just not to salivate when my husband buys some. I went to a wellness coach and followed a meal plan. I did not diet, I just ate healthy and try not to munch on too big meals. I wanted to look good and feel great. I am feeling really good..

So What Do I Do When I’m Tempted?

I give in! Well not in the way I used to before, now I try to control it. I eat very little. I try to eat pasta in small portions. I eat five small meals a day. I jog everyday aside from my Yoga classes. And if you say you don’t have time, I work 12 hours a day but I do make time. I try not to waste time on social media or other nonsense. I wanted to be healthy. I did not just want to be a skinny, pretty lady, I wanted to be a woman who can live up to 80!

Update: I have just lost weight! Now I’m 170lbs.

 

 

 

 

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What to Eat When You’re Missing Meat

Uncategorised

vegetables-146269_640I would be lying if I say that I don’t miss eating meat sometimes. I love to cook so before I used to whip up steaks and all those bloody stuff. When I decided to quit eating meat, I had a bit of a struggle at times. Man it had been a battle. Good thing that my friends and family were all supportive.

I tried to research why meat is so irresistible for most people. I found out that meat has that taste known as Umami. Umami is the sixth taste after sweet, salty, sour, spicy and bitter. It is the taste of salty-sweet-savory combination. Umami was discovered by this Japanese scientist Kikunae Ikeda, in 1908. He found the taste from a konbu seaweed normally used to make stocks and broths in Japan (so you see, you can get that umami-meaty taste even if you don’t eat meat).

Longing for the Umami taste is deep rooted in the Paleolithic times where in having enough protein was a bit difficult to come by. Hunting wild animals was precarious and posted dangers to our ancient ancestors. They did discover farming and this brought in grains. But at that time, they did not know which plants are the ones they could eat to acquire the much needed protein. On the other hand, in today’s convenient times, we can attain protein even if we do not consume animals. According to studies we only need about 0.36 grams of protein per pound or about 0.8 grams per kilogram of our weight. This means non meat items can really satisfy our needs. But the question is what if you get tempted with licking and eating that piece of beef or chicken?

Food That Have That Umami Taste.tomatoes-447170_640

There are a wide variation of food which are not animal based. Of course for those who are not pure vegans or are lacto/ lacto-ovo/ ovo – vegetarians they can consume eggs and cheeses to help cut down on the cravings. I’ll start with the ones that are for those who are none pure herbivores.

Cheeses – Cheeses are great sources of that umami taste they lift any dish to give that savory taste. Parmesan cheese can be added to rice and pasta dishes with vegetables to add a bit of oomph. Deeper flavored cheeses like blue cheese and gruyere are great additions to salads and dips. Mozzarella is an excellent cheese to mix with risottos and breads as well as toasts.

Eggs – Eggs can be scrambled and flavored with herbs to give that tasty feel. Make scrambled eggs in butter to fulfill that longing to eat meat. It’s one of those super foods that are quiet versatile.

Ok let’s now go to those that fall purely into the vegetable and fruits section the grocery.

Mushrooms – Mushrooms have been widely used in Chinese, Japanese and Mediterranean cuisines. One of my favorites is Shitake mushrooms. They really do taste meaty and taste “porky”. They texture of this mushroom is excellent. Well actually almost all mushroom do deliver a meaty texture. Another one that I like a lot is the black fungus which is common in Chinese cooking. Portobello are also meaty too.

Tomatoes – Tomatoes when cooked get a heightened umami taste as well as increases the potency of its lycopene.  It does have a sweet, sour taste which when added with a little salt or oil really brings out that umami taste.

Tofu – Ok this is one of the vegetarian staples but one can elevate tofu so that its texture would be meatier. You can first marinate it with some herbs like thyme, garlic, chili powder and put some soy sauce too. After that you can fry it to give it a more crunchy texture before you put it in your stews, salad and soups. Frying the tofu really creates an outer shell that gives it a whole different flavor and texture.

Veggie-Meat made from Gluten – This food has been a staple for Buddhist monks. They basically create meat-like dough from kneading flour until it becomes glutinous. They extract the gluten and marinate it to create veggie meat. They are now mixed with herbs and spices, then dried. To reconstitute them they are marinated or brined in water or seasoning. After which they are cooked just like meat in a normally meat dish. You can find this in Asian stores or sections in your nearby grocery.

Green Tea – Who knew green tea can be used for cooking too? Green tea is high in anti-oxidants that help you fight disease and aging. Aside from that this Asian drink can be added to some soups and stocks as well as other recipes to add that Umami taste.

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Spices, Spices and more Spices – Adding spices can change your food from dull and boring to oh super oomph amazing! Cumin is a great flavor that brings out a meaty taste in a Mexican Vegetarian Chilly. You can toast cumin seeds too bright out more of its flavor. Another one is the barbecue smoky spice paprika. Sauces become brighter with this flavor. Rosemary also goes on the Umami list. It has that fragrant woodsy taste that lifts a dish up. Thyme is a must for flavorful stocks as well as Bay Leaf.

Fermented Stuff – Asians who were Buddhists learned that fermenting food brings out the Umami taste. Miso and miso soup with Konbu seaweed is a great way to quench that craving. Soy sauce is very Umami-tasting. Merin or rice vinegar and also balsamic vinegar can give your salads life. Fermented fruits and vegetables are great too. Nato, a Japanese fermented dish made of fermented beans that look like canned beans give you that much needed meaty texture without straying out of eating only a plant based diet.

Sea Weeds, Nori and other stuff from the Sea – You can snack on a vegetarian maki or sushi with Nori and avocado. Konbu as we have mentioned is a great way to add umami to your food. Seaweeds can be turned into a salad with some vinegar, tomatoes, onions and a little oil. You can buy Nori chips that you can snack on as well.

Vegetable Flavors – Mirepoix which is the holy trinity of French cooking and Sofrito for the Spanish. Mirepoix is a combination of chopped celery, onions and carrots or some use celery, leeks and onions for a “white” Mirepoix. On the other hand, Sofrito is made up of garlic, onion and tomatoes. They are usually chopped and diced and then sautéed in the beginning of the dish to give it a depth and flavor. They are also used to enhance to taste of stocks and soups. You may use them in rice dishes, pasta and many other food.

There is just so many things that you can use to help you to stay away from the temptation from eating meat. But the most important thing is to remember why you are abstaining from eating meat. Is it for humanitarian purposes? Is it to reduce cholesterol and stay healthy? Ultimately, living life without meat is possible, as long as you discipline yourself. Food that we eat is an acquired taste. You can still enjoy eating even without downing meat.

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