10 Trouble-Free Techniques to Cut Calories

How to Make Your Calories Count Without Counting Calories

No matter how we approach weight loss, all methods ultimately require the creation of a caloric deficit for results. Nowadays, with the onslaught of food and fitness trackers, calorie apps, step counters, etc., there are myriad ways to calculate and postulate how much energy is coming in and about how much may be going out. Despite these calculations and disciplined approaches to monitoring progress, there are several simple ways to effectively decrease calories consumed without much of an effort; habits you can change in your day to day practice which can support your goals and help you succeed.

Since you can’t out-exercise your diet and what you eat is unquestionably the primary factor in weight loss, here are 10 ways to reduce your intake significantly enough to make a difference:

  1. Hold off on eating the first meal of the day for as long as possible.

    There are no verified rules about how many meals per day are ideal or that eating breakfast helps “jumpstart your metabolism” for the day. Remember that the human body is adapted to survive periods without food (beyond just dinner through breakfast the following morning) and that skipping meals does not, in fact, “slow down” your metabolism. Time without food being digested and absorbed is precious for the body, as it offers energy for the body to repair, recover, and rejuvenate. Unless you are really, really lean, your body has enough fat storage to metabolize for energy in between meals. Pushing off breakfast as long as possible is the perfect way to offer your body rest and an opportunity to start nibbling away at your fat stores. This is why the concept and practice of intermittent fasting has taken off recently in the news. Drink water, sparkling water, black coffee, or any of the infinite varieties of teas without any added sweeteners or creamers. It will keep you satisfied as you stave off hunger until your body is really ready to eat.

  2. Drink tea or coffee straight up.

    Speaking of tea and coffee… If you do enjoy these beverages (as millions or billions of people do around the world), they fit perfectly into a healthy diet for most people. (Of course, if you have cardiac arrhythmias, high blood pressure, reflux, are pregnant, or other specific conditions, this is something to ask your physician about.) And, as I mentioned above, they can keep you going in the morning as you delay your first meal of the day. The only way people get into trouble is by dousing these calorie-free, phytonutrient-containing beverages with addictive sweeteners and calorie-dense creamers. These beverages offer the perfect vehicle for excess sugars, fats, and calories. My favorite Starbucks venti green tea soy latte, for example, contains a whopping 320 calories, 9 grams of fat (6 of which are saturated), and 43 grams of sugar (!). Hence, these are best enjoyed as special occasion treats. I am not going to pretend there is no adjustment necessary when transitioning to clear tea or black coffee, but you can indeed adapt with time (see tip #9). If you have ever made an attempt to lower your salt intake, switch from whole milk to skim milk, or switched from sugar to artificial sweeteners, you have experienced this process. This helps in the morning, when you are avoiding kicking in the digestive process with calories but, if you account for the calories during the day, when you are in fact eating (during the feeding window), you can enjoy tea or coffee with an unsweetened plant milk (or even foamed…a la latte or cappuccino style).

  3. caloriesEat only when foods like a crunchy stalk of celery or crisp apple sound satisfying. 

    The longer you go without food, the better everything seems. Anyone who has gone on a “diet” can attest to this experience…where everything sounds delicious and you can easily end up reading through recipe books for masochistic distraction (well, perhaps that is something only I used to do). Often, most people eat for emotion, stress, convenience, or opportunity. Doing so easily contributes to weight gain. Further, many people experience toxic hunger, a hypoglycemic feeling that may include shakiness, headaches, fatigue, cramps, etc. This is usually due to an unhealthy diet and is a sign that you may need to reevaluate your overall intake. (Again, please see your physician if you are experiencing these symptoms before jumping to conclusions.) True hunger is something that is felt in the throat region and the best test of this is pontificating upon whether eating a crunchy stalk of celery, a crisp apple, or any simple food that may not normally tempt you will actually satisfy you. At that point, eat a healthy, whole food, plant-based meal, including any infinite combination of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices.

  4. Cook more.

    Eating out is a convenient way to enjoy a delicious meal without spending the time necessary to prepare food at home. And dining at restaurants can indeed fit into a health-promoting lifestyle when done conscientiously and infrequently. However, it is unquestionably more challenging to find food at restaurants that is truly free of ingredients you need to avoid for weight loss and for your health. Oils, salts, sugars, and flours are added in far greater quantities than would be in your own kitchen and calories are almost guaranteed to exceed your goals. Additionally, it is far too alluring to overeat when you are surrounded by access, excess, and hyperpalatable options. On the other side of this is the fact that most of us are busy. Very busy. And cooking is not the first thing you may be eager to do after a long day of work, kids, school, etc. This is compounded by the fact that many people do not feel cozy in the kitchen. I know I didn’t. And it was overwhelming to have to create healthy delicious dishes…particularly once I had kids. But cooking is a priority. Learning just a few dishes can mean massive control over your weight and your long-term health. The trick is to keep it simple. You can go all out and take the amazing Rouxbe Online Professional Plant-Based Cooking School to gain mastery over your kitchen. You can use shortcuts and order plant-based meal kits from places like Chef’d. But, you can also learn some very simple tips and tricks by following some healthy recipes. Here is a collection of some of my favorite recipes and here are all of my favorite cookbooks (and other resources). Batch cooking items like a large pot of rice or other whole grains, soups, stews, and chilis helps because they last several days in the fridge and you can freeze them and defrost as needed for up to a year. Keeping precut vegetables, hummus, tofu/tempeh, and  in the refrigerator; and frozen vegetables, fruits, and whole grains in the freezer; as well as canned beans, jarred marinara sauces and salsas, and whole grains in the pantry; and potatoes, squash, avocados, and fresh fruits on the countertop will enable you to make quick and easy meals with hardly any effort. Some examples of super easy, satisfying, and light dishes include: baked potatoes with salsa and canned beans; frozen stir-fry vegetables sautéed in water or vegetable broth over brown rice; or beans with precut veggies, salsa, and avocado in a bowl or in a whole grain tortilla. In fact, it doesn’t get any easier than these 50 whole food plant-based recipes with 5 ingredients or less.  You will save hundreds or thousands of calories each day that you prepare your meals at home. Keep it simple for sustainable results.

  5. caloriesPrioritize vegetables and fruits.

    Everyone, from the American Institute for Cancer Research to the USDA, agrees that at least half of your plate should come from fruits and vegetables. Forget “5 a day,” new research supports aiming for at least 10 daily servings. Not only do fruits and vegetables provide unparalleled health benefits, but they play a pivotal role in weight loss with their very low calorie density and high satiety factor. Prioritize these food groups every single day to maximize weight loss and help reduce your risk for chronic disease. Aim to eat a huge salad with everything you enjoy mixed in, which could include leafy greens, steamed or roasted vegetables, shredded veggies, slaw, artichoke hearts, potatoes, corn, fresh herbs, beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, hummus, sun dried tomatoes, onions, sautéed mushrooms, avocado, fruit, cooked whole grains, leftovers from yesterday, etc., etc. Essentially, there is no limit to the creative combinations possible. Here are 40 fun recipes to inspire you. And topping it off with a delicious dressing or sauce, like one of these healthy options, helps you enjoy salads and vegetables even more. Include cooked vegetables, especially leafy greens, each day, using them as a bed to lay the rest of your meal upon or plate them on the side. Whipping up a batch of soup, stew, or chili to enjoy throughout the week is the ultimate fast food. Here are 30 delicious recipes you can try. Experiment with new items to build your repertoire and have fun with them. While eating fruit may be easier for many people to consume, vegetables can be sexy and super delicious as they take center stage on your plate.

  6. caloriesMinimize or eliminate oils. All oils.

    One of the easiest ways to cut out hundreds – or even thousands – of calories each week is to simply cut down on oils. All oils (yes, even olive oil and coconut oil) are 100 percent pure fat, containing 120 calories and 14 grams of fat. One cup of oil contains more than 2000 calories…an entire day’s worth for most people! And just think of how easy it is to drizzle a half cup of oil over a salad, or in the pan to sauté, or to dunk your bread in at a restaurant. Boom. 1000 calories added right there. Further, there is zero fiber and many of the nutrients that started in the olive or soybean are extracted out. Fortunately, it is easy to cook without oil. You can sauté with water, vegetable broth, vinegar, or other liquid; use beans, silken tofu, nuts, or seeds to whip up a creamy dressing; and bake with mashed banana, applesauce or other fruit purees, silken tofu, or mashed avocado. All of these hundreds of options are oil-free and offer examples on how to modify your cooking. Eating out, however, makes it much more challenging to avoid oil. Ask for foods steamed, grilled, baked, or roasted without oil, and use vinegars, salsa, guacamole, lemon or lime juice, or hot sauce as salad dressing.

  7. Focus on your food and shut down all distractions while you eat.

    We make approximately 200 food choices a day, which matters immensely when you consider the fact that diet is the number one cause of early death and disability in the United States. There are many reasons we overeat, mostly due to social pressures and accessibility. But, practicing mindfulness is an excellent way to help avoid overeating. Shut down the television, close your laptop, and put the phone down (a challenge for many of us) while you sit down to a meal. With an emphasis on the word sit. Instead of noshing while standing, walking, driving, or skateboarding, or even just taking bites here and there throughout the day, try to create rituals when eating a meal. While it doesn’t have to include candlelight and background music (although that is a lovely tone to set anytime you’re in the mood), there is a happy middle ground between getting fancy and getting to the bottom of a tub of popcorn without remembering enjoying it. Try tactics like choosing dishware and utensils you love, plating your meal prettily, and putting utensils down between bites to bring in the zen and help you be present.

  8. Chew.

    Although it sounds so simple and perhaps trivial, chewing is a lost art. From the moment food enters your mouth, a cascade of mechanical and biochemical reactions rev up to start the complex digestive process. While there is a host of psychobiological implications of chewing, an incentive to slow down and chew better includes that it may help reduce hunger and food intake.

  9. caloriesTrain your taste buds away from hyperpalatable food.

    Sugar, oil, salt, more sugar, more oil, more salt… Pick your poison, but let there be no doubt that the food industry has masterminded your palate. Extensive science is at play making certain “you really can’t eat just one,” as the goal is to enhance their products for your eating pleasure. Hooking consumers on products in a similar manner used to make the cigarette industry so successful is a motivation of the food industry. There is sugar, oil, and salt in everything from the obvious chips, cookies, and candies to the less obvious breads, dried fruits, and dressings/sauces. Research has found similar neurological and behavioral responses to these highly processed foods as to substances that cause addiction. While there are biological reasons we fall into the “pleasure trap,” and there are powerful pressures at play that exacerbate that biology, it is indeed possible to break the food seduction. One of the best ways to bypass this system is to recalibrate your taste buds by setting a few weeks aside and committing to eating whole, intact foods without exception. This is simple, but not easy. If you are motivated to make it happen, you can move beyond the challenging first few weeks and feel liberated and empowered from thereon forward.

  10. Stop eating at least three hours before bed.

    Similar to holding off on your first meal of the day, ending your feeding window earlier in the evening enables your body to complete the energy-intensive process of digesting and absorbing food. There appears to be circadian explanations for why it is best to stop eating earlier, but there are also behavioral elements, such as decision fatigue, that come into play. Being tired reduces your ability to resist tempting (usually less-than-ideal) foods, no matter how much willpower you may have. Making this choice can become habitual over time and usually requires some scheduling adjustments.

As you may have noticed, there are no recommendations listed above to count calories or fat grams, to cut out carbs, or to exercise harder. This is because the weight loss industry’s loud messaging simply has not worked. It is time that we shift our focus to foods, behaviors, and social pressures in order to ameliorate the issues so many of us struggle with in terms of achieving and sustaining our ideal body weight.

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Two New Papers Putting the Power of Plant-Based Diets in the Spotlight

The Power of Plant-Based Diets Validated Once Again in Recent Research

According to abundant scientific support, plant-based diets have consistently been associated with not only significant health advantages, but also nutrient adequacy. Despite headlines blaring out messages of deficiency and danger, the evidence continues to show otherwise.

Two brand new compelling papers were published expressing the safety, adequacy, and powerful health benefits of eating plants…

First, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the leading organization for nutrition experts, Registered Dietitians, updated their Position Paper on Vegetarian Diets. Here is the abstract:

papers

 

Here is the link for the position paper to share with your physicians and other healthcare practitioners, friends or family, or anyone concerned about a plant-based diet, which is actually the most health-promoting, disease-fighting, sustainable, nutrient-dense way of eating possible.

Secondly, this revolutionary new paper authored by Ray Cronise, BS, Andrew Bremer, MD, Ph.D., and David Sinclair, Ph.D. shows why plant-based diets are optimal for health and weight management.

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This Food Triangle is a tool to understand the energy density of different diet schemes:

  • Western diets are “bottom feeders,” consuming combinations of the most energy-dense foods: meat and potatoes, fish and chips, pasta and meat sauce, burger and fries.
  • Paleo diets, on the left side of the triangle minimize energy from starch, which is why they may lose weight initially (while still missing out on critical nutrients found in plant foods such as beans and whole grains).
  • Vegan diets, on the right side of the triangle, omit the energy-dense animal products and focus on nutrient-dense, disease-fighting whole plant foods. When leaving out oils, sugars, salts, and flours, this offers the most nutritional bang for the caloric buck with all the ingredients for easy weight management and long-term health.

This paper is disruptive as the authors debunk deeply ingrained myths, clarifying that:

  • Nutrition is not an emergency.
  • Our metabolisms are not broken.
  • Using the terms “carbs, fats, and proteins” is confusing.
  • Our obesity epidemic is due to chronic overnutrition.
  • You simply cannot out-exercise your diet.

Both of these articles validate all we know about the benefits of eating plants. It is simply the most health-promoting, disease-fighting, nutrient-dense diet and it is ideal for people across the lifespan.
Here is more information on how to implement a plant-based diet, The Physician’s Guide to Plant-Based Diets for healthcare practitioners, and sample meal plans with hundreds of recipes.

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40 Super Simple, Scrumptious Vegan Dishes in 30 Minutes or Less

SSS Pic

Eating an exclusively plant-based diet is the most health-promoting, sustainable, and compassionate way of eating. Yet, it comes along with certain stigmas, such as it being expensive, difficult, or boring. Alas, these myths couldn’t be further from the truth! There are infinite delicious combinations of legumes, vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices to satisfy any palate. It can easily be done on a budget and full meals can be whipped up in a mere few minutes. Allow me to debunk these delusions and illustrate just how inexpensive, easy, and exciting eating vegan really is…

Here are 40 cost-effective, magnificent main meals you can whip up in 30 minutes or less:

1. Summer Chickpea Salad by Dreena Burton

SSS Summer Chickpeas

2. Broccoli-Potato White Bean Soup by Healthy Happy Life

SSS Broccoli Potato

3. Easy Vegan Salad Rolls by Eat Within Your Means

SSS Salad Rolls

4. Simple Black Bean Soup by Veggie Inspired

SSS Black Bean Soup

5. One Pot Peanut Sauce Noodles by Vegan Richa

SSS Peanut Noodles Pot

6. Quinoa and Chickpea Tabbouleh Salad from The Vegiterranean Diet

Vegiterranean Quinoa Taboulleh

7. Go Vegan Kale Salad with Lentil Meatballs by Contentedness Cooking

SSS Kale with Lentil Balls

8. 20 Minute Vegan Alfredo by The Vegan 8

SSS Alfredo

9. Bell Pepper & Chickpea Tacos with Avocado Green Chili Sauce by Veggie Inspired

SSS Bell Pepper Chickpea Tacos

10. Mediterranean Pinwheels by Contentedness Cooking

SSS Mediterranean Pinwheels

11. Sweet Potato Quesadillas by Win-Win Food

SSS Sweet Potato Quesadillas

12. Smashed White Bean, Basil, and Avocado Sandwich by Pumpkin & Peanut Butter

SSS Smashed Sandwich

13. Udon Noodle Salad Jars by Vie de la Vegan

SSS Udon Jars

14. Spicy Bean Balls by Green Evi

SSS Bean Balls

15. 30 Minute One Pot Mexican Chili by The Vegan 8

SSS Mexican Chili

16. One Pot Pasta Puttanesca with Chickpeas & Artichoke (*Omit Oil*) by Yup, It’s Vegan

SSS Pasta Puttanesca

17. High Protein Salad by Contentedness Cooking

SSS High Protein Salad

18. Miso Udon Soup by Earth Powered Family

SSS Miso Udon

19. Indian-Spiced Chickpeas by Strength & Sunshine

SSS Spiced Chickpeas

20. Fregola Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil by Veggie Inspired

SSS Fregola Pasta

21. Mediterranean Chickpea Flatbread Pizza (Gluten-Free) by Pumpkin & Peanut Butter

SSS Med Pizza

22. One Pot Spaghetti with Vegetables by Vegan Heaven

SSS Spaghetti Veggies

23. Steamed Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce by Jazzy Vegetarian

SSS Asparagus Hollandaise

24. One Pot Chickpea Sweet Potato Spinach Curry (*Omit Oil*) by Vegan Richa

SSS Chickpea Curry

25. Simple Spaghetti Squash by VegAnnie

SSS Spaghetti Squash

26. Easy Yamadillas by Plant Eaters’ Manifesto

SSS Yamadillas

27. BBQ Baked Tofu Rainbow Bowls (*Omit Oil*) by Yummy Mummy Kitchen

SSS Rainbow Bowl

28. Vegan “Egg” Fried Rice by Wallflower Kitchen

SSS Egg Rice

29. Greek Baked Ziti by Contentedness Cooking

SSS Greek Ziti

30. Vegan Sunflower Wrap (*Use Oil-Free Hummus*) by Trial and Eater

SSS Sunflower Wrap

31. The Easiest Bean Burgers Ever by Plant Eaters’ Manifesto

SSS Bean Burgers

32. Italian Orzo Salad by Veggies Don’t Bite

SSS Orzo

33. Chickpea Noodle Soup by Plant Eaters’ Manifesto

SSS Chickpea Noodle

34. Spicy Sweet Potato Pizza (*Use Oil-Free Crust or Tortilla*) by Contentedness Cooking

SSS Spicy Pizza

35. Quickie Balsamic Miso Chickpeas and Baby Bok Choy (*Swap Oil for Water or Vegetable Broth* by The Taste Space

SSS Balsamic Bok Choy

36. Couscous and Hazelnut Balls by Green Evi

SSS Couscous Balls

37. Raw Strawberry Mango Avocado Tacos by Veggies Save the Day

SSS Fruit Tacos

38. Philly Portobello Steak Sandwich by Veggies Don’t Bite

SSS Portobello Cheesesteak

39. Spicy Mexican Burgers by Vie de la Vegan

SSS Spicy Burger

40. Orange Cauliflower by Veggie Inspired

SSS Orange Cauliflower

The post 40 Super Simple, Scrumptious Vegan Dishes in 30 Minutes or Less appeared first on Plant Based Dietitian.

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20 Scrumptiously Salubrious Smoothies

Smoothies Pic

There is something super special about smoothies…the unrivaled convenience, the opportunity to pack in a huge nutritional power punch, the vibrant versatility of flavor potential (as you will see below), and also just the sheer deliciousness of it all…

What’s not to love?

simplereminders.com-greens-medicine-hever-withtext-displayresMy recommended basic formula includes using a lot of leafy greens, less than half of the smoothie from fruit, some seeds and/or nuts, and an unsweetened plant milk, coconut water, or plain water as the base. But there are infinite combinations of this skeletal structure that you can personalize to meet your preferences… For more on the science behind the benefits of green smoothies, visit nutritionfacts.org’s video series on the subject here.

Here are 20 seriously inspiring ways to blend together a nutritious, delicious meal in a glass:

1. How to Make a Smoothie Bowl + 8 Tips by Healthy Happy Life

Smoothies How To Bowl

2. Carrot Cake Smoothie Bowl by Blueberries & Basil

Carrot Cake Smoothie Bowl

3. Healthy Chocolate Smoothie by A Virtual Vegan

GF Healthy Chocolate Smoothie

4. Red Velvet Cake Smoothie by Two City Vegans

GF Red Velvet

5. Tropical Greens Smoothie from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Gluten-Free Vegan Cooking

Tropical Greens Smoothie

6. Blueberry Coconut Smoothie Bowl by Beaming Baker

GF Blueberry Coconut Smoothie

7. Going Green Smoothie with Rawnola by A Virtual Vegan

Smoothies Going Green

8. Sicila Smoothie by Lands & Flavors

Smoothies Sicilia

9. Mango Chia Seed Smoothie by Beaming Baker

Smoothies Mang Chia

10. Greener Colada Smoothie by Vie de la Vegan

Smoothies Pina Colada

11. Spring Cleaning Green Smoothie by Two City Vegans

Smoothies Spring Cleaning

12. Strawberry Chia Seed Smoothie by Beaming Baker

Smoothies Strawberry Chia

13. Easy Spinach Smoothie by Blueberry & Basil

Easy Spinach Smoothie

14. German Chocolate Cake Smoothie Bowl by Fragrant Vanilla Cake

Smoothoes German Chocolate Bowl

15. Bangkok Smoothie by Lands & Flavors

Smoothies Bangkok

16. Fat Green Smoothie by Plant Eaters’ Manifesto

Smoothies Fat Green

17. Bright Skin Smoothie by Pickled Plum

Smoothies Bright Skin

18. Golden Turmeric Smoothie by Two City Vegans

Smoothies Turmeric

19. Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie (Plus 9 Other Dessert Smoothies that Are Secretly Healthy) by It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken

Smoothies Mint Chip

20. Vegan Chocolate Smoothie Bowl by Blueberries & Basil

Vegan Chocolate Smoothie Bowl

 

 

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Quinoa and Chickpea Tabbouleh Salad

Quinoa and Chickpea Tabbouleh Salad from The Vegiterranean Diet Makes 4 servings Light and herb-infused, this salad is refreshing and extremely nutritious. Traditionally made with bulgur wheat, this gluten-free version boasts similar flavors, but it’s friendly for those eschewing gluten and more sub- stantial because of the added chickpeas. Ingredients: 3 to 4 tablespoons freshly …

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You are What Your Bacteria Eat!

You are what you eat…but, perhaps more so, you are what your bacteria eat! One of the pioneering and leading fields of study currently is that of the microbiota (our body’s bacterial profile) and how it plays an enormous role in our health and immune function via many different mechanisms. “The human microbiota consists of the 10-100 …

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5 Ways To Enhance Nutrient Absorption

1. Use the magic of synergy by combining certain foods together (as seen in this graphic). Vitamin C-rich foods help absorb iron, so eat them together. Some ways to do so are to have a green salad with bell peppers or citrus dressing, drink a green smoothie with some fruit, or make hummus with beans …

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Preventing and Reversing Disease with Plant-Based Diets

Hot in the news this week is a new study suggesting that consuming probiotics can slightly reduce blood pressure, a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. So, now everyone is running out and eating yogurt, hoping for a miracle cure. There are no pills, procedures, or superfoods that prevent or cure chronic disease. These pills and …

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10 Arguments Against the Paleo Diet

Time to address the paleo diet, as it is one of the biggest dangers to what most vegans deem perilous: the persistent torture and slaughter of billions of animals a year and destruction of our planet. Yet, people who try the paleo diet seemingly do well initially health-wise, which makes it appear all the more …

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What is a “whole foods” diet?

Whole foods throughout the whole day! When I first started eating a plant-based diet, I heard the term “whole foods” a lot, and that a whole foods diet is very health-promoting. But I felt a little silly that I didn’t know what “whole foods” meant, exactly. I soon learned that it didn’t mean I had […]

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