Author Archives: drlisachristiansen

Gratitude And Forgiveness

zen-stones-and-bamboo-frame-FBHow many of you boast in your Christianity because you sit in church? church does not equal righteous because only a relationship with God is authentic Christianity. How many of you plot revenge or even judge others just because they sin different than you do? how many of you post about forgiveness while complaining about things others are praying for? how many of you talk gratitude for your blessings as you miss out on opportunities to serve others? how many of you hold onto your last dollar rather than giving it to one in need because you can’t afford to give? guess what? you can’t afford not to! How many of you look at a homeless beggar not seeing the person inside as you assume they must be an addict of sorts? It is not your job to judge, that’s God’s job…
I was inspired to write this when someone dear to me said “How can I honor the one who loves me so deeply when I display the character that I do for I am only human, how can I display any other character than I do when it is who I am, only God can change me for I cannot change myself as all I can do is choose to surrender to his grace and even surrender seems challenging sometimes and I realize it is through his amazing grace that will continue to carry me through to brighter tomorrows”. I realize everyday I awake I fall short of God’s grace, I also recognize God blesses me with his amazing grace each and everyday through his eternal love and everlasting life… An ounce of love is worth more than a pound of knowledge…
Although we cannot comprehend the infinite love of our creator, we can express it to one another, moment-by-moment, action-by-action to remind us of that love that will one day embrace us into eternity… Who will you remind of that love today? Will it be the one you believe wronged you? Or will it be yourself that you choose to share the gift of your love with? Forgiveness is greater than vengeance, compassion more powerful than Anger…
~Lisa Christiansen



 Romans 12:

19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.



30 Days To Happiness


 The 30-Day (Guaranteed Success) Happiness Challenge: Ask anyone what their ultimate goal in life is, and no matter what their answer is be it a job, a relationship, or something else it all boils down to one basic want: happiness. However, most of us are doing happiness all wrong. It’s not really anything on the outside that’ll make us happy; it’s all internal.


Harvard-trained happiness researcher Shawn Achor sat down with Oprah Winfrey recently and shared some tips that he believes will effectively turn anyone into a positive person. Based on his advice, we created a 30-day challenge that we’re confident will take you from zero to happy in just a month. You’ll notice that this challenge isn’t like others in that you’ll be doing the same thing for more than 21 days. We wanted you to practice these habits for more than 21 days because that’s the amount of time it takes to start a habit. We’re hoping that you’ll keep this going, perhaps in a modified form, for the rest of your happy life.


Even if it’s not the start of the month, you can always get started today and just follow our plan for the next 30 days. Don’t let any excuses come in between you and your happy place!


Solar eclipse, Supermoon, spring equinox


 First the aurora borealis and now a solar eclipse — what a week for skywatchers! Plus it occurs Friday (the first day of spring) and the same day as a Supermoon.

One caveat: The total eclipse will not be visible anywhere in the USA and will be seen only by folks on some rather remote islands in far northern Europe Friday morning. Residents of the Danish-owned Faroe Islands and the sparsely inhabited Norwegian island group of Svalbard will be the only lucky ones to see the full spectacle.


This is the Earth’s first — and only — total solar eclipse of the year and the first one since November 2013, NASA reports. The next total solar eclipse in the USA will be in August 2017.

There will be two lunar eclipses in the USA this year: April 4 and Sept. 28.

Two other astronomical events will take place Friday: the spring (or vernal) equinox, which marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and a so-called Supermoon.

The Supermoon is a full or new moon that occurs during the moon’s closest approach to Earth on its elliptical orbit, according to AccuWeather.

What makes it super? It’s when a full or new moon coincides with perigee — the moon’s closest point to Earth in its orbit. Basically, the Supermoon, when full, appears a bit bigger and brighter than usual in the night sky.

Since this Supermoon is during a new moon, it will not be visible, but it will block out the sun during the solar eclipse.

The spring equinox, when the sun shines directly on the equator, occurs at 6:45 p.m. ET Friday.



Fasting Smarter Not Harder: A Recipe For Successful Fasting

Lose 30 lbs. in 30 Days “One quarter of what you eat keeps you alive; the other three-quarters keeps your doctor alive.” 

Americans eat way too much fat, way too much sugar, and way too much protein. In fact, Americans simply eat too much of everything. The way out of this dilemma is so easy that we usually miss it: consider occasionally fasting. 

I can almost hear the sound of yet another one of my books being slammed down, being put back on the shelf, or being quietly incinerated. While you are warming your hands from the imaginary glow that these pages would doubtlessly produce, may I continue? 

Look:  nothing succeeds like success. We could spend all day talking about the value of fasting, but only you can find out for yourself what it can do for you. Experience is your best teacher, and improved health is always the best proof. A fast will cost very little money, and may well be one of the best things you’ve ever done for yourself. 

Yes, you cannot accuse me of being in this just for the money, for not eating is certainly cheap enough. Fasting should be with your doctor’s approval, and is not for growing children, and clearly not for anyone pregnant or nursing. People who are taking certain medications and people who have other compelling medical reasons should not fast. This still leaves the majority of us as more-or-less willing candidates. 

One of the reasons fasting merits your attention is that anything else is so often ineffective or downright dangerous. One of the really amazing books of our time is Medical Nemesis, by Ivan Illich  (Bantam, 1977) Dr. Illich shows, in exhaustive detail, that medical care has become literally sickening. One in five hospital patients is there because a physician’s mistake put him or her there. And with that point, the book is just warming up. 

Ever since George Washington’s doctors killed him with their prescriptions (No kidding: Medical and Physical Journal, London, 1800. Volume 3, page 409), people have been seeking LESS HARMFUL treatments than conventional medicine has offered.  A common “scientific” argument against fasting is that it is always unsafe. Truly the pot is calling the kettle black when drug-based medicine criticizes the safety of the therapy that all animals naturally use, namely fasting. First thing a sick animal does is go off its feed. 

Fasting has GOT to be safer than, say cocaine or heroin, don’t you think? Yet each year, doctor-prescribed drugs kill more Americans than street drugs. Drug Abuse Warning Network statistics indicate less than 10,000 deaths annually from illegal drugs. 130,000 Americans actually die in hospitals each year from prescription medication. (Whitaker, J. in Health and Healing, September 1993 Supplement, Phillips Publishing, page 3) 

The following is one approach to safe, comfortable fasting.  


A “cycle” is made up of an eight day juice fast, three days to come off the fast, and then ten days on a three-quarters raw food diet.  (8 + 3 + 10 = 21 days.)  This really works. 

First, fast.  Eight days may seem like a very long time to go without food. Actually, for the first day or two of a fast, your body uses up the food remaining in your digestive tract from previous meals. For the next couple of days, your body uses stored food reserves from your liver. This means that a fast doesn’t really begin until about the fifth day. Now an eight day fast is closer to a three day fast, and attainable by nearly everyone.  (Diabetics and persons on medication requiring meals should check with their physician, of course. Fasting is not for children, pregnant women or nursing women. If there is a medical reason why you should not fast, then don’t. Check with your doctor first.) 

Since “fasting” conjures up visions of starvation, it is important to realize that we are talking about JUICE fasting here. Freshly made vegetable juices, taken in quantity, are not a beverage. They are a raw, highly digestible food.  It is ideal to have all the juice you want, without forcing yourself to drink it. The rules: “When you are hungry, drink juice.  When you are thirsty, drink juice also.” 

It is generally a good idea to dilute your juice 50/50 with water. If you can afford filtered water, use it. If not, don’t worry… the goodness of the juices will carry you. Some people, including me, do not like the taste of diluted juice.  An alternative is to drink a glass of water, then drink a glass of juice. This gives the same effect, and tastes better. Be sure to drink the water first, for after the juice you may not want the water as much. 

When we say “juice”, we generally are referring to vegetable juice, freshly prepared. Fruit juice tends to be too sweet for comfortable fasting.  However, there is nothing to stop you from experimenting and coming up with your own best regimen. As long as you get good results, HOW you get them is secondary. 

You cannot buy freshly prepared vegetable juice in any store at any price… unless they literally juice the vegetables right in front of your eyes and you drink it down before they make you pay for it! Any juice in a carton, can or bottle has been heat treated and was certainly packaged at least a few hours ago. Even frozen juice is not fresh, then, is it? This means that you will need one essential and somewhat expensive appliance:  your own juicer. 

A juicer is not a blender.  A juicer makes juice; a blender makes raw baby food. There is nothing wrong with blending your foods. If you found such food to your liking, it would actually be very digestible. However, to make juice you need to extract the fluid part of the vegetable along with the vitamins, minerals and enzymes it contains. Therefore, you need a juice extractor. We are also not referring to a whirl-top orange juicer, either. 

Be sure to get a really good juicer. Good juicers make tastier juices, faster. Good juicers also clean up more quickly than cheap juicers. I have no financial connection whatsoever with anyone who makes or sells a juicer. I do not sell juicers; I only recommend owning one. I personally like the “Champion” brand juicer. It costs under $300 and might last you 30 years. Basically a motor with teeth, a Champion will virtually juice a two-by-four.  Quick and easy to use and to clean. I’ve had mine for 15 years now and it is used daily. I did buy for an extra blade assembly, but haven’t really needed it yet. 

There are many cheaper juicers and also many dissatisfied folks who thought they’d save a buck and now regret that they bought a “bargain” juicer. If you spend under $150, you are likely to be disappointed with your purchase within weeks. 

Clean-up is easy.  The moment you have finished making (and drinking!) your juice, just rinse the cleanable parts with water and set them in a dish-drainer rack until the next use.  Soap will rarely be necessary as long as you don’t mind the plastic parts of the juicer gradually becoming the same color as your favorite vegetables. 

You can juice almost anything you can eat raw.  Vegetables are best, especially carrots, cucumbers, beets, tomatoes, zucchini squash, romaine lettuce, sprouts, celery and cabbage. You may juice fruits also, naturally. Freshly made raw apple, grape, and melon juices are delicious. It is not generally a good idea to juice potatoes, eggplant or Lima beans (not that you’d want to.) 

It is wise to peel vegetables that have been sprayed or waxed, such as cucumbers. Sprayed fruits are also good to peel before juicing. Carrots and other underground vegetables often do not need peeling.  Instead, give them a good scrubbing with a nylon-bristle vegetable brush while rinsing under tap water. Beets are the exception. Since beet skins are very bitter, it is wise to peel beets before juicing. A hint to save time: dip the beets for about 20 seconds in boiling water and then peel them… it’s much easier. 

Your juice will taste the best if you drink it right after preparing it. I mean within moments! Fresh juice contains a great amount of raw food enzymes and vitamins, many of which are easily lost as the juice sits. So don’t let it sit! Drink it right down, with the thought that this is unbelievably good for you. 

Drink as much juice as you wish.  Remember that it is a food, not a beverage and that you can have as much as you want. There is little fear of over doing it.  It is, after all, hard to hurt yourself with vegetables! 

A good rule of thumb is to drink three or four eight-ounce glasses of fresh juice a day (for an adult). The best time is right before a meal, or between meals.  Absorption of and benefit from the juice is highest then. 

You will probably find that you will be urinating more as you drink more juices. That figures, doesn’t it?  You are taking in more liquid. You may also notice that you have more bowel movements now than you were previously accustomed to. This, too, is to be expected. Your body may well respond to all this nourishment by “cleaning house” a bit. More excretory symptoms would be the result. Ever notice how many trash cans you fill when you clean out the attic, basement or garage? Why, you hardly noticed all the rubbish you had stored in there until you went to clean it out.  The same is true, by analogy, with your body. 

You may drink those juices that appeal to you the most.  To find out your favorites, try each of them! 

CARROT juice is tasty and popular, and two glasses of carrot juice per day are highly beneficial. There is no need to peel your carrots if you first scrub them well with a tough brush. I recommend a vegetable brush with nylon bristles for this purpose. Brush the daylights out of the carrots while rinsing them under water. This is quicker than peeling, and is less wasteful. 

Carrot juice is very high in vitamin A. The vitamin A in carrots is actually “provitamin A” or carotene. Carotene is completely non-toxic, no matter how much you consume. The worst thing that can happen if you drink a huge amount of carrot juice is that you will turn orange. 

No, really. You see, beta carotene is a natural pigment, a natural coloring. Excess carotene is stored in your skin until your body wants it and then turns it into active vitamin A as needed. An abundance of carotene in your skin makes you look orange. This condition is called “carotenosis” and is harmless. Okay, it looks odd to visit the folks (or the doctor) when you are orange. I know: when my son was little, he LOVED sweet potatoes, carrots and butternut squash to the point of orange skin. The relatives got a bit worried, but the coloration disappeared after we limited his orange veggies for a week or two. So, to get rid of the color, simply back off the carrot juice (and other orange vegetables) for a while and it will go away.  If someone thinks you are not well, tell them what you are doing. A doctor who thinks you have jaundice could then understand right away that you don’t.  Liver function tests would also confirm your good health. Naturally, you don’t have to turn orange to enjoy the goodness of carrot juice.  You can drink just enough to feel great …without looking like a pumpkin! 

Some folks have tried canned or bottled carrot juice and they didn’t like it. No wonder! Fresh juice tastes SO much better that there isn’t really any comparison.  I have two teenagers who WILL drink freshly-made carrot juice. Could there possibly be any higher recommendation than that? 

CELERY juice is very tasty, but a bit high in sodium. Use small amounts of this juice to flavor the others. Juice celery leaves and all for the most benefit. 

CUCUMBER juice is remarkably tasty.  It tastes rather different than a cucumber itself. Perhaps you will find that the taste reminds you of watermelon. Peel cucumbers before juicing to avoid the waxes applied to their skins to enhance their shelf life in supermarkets. 

ROMAINE LETTUCE or BEAN SPROUTS will make an especially nutritious juice with a taste that is well worth acquiring. This “green drink” is loaded with minerals and chlorophyll. 

ZUCCHINI SQUASH juiced up tastes better than you’d ever imagine. Peel first, and enjoy. You may well be the first on your block to be a zucchini-juice fan. It also keeps the juicer from clogging on higher-fiber vegetables.

BEET juice is, traditionally, a blood-builder.  In days past, herbalists looked at the blood-red beet as a tonic more so because it worked, rather than any color similarity. Beets must be peeled before juicing. Beet skins are very bitter. The beets, on the other hand, are quite sweet and make great juice. They will also permanently stain your juicer, so don’t try to remove that color by washing. More important, beet juice will color your bowel movements. 

That lovely red color of fresh beets can cause genuine alarm when it is seen in the toilet water. I know someone who had forgotten that he’d had beet juice the day before. He could only figure that he had a terrible case of hemorrhoids when he looked into the toilet and saw that red, red water.  It was the beets, of course. When you have beet juice, remember not to be alarmed. Beet juice is widely used in the food industry as a natural coloring agent.  You can (literally) see why! 

A hint: you will save time if you first carefully dip beets in boiling water before peeling them. 

CABBAGE juice was used by Garnett Cheney, M.D. to cure bleeding peptic ulcers back in the 1950’s. (Cheney, G. (1952) “Vitamin U therapy of peptic ulcer.” California Medicine, 77:4, 248-252) Dr. Cheney’s patients drank a quart of cabbage juice a day and were cured in less than half the usual time… with no drugs whatsoever. Since then, cabbage juice has successfully been used for a variety of gastrointestinal illnesses. Colitis, spastic colon, indigestion, chronic constipation, certain forms of rectal bleeding and other conditions seem to respond well to the nutrients in cabbage juice.  Dr. Cheney called its healing factor “Vitamin U” (for unknown). More recently, the American Cancer Society has urged people to eat more of the cabbage/broccoli family of vegetables because of their protective effects against cancer. There may be something to this cabbage juice idea.  It certainly couldn’t hurt to try it. 

TOMATOES are easily juiced.  Do not juice the leaves, vines, or green tomatoes. Only the red, ripened fruit is good for you. Yes, the tomato is a fruit.  A fruit of a plant is essentially a seed-containing structure that can be picked without killing the plant. Hmm. This means that cucumbers, squash and even green beans are all fruits. That’s true. Think of the fun you will have at your next Thanksgiving dinner when you ask Aunt Xanthippe to “Please pass the fruits” when the only foods near her are squash and green beans. 

This may help ease the minds of those who question whether you should have fruits and vegetables together at a meal. Since few people are aware that pumpkin pie, tomato soup, and zucchini bread are all made out of fruits, why split hairs? 

Sam writes:
“I was reading a lot about juice fasting and how it might help. You’ve written that it has to be all fresh juice, so what should I do on working days? I cannot possibly carry a juicer and a box of veggies to the office. Any suggestions?”
1) Juice at home and carry it in a Thermos. Not ideal for taste, but people have done it. I’d add a little vitamin C (crush up any size tablet) to retard oxidation. Fill the vacuum bottle all the way to the top so when you close it, a little juice overflows. This also helps to reduce oxidation, insuring that there is little or no air inside to spoil the goodness. Of course you can juice as soon as you get home, too. 
2) Bring a ton of little cans or bottles of “V-8” vegetable juice with you. Be sure to get the “low-salt” variety. And I do NOT refer to so-called “V-8 Splash,” which is NOT “vegetable juice.” Read the label.
3) Simply eat your vegetables. Have a salad-bar lunch. Also eat lots of fruit; great snack. (They do let you have lunch and snacks and breaks, don’t they?) Fresh fruit and veggies are as easy to pack for your lunch as they are to put in your kids’ lunches. 

At the beginning of this section we were talking about a 21-day “cycle”  beginning with eight days just on fresh juices, three days to come off the juice “fast,”  and then ten days of a 75% raw food diet. This makes a total cycle duration of three weeks (21 days). Now that you have a better idea about the juicing segment, let’s take a look at the next steps. 

Coming off the juice “fast” is best done by eating lightly for a while. Fruit, fruit salads, vegetable soups, cottage cheese and other light foods are appropriate at this point.  A good rule of thumb here is to eat only half as much as you want to at any one time… but eat twice as often.  This is for about three days. 

For the ten day 75% raw food diet, you can eat all you want as long as three-quarters of it is uncooked. For the uncooked part of the diet, eat fresh, raw vegetables and fruits. Don’t forget nuts, too. If they are raw, they count. Begin each meal with a large salad, perhaps a fruit salad for breakfast.  Then, when you’ve finished the salad, have whatever you want within reason. The 25% cooked portion could include whole grain breads and pasta, brown rice, cooked beans, lentils, cooked vegetables including potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, squash and other foods that you like.  Meat is not recommended, nor is chicken or turkey.

One of the best sources of flesh protein is seafood. Fish is a major source of important oils and other nutrients in addition to protein. Enjoy it as often as you wish, but avoid breaded or fried seafood. Shrimp and shellfish are good foods. Generally, it is wise to avoid eating a catch from questionably polluted waters, such as the Great Lakes. This is one statement that I look forward to striking from this writing when our fresh waters are cleaner. 

If you don’t want to eat seafood, you do not have to. Eggs in moderation, cheese, unsweetened yogurt, raw cow’s milk, goat’s milk, tofu, misotempeh, nuts, and especially beans and bean sprouts are all good protein sources. The issue is not WHERE you get your protein but ARE YOU getting your protein.  If you are not yet a vegetarian, now is the time to move in that direction. If you currently don’t eat meat, good for you… and remember: get plenty of protein. 

When you go out to eat, it’s easy to stay right on this program by eating at salad bars. Remember,try to make the other three-quarters of your diet fresh and raw. 

All the strongest and longest-lived animals on earth are vegetarians, or close to it. 

20 Reasons you should Drink Lemon Water in the Morning

Adding lemon to water not only quenches thirst better than any other beverage, but it also nourishes our body with vitamins, minerals and trace elements which we absolutely need. Lemon with water can be considered the best natural energy booster. When we wake up in the morning, our bodily tissues are dehydrated and are in need of water to push out toxins and rejuvenate the cells. In other words, this homemade “lemonade” helps eliminate internal toxins, regulating proper kidney and digestive tract functions by forcing them to work as smoothly as possible.

20 Unbelievable Reasons To Start Your Day With Water and Lemon

1. Water with lemon provides the body with electrolytes which hydrate your body. As lemons contain good amount of electrolytes such as potassium, calcium and magnesium.

2. Water with lemon is good for the joints, reducing pain in the joints and muscles.

3. Warm water with lemon helps digestion as lemon contains citric acid. It interacts with other enzymes and acids which easily stimulate the secretion of gastric juice and digestion.

4. The liver produces more enzymes from water with lemon than from any other food.

5. Water with lemon cleanses the liver. Lemon juice stimulates the liver to release toxins.

6. Water with Lemon helps fight infections of the respiratory tract, sore throats and inflammation of the tonsils. This is due to the anti-inflammatory properties of lemon.

7. Warm water with lemon helps regulate natural bowel movement.

8. Water with lemon is indispensable for the normal work of metabolism. Since lemon is a powerful antioxidant, it protects the body from free radicals and strengthens the immune system.

9. Water with lemon aids in proper functioning of the nervous system (as lemon  has a high content of potassium). Depression and anxiety are often the result of low levels of potassium in the blood. The nervous system needs a sufficient amount of potassium to ensure sustainable signals to the heart.

10. Water with lemon cleanses blood, blood vessels and arteries.

11. Water with lemon can help lower blood pressure.  A daily intake of one lemon can reduce high blood pressure by 10%.

12. Water with lemon creates an alkalizing effect in the body. Even if you drink it immediately before a meal,  it can help your body maintain a higher level of pH. The higher the pH, the more your body is able to fight diseases.

13. Water with lemon is good for the skin. Vitamin C in lemon, improves our skin by rejuvenating the body.  Drinking water with lemon regularly (every morning) will improve the condition of your skin.

14. Water with lemon  helps to dilute uric acid, the built up of which leads to pain in the joints and gout.

15. Water with lemon is beneficial for pregnant women. Since lemons are loaded with Vitamin C, it acts as an adaptogen helping the body cope with viruses such as colds.  Furthermore, vitamin C helps the formation of bone tissue of the unborn baby. At the same time, due to the high content of potassium, a mixture of water with lemon helps forming cells of the brain and nervous system of the baby.

16. Water with lemon relieves heartburn. For this, mix a teaspoon of lemon juice in half a glass of water.

17. Water with lemon helps dissolve gallstones,  kidney stones, pancreatic stones, and calcium deposits.

18. Water with lemon helps with weight loss.  Lemons contain pectin fiber, which helps suppress hunger cravings. Studies have proven  people with a better alkaline diet have lost weight faster.

19. Water with lemon helps with tooth pain and gingivitis.

20. Water with lemon prevents cancer. This is due to the fact that lemons are a highly alkaline food. Multiple studies have found that cancer cannot thrive in an alkaline environment.

The Ultimate pH Solution: Balance Your Body Chemistry to Prevent Disease and Lose Weight

How and when to drink water with lemon:

For this purpose, use warm purified or spring water. Take half a Cup of warm water without sugar and squeeze in there at least half of lemon or lime. Better to use a special juicer (to get the most juice with minimal effort). You can also use lemon essential oil.  (where to find)

You need to drink water with lemon first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Some recommend a drink of water one hour before meals for maximum results.

So, when life gives you a bunch of lemons, make water with lemons.

Article originally posted on republished with permission.

Irish Town Builds Memorial to Thank Native Americans Who Helped During Famine

Empathy between two tribes who’ve known the worst suffering can unite them as brothers— even different races, across oceans. A sculpture is being erected in Ireland to thank a Native American tribe for sending what little money they could to the Irish people suffering from starvation at the height of the Great Famine more than 160 years ago.

On March 23, 1847 the Choctaw Native American tribe, who had known great hardship during their forced march to Oklahoma, collected whatever spare money they could and sent $170 to Ireland through a charity relief group.

To remember their generosity and friendship, a huge stainless steel sculpture of nine eagle feathers will be installed in Midleton, County Cork, on a grassy expanse in the town’s Bailic Park.

How Much Longer Can One Man Feed Millions? The Choctaw people donated the money 16 years after they, and other tribes, were forced from their homelands in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida and made to walk 500 miles along what is now known as The Trail of Tears. Many of the frailest perished due to disease, malnutrition and exposure during one of the coldest winters on record.

In today’s money, the $170 sacrificed by the Choctaw would be close to $4200. The Cork sculptor, Anex Penetek, talked about his $110,000 creation, “Kindred Spirits,” telling the Irish Examiner, “I wanted to show the courage, fragility and humanity that they displayed.” Choctaw leaders have been invited to the grand unveiling, which will be in a few months.

A famine-time kindness repaid in Cork to Native American Indians
by Sharon O’ Reilly-Coates

Sharon O’ Reilly-Coates says a feather sculpture in Cork is a thank you to Native American Indians. FIRM, bronzed bodies above and below a loincloth. Long, silky black hair, colourful feathers, a tepee and perhaps a fishing spear? Enviable, shiny-haired girls.

Mention Choctaw Indians and that’s the image I have. I think of chocolate, also, but only because it sounds like Choctaw. Because of one noble act of kindness, the Native American Choctaws will be forever etched in Irish minds.

When these gentle folk were at their most downtrodden, they raised $710 and sent it across the Atlantic to Ireland, to ease our famine woes. It’s one Corkman’s job to make sure the Irish people never forget this extraordinary gift.

Sculptor Alex Pentek is finishing ‘Kindred Spirits’, a giant, stainless steel sculpture in praise of the Choctaw people. “I wanted to show the courage, fragility and humanity that they displayed in my work,” Pentek says.

When the nine eagle feathers are installed in Bailic Park, in Midleton, in Co Cork, they will command people’s attention. 

Pentek hopes the Choctaw chiefs will come and see the spectacle for themselves, when it’s unveiled in a few months.

That invitation has been sent by Joe McCarthy, East Cork’s municipal district officer. He was also part of the team that decided the Choctaw gift needed to be marked by a €100,000 sculpture.

“These people were still recovering from their own injustice. They put their hands in their pockets and raised $1m in today’s money. They helped strangers. It’s rare to see such generosity. It had to be acknowledged.”

Just 13 years before the Famine, the Choctaws were forced by the American army, at gunpoint, to march across mountains and snow.

They were stripped of their land in Alabama, Mississippi and Florida, and had to walk 500 miles to Oklahoma.

“It was a slowly unfolding horror story. There was no food or shelter for them at stop points.” Over three years, 2,500 Choctaw people died from starvation and disease. The journey became known as the Trail of Tears.

“To see members of your family drop to the side of the road and to be powerless. To change that course of history. That stirred my imagination,” said Pentek.

Waving his big hands, Pentek, 41, from Grenagh, talks of curves, hand-welding, the maths of creating curved stems and the tapering of each feather to make it individual.

We’re standing in Cork’s Sculpture Factory, where the work is being built. It’s in a huge hall. “The sculpture, when finished, will reach the ceiling in here and the bowl of it will be the span across,” Pentek says.

That’s sizeable. It will certainly be memorable. I suspect that Pentek, a father-of-one, is not easily forgotten, either, especially when he eats out.

At the last cafe, he left behind a token origami rabbit, crafted from the serviette. “I just couldn’t help myself,” he joked.

Speaking of tokens, the Irish motorways are littered with Pentek’s sculptures.

Among them is a giant, bronzed violin on the Longford N5 bypass and an enormous rabbit on the N2, at Ashbourne, in County Meath. And there’s an eight-metre hedgehog on the N11 Gorey bypass.

So, a project of this scale did not faze him.

After all, he is one of the elite one per cent of artists who make a living in Ireland.

He greets me with generous palms and fine, knotty fingers on his sculptor’s hands.

He is tall, dressed in a classy, navy, structured jacket with crisp jeans and brown shoes. He smells of musk. One senses that image is important to him.

This fact, coupled with his attention to detail, even perfectionism, has kept Pentek working on public and private art projects since he left Cork’s Crawford College 19 years ago.

A plaque honouring the Choctaw gift was erected in Dublin’s Mansion House in 1992. It sums up the legacy of that gesture.

It reads: “Their humanity calls us to remember the millions of human beings throughout our world, today, who die of hunger and hunger-related diseases in a world of plenty.”

The Choctaw Indians way of life

1. Choctaw children play stickball — one of America’s oldest field sports.

2. Choctaw women are farmers. They also do the cooking and childcare.

3. Choctaw men hunt and fish and go to war if need be.

4. When a Choctaw boy wants to ask a Choctaw girl out, he throws a pebble at her feet and if she smiles, she likes him.

5. Corn, beans, squash and sunflower were the crops harvested by women.

6. Today there are two Choctaw tribes — in Oklahoma and Mississippi.

7. Each has its own government and runs like a small country.

8. Choctaws are now American citizens and are subject to American law.

9. Storytelling, artwork, music and traditional medicine are still part of Choctaw life today.

10. The Choctaws were famous for their rivercane baskets and woodcarvings.

6 Proven Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar (My Secret Weapon)

For centuries, vinegar has been used for various household and cooking purposes. It is also an ancient folk remedy, claimed to help with all sorts of health problems. The most popular vinegar in the natural health community is Apple Cider Vinegar. It is claimed to lead to all sorts of beneficial effects… some of which are supported by science. This includes weight loss, lower blood sugar levels and improved symptoms of diabetes.

Here are 6 health benefits of apple cider vinegar, that are supported by scientific research.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar is High in Acetic Acid, Which Has Potent Biological Effects
Vinegar is made in a two-step process, related to how alcohol is made.

The first step exposes crushed apples (or apple cider) to yeast, which ferment the sugars and turn them into alcohol.

In the second step, bacteria are added to the alcohol solution, which further ferment the alcohol and turn it into acetic acid… the main active compound in vinegar.

In French, the word “vinegar” actually means “sour wine.”

Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (like Bragg’s) also contains “mother,” strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria that give the product a murky, cobweb-like appearance.

Some people believe that the “mother” is responsible for most of the health benefits, although there are currently no studies to support this.

Apple cider vinegar only contains about 3 calories per tablespoon, which is very low.

There are not many vitamins or minerals in it, but it does contain a tiny amount of potassium. Quality apple cider vinegar also contains some amino acids and antioxidants.

Bottom Line: Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting the sugars from apples. This turns them into acetic acid, the active ingredient in vinegar.

2. Acetic Acid is a Potent Antimicrobial and Can Kill Some Types of Bacteria

Vinegar can help kill pathogens, including bacteria.

It has traditionally been used for cleaning and disinfecting, treating nail fungus, lice, warts and ear infections.

However, many of these applications have currently not been confirmed by research.

Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used vinegar for wound cleaning over two thousand years ago.

Vinegar has been used as a food preservative, and studies show that it inhibits bacteria (like E. coli) from growing in the food and spoiling it.

If you’re looking for a natural way to preserve your food… then apple cider vinegar could be highly useful.

There have also been anecdotal reports of diluted apple cider vinegar helping with acne when applied on the skin, but I didn’t find any research to confirm this so take it with a grain of salt.

Bottom Line: The main substance in vinegar, acetic acid, can kill bacteria and/or prevent them from multiplying and reaching harmful levels. It has a history of use as a disinfectant and natural preservative.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar May Lower Blood Sugar Levels, Which is Very Useful For Diabetics
By far the most successful application of vinegar to date, is in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is characterized by elevated blood sugars, either in the context of insulin resistance or an inability to produce insulin.

However, elevated blood sugar can also be a problem in people who don’t have diabetes… it is believed to be a major cause of ageing and various chronic diseases.

So, pretty much everyone should benefit from keeping their blood sugar levels stable.

The most effective (and healthiest) way to do that is to avoid refined carbs and sugar, but apple cider vinegar may also have a powerful effect.

Vinegar has been shown to have numerous benefits for insulin function and blood sugar levels:

Improves insulin sensitivity during a high-carb meal by 19-34% and significantly lowers blood glucose and insulin responses.
Reduces blood sugar by 34% when eating 50 grams of white bread.

2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bedtime can reduce fasting blood sugars by 4%.

Numerous other studies, in both rats and humans, show that vinegar can increase insulin sensitivity and significantly lower blood sugar responses during meals. 

For these reasons, vinegar can be useful for people with diabetes, pre-diabetes, or those who want to keep their blood sugar levels low to normal for other reasons.

If you’re currently taking blood sugar lowering medications, then check with your doctor before increasing your intake of apple cider vinegar.

Bottom Line: Apple cider vinegar has shown great promise in improving insulin sensitivity and helping to lower blood sugar responses after meals.

4. There Are Some Studies Showing That Apple Cider Vinegar Can Help With Weight Loss

Given that vinegar lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, it makes sense that it could help you lose weight.

Several human studies suggest that vinegar can increase satiety, help you eat fewer calories and even lead to actual pounds lost on the scale.

Vinegar along with high-carb meals can increase feelings of fullness and make people eat 200-275 fewer calories for the rest of the day.

By reducing calorie intake, this should translate to reduced weight over time.

A study in obese individuals showed that daily vinegar consumption led to reduced belly fat, waist circumference, lower blood triglycerides and weight loss:

15mL (1 tablespoon): Lost 2.6 pounds, or 1.2 kilograms.
30mL (2 tablespoons): Lost 3.7 pounds, or 1.7 kilograms.
However… keep in mind that this study went on for 12 weeks, so the true effects on body weight seem to be rather modest.

That being said, just adding/subtracting single foods or ingredients rarely has a noticeable effect on weight.

It’s the entire diet/lifestyle that counts… you need to combine several effective methods to see results.

Overall, it seems like apple cider vinegar may be useful as a weight loss aid, mainly by promoting satiety and lowering glucose and insulin levels.

But it won’t work any miracles on its own.
Bottom Line: Studies suggest that vinegar can increase feelings of fullness and help people eat fewer calories, which can lead to weight loss.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar May Have Some Benefits For Heart Health
Female Doctor Smiling With Thumbs Up

Cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke) is currently the world’s biggest cause of death.

It is known that several measurable biological factors are linked to either a decreased or increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Several of these “risk factors” have been shown to be improved by vinegar consumption… but all of the studies were done in rats.

These rat studies showed that apple cider vinegar can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Apple cider vinegar may also contain the antioxidant chlorogenic acid, which has been shown to protect LDL cholesterol particles from becoming oxidized, a crucial step in the heart disease process.

There are also some studies showing that vinegar reduces blood pressure (a major risk factor) in rats.

Unfortunately, what works in animals doesn’t always work in humans.

The only human evidence is an observational study from Harvard showing that women who ate salad dressings with vinegar had a reduced risk of heart disease.

But this type of study can only show an association, it can not prove that the vinegar caused anything.

Bottom Line: Several animal studies have shown that vinegar can reduce blood triglycerides, cholesterol and blood pressure, but this needs to be confirmed in human studies.

6. Vinegar May be Protective Against Cancer

Cancer is a terrible disease, characterized by uncontrolled growth of cells.

There is a lot of hype online about the anti-cancer effects of apple cider vinegar.

Some studies have shown that vinegar can kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.

However, all of the studies on this were done in isolated cells in test tubes, or rats, which proves nothing about what happens in a living, breathing human.

Additionally, most of the studies were done on rice vinegar, not apple cider vinegar.

That being said, some observational studies (which don’t prove anything) have shown that vinegar ingestion is linked to decreased esophageal cancer in China, but increased bladder cancer in Serbia.

Overall… it is possible that apple cider vinegar may help to prevent cancer, but it is definitely premature to make any recommendations based on the current research.

Bottom Line: Some studies in test tubes and rats have shown that rice vinegar can slow the growth of cancer cells and shrink tumors.

Some people also like to dilute it in water and drink it as a beverage, I like to add it to my apple cider and I use 1 tablespoon because I have at least a couple of glasses a day. Common dosages range from 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 mL) to 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 mL) per day.

Definitely don’t go above that, because excess consumption may have harmful effects.

How to Lose Weight Fast: A Proven 3-Step Plan That Works


There are many ways to lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time.

However, most of them require you to be hungry and unsatisfied.

If you don’t have iron willpower, then hunger will cause you to give up on these plans quickly.

The 3-step plan outlined here will:

Kill your appetite.
Make you lose weight fast, without being hungry.
Improve your health at the same time.
Step 1 – Eliminate Sugars and Starches
The most important part is to remove sugars and starches (carbs) from your diet.

These are the foods that stimulate secretion of insulin the most. If you didn’t know already, insulin is the main fat storage hormone in the body.

When insulin goes down, fat has an easier time getting out of the fat stores and the body starts burning fats instead of carbs.

Another benefit of lowering insulin is that your kidneys shed excess sodium and water out of your body, which reduces bloat and unnecessary water weight (1, 2).

It is not uncommon to lose up to 10 pounds (sometimes more) in the first week of eating this way, both body fat and water weight.

This is a graph from a study comparing low-carb and low-fat diets in overweight/obese women (3).

The low-carb group is eating until fullness, while the low-fat group is calorie restricted and hungry.

Cut the carbs, lower your insulin and you will start to eat less calories automatically and without hunger (4).

Put simply, lowering your insulin puts fat loss on “autopilot.”

Bottom Line: Removing sugars and starches (carbs) from your diet will lower your insulin levels, kill your appetite and make you lose weight without hunger.

Step 2 – Eat Protein, Fat and Vegetables
Each one of your meals should include a protein source, a fat source and low-carb vegetables. Constructing your meals in this way will automatically bring your carb intake into the recommended range of 20-50 grams per day.

Protein Sources:

Meat – Beef, chicken, pork, lamb, bacon, etc.
Fish and Seafood – Salmon, trout, shrimps, lobsters, etc.
Eggs – Omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs are best.
The importance of eating plenty of protein can not be overstated.

This has been shown to boost metabolism by 80 to 100 calories per day (5, 6, 7).

High protein diets can also reduce obsessive thoughts about food by 60%, reduce desire for late-night snacking by half, and make you so full that you automatically eat 441 fewer calories per day… just by adding protein to your diet (8, 9).

When it comes to losing weight, protein is the king of nutrients. Period.

Low-Carb Vegetables:


Brussels Sprouts
Swiss Chard
Full list here.

Don’t be afraid to load your plate with these low-carb vegetables. You can eat massive amounts of them without going over 20-50 net carbs per day.

A diet based on meat and vegetables contains all the fiber, vitamins and minerals you need to be healthy. There is no physiological need for grains in the diet.

Butter CurlsFat Sources:

Coconut Oil
Olive Oil
Eat 2-3 meals per day. If you find yourself hungry in the afternoon, add a 4th meal.

Don’t be afraid of eating fat, trying to do both low-carb AND low-fat at the same time is a recipe for failure. It will make you feel miserable and abandon the plan.

The best cooking fat to use is coconut oil. It is rich in fats called Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs). These fats are more fulfilling than others and can boost metabolism slightly (10, 11).

There is no reason to fear these natural fats, new studies show that saturated fat doesn’t raise your heart disease risk at all (12, 13).

To see how you can assemble your meals, check out this low carb meal plan and this list of low carb recipes.

Bottom Line: Assemble each meal out of a protein source, a fat source and a low-carb vegetable. This will put you into the 20-50 gram carb range and drastically lower your insulin levels.

Bottom Line: Assemble each meal out of a protein source, a fat source and a low-carb vegetable. This will put you into the 20-50 gram carb range and drastically lower your insulin levels.

Step 3 (Optional) – Exercise 3-4 Times Per Week

You don’t need to exercise to lose weight on this plan, but it is recommended.

The best option is to go to the gym 3-4 times a week. Do a warm up, lift weights, then stretch.

If you’re new to the gym, ask a trainer for some advice.

By lifting weights, you will burn a few calories and prevent your metabolism from slowing down, which is a common side effect of losing weight (14, 15).

Studies on low-carb diets show that you can even gain a bit of muscle while losing significant amounts of body fat (16).

If lifting weights is not an option for you, then doing some easier cardio workouts like running, jogging, swimming or walking will suffice.

Bottom Line: It is best to do some sort of resistance training like weight lifting. If that is not an option, cardio workouts work too.

Optional – Do a “Carb Re-feed” Once Per Week
Overweight Man Eating Cake

You can take one day “off” per week where you eat more carbs. Many people prefer Saturday.

It is important to try to stick to healthier carb sources like oats, rice, quinoa, potatoes, sweet potatoes, fruits, etc.

But only this one higher carb day, if you start doing it more often than once per week then you’re not going to see much success on this plan.

If you must have a cheat meal and eat something unhealthy, then do it on this day.

Be aware that cheat meals or carb refeeds are NOT necessary, but they can up-regulate some fat burning hormones like leptin and thyroid hormones (17, 18).

You will gain some weight during your re-feed day, but most of it will be water weight and you will lose it again in the next 1-2 days.

Bottom Line: Having one day of the week where you eat more carbs is perfectly acceptable, although not necessary.

What About Calories and Portion Control?
Apple And Calculator

It is NOT necessary to count calories as long as you keep the carbs very low and stick to protein, fat and low-carb vegetables.

However, if you really want to, then use this calculator.

Enter your details, then pick the number from either the “Lose Weight” or the “Lose Weight Fast” section – depending on how fast you want to lose.

There are many calorie counters you can use to track the amount of calories you are eating. I like Cron-O-Meter – it is free and easy to use.

The main goal is to keep carbs under 20-50 grams per day and get the rest of your calories from protein and fat.

Bottom Line: It is not necessary to count calories to lose weight on this plan. It is most important to strictly keep your carbs in the 20-50 gram range.

Other Weight Loss Tips to Make Things Easier (and Faster)

Pretty much all you have to do is the 3 steps:

Eliminate high-carb foods.
Eat Protein, Fat and Veggies.
Exercise 3-4 times per week (optional, but recommended).
However, there are a few other tips that you may find useful if you want to speed things up even further.

None of these are old wives’ tales, they all have scientific evidence to back them up.

Drink Water: One study shows that drinking water half an hour before meals helps you eat fewer calories and lose 44% more weight. It can also boost metabolism slightly (19, 20).

Drink Coffee or Tea: If you’re a coffee or a tea drinker, then by all means drink as much as you want as both can raise your metabolism (21, 22).

Eat Eggs For Breakfast: Studies show that people who replace a grain-based breakfast with eggs feel more full for the next 36 hours, and lose up to 65% more weight (23, 24).

Eat Viscous Fiber: Viscous fiber supplements like glucomannan can help you lose weight, especially around the belly area (25).

Choose Weight Loss Friendly Foods: Certain foods are particularly useful for losing fat. Here is a list of the 20 most weight loss friendly foods on earth.

Use Smaller Plates: Studies show that people automatically eat less when they use smaller plates. Strange, but it works (26).

Sleep Like a Baby: Poor sleep is one of the strongest risk factors for weight gain and obesity, taking care of your sleep is important (27, 28).

Over the years, scientists have come up a number of weight loss methods that are effective.

This article lists 26 weight loss tips that are actually evidence-based.

Bottom Line: It is most important to stick to the three rules, but there are a few other things you can do to speed things up.

You Will Become a “Fat Burning Beast”
Doctor With Thumbs Up

You can expect to lose 5-10 pounds of weight (sometimes more) in the first week, then consistent weight loss after that.

I can personally lose 3-4 lbs per week for a few weeks when I do this strictly.

If you’re new to dieting, then things will probably happen quickly. The more weight you have to lose, the faster you will lose it.

For the first few days, you might feel a bit strange. Your body has been burning carbs for all these years, it can take time for it to get used to burning fat instead.

It is called the “low carb flu” and is usually over within a few days. For me it takes 3. Adding some sodium to your diet can help with this, such as dissolving a bouillon cube in a cup of hot water and drinking it.

After that, most people report feeling very good, positive and energetic. At this point you will officially have become a “fat burning beast.”

Despite the decades of anti-fat hysteria, the low-carb diet also improves your health in many other ways:

Blood Sugar tends to go way down on low-carb diets (29, 30).
Triglycerides tend to go down (31, 32).
Small, dense LDL (the bad) Cholesterol goes down (33, 34).
HDL (the good) cholesterol goes up (35).
Blood pressure improves significantly (36, 37).
To top it all of, low-carb diets appear to be easier to follow than low-fat diets.

Bottom Line: You can expect to lose a lot of weight, but it depends on the person how quickly it will happen. Low-carb diets also improve your health in many other ways.

You Don’t Need to Starve Yourself to Lose Weight
If you have a medical condition then talk to your doctor before making changes because this plan can reduce your need for medication.

By reducing carbs and lowering insulin levels, you change the hormonal environment and make your body and brain “want” to lose weight.

This leads to drastically reduced appetite and hunger, eliminating the main reason that most people fail with conventional weight loss methods.

This is proven to make you lose about 2-3 times as much weight as a typical low-fat, calorie restricted diet (38, 39, 40).

Another great benefit for the impatient folks is that the initial drop in water weight can lead to a big difference on the scale as early as the next morning.

Here are a few examples of low-carb meals that are simple, delicious and can be prepared in under 10 minutes: 7 Healthy Low-Carb Meals in 10 Minutes or Less.

On this plan, you can eat good food until fullness and still lose a ton of fat. Welcome to paradise.

Tribes draw knowledge from monolingual speakers

I am so PROUD of my father, he was interviewed via translator in the Washington Times Most recently, a dozen Cherokee speakers spent last year translating 150,000 modern English terms into Cherokee so people can use the language on Microsoft Office web apps including Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote..

By Kristi Eaton – Associated Press – Friday, April 4, 2014

BRIGGS, Okla. (AP) – Mack Vann sits in the living room of his single-story home in rural Oklahoma with the television blaring, a news reporter giving details of the latest grisly crime to hit the state.

But the 83-year-old Vann doesn’t understand most of what the reporter is saying. Vann, who speaks only Cherokee, instead focuses on the visitors to his home, many of whom know only a few simple words of Vann’s Native American language.

“Osiyo,” he says to his new visitors, the Cherokee word for hello.

Vann is part of a fading population of American Indians in Oklahoma who speak only their Native American language, no English. Though Oklahoma was once known as Indian Country and ranks second in the nation in the number of Native American residents, many of the tribal languages are endangered or vulnerable to falling out of use.

That’s what makes Native Americans such as Vann, one of an estimated 50 Cherokee monolingual speakers in eastern Oklahoma, all the more interesting: They have somehow preserved their cultural identity through decades of pressure to assimilate, and now tribal language departments are turning to them to help keep their languages alive for future generations.

“They’re living treasures,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker says, “and it’s folks like him we bring in to pick their brains and say, ‘OK, what do you call the white oak tree? What do you call the other medicine trees? What’s the Cherokee word for them? What’s the old word for them?’ And the more we can pick their brains and the more the translation department can put it down, the more we can put it in not only hardback but on the web or a platform (and) the closer we’re coming to not even losing words.”

The Cherokee Nation has been at the forefront of language preservation. In the last few years, the tribe’s language department has worked to get the language added to Microsoft Windows 8, Google Gmail, and Apple’s iPhone and iPad. Most recently, a dozen Cherokee speakers spent last year translating 150,000 modern English terms into Cherokee so people can use the language on Microsoft Office web apps including Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

To make all that happen, the tribe draws upon the knowledge of speakers such as Vann, a descendant of Andrew Ross, the brother of Cherokee Chief John Ross, who led thousands of Cherokees to Indian Country during their forced removal from the southeastern United States.

Vann, who grew up in Greasy, a predominantly Native American community in eastern Oklahoma, learned some English in school but dropped out after the fourth grade to help with the family farm and slowly lost the ability to speak it.

Now, he says, he’s too old to learn it. Instead, friends and family help him translate when he needs help. Vann, whose wife died several years ago, worked at the Cherokee Heritage Center for years and continues to sell handmade bows.

Speaking through a translator in the backyard of his Briggs home, Vann, a member of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, says he would like more children to learn to speak Cherokee. He speaks with two young children on a regular basis in hopes of helping them learn the language.

“Everybody is just changing their ways and not really concentrating on our culture,” he says.

And as more tribal members like Vann age, it becomes increasingly important for tribes to preserve their vast cultural knowledge.

In January, the Chickasaw Nation, another large Oklahoma tribe, announced the passing of their last monolingual speaker, Emily Johnson Dickerson, 93. Dickerson, who died at her Ada home in late December, was among only about 70 fluent Chickasaw speakers.

“Emily Dickerson was a treasured elder who held the Chickasaw language and ways of life close to her heart,” Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby said in a statement. “This is a sad day for all Chickasaw people because we have lost a cherished member of our Chickasaw family and an unequalled source of knowledge about our language and culture.”

Copyright © 2015 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.


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