Rakesh Sethi, BS, CAHP

Wellness Speaker/ Author/ 

Ayurvedic Practitioner

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Archive for the ‘Healthy Lifestyle’ Category

Type 2 Diabetes Prevention or Treatment: The Real Problem Could Be Your Body Type

Posted on: December 8th, 2013 by Rakesh Sethi No Comments

Type 2 Diabetes prevention strategies are generally based on proper diet and increased physical activity. While these strategies do work, I believe the effectiveness of any Type 2 Diabetes strategy can be greatly enhanced by understanding one’s unique body constitution. This approach, based on Ayurveda principles, for preventing diseases including diabetes is discussed in my new book “Health + Happiness = Wellness: Discover Your Unique Nature and What Specifically Works for You”.

Type 2 Diabetes is on the rise and affects millions of people worldwide, even celebrities such as Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and many others.  I thank the recent headlines with stories about high profile celebrities who have openly discussed Type 2 Diabetes in the media and brought this issue to front and center. The problem has become so severe that is almost becoming an “epidemic”. CBS News recently reported about the Diabetes Atlas that projected 10 percent of the world population will have Diabetes by 2035. Forbes, in a story on the same source, called the problem ‘devastating’ and stressed the need for awareness and new medications. That’s the very bad news.

The good news is that Type 2 Diabetes can be prevented. If not prevented, it can be treated using natural, easy to implement home remedies. While many people put forth the idea that a specific type of diet may be the key to preventing Type 2 Diabetes that may not necessarily be the case. I think the real key lies in knowing one’s unique body constitution and using that information to formulate a unique diet and lifestyle plan.

In the Ayurvedic medicine, there are certain body types that have increased tendency of becoming diabetic. However, the trick is to discover who you are early in your life, what is your body type and live the suitable diet and lifestyle AS PER YOUR BODY TYPE. If you do stick to it, you can avoid diabetes altogether.

diabetes-prevention

Once you realize your unique body constitution and live accordingly, you will greatly increase the effectiveness of diabetes prevention and treatment strategies. This however does not stop with Type 2 diabetes – a big bonus here is it holds true in regards to all health care and disease prevention strategies.  The book “Health + Happiness = Wellness” outlines the key practical and comprehensive steps in regards to achieving and maintaining optimum health revolving around your unique body type.

Other articles on diabetes: Incredible Veggie for Weight Loss and Diabetes: Bitter Melon7 Benefits of Cinnamon When and How Much to Take 

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The Link Between Food Body and Mind

Posted on: November 14th, 2013 by Rakesh Sethi No Comments

Everyday research is uncovering that there is a strong link between the body and mind or your physiology and psychology; the different foods you eat, based on your mind-body constitution, interact differently with your physiology. There is a strong relationship between the types of foods you eat and the quality of emotions you stimulate in your mind. Use the following as a guide to fine-tune your diet even further beyond what is just healthy the body to what promotes and supports better quality of emotions.

body and mind

Foods that invoke Enlightened quality of (mind) emotions:

Milk, fresh fruits, whole grains, fresh vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds are all good for supporting the enlightened quality of mind. However, fresh fruits and dairy products (excluding fermented cheeses) are the best in influencing the enlightened quality of mind. In preparation, use little or no onions, garlic, or red chili. Use just enough oil—not too much.

Foods that invoke Egoistic quality of (mind) emotions:

All meats, bleached flour, chick-peas, onions, garlic, and fermented cheeses. In preparation, when you use lots of onions, garlic, salt, and oil, you change the food’s energy to where it brings out more of the egoistic quality of mind.

Foods that invoke Ignorant quality of (mind) emotions:

All old-spoiled foods, bitter and sour foods, deep fried foods, unripe fruits and vegetables, fermented-old foods, intoxicating liquors, foods that are prepared using sour or spicy hot spices, and/or a lot of oil.

Practical Suggestion: How should you use this information? By combining this information with eating foods based on your unique mind-body constitution, you can design your diet regimen and fine-tune your recipes. A word of caution here! Do not try to shift your diet toward the enlightened quality overnight. You must balance your taste, enjoyment, and health in making a slow transition toward the enlightened quality. This gives you a goal to shoot for so you will make a lasting change.

Read more about selecting suitable foods as per your mind-body constitution in the “Health+Happiness=Wellness” book.

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How to Make Powerful Anti-Aging Strategies Part of Your Lifestyle

Posted on: November 3rd, 2013 by Rakesh Sethi No Comments

We try many things to slow down aging – anti-aging foods, anti-aging drugs, hormones, diets, pills and surgery. However let me share the most powerful strategy lies elsewhere.

How to Make Powerful Anti-Aging Strategies Part of Your Lifestyle Everybody wants to slow the aging process and remain healthy. We try many things – anti-aging drugs, anti-aging pills – hormones, foods, diets, pills and various types of cosmetic surgery. Most doctors tell us the key to aging gracefully is to exercise and eat healthy. Regardless of the approach taken, the health benefits achieved by these anti-aging methods can be limited for some people and practically non-existent for others. Anti-aging strategies, if not applied intelligently and with care, can create even more problems than they solve. Why is this so?

Because every person is unique. What is healthy and promotes wellness for one person may not be healthy for another. What works for one person may produce no benefits at all for another. There is no easy, one-size-fits-all answer for everyone. Every person has a unique constitution. Therein lies the real key to success for those who hope to achieve long-term wellness and dramatically slow the aging process.

Healthy living, based on the Ayurvedic medical system can take an individual’s health to a whole new level and slow down the aging process. The key word here is ‘individual’.  Every individual is unique. There are 5 key points we must understand:

1. Before you embark upon your healthy living path, you must know what makes your body-mind composition unique. Eating and living healthy revolving around your unique composition creates a personalized wellness path which can really slow down aging throughout your life.

2. Healthy living, utilizing your unique composition, facilitates your body’s inherent ability to heal itself. Your body is self-sufficient. It is the wrong thoughts and foods that compromise its ability to live in health.

3. Once you start to eat and live according to your unique mind-body constitution, you create less stress and toxins in your body systems. You live disease free. That is the underlying secret to really slow down aging naturally.

4. On your personalized wellness path, you promote health and participate in your wellness every day.  This is the true definition of practicing preventive care and living disease free. Practicing preventive care is NOT taking tests to find out if you have a disease or not. Prevention is what you practice prior to taking those tests.

5.Your wellness path is your own personal healthcare reform. There is no healthcare reform for you unless you take charge to reform your own health.

When you base your approach to everyday living on Ayurveda as per “Health + Happiness = Wellness” book, you participate in your health every day. Ayurveda is a health-management approach that encourages wellness, rather than a disease-management approach that treats illness. In Sanskrit, ‘Ayur’ means life, and ‘Veda’ means science.

In addition, Ayurveda medical science addresses each individual as an entirely unique person. Unlike traditional Western medicine’s one-size-fits-all approach, the Ayurvedic medical system recognizes that everyone has a unique mind-body constitution. This unique medical science addresses the whole person – not just the physical being.  Thus you create a healthy lifestyle personalized to your uniqueness and slow down the aging process.

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Change the Definition of Health and Your Approach

Posted on: June 23rd, 2013 by Rakesh Sethi No Comments

What is your definition of health? When are you really healthy? You should no longer think of health as being one dimensional—as just pertaining to maintaining physical (body) health. You are not just a physical body. Health, as defined in conventional terms, has to be redefined. You must take into account all the components constituting the whole being. Collectively all the components work together to create balance in an individual. According to the Ayurvedic medical system, balance for each individual is unique. Therefore, health in one word can be defined as “balance.”

definition-of-healthThis balance in you exists:

  1. when you get hungry at the right times and to the right amount, not too little and not too much.
  2. when your body produces the right quality and quantity of muscle, fat, and other tissues per your body’s constitution.
  3. when your body systems function in balance, absorbing the proper amount of nutrition and discarding the proper amount of waste at the right times.
  4. when all three energies—air, fire, and earth—are in the right proportions for your body constitution.
  5. when your mind deals with the ups and downs of your emotions without losing balance.
  6. when your intellect is fully available to exercise self-control over whims and make good decisions.
  7. when your spirit is full of bliss (calm and peaceful).

When all of the conditions listed above exist simultaneously, you are an embodiment of total health and happiness. You live in true wellness. You attain balance in your equation of Health + Happiness = Wellness.

This true wellness, no doubt, is a tall order to maintain on a continuous basis. The best way to look at your wellness is to imagine that you are walking on a high wire and not on solid ground. You have to work continuously to maintain your balance. A small gust of wind or any mental distraction can throw off your balance. A little mistake can cost you your balance. The reality is that, in spite of your best efforts, there is always some disturbance that could rock your balance. It could be overeating and drinking at a party or an emotionally charged argument with your partner at home, or some conflict at work, or an unfavorable turn in the stock market, or any number of other things that could throw you off your physical and/or emotional balance. You need to make constant adjustments to keep your balance.

Dynamic Model of Health

When you participate in maintaining your balance every day, you begin to live a new dynamic model of health. The old way is the static model where you simply go about living your life and only participate to maintain balance after you become sick. In the static model, sometimes it may be too late for the adjustments to work. The dynamic model is where you truly practice prevention and enjoy its benefits.

You may find it easier to live in the static model of health today, but you will pay with your health and wallet tomorrow. Can you really afford to live in the static model? I would like to introduce you to simple knowledge and strategies in the “Health + Happiness = Wellness” book that will make it easier for you to live in the dynamic model of health.

The above article is part of the Section I taken from the book.

“Health+Happiness=Wellness” will help you discover your unique nature and use that information to design your personalized wellness plan that will not only help you stay away from diseases for the rest of your life; it will also save you a lot of money on healthcare. Click on the book to read more.

health-happiness-3d-2

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Women’s Health and Ayurveda

Posted on: May 5th, 2013 by Rakesh Sethi No Comments

The goal of Ayurvedic medical system is to maintain your health throughout your life through suitable diet, lifestyle, detoxification, and balancing and rejuvenating natural foods, spices, and herbs. However, wrong foods, wrong lifestyle, living with anxieties and stress can take a toll on your body systems. Generally, as we age, Vata energy in all of us increases. Increase in Vata means body becoming colder, drier and lighter (anxious, nervous, insecure). Women in particular experience this more than men. Based on this fact, women’s health and Ayurveda system are wonderfully matched. Ayurveda offers specific recommendations suited more for women’s health than any other system.

Changes in Women’s Body

Women particularly Vata and Pitta body types, tend to lose more juices. Body moves towards dryness. The loss of “juices” leads to lack of lubrication in joints, lack of fluids in endocrine system creating hormonal imbalance, and vaginal dryness. As a result you experience, lack of energy, joint pains, fatigue, painful or irregular periods, nervousness, and anxiety. All these signs are of (aging) body becoming colder, drier and lighter.  Your goal is to keep yourself warm, moist, and grounded.

Steps to Keep You Healthier, Happier and Younger

womens-health-and-ayurveda

Food as Your First Medicine: First, Ayurveda considers food as your first medicine. If taken right, it is the effective means to prevent diseases or to even treat them. As a general guideline, Ayurveda for women suggests food should be warm, cooked, easy to digest, and moist.  Your food should contain whole-grains, mostly cooked vegetables, cold pressed oils like sesame and olive, Ghee (clarified butter) and honey. Include these suggestions in your regimen to not only maintain, but to rebuild your tissues and restore lost juices. Especially use of Ghee in moderation replenishes and lubricates all tissues, reproductive tissues in particular. Both honey and Ghee facilitate absorption of nutrients and act as a conduit to deliver the nutrients to very small hard to reach tissues and keep them nourished and juicy. Limit or avoid cold, dry, and light processed foods.

Ayurvedic Massage: Second, along with regular exercise, include Ayurvedic massage in your lifestyle. A loving Ayurvedic massage in your weekly regimen using warm sesame oil or herbal Ayurvedic massage oil with nourishing, cleansing, and soothing aromatic herbs will nourish, replenish juices, and cleanse your body of toxins. As a result, you slow down your aging and build good immunity.

Herbal Supplement: Third, Ayurveda offers herbs specifically targeting women’s health like Shatavari. There are other herbs for women as well but Shatavari is the most rejuvenating herb for women’s physiology.  It increases milk, fertility, and sexual juices. It balances hormones and makes it easier to go through difficult period of menopause. For best menopausal support, include Shatavari in your regimen regularly long before you enter the menopause.  In addition Shatavari is detoxifier, builds immune system, acts as laxative, and enhances physical strength.

Natural menstrual remedies formula- Tablets for Balanced CyclesBy simply following above-mentioned regimen, women who frequently experience difficult monthly cycles with headaches, constipation, swelling of the breasts, anxiety, nervousness, or irritability, will find these symptoms slowly disappearing. Use herbal formula Smooth Cycle that include Shatavari to help you smooth out the roughness in your monthly cycle. This formula will also help if you have vaginal discharge of brownish sticky kind or yellow colored with burning sensation or thick and white mucus kind. Another formula Hot Flash Relief which also has Shatavari offers natural Hot Flash relief. You can purchase these herbs in our online store.

No doubt today’s fast paced, stressful, and demanding lifestyle is extremely taxing. But with recommendations from Ayurveda on creating a suitable diet and lifestyle routine, women can live happier, healthier, younger, and enjoy quality of life longer in all areas of personal, family, and professional life.

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Incredible Veggie for Weight Loss and Diabetes: Bitter Melon

Posted on: February 23rd, 2013 by Rakesh Sethi 4 Comments

Bitter melon, also known as bitter gourd, is a vegetable widely used in Asia, Pacific Islands, and South America.  Bitter melon, as the name suggests, tastes extremely bitter and little bit pungent. Its fundamental benefit is- it slows down your aging! So how does this bitter tasting vegetable keep you fit and younger looking. It happens because of its three incredibly important effects on your body:bitter melon

  1. Detoxifying: helps you get rid of toxins
  2. Increasing Digestive Fire: facilitates digestion of heavy foods
  3. Reducing Inflammation: protects internal organs and tissues

These three critical actions offered by one vegetable, work together to cleanse and protect your body.  Bitter melon particularly benefits the following two conditions:

Obesity

Including bitter melon regularly in your diet, 2 to 3 times per week, will accelerate your weight loss. Add it to your weight loss regimen you are using. You will achieve your goal faster.

Diabetes

Numerous studies have illustrated hypoglycemic effect of bitter melon.  This incredible vegetable has positive effect on function of pancreas and helps metabolize sugar.  But it’s insulin like action is what makes bitter melon a potential substitute for insulin. Bitter melon contains potent detoxifier that also protects the pancreas and other tissues. You will see remarkable results just with 1-2 ounces of juice per day. For pre-diabetics, this is just the vegetable to include in the diet.

How Do You Take It?

Most of the western diet is devoid of bitter taste. Bitter melon is the best vegetable for adding bitter taste into your diet. You can steam or sauté bitter melon and eat as a side dish. You can also make fresh juice out of bitter melon. However, the extreme bitter juice is difficult to take. So use the bitter melon as a vegetable mixed with other vegetables to create palatable recipe.  This way it is much easier to take and you can eat bitter melon more frequently in your diet. You can also get bitter melon in capsules.

Who Should or Should Not Take?

Using bitter melon sparingly is good for almost anyone. But to start using it regularly in your diet, you need to know your body constitution; to find out – subscribe below. Consult an Ayurvedic practitioner, if you need help. If you know your mind-body constitution, bitter melon is favorable to Kapha or Pitta constitutions but not so much for Vata. With regular use, a Vata constitution can develop joints or muscle pains, or nervous disorders.

Caution: Before adding bitter melon to your routine for any specific condition, consult with your doctor, especially if you are taking prescription medication. Do not take bitter melon regularly, if you are pregnant.

Subscribe below to discover your constitution:

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Connecticut Shooting: Sickness in Society Demands Solution

Posted on: December 16th, 2012 by Rakesh Sethi 2 Comments

Did you feel the pain after the news of Connecticut shooting? Every time we hear news like this we suffer. How many times do we have to anguish through shooting incidents like this? I don’t have the answer. But we must stop this!

Being a father I feel so much grief. Today I want to talk about why it is happening? I want to talk about wellness in the society we live in. I would like to share some thoughts and would invite your thoughts.

 

My first thought- The society is a large living “organism” and you are a small extremity of it. If the society is sick that sickness impacts your wellness as well. More and more, especially the young, live in isolation disconnected from real human contact. Electronic devices, especially texting and social media, has minimized or almost eliminated human contact. No warm handshake, no face to face, not even hearing voice. It is like bunch of electrons communicating with each other. It seems as if a human is reduced to a robot with “user name”. A robot doesn’t have human sensitivity, compassion, and consciousness. Is this what we call progress for human beings? You decide

Second thought- Consciousness in our society is dwindling day by day. It is being replaced by greed in individuals and corporations alike. You are no longer judged by your character rather by possessions and bank account. I understand we are going through economic crisis. But I believe there’s a bigger crisis at hand, the consciousness crisis. In the last three decades we have moved towards measuring profitability in dollars so much so that we have forgotten about profitability in the human happiness and wellness. Society, corporations, and individuals are focused on the bottom line. It is a race to improve the bottom line while it is taking everyone to the bottom. For example, right after Pres. Obama’s reelection few corporations, and I won’t name them, took the stand almost immediately that they are going to either increase prices to cover for healthcare or lay off workers or reduce their hours, all to keep the profitability in dollars. Imagine if the corporations had sacrificed a little on bottom line and thought about profitability in terms of employee’s wellness. Such corporations would take a leadership role in exhibiting corporate consciousness in times of consciousness crisis.

I am opening this subject for discussion. With any crisis come opportunities. I would love for you to think of ideas and share here, with your friends, place of work, or with your congressman. If you have influence in any place where you can make a change, become a catalyst of change.  Will Connecticut shooting be the shooting incident to change the course we are on, I don’t know? But one thing is for sure that there is consciousness crisis in our society today and yours, your families and friends wellness is at stake so what are you going to do about it.

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What is the Closest Thing to the Fountain of Youth?

Posted on: June 9th, 2012 by Dr. Pankaj Vij 1 Comment

If someone asks me what is the one thing that I would recommend that as the maximum impact on promoting health and preventing the sickness, it would have to be physical activity. Exercise is the closest thing we have to the fountain of youth! Over the last century, we have invented hundreds of machines and tools to make us more and more sedentary. But the fact remains that the human body is made to spend most of his waking hours in the upright position, moving fifteen to twenty miles a day. Yes, you read it correct. (much more than the recommended 10,000 steps a pedometer might count).

On average, a person hardly walks about one mile in a day. Today many search for fountain of youth in artificial means and supplements. The truth is there are none. (Read more in Aging Gracefully) Although physical activity in and of itself is not enough to help one lose weight, it is certainly an integral part of a weight management and more importantly, a health management program. When combined with prudent diet (low in sugar, simple carbohydrates, corn syrup saturated fat and trans fat and also low in salt), regular physical activity promises to improve blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar levels and risk for heart attack and stroke. But that’s not all! Exercise:

  • has been known to reduce risk for many cancers
  • has many mental health benefits too: helping calm anxiety and depression
  • improves lung capacity, circulation as well as intestinal motility

woman doing exercisesIn fact, as medical practitioner, I write an exercise prescription for every patient I see because not only is exercise medicine; it is the best preventive medicine. It is effective for over forty of the most commonly seen medical conditions in a busy doctor’s office. I am not suggesting you drop everything and take up walking fifteen miles a day. What is the best exercise? The best exercise is the one that you will do every day because you enjoy it. Go discover your favorite physical activity and you would discover the closest thing to your fountain of youth.

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How Much Sodium Should You Take; Are You Shaking Up Risks?

Posted on: March 30th, 2012 by Dr. Pankaj Vij 3 Comments

Americans, perhaps unconsciously, consume salt far in excess of our daily requirement. So, on average how much salt are we ingesting- 3000 mg a day which is twice the recommended intake of 1500 mg a day.

Indeed, sodium is essential for bodily functions including maintaining a fluid and electrolyte balance in the body, nerve conduction and muscle contraction. Throughout much of human history salt was seen as a precious commodity and the focus was on maintaining adequate intake.

Did You Know: Potassium is Replaced with Sodium in Our Diet sodium

Now that focus has shifted as processed, preserved and manufactured foods became more prevalent and sodium intake increased. In fact one of the key shifts that occurs with food processing is the reversal of sodium potassium ratio: addition of sodium and removal of potassium. The majority of our sodium now comes from sauces, condiments, soups, canned foods, prepared mixes in addition to the ever popular fast food and pizza.

Ultimate Cost of Excessive Sodium Consumption

In an ideal world, our body should have a mechanism for getting rid of excess salt. In many individuals however the kidneys become overwhelmed by the excess of salt and are unable to excrete it. As sodium starts to accumulate in the body, water follows, leading to excess blood volume. sodiumThis increases the pressure within blood vessels and results in the heart having to work harder to push this excess volume through the circulation. This results in a vicious circle of hardening of the arteries as well as thickening of the heart muscle resulting in even higher blood pressure and congestive heart failure, chronic kidney disease. Thus starts the cycle of sodium accumulation resulting in even worse “sodium sensitivity” leading to hypertension, heart disease, strokes and kidney disease.

Problem is Wide Spread

75 million people in the US age 20 and older have hypertension (of those, 25% are unaware of their condition). Extensive research has shown that more than 2400 mg of sodium daily as associated with elevated blood pressure. With an average sodium intake of 3000 mg a day, we are all at risk of developing high blood pressure as a result of our food habits.

You Can Easily Turn It Around

Even with modest reduction in sodium intake we can see dramatic improvements in high blood pressure, heart attack risk and its resulting mortality.sodium intake

In other words, restricting salt saves lives. So how much sodium should you reduce to?

The good news is that it’s easy to reduce your salt intake by gradually cutting back. The taste buds adjust naturally just as our ears adjust to increasing or decreasing the volume of music. By reading labels carefully and choosing fresh, unprocessed and low-sodium foods, substituting for salt whenever possible, we can easily reduce our intake to a more healthy level of 1500 mg a day.

This is low hanging fruit in our quest for wellness!

Be Well!

Dr. Pankaj Vij

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Slow Down Aging: Avoid 5 Specific Sugar and Fat Felons

Posted on: March 2nd, 2012 by Dr. Pankaj Vij 4 Comments

The five fluid felons for our health are:

  1. White Sugar
  2. Simple Carbohydrates
  3. Corn Syrup
  4. Saturated Fat
  5. Trans-fat

By systematically eliminating these sugar and fats from the diet, we can get rid of the majority of poisons in our food supply which wreak havoc on our metabolism by switching on signals of disease and distress. These fluid felons pull the trigger to start cascade of diseases: all related to weight and metabolism and manifested by obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and strokes.
sugar and fat
Even though sugar is the primary energy currency of the body, we would still be fine by getting rid of all the white sugar in our diet. In addition, by getting rid of simple carbohydrates (starchy foods with a high glycemic index which are quickly converted to sugar in the body), we can reduce the damaging effects of blood sugar spikes which affects the way cells communicate with each other in the body.

High fructose corn syrup or corn sugar is even worse than white sugar because of the way it overrides the satiety signals and switches on disease processes. This is found in most sweetened foods and beverages because it is inexpensive to produce and has a long shelf life.

Saturated fat and trans-fat are found in red meat and in fried snack foods which are so common in our environment. It would be easy to eliminate saturated fat and trans-fat by cutting down our intake of fast food such as hamburgers and french fries which are staples of our “modern” diet of highly processed, manufactured, inexpensive and convenient food.

sugar and fat

The issue is that our body does not even recognize these sugar and fats in our diet and does not know how to process or discard it. So the best prevention is not to include these felons in our diet in the first place.  Other than regular exercise, this is the best strategy for slowing down the aging process and age gracefully.  This is the closest thing we have to the fountain of youth!

Be Well,
Pankaj Vij MD FACP

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