Sunday, July 31, 2011

Making Organic Affordable: The Dirty Dozen


 How well do you know "The Dirty Dozen?" No, I'm not talking about the 1967 film, I'm talking about the foods that are most important to buy organic. Why should there be a hierarchy? Organic foods are generally more expensive than non-organic foods, so it's important to get the most bang for your buck when you buy organic produce. That's where official Dirty Dozen list comes in, which is created annually by the Environmental Working Group. Produce that makes the infamous Dirty Dozen list is there because it is treated with/retains the most pesticides. These items most likely retain these dangerous elements even after rinsing or washing.

Using this list can help save you money, because you'll know which items to buy organic, and which non-organic produce items are generally just as safe as organic. Because I often forget which food belongs on which list, I have a printed copy of this list that lives in my coupon bag so that I can refer to it when I go shopping.


Without further ado, here are the produce items we should all strive to buy organic:

The Dirty Dozen
  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Strawberries
  • Peaches
  • Spinach
  • Nectarines (imported)
  • Grapes (imported)
  • Bell Peppers 
  • Potatoes
  • Blueberries (domestic)
  • Lettuce
  • Kale/Collard Greens

And here are the items you can save your money on. That is, they're a safe bet even in their non-organic form.


The Clean 15

  • Onions
  • Sweet Corn
  • Pineapple
  • Avocado
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Peas
  • Mangoes
  • Eggplant
  • Cantaloupe (domestic)
  • Kiwi
  • Cabbage
  • Watermelon
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Grapefruit
  • Mushrooms

 Happy Shopping!
Christine



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Free Kashi Samples

Photo from Kashi Website


Head over to the Kashi website to request a sample of either their new Cinnamon Harvest Cereal or their new Peanutty Dark Chocolate granola bar. Supplies are limited!

(While you're there, you may want to read about their recall of some of their frozen pizzas due to plastic fragments in the crust.)

Happy Sampling!
Christine



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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Simple Steps to Going Green: Simple Step #1

Sure, we all know many things we're supposed to do to help keep our families healthy and save the environment. But do we really do them? I know I need a little reminding now and then (and a little motivation to get started). That's why I'm incorporating "Simple Steps" into the Why We Love Green blog.

Each Simple Step will be something small and realizable that each of us can do to save the earth and save ourselves some money in the process. (Soon I'll also have a nifty button to go along with it. If only my laptop with Adobe Photoshop weren't in with a sleeping baby right now!) I'll be posting these Simple Steps along with my regular articles on green/money-saving topics, deals & coupons, and reviews & giveaways.


Spotted these signs on the elevators in a Health Center today.

Simple Step #1
Take the stairs. 

Why is this green? We're saving energy by not using the power needed to run the elevators! Did you know that by taking the stairs you will save 2.5 Watt hours per floor? 

Why is this thrifty? Health is a great investment that will really pay off down the road. By taking the stairs instead of the elevators you will burn 6-12 calories/minute.

Happy Climbing!
Christine



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Groupon: $25 for $50 at Eco Home Store

Photo from Groupon.com

There is a great deal on the Dallas Groupon Page right now where you get $50 worth of merchandise from the Eco Home Store for only $25! To find the deal, change the city at the top of the Groupon page to Dallas, Texas. Then click on the link "All Deals" at the top of the Dallas page. When you scroll down, you will find the Eco Home Store deal.

I've checked out the Eco Home Store, and some of their products look really great! I'm interested in a new water bottle, trying out some g-diapers, or a kitchen compost pail. This is a deal to seriously consider!

To make the very most of this deal, click though Ebates.com to buy from Groupon and you'll get 3% cash back. If you're new to Ebates.com you'll get a $10 gift card when you sign up!



(If you'd prefer not to click through my referral links, here is a direct link to the Groupon Eco Home Store deal.)

Happy Shopping!
Christine



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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Nurse-In at Whole Foods


You've heard of a sit-in, but have you heard of a nurse-in?

Nursing mothers all across the country are banding together in support of breastfeeding rights on Saturday, August 20 at 5 PM Eastern. Mothers who support the right to breastfeed in public will nurse their babies at Whole Foods in order to protest the store's lack of support for nursing.

Here's how it started: Angelina Love, while shopping at a Whole Foods in Utah, was harassed by employees for nursing her baby in public. Since this event, she has discovered that Whole Foods has no policy to protect breastfeeding in its stores. On the Facebook Page for the Nurse-In event, she states that the purpose of the nurse-in is to "[convince] Whole Foods Market to support the healthy and natural act of breastfeeding within their establishments by providing a nondiscriminatory environment for families who choose to breastfeed." You can read about the event and about Whole Food's response on her blog, "Whole Baby Foods."

I personally nurse with a cover in public, but I firmly believe that a woman should have the right to nurse without a cover if she chooses. Nursing is best for baby, mother, and the earth! If you are interested in attending the nurse-in (or just learning more), check out the Whole Foods Market National Nurse-In Facebook Page for information on how the nurse-in will be organized and other steps you can take to support nursing.


Happy Supporting!
Christine


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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: "Our" Farm (with linky)


Here is "our" farm, as I like to call it. Really we belong to a CSA co-op, meaning get a farmshare from this farm. This is our first year doing the farm share and it has been fantastic. Look for a farmshare post in the future! In the meantime, please link up your Wordless Wednesdays and leave a comment!

Happy Wednesday,
Christine






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52% Cashback Today at Magazines.com



Remember my posts on how I get free or cheap magazines? Well today is the day to make it happen for you!

Today, ebates.com is offering 52% cashback on purchases at magazines.com! New ebates.com subscribers will also receive a $10 gift card for signing up! And finally, many magazines are eligible for a $5 discount at magazines.com with coupon code XMASJULY.

Here's what you need to do:

1. Sign up at ebates.com and choose your $10 gift card

2. Click through ebates.com to go to magazines.com, where you will receive 52% back on your purchases today.

3. Check to see if any magazines you want are eligible for the $5 discount by clicking on the banner "$5 instant coupon" at the top of the welcome screen.


A scenario:

 $28.00 Martha Stewart Living (12 issues)
-$5.00 XMASJULY Coupon
-11.96 Cashback
----------
$11.04 Total


Happy Reading!
Christine



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Offset Your Carbon Footprint for Free

Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge

I've done a few posts now on carbon footprints and how we can offset our carbon footprint, so I was really excited to find this patch in my nightly blog-surfing. What I discovered is a free and easy way to start offsetting your carbon footprint! Add this button to your blog, and Brighter Planet will purchase/offset 350 pounds of carbon in your name. You have nothing to lose, except pollution!

I encourage every blogger to sign up and add this patch to their blog. We can make a difference, and in this instance, we can do it for free! Thanks Brighter Planet!


Happy Offsetting!
Christine



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Monday, July 25, 2011

How to Freeze Berries



I realized today that I'm not going to be able to use all of the berries I picked before they go bad. The main reason I won't be able to use them up right away is that I haven't decided exactly what I want to do with them. Making jam is an option and so is a berry pie, but I just haven't made up my mind. 

To save my berries for future use, I froze them! You could just wash them, stick them in a container, plop it in the freezer and leave it at that, BUT that will give you a solid frozen rock of berries. You will have a hard time later separating that block to measure your berries or fitting it all into your blender (or whatever). The method outlined below should give you mostly individual, frozen berries that will be easy to divide, sort, and measure later.

Instructions

1. Wash/Rinse your berries. Remove stems, leaves, dirt, and undesirable berries.

2. Drain as much water as possible. You may want to use a colander. Excess water will cause the berries to clump, making them difficult to use later.

3. Spread the berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet. (I used a muffin tin because our cookie sheets were not available.)

4. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer.

5. When the berries are frozen, remove the cookie sheet and place all the berries into a freezer-safe storage container. To avoid freezer burn, allow as little extra air in with the berries as possible. Freezer bags are good for this purpose.

6. Place in your freezer to enjoy later!

Because the berries are frozen first on the cookie sheet, they will not clump together when combined for long-term storage. Now if you want to eat just a few berries, or need a 1/2 cup for a smoothie, you'll easily be able to get exactly how many berries you need. This method will get you similar results to the bags of individually frozen berries sold at the grocery store, but at a fraction of the cost!

Happy Freezing,
Christine

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Vegenaise Review


If you've read some of my previous posts, then you know that I am not eating dairy or soy right now because it causes my little nursling baby lots of pain if I do. Avoiding dairy and soy has become a big part of my life. I have gained a little more understanding of what people with serious food allergies go through when trying to find products they can eat at home, let alone out and about.

That is why I was so happy to find Soy-Free Vegenaise! Regular Mayonnaise is made with eggs and  soy. Vegetarians who love mayo have long turned to Vegenaise for their sandwich-spread needs. Recently I learned that there was a soy-free version of Vegenaise. I kept an eye out for it, and it turned out that my local natural foods store carried this product! Hooray!

As soon as I purchased it, I hurried home and baked a super-easy loaf of bread. Of course I was a little worried about the flavor and texture of this vegan mayo, but when I bit into my sandwich it was heavenly! "Wow," I thought, "This is even better than real Mayonnaise!" Soy-free Vegenaise has a great creamy texture and a vinegary flavor. Delicious! Now I can avoid dry sandwiches and soy at the same time!

Thank you, Vegenaise! I encourage you to give them a try. The spread was delicious and I honestly prefer the flavor over other Mayonnaise. In fact, I may need to excuse myself to the kitchen right now...

Happy Spreading!
Christine

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Save by Scavenging



Apparently there are many berry patches "all over these hills" here in Pennsylvania. Until last week, that was just a myth for me. Sure, I'd seen a lone wild blackberry bush here and there, but I'd never seen a legitimate "patch" of wild berries. That is, until my friend Joslyn at Playing it by Ear took me to her secret berry patches--found while riding her bike around the area. (Yet another benefit of bike riding!)

In the sweltering heat, we picked black raspberries, wineberries, and a few blackberries. Even as I sweated profusely, I couldn't help but feel incredibly happy. I was so grateful for the wild berries, for nature for making something so wonderful, and for the fact that they were totally free (and organic, to boot)! I was happy because we were being good to the earth by riding our bikes, by gathering berries grown without pesticides, and by using items that came without any packaging. I was happy because I am a berry addict and store-bought berries are expensive! Out in the woods, I got delicious berries for free that I feel great about sharing with my family. In fact, as soon as I got home my toddler began munching on them!

We hardly made a dent in what was there. I'm so excited to go again, especially when the blackberries are really ripe in a week or two. We are also hoping to make a blueberry-picking expedition into the nearby hills as soon as possible. I'm glad we decided that the work to gather these berries was worth it! And now I just need to decide what to make with them! Any suggestions?


Happy Picking!
Christine


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Ebates $10 Free for New Members



If you've been thinking about signing up for ebates.com (referral link), now is the time to do it! New members will receive $10 just for signing up (you must spend $25). Ebates.com often offers over 50% cash back for purchases at magazines.com, which is how I get many of my magazines for almost free. If you shop online, you should be on ebates.com so that you can be getting cash back for your purchases!

I admit, I was skeptical of the "cash" back, but they really do send you a check in the mail! There is no certain amount you have to reach either. I now fully approve of ebates.com and highly recommend it to those who shop online.

Happy Cash Back!
Christine

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Alexia Natural Foods Printable Coupon



There is a printable coupon for $1.00 off any Alexia Frozen Product, available now on the Alexia Foods Website. (Alexia Foods are made using all natural ingredients.) Hurry, prints are limited. Don't forget to print it twice!


Happy Couponing!
Christine

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Did You (Unknowingly) Consume Pork Today?

I am am very excited to introduce our guest blogger, TyKes Mom from the TheNorthForty! As a mom who has had to deal with babies who are very sensitive to certain foods, I was very interested to learn more about TyKes Mom's experiences with her daughter's food allergy. In addition, TyKes Mom is a wonderful example of how to save money while living a greener lifestyle, and we are thrilled to have her here with us today.

Hi! My name is Jennifer (aka TyKes Mom) from TheNorthForty and I am so honored to be a guest here at Why We Love Green. I am a stay-at-home mother of two (and one on the way!). My passion is keeping an organized, clean, frugal and green household. In my home, our meals are made from scratch, our cleaning products revolve around vinegar, and our little ones proudly sport cloth diapers. For more information on how to live organized, clean, frugal and green, please visit me at The North Forty.

Did You Consume Pork Today?

From the moment my daughter was born in June of 2010 she screamed constantly. Some people said it was gas. Some said colic. Some told us babies just cry. But I just could not accept that this was the way she was going to live. As a purely breastfed baby, I began looking at my diet and keeping a food journal to see what made her screams of pain worse. We realized she responded the strongest after we had pork chops. It was clear that she had a pork protein intolerance. From that moment, I cut out all obvious pork products: chops, roasts, bacon, etc. Her screams lessened, but she still seemed to be in constant pain. That is when I took to researching.

I found that pork was in almost everything my family consumed on a daily basis. Hidden by many creative and obscure terms approved by the FDA, pork was in everything from our bread to our vitamins, and even in our peanut butter. With the pork by-products came all of the pork proteins and hormones.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Bunny Rabbit


We found this little wild bunny at my in-laws' house in Nevada. Cuuuute!


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Monday, July 18, 2011

Seattle Mariners go Green!

A Baseball Field! (Fenway Park, to be precise... and the only professional baseball game I've attended. Someday I'll get a Safeco Field shot!)
 
I heard on the radio that the Seattle Mariners are Going Green! (You can read a transcript of the interview here.) Hooray! They even won the Washington State's "2011 Recycler of the Year award."

Because we love green, and the Mariner's are my husband's childhood-favorite baseball team, I just had to put up a post about their efforts. It seems that throughout the pro-baseball world, there is a movement to go green and be a little more responsible about how the teams treat the earth. You can learn more about this initiative on the Seattle Mariner's Official Site.

The Seattle Mariners, in particular, seem to be taking this movement to heart. To date, they have instituted an aggressive recycling system at Safeco Field. You can see a PDF of the Mariner's recycling plan here. From 2006 to 2008, they increased their recycling from 18% to 30%. Today they recycle 79% of their waste. Much of the waste from the games that cannot be recycled is composted. By recycling 30% of their garbage in 2008, the Mariners saved about $59,000!  (I wonder what the savings is now!)

In addition to recycling, the Mariners also donate to environmental causes to offset the carbon footprint created by visiting teams. The management has decided to leave their massive field lights off during day games whenever possible. This saves them more than $1000 per game! In addition to this lighting solution, the Mariners have also replaced their scoreboard lights with LEDs, which saves the team $500,000 per year! Wow, that really shows that going green saves you money!

Possibly the funniest change in Seattle is the Mariners' two new mascots: Captain Plastic and Kid Compost. With all of the green changes the Mariner's have been making, they deserve whatever silly recycling mascots they want. In fact, they even took it to the next level. Captain Plastic gives out bags of soil to fans at the games. They smell like manure, but some fans even ask for two bags!


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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cloth Diaper Giveaway Round up w/ Linky



Wow, there are a lot of cloth diaper giveaways going on right now. If you love these like I do, use this list to enter and win cloth diapers all over the blogosphere! (I would love it if you would leave a comment somewhere telling them the Why We Love Green blog sent you!) The giveaways are organized by ending date.

Daily Giveaways/Entries

Daily Cloth Diaper Giveaway (7/31) win a different diaper each day from "Diva Diapers"

KAMsnaps Pliers or Press (8/1) daily entries from "kamsnaps.com"

Giveaways
  1. Envibum AIO Cloth Diaper (7/16) from "Tales from the Nursery"
  2. Nifty Nappy Swim Diaper (7/16) from "Biehl Adventures"
  3. Tiny Tush Elite Print Cloth Diaper (7/16) from "Tiny Tush"  (on Facebook)
  4. Best Bottom Diaper (7/16) from "Mimi Loves All 8"
  5. Tini Bottoms Diaper  (7/16) from "Tini Bottoms" 
  6. GoGreen Champ Pocket Diaper (7/17) from "Nicki’s Cloth Diaper Reviews"
  7. GoGreen Champ 2.0 Pocket Diaper (7/17) from "Sugar Pop Ribbons"
  8. Charlie Banana Cloth Diaper (7/18) from "Marni's Organized Mess"
  9. My Little Hipster Cloth Diaper (ends 7/18) from "Crazy 4 Fluff"
  10. Envibum Cloth Diaper (7/18) from "My This n That Life"
  11. Sew Is Your Baby Cloth Diaper (7/18) from "The Good Letdown"
  12. Sew Is Your Baby Cloth Diaper (7/18) from "Organic-Mama.ca" (open to US & CA)
  13. Bummis Swimmi Reusable Swim Diaper (7/18) from "Biehl Adventures"
  14. Blissful Booty Cloth Diaper & Wipes Solution (7/19) from "Sugar Pop Ribbons"
  15. Ladybug Creations Mama Cloth 15" Overnight Pad (7/19) from "Joy Filled Living"
  16. Bumbledoo Reusable Swim Diaper (7/19) from "Biehl Adventures"
  17. Bummis Swimmi Reusable Swim Diaper (7/19) from "Change-Diapers.com"
  18. 2 WeeHuggers Cloth Diaper Covers (7/20) from "clothdiaperblog.com"
  19. Cheeky Cloth Soakers (7/20) from "Cloth Diaper Contests & Giveaways"
  20. Bummis Prefold & Cover (7/20) from "Mama on a Green Mission"
  21. Oh Katy Diaper  (7/21) from "Sugar Pop Ribbons"
  22. Comfybuns Cloth Wipes (7/21) from "Sophie and Mama"
  23. AMP Swim Diaper (7/21) from "Biehl Adventures"
  24. Magic Bum Cloth-Diaper Safe Bum Oil (7/22) from "Green Mam-a Jam-a"
  25. 2 FuzziBunz One-Size Cloth Diapers (7/22) from "KellyWels.com"
  26. Zizzies & Izzies Fleece Soaker (7/22) from "Sugar Pop Ribbons"
  27. AppleCheeks Little Bundle (7/22) from "Padded Tush Stats"
  28. Comfybuns Custom Cloth Wipes (7/23) from "Cloth Diaper Contests & Giveaway"
  29. 3 Bumgenius 4.0 Pocket Diapers & Rockin' Green Detergent (7/23) from "Snappy Diapers"
  30. OsoCozy Fitted Diapers (7/23) from "The Cloth Diaper Report"
  31. Rumparooz OS Cloth Diaper, Wahmies Wet Bag,  Pue Jolie CD-safe soap (7/24) from "Spoiled but not Rotten"
  32. GoGreen Champ Pocket Diaper (7/24) from "Newly Crunchy Mama of 3"
  33. Lovely Pocket Diaper  (7/25) from "Crazy 4 Fluff"
  34. Blissful Booty AIO Cloth Diaper (7/25) from "Sweet Tea Makes Three" 
  35. Planet Wise Sport Bag  (7/25) from "Because It’s Fun to Win"
  36. Smartipants Diaper (7/25) from "Turtle Man’s Mama"
  37. Charlie Banana Wipes (7/26) from "What these Mommies Think"
  38. Maude Baby Diaper (7/27) from "Mama to 4 Blessings"
  39. Wahmies Wet Bag (7/27) from "The Mommy Goods"
  40. GoGreen Champ Pocket Diaper (7/27) from "A Year with Mom and Dad"
  41. Smartipants Cloth Diaper  ( 7/28) from "The Mommy Goods"
  42. Best Bottom Cloth Diaper  (7/28) from "Everything Mom & Baby"
  43. Charlie Banana Cloth Diaper  (7/31) from "Sandbox Lane"
  44. Mother-Ease Wizard Uno Cloth Diaper (7/31) from "Organic-Mama.ca" (open to US & CA)
  45. Black Fuzzibunz Cloth Diaper (7/31) from "Nicki’s Cloth Diaper Blog"
  46. Daily Cloth Diaper Giveaway (7/16-7/31) win a different diaper each day from "Diva Diapers"
  47. KAMsnaps Pliers or Press (8/1) daily entries from"kamsnaps.com"
  48. Bumgenius Artist Series Pocket Diaper (8/1) from "Everything Birth" and "Happenings of the Harper Household" 
  49. GroVia Wipes (8/1) from "Green Baby Elephant" and "Knocked Up and Nursing"
  50. Zookies Diaper Cover (8/1) from "One Smiley Monkey"
  51. Cloth Diapers Inc. Natural Wipe Spray (8/1) from "Obsessions of the Trophy Wife"
  52. GoGreen Champ 2.0 Pocket Diaper  (8/1) from "Obsessions of the Trophy Wife"
  53. Fancy Cloth Baby Stay Dry Liner (8/4) from "Knocked Up and Nursing"
  54. Two Hip Peas in a Pod Pocket Diaper (8/4) from "Natural Parents Network"
  55. Cloth Diaper Variety Pack (8/5) from "Kelly Wels" (on Facebook)
  56. Linah Sora Diaper (8/5) from "The New Mommy Files"
  57. Lovely Pocket Diaper (8/7) from "Mommy Kat and Kids"
  58. Knickernappies Diaper (8/7) from "Wee Little Changes"
  59. A Mommy Made it Wipes, Diaper Liners, & Nursing Pads, Monkey Butts Cloth Diaper, Wolly Rounds Dryer Balls, Thirsties Duo Diaper, Marshmallow legs, Go with the Flo 3-pack Mama Cloth (ends @ 1110 FB fans) from "A Mommy Made it"



Do you have a Cloth Diaper (or Diaper-related) Giveaway that I've missed? Please add yours to the linky!

Happy Winning!
Christine


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Friday, July 15, 2011

Soda Bottles as 50-Watt Bulbs

Did you know that it's possible to use 2 liter soda bottles (or other plastic bottles) in place of 50-watt bulbs?

I learned about this from @greenforyou on Twitter. Alfredo Moser of Brazil invented this soda bottle lighting solution when the power went out and he needed to light his workspace. He filled 2 liter soda bottles with water and stuck them through his corrugated roof. The way these bottles work is that the bottles diffuse the light of the sun, emitting the same amount of life as a 50-watt bulb.

To see these lights in action, and to find out how they were made, check out this video "Amazing new Brazilian invention" (in Portuguese with English subtitles).



Of course this is not a lighting system for everyone, but in developing countries it is a great solution. You might also consider it for lighting in your garage or shed. What a great way to recycle and save money at the same time!

Happy Lighting!
Christine

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Organic Energy Snacks Deal on Moolala



Photo from Moolala.com

Today only there's a great "unpublished" Moolala deal on organic & raw snacks. (Moolala is a group deal site, much like Groupon.)

The deal is "$12 for $30 in Organic Energy Snacks from Superfood Snacks" (referral link). I checked out the Superfood website and their snacks look delicous, and are made from raw and organic foods! (I also didn't see any dairy or soy ingredients, which makes me really happy!)


Happy Snacking!
Christine


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