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Did someone say…Hazelnut spread??

Okay, so I know almost everyone likes “chocolate” hazelnut butter…. & if you don’t, well…I’m  not sure what to say actually because I have never encountered anyone who hasn’t.

While I’ve had plenty of the typical brands on the shelves, I have yet to see this brand, Rigoni di Asiago. Now that’s probably from one of a few things. 1. I am in the ZONE when I shop. I need xyz brand and I don’t look at other brands. 2. I am oblivious sometimes or 3. perhaps the store actually doesn’t have it. However, there is a little specialty store by my house that I have a feeling will definitely carry this product, and I  100% want to buy it after trying it.

This product is a product of Italy, gluten free, made without palm oil, non-GMO,  organic, and does NOT contain hydrogenated fats (yay!), or artificial colors, flavors or other additives. According to the pamphlet I got, the hazelnuts are selected by the Rigoni family…which I think is both amazing quality assurance and…well…adorable.

Now this is not a health food by any means, BUT, it is a much better alternative to a more processed version of hazelnut spread, because we all need our sweet fix every now and then.

Here are the nutritional facts:

note…the jar is empty…oops. Perhaps I *inhaled* this jar? + my family found this jar and decided they were going to inhale it as well. Le sigh.

Anyway, this is well worth the “cheat”. Smooth, creamy and sweet. It is definitely on the sweeter side, but in a way that is a good thing, because it’s hard to eat a lot of something when it is su indulgent. The jar is pretty small… so make it last!

The saturated fat isn’t terrible, I’ve seen much worse in other hazelnut spreads which I am contributing to the fact they didn’t use palm oil. Which I also like- because it didn’t have that “oily residue” on top that I’ve seen before.

I was also sent a pamphlet for recipes, and here is one of them

UNFORTUNATELY, my family got to this jar before I could make the recipe. But, if anyone gives it a try let me know! Otherwise, this is a hit in my book. In moderation, of course 🙂

4 star

DISCLAIMER: This is an unbiased review. I received this product for free.
15 Nov 2017, Comments (0)

Snow Monkey Superfood Ice Treat

Author: Healthnuttxo
With low calorie/ light Frozen treats “ice cream” with a bit of protein being a current hit with not only my fellow fitness peeps, but everyone seems to like them, you see tons of new brands popping up with new varieties to try. I’ve tried a couple. Some are well worth the 6$ a pint and others you
may as well throw your 6$ in the trash …along with the pint. 🙂
 .
In comes a new brand I haven’t heard or saw just yet in the freezer section— Snow Monkey. Of the two varieties I was sent, Goji Berry and Cacao, both are dairy free, gluten free, non GMO, vegan, paleo and have 20 grams of protein per pint at 99 cals a serving.
 .
The Goji Berry says I️t has potassium in I️t, however there’s only 140 mg a serving aka 4% of your daily needs to make sure you always read the fine print 🙂 —although I guess that’s what I’m here for!
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Let’s get to the breakdown before the taste.
Goji berry has 99 cals a serving, 2 grams of fat, 17 carbs, 2 g of fiber, 14 grams of sugar—but 0g added sugar— and 5 grams of protein.
 .
Cacao has 99 cals a serving, 3 grams of fat, 16 carbs, 3 g of fiber, 12 grams of sugar—but 4g added sugar— and 5 grams of protein.
 .
Where is this sugar coming from….
BANANAS! Bananas are the first ingredient for both varieties, followed by juice concentrates. I️ definitely like the fact of using fruit as a sweetener and a base—help me add a little extra fruit to my diet in an indulgent way. Hemp protein is main source of protein.
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Now for these you have to let them sit for a solid 15-20 minutes before you can even get a scoop out of the container. For real. But remember the base is fruit and not dairy so that’s why.
I cheated and used the “soften” feature in my microwave. Because I am a hungry girl and I am impatient. That’s why.
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NOW THE TASTE!
Cacao- is amazing. Literally. Tastes like a chocolate covered banana. Once defrosted, it is smooth and creamy and everything you could want for a frozen dessert, including the fact it has fiber, protein, and the base is a banana. It it sweet but not overpoweringly so. Like this is the type of “dessert” you eat and don’t feel like crap about after, because hey, it’s actually NOT bad for you! I could also barely taste any protein flavor, so that’s always a plus for me. 4.5 stars
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Goji Berry- however, this one I was not a fan of. It is just…odd. It has a banana- raspberry-ish flavor, and you can definitely taste the hemp protein, and detect the consistency of the protein powder. I would pass on this one and go straight for the Cacao. 2 stars
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Overall, I am a fan. I would like to see what other flavors they come out with. Love how versatile they are, and how they appeal to those who cannot eat dairy!
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DISCLAIMER: this is an unbiased review. I received these to try for free.
9 Nov 2017, Comments (0)

Hydrant Lemon Lime Optimized Hydration Mix

Author: Healthnuttxo

Proper hydration seems to be an issue these days. I get it. We’re busy. We like coffee over plain water. Or maybe we just hate running to the bathroom every DAMN 5 minutes…but it’s key to stay hydrated. Being dehydrated is dangerous for your body, and can lead to headaches, loss of focus, fatigue, and even long term dehydration may lead to kidney problems.

So what do you choose?  If you absolutely hate water, you have to find a way to stay hydrated! I usually sip on Crystal light peach or lemon iced tea mix (sugar free), but even then, the dyes and artificial sweeteners aren’t great for your teeth.

Insert Hydrant Lemon Lime Hydration Mix. These are vegan, made with natural ingredients, no artificial colors, and run you about 50 calories a stick and claim to have balanced electrolytes.

The ingredients are: Sugar (11grams), Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, Potassium Citrate, Salt, Magnesium Citrate, Zinc Gluconate. Lemon Juice Powder, Lime Juice Powder, Natural Lemon Flavor.

The company claims sugar is important because it helps speed up hydration process with electrolytes. You can read about that here if you are into the science side of things.  But basically it says you need a 2:1 ratio of sodium:glucose in order for those molecules to be pumped into your blood stream –> this creates osmotic pressure which essentially “pulls” water into your blood stream –> you are hydrated.

So while there IS sugar in this product, it is 1/3 of the amount you may find in other sports drinks. Because it is important to know that TOO MUCH sugar can also have a diuresis effect — too osmotic, pulls too much water –> you may have excess excretion, if you catch my drift 🙂

So that’s fun and all, but  how does this taste?

Basically if you like the lemon lime variety of Gatorade, you’ll like this. It’s just not as sweet. I drank it intraworkout and felt pretty good. It was leg day and you utilize a lot of energy during legs, so I always like to drink something for a boost. It was a tad more sour than it was sweet, but not overpowering. I also noticed that I wasn’t as tired after my workout as I usually am after a grueling leg day– got to skip the nap that day 🙂

Overall, I like it. Especially if you’re an athlete, gym rat, cardio bunny. Or if you’re someone who just lives on coffee and hates the thought of water, maybe throw this in once a day and see if it helps. While I wouldn’t go drinking multiple servings per day (calories add up!), I do think it’s a good option, at least once a day, unless you’re a serious athlete and burn up carbs like crazy. But overall, a 4 1/2 star from me.

 

I received this product for free. This is an unbiased review.
31 Oct 2017, Comments (0)

CideRoad Spritzel Switchel drink

Author: Healthnuttxo

Ummm… what is Switchel?

According to wiki (I know, don’t do research with wikipedia, I’m letting down all of my professors right now, blah blah blah) – it’s a drink that is made from water and vinegar, and then seasoned with ginger, and then sweetened.

So in comes CideRoad, who sent me a pack of “Spritzel”, which I am assuming is the carbonated version of a Switchel drink– a Sparkling Apple Cider Vinegar drink. They run you 35 calories for a can. You are instructed to give it a light shake, tap the top a few times, and make sure it is chilled before serving. A quick peek at the ingredients and there is indeed, vinegar, ginger, and other  flavors.

I will say, all three of these are wildly refreshing. I am not super crazy about diet soda, I do like drinking it with dinner every now and then but I am not the type to down cans of soda all day. Not my thing, and the carbonation is too much. These are carbonated but not to the point where it almost burns your mouth on the first sip. They are all lightly carbonated, and just something about them is so refreshing.

They all more or less have the same underlying flavor- you can definitely taste the apple cider vinegar, but it’s not so strong that it is overwhelming and rather quiet mild. I can also definitely taste the ginger tones of flavor with each sip.  They aren’t overly sweet, and definitely not “sugary” tasting like some sodas can be. If I had to describe it, they all kind of remind me of more flavorful seltzer, and way more refreshing.

The Watermelon + Mint was an interesting combo- I think the mint flavor was a tad more powerful than the watermelon, but you definitely get a hint of both.

The Blueberry + Honeysuckle was definitely my favorite– the blueberry flavor really shines through and then you get a nice little hint of honeysuckle at the end. This one seemed a tad sweeter than the others.

The Strawberry + Basil was also a hit. Not too sweet, and the basil complimented the strawberry flavor quite nicely. Definitely a pair I wasn’t expecting to work for a drink.

 

Overall, I like these. Definitely worth a try. The flavors can intimidate — mint drink? blueberry flavored sparkling drink? BASIL IN MY DRINK!?! But don’t let it! They are all quite delicious and refreshing. (Im not sure, can I reiterate that they are refreshing again? 🙂 )  Don’t be fooled, they are NOT sweet/sugary, but rather just the right amount of flavor where you can pair it with dinner or just drink it on it’s own. I also really like the can designs… cute. Bravo.

 

Here is the facts below:

DISCLAIMER: I was sent these products for free. This is an unbiased review.
5 Oct 2017, Comments (0)

Simple Mills Gluten Free Cookies

Author: Healthnuttxo

 

Who doesn’t like COOKIES!!! Well…. to be honest I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like at least some form of a cookie. But what about those who cannot enjoy your every day cookie from the bakery, due to gluten intolerance, vegan lifestyle, soy allergies, dairy allergies?

Simple Mills has a cookie for ya! They have a line of products for those who are gluten intolerant, as well as those with other special dietary needs. The cookies they sent me come in 4 varieties, Toasted pecan, Cinnamon, Chocolate Chip, and Double Chocolate. All of them are gluten free, paleo friendly, dairy free, vegan and soy free. They are all relatively low in sugar as well (see ingredients and nutritional information below for the double chocolate variety), and made with non-GMO ingredients.

But how do they taste?

Toasted Pecan– I was super pumped for this one. Pecans are my favorite nut, and usually one of my favorite flavored things. But these cookies fell….flat. They were relatively bland, not sweet, and just had a weird taste to them. The pecan flavor was lacking. On the bright side, the texture was pretty good– crumbly and crunchy. These would be good perhaps with a cup of coffee or tea, but not by itself. 2 stars.

Cinnamon- these were okay. The cinnamon flavor was mild, and really needed more of a punch. Mildly sweet again, but crunchy and the texture was good (this is important, especially in gluten free products which I have seen time and time again fall apart). While the flavor was good, it was just weak and really needed something to amp it up. 3 stars

Chocolate Chip– oooh. now we are talking! These were yummy. I know they were yummy because once I opened them, the box was nearly gone (thanks to my cookie monster brother). We both agreed they tasted very similar to “Famous Amos” cookies. Sweeter than the other varieties, mild vanilla flavor, crunchy, and the milk chocolate flavored chips were sweet and added a nice touch. Definitely my favorite of the 4 —  4 stars

Double Chocolate- these were also very good. Crunchy and sweeter, a nice chocolate flavor throughout, and the mini chocolate chips were sweet and melted in your mouth. There was a mild vanilla flavor as well. Really wanted to smear some peanut butter on these and inhale but…self restraint! 3.5 stars

 

Overall, not too bad. I think that they are relatively NOT sweet cookies- so you might be shocked if you are used to sweeter conventional varieties of cookies. However, I think they are a good alternative, especially if you like cookies that aren’t packed with sugar. The double chocolate variety for example, has only 4 grams of sugar for 3 cookies, which is almost unheard of for cookies. The BAD is that they are a little on the bland side, and saturated fat will run you almost 4 grams for 3 cookies, which I feel like is a lot, but guessing it’s from the coconut oil.

The One Smart Cookie plate was also a super cute touch.

 

 

DISCLAIMER: I received these cookies for free. This is an unbiased review.
30 Sep 2017, Comments (0)

Expression Med Adhesives for CGM G5

Author: Healthnuttxo

OKAY! We all know Type 1 Diabetes bites the big one in terms of autoimmune diseases. There is no sugar coating it, it stinks. All of it. But I really love these companies that try to make the disease a little less painful by providing some fun.

Most Diabetics I know nowadays have a Continuous Glucose Monitor which checks their blood sugar levels every few minutes and transmits the number to a device via bluetooth. The diabetic wears a “pod” on their skin for up to a week or so. The problem? It falls off, the edges peel when it gets wet, and well…they are kind of ugly. I wear one on my thigh, the amount of times I have ripped off a pod are unreal, and let’s face it, Diabetic Meds are NOT cheap and do NOT have time to be ripping these off. Too costly!!!

Expression Med has come up with super cute adhesives to wear over your CGM pod. I LOVE the idea, especially for kids who may feel alienated amongst their peers. I have had type 1 since I was 4, and while I was never bullied or anything of the sort, I see a lot of kids nowadays with CGMs and insulin pumps, and it may feel like a lot for a kid– he can’t act the same way as his peers, his cake and candy has to be monitored, it stinks- but its companies like this that make it just a bit better by providing cute adhesives.

The instructions are simple: 

I applied, waited my allotted time. And this is how my adhesive has held up a WEEK later.  NO peeling, nothing!

Honestly, I am impressed. No peeling, no itching, no irritation, water seal. Once the pod comes off the skin, its ability to monitor your BG levels are altered, so this is not only great for looks, but also functionality. It also helps you save money because you can get the full use out of your product and not have it peeling off, falling off when it hasn’t been on the entire allotted time. For a DEXCOM G5, I wear it up to a week, but other CGMs may vary.

I REALLY loved the elephant one I was sent (above) and I am definitely interested in buying a few more.

Overall, I love it! On the website I noticed they run you about 15$ for 5, which really isn’t that bad considering the quality. If you have kids with CGM or you find your sites falling off easily, these are a MUST!

I received this product for free, this is an Unbiased review.
24 Aug 2017, Comments (0)

Skim Plus Lactose Free / Fat Free Milk

Author: Healthnuttxo

 

So for those of you that still drink Cow’s Milk… I know, with so many options out there, Cow’s milk seems to be thrown to the side!!… here is an option that is both figure friendly and tummy friendly. Skim Plus, Lactose Free and Fat Free milk. As an added benefit it has 11 grams of protein per serving, a tad more than regular serving of skim milk. It’s also ultra pasteurized, which extends the shelf life, and it’s also in an eco friendly, recyclable container.  The milk (and the cows…) are not treated with hormones or antibiotics — (however the fine print says it is only tested with Beta- Lactam antibiotics — often combined with penicillins, etc.)

NOW… I grew up on regular skim milk. Then Mom accidentally bought whole milk once…woo was that a game changer, and then because of all the fat, we went down and compromised on 2%. However, cow’s milk does give me an upset stomach if I drink it or have yogurt too early in the day. Not super convenient for someone who needs a cup of Joe the second the wake up at 6 am…

So this milk definitely had some appeal to me. Compared to regular skim, it definitely is a tad more creamier. However, if anyone has ever tried skim milk vs lactose free skim milk, you WILL notice a change in flavor– think about it– Lactase is added to break down the milk sugar, lactose, so naturally the flavor will be different. I feel like this one had a stronger flavor change than other lactose free milks I have tried.

It worked pretty well in coffee. Naturally, if you’re used to having whole milk in your coffee and then you switch to skim, you’ll need some extra to compensate. However I didn’t mind adding extra, since I knew it wouldn’t upset my stomach (it didn’t), it had extra protein, and was fat free (nutritional facts below).

Now would I buy it in the future? The company provided me a coupon so I got this carton for free, but it was $5.00 for a carton at the store it was purchased from. That’s a bit steep for a half gallon of milk. I mean I get it– lactose free, antibiotic and hormone free, eco friendly container– but 5 bucks?? For someone who already prefers a higher fat content of milk, not sure if I would buy in the future. I don’t consume enough glasses of milk where I feel I need to chop the extra cals and fat grams and get skim for my coffee, but for someone who consumes a lot of milk, or eats a lot of cereal, etc., I think it’s a good switch. I would personally like to see this brand make like a 1% or so, may appeal to more customers who prefer that fat flavor other milk has to offer.

HOWEVER, if you use regular skim milk, and have the extra money to spare, I think giving this a try is definitely worth your time. 4 star

 

 

I received this for free from the company. This is an unbiased review.
17 Aug 2017, Comments (0)

Banana Wave Dairy Free Banana Milk

Author: Healthnuttxo

An alternative for those bored of soy, almond, or can’t tolerate regular milk, in comes BANANA MILK!!! I love the concept of this, every now and then when I make oatmeal or something, I like the flavor of banana but I HATE warm bananas– changes the consistency and bleh — but something like this would come in perfect.

Banana Wave is made with actual bananas, so none of that artificial flavor banana stuff. That also means you get the added benefit of Potassium with your banana milk, a pretty important mineral to prevent muscle cramping and maintain proper conduction of your heart, etc.  This milk is vegan, kosher, gluten free, and has no artificial colors or flavors.

I tried it 2 ways– in my morning coffee in the place of milk, and with my oatmeal (again, in place of milk).

The milk itself is mild in flavor, and has the consistency of a thicker almond milk. In coffee, it was okay. I usually use whole milk in my coffee, because I like it light and sweet, and hate the bitterness of a cup of Joe. The flavor is pretty mild so a little bit of banana flavor came through but unfortunately the coffee flavor still predominated and the bitterness remained.

In the overnight oats, it provided mild sweetness and banana flavor, which went fantastic with peanut butter. Seriously, what a great find. I used it with overnight oats– so I didn’t actually “cook” the milk– but put 1 cup of Banana Wave with 1/2 cup of oats and 2 Tbsp of peanut butter in a container and let it sit in the fridge overnight, and then just put in microwave for 30 seconds in the morning to take the chill out and melt the peanut butter. Delish!!

Here are the nutritional facts: more or less the same as a banana in terms of calories, but does have added Cane sugar so a serving will cost you 18 grams of sugar (Forgot about this when I had my oatmeal –> high blood sugar… whoops)

However, a good alternative to almond/soy/cow’s milk and good to spice it up every now and then. But watch your sugars!

4 stars

 

DISCLAIMER: I received this product for free from the company. This is an unbiased review.
17 Aug 2017, Comments (0)

Thunderbird Real Food Bar

Author: Healthnuttxo

 

WELL sorry it’s been a while guys…life got a little hectic the past month but I’m back, never fear 8)

Coming at you with some Real Food Bars by Thunderbird. They sent me 4 varieties to try, all vegan, no added sugar, and grain/gluten free. They are nut, seed and date based. As an added benefit, they are also paleo certified. (NOTE: This applies to the bars I got from the company, if you check the website they have several flavors to pick from and details may vary!)

So let’s get started:

As I said above, all of them more or less have the same texture, nutty/seedy with a fruity, date base. The date flavor was there in all 4 bars.

Hazelnut + Coffee + Maca

Coming from a coffee lover, this was not my favorite. It was…gritty. Like I would take a bite of the bar and then grit.  WHAT IS THAT?!?! I checked the ingredients, and it seems it could have been the coffee beans or chia seeds, not entirely sure, but not entirely a fan. The coffee flavor was definitely strong, but overpowered the hazelnut component because I did not taste that too much. The date was sweet and strong as well…If I had to rename this bar it would be like “A Date with Coffee”…because it really just tasted like dates and coffee.

2 stars.

Cashew + Fig + Carrot

Alrighty, moving on. This one was okay. As a whole, it was entirely too sweet without much of another component to balance it out– needed more crunch, or something even slightly salty, etc. The Fig + Carrot together gave it a sweet potato vibe. & like I said, this one was lacking on the crunch factor, a cashew is a pretty soft nut to begin with so it was kind of lost in this bar. Overall, too sweet, too fruity, needs something else. Maybe almond would have been a better choice.

2.5 stars

Peach Pecan Vanilla 

In this bar, the peach and date flavor really shine through. The vanilla flavor is somewhat lost. It’s a sweet bar, but not overly sweet, and almost gives off an apricot type of flavor. Chewy, dense and nutty, and the pecans add a nice crunch. I almost taste a bit of cashew in this one. Overall, this one was pretty good, I’m a fan.

3.5 stars

Texas Maple Pecan

Well, well, well, moving on to the star. This one was kind of like pecan pie 🙂 Chewy and dense, sweet but not overly so, huge chunks of pecan and a nice cinnamon flavor. It goes well with the date because it reminds me of the condensed milk, etc. they use to make pecan pie. The maple flavor is subtle,  but delicious. There is some type of “zing” to the bar, and I can’t quite figure out what it is–perhaps the cinnamon– but I like it. Basically if you’re like me and will eat the topping of a pecan pie, you’ll like this bar.

4 stars.

OVERALL, I like the idea of these bars. Gluten free, paleo, minimal ingredients, no added sugar. I think some need a tad bit of tweaking, BUT you have to also consider the minimal ingredient component. I would definitely try the Pecan based flavors, and I would be interested in trying the other flavors (like ummm they have this cool Pecan Goji Pistachio flavor!!) Thunderbird has to offer.

Check them out!

 

DISCLAIMER: I received these bars for free from the company. This is an unbiased review.

 

This post goes out to my gluten free friends who are sick and tired of trying gluten free pasta alternatives that ultimately, well, stink.  Fear  not, I come with solutions!!!

Explore Cuisine sent me 2 of their gluten free pasta varieties. The Organic Chickpea Fusilli, and Organic Black Bean Spaghetti.  Both of these options have more protein than your rice pasta varieties (or flour based!) and are NON-GMO verified.

Let’s start with the Organic Chickpea Fusilli. a 2 oz serving is 200 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 35 grams of carbs (5 fiber) and 11 grams of protein.  Pretty good stats if you ask me since it IS pasta.

NOW a caveat. I am NOT a pasta eater. Do I like pasta? Of course I like pasta. But it wreaks HAVOC on my blood sugars for hours, so I tend to stay away. So I had hopes that *maybe* these wouldn’t do me dirty like flour or rice based pasta does.

Ok, so let’s start with cooking, shall we?
This chickpea pasta was a real pain in the butt to cook. Once it was boiling, I lowered the heat a bit and it kept boiling over the sides with that “pasta foam”… hard to describe but it sure made a mess…several times. So PLEASE keep an eye on this and don’t turn your back (not that you should be far anyway when cooking!). I cooked it until the al dente texture.

 

I made it with some green beans and chicken in a light gravy. The pasta itself was great in terms of texture, it does NOT fall apart like rice based pasta would. It more or less had same consistency as flour based. It has a tiny bit of an aftertaste of chick peas, but overall very mild in flavor making it pretty versatile. It was particularly  yummy plain with some  butter and salt.

Moving on to the black bean spaghetti, this one was not a pain to cook at all, but It *does* look a little weird when it’s all cooked. Sort of like a bird’s nest. So eat with your mouth not your eyes in this case. Don’t judge it!!!

Because I actually like this one even better than the chickpea. Super mild in flavor, same texture and consistency as flour-based pasta, and went amazing with tomato sauce. The best part, at least for me, was NO EFFECT on my blood sugars. In fact, every time I ate it, my blood sugar went LOW after, and that is a diabetics dream. So I will 100% buy this in the future.

1 2 ounce serving is 215 calories, 2 grams of fat, 23 carbs, 12 grams of fiber, and 25 grams of PROTEIN!!!! Talk about AMAZING nutritional facts!!

Overall, very pleased with both of these products. I like the spaghetti more than the fusilli in terms of taste and texture, but I do wish that the black bean variety came in a fusilli or spiral type shape, as I prefer those noodles over spaghetti. But hey, cant be too choosy.

These get 4 1/2 stars from me. All my gluten free fans (and diabetics!!!) I think these are worth a shot!

 

I received these products for Free. This is an unbiased review. Please consult your doctor/RD first– remember I am not licensed professional.
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