How to make your favourite dishes SCD legal/paleo

paleo-pancakes

When you tell people that you don’t eat dairy, grains or sugar, they often stare at you incredulously (and a little pityingly), before gasping, “What do you eat?”

The problem is that so many people have fallen into a groove of slapping together a toastie for lunch or a pot of macaroni cheese for dinner that thinking about creating a meal without bread or cheese or pasta or sugar (tomato sauce, I’m looking at you) seems virtually impossible. Pasta and puddings are easy, cheap, convenient and delicious to make, and without them… What will we EAT??

Here are some ideas: any kind of meat, basically any fruits and veg you can imagine (with the exception of one or two, like potatoes and bananas, if you’re doing paleo), nuts, nut milks, nut butters, seeds, honey (sparingly on SCD) and, once you start thinking a little more laterally, a ton of amazing desserts and treats made with these ingredients. If you’re doing SCD and you aren’t lactose-intolerant, you can add dairy products to this list too.

Of course, if you’ve become accustomed to eating pasta and bread-based meals, as well as the odd pizza cheat on weekends, it can be daunting to make the transition to ‘cleaner’ eating.  Yes, it’s a mindshift, but you’d be amazed at how quickly your thinking changes.

To help you along if you’re new to this, I’ve put together a list of some of the easier and more popular everyday meals that you can turn into SCD legal or paleo dishes.

Pancakes

Traditionally, these are made with milk, wheat flour and butter, so it seems almost inconceivable to make anything resembling a pancake without these ingredients.

Think again: For SCD pancakes, use eggs, almond flour and coconut oil – try this recipe or this one – or attempt an even easier 3-ingredient pancake that’s super light and quick to make.

Smoothies

Bought smoothies are often made with frozen yoghurt or ice cream and loaded with unhealthy sweeteners or sugar. Often they’re just as kilojoule-dense as milkshakes, and we’re tricked into believing that they’re healthy because they have a berry or two thrown in.

Make your own paleo or SCD smoothies at home by throwing your favourite fruit into a blender with a dash of pure fruit juice or a squeeze of lime, and instead of frozen yoghurt, use SCD yoghurt, coconut milk or coconut cream. Don’t forget to add a spoon of your favourite nut butter!

Get creative and come up with your own combinations – you really are limited only by your imagination (and taste buds).

Here’s a collection of great paleo smoothies and shakes to get your creative juices flowing.

Lasagna

This is an awesome hack for dairy, grain-free lasagna: Instead of pasta sheets, use slices of zucchini in between your layers of meat. You could also use butternut or even egg-white crepes that mimic the texture of pasta.

As for the sauce, use substitutes like cashew cream or cashew cheese. These ingredients may sound totally exotic to you now, but I promise that after making them once or twice, they’ll be old hat. If you told me three months ago that I’d be making my own yoghurt using nut milks and non-dairy cultures, I’d never have believed you. Now I do it once a week, and start to panic when my stock gets low!

Anyway, here and here are some fabulous collections of SCD/paleo lasagna recipes to try.

Spaghetti bolognaise

This one is super easy: The trick is not to be fooled by unhealthy packaged ingredients that you’re so used to adding to your bolognaise. It’s okay to use tomato paste, but make sure it has no added sugar. I’ve just about perfected my bolognaise recipe – it’s easy, affordable and totally more-ish. Here’s the recipe.

Instead of spaghetti, serve with cauliflower rice, roast butternut or – if you enjoy the ‘taste’ – shirataki noodles. This is actually a plant product that has a similar consistency to noodles, but zero calories and little-to-no taste (though I definitely detect a vague, odd flavour). It’s quite strange and expensive, but some people like it. Buy it here in South Africa.

Burgers

The only real problem here is the bun, so omit it and, if you like, wrap your pattie in lettuce. Of course, if you’re not doing dairy, omit any cheesy toppings. Bacon is also ill-advised because unless you’re buying organic, it’s usually laden with sugar and unhealthy additives and preservatives.

I have an amazing burger recipe that I’m super proud of – try it here.

Curry

Curries are GREAT for paleo and SCD, because they’re easy to serve without grains, and the recipe doesn’t usually call for dairy. This means that it’s so simple to make SCD/paleo curries. Simply omit any yoghurt and replace with coconut milk or cream, and for sweetness, add a dash of honey instead of sugar.

Make sure that any spices you use are good quality and don’t have any anti-caking agents or other additives in them. The best idea is to buy yours from a spice market, if you have access to one, or simply make your own spice mixes from scratch. This is more labour intensive but definitely worth the effort.

I’ll post K’s Thai green recipe soon, which ticks all the right boxes. In the mean time, browse this selection of paleo curry recipes. I’m also dying to try this SCD roast cauliflower soup recipe – it’s on my list for this winter (by the way, The Tasty Alternative has the most amazing SCD recipes).

Dessert

There are SOOO many healthy, clean SCD and paleo dessert recipes out there – do a quick Google search to see what I mean. Things you’d never even imagine existed. So you never need to feel like you’re missing out just because you can’t have caramel whip or cream cakes. In fact, because these desserts are so kind to your belly, you’ll finally get to enjoy a sweet treat without the awful after effects you’re so used to experiencing.

Here’s a baked apple crisp I made last weekend that was very easy to throw together, and enjoyed by everyone who tried it. My favourite review came from my mom, who said, “You can actually taste how healthy it is.” But yet, super delicious. Win!

Happy cooking, guys – and don’t be afraid to experiment!

 

Day 85: Surprising remedies for constipation

So this is something I’ve been battling with for several weeks – I just can’t seem to get onto an even keel with my BMs. But I’ve been going through my food diary (I still can’t believe I’m actually keeping one – it’s sooo useful), and I suddenly discovered that my BMs were great when I was drinking apple juice.

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I don’t always have it at home – there’s only one brand that I’ve found in Cape Town that makes 100% pure apple juice with no additives, and I can’t always get it. When I do, I stock up, though I usually guzzle my way through it quite fast!

Anyway, I’m guessing the owners of the deli downstairs have treated themselves to a new toy because they’ve also started selling their own ‘homemade’ pure apple juice. Until I get my own juicer, this is the perfect solution. YAY!

Here are some other things that I think may be helping to alleviate my constipation:

  • Pure apple juice
  • Hot toddies (noticed improved BMs when I was drinking these – lemon, honey and ginger)
  • Magnesium (I stopped taking magnesium supplements a few weeks ago, and have recently resumed)*
  • Cooking veg for shorter periods of time
  • Eating vegetable skins/seeds

I also am starting to suspect that I might react to red meat in large quantities (ie, eating a big steak). Anyone else react to red meat? Also, please feel free to share any constipation tips/cures you may have!

*Always check with your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet.

Day 84: What’s wrong with this picture? A cautionary tale about getting drunk on SCD

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I mean besides the bright pink eye-shadow and multi-coloured nails?

THAT PINK DRINK!

Last night, 84 days in, I completely fell off the SCD wagon – and yes, today I am filled with remorse and I’m hating myself pretty badly.

The day started out well enough. K, my sister and I went on a little shopping trip and ended up stopping for refreshments at the new branch of Osumo up the road from us – it’s a health food cafe that sells amazing natural fresh food. Perfect.

My sister and I each had their 100% apple juice, which is so pure they may as well be standing at your table and squeezing it from the apple as you drink it. I’ve never had pure fruit juice like that at a restaurant before, and I was so impressed. K had a ‘Chocolate Frosty’, which is made from banana, frozen yogurt and a few other things. She was so chuffed that it was delicious despite being healthy!

Just LOOK at that pure apple juice!

Just LOOK at that pure apple juice!

Apple juice and a Chocolate Frosty from Osumo

Apple juice and a Chocolate Frosty from Osumo

I had to add this picture of my cute little sister!

I couldn’t resist posting this pic of my cute little sister!

The rest of the day went fine too, and I pre-ate before we went out last night. We’d planned a super gay night out on the town – yay!

We started at our friends’ place with bubbly (it wasn’t a sweet one, though it was carbonated – a big no-no for me) and shots of jagermeister. I have never looked into this, but I’m pretty sure jagermeister is NOT SCD legal.

Then we got to the restaurant – and incredibly vibey place with an amazing drinks menu. I already had my buzz on, and I was failing to hear to frantic warning sirens in my head. I ordered a cosmo. My reasoning? It’s vodka and cranberry juice, and cranberry is good for you!

Of course, in the sober light of day, I am fully and painfully aware than the ‘cranberry juice’ they put into a cosmo is very, very, VERY far removed from anything natural I should be consuming. Actually, I realised this when the first sugary blast hit my tongue. But by this point, I was too tipsy to worry. And then, because I’d ‘already’ slipped up, I went on to order a strawberry daiquiri (the pic above), which I think is SO illegal on SCD it could actually get me arrested.

By the time I finished my super-potent drinks, I had not a care in the world. I didn’t order food, but when K’s arrived, it looked amazing.

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AH! I thought, regressing back to my pre-SCD brain, onion rings! Somehow, my drink-addled brain decided that because I’d already safely introduced onion, it would be fine to eat the BATTERED DEEP-FRIED onion rings off K’s plate. I took one bite and realised OMG GLUTEN!!!!!! and then quickly finished the lot while K shook her head sadly and repeated ,’84 days, 84 days’ and ‘I don’t know how to stop you.’ Thank goodness I managed to rein myself in before these shortbreads arrived at the table:

What would a super gay night out on the town be without penis cookies?

What would a super gay night out on the town be without penis cookies?

The rest of the night was okay. I drank water and/or vodka with soda water, but the guilt hung over me like a cloud. It still does today, and I’m hoping that writing about it here will at least benefit someone.

I’m sad that I knowingly cheated (and so badly!) so far into this. BUT I also realise that as human beings following a pretty difficult diet, slip-ups probably are inevitable. I’m no better or worse than anyone else, and I didn’t die (despite feeling like death today).

It  also made me realise that my food inhibitions willpower completely evaporates the moment I start drinking shots – something that I thought I’d conquered, but clearly have not. So whether or not they’re legal (like tequila), it’s not a good idea for me to have shooters EVER. I’m also strictly back on the diet so this is not a free pass to remain fallen-off-the-wagon.

Sigh. I really despise myself right now but I realise it’s not productive. Instead, I’m going to publish this post and let it take the self-hatred with it. Then, I’m going to have a big glass of water, a couple of eggs, and re-read this excellent article from SCDLifestyle.com that seems so applicable right now, about the glass wall mistake that people make when they think they’re getting better.

How’s your diet going?

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Day 82: I DID IT! (and a delicious, easy SCD/paleo recipe)

My meal: Cauliflower mash, ostrich bolognaise, cooked baby spinach, roast baby tomatoes

Ostrich bolognaise with cauliflower mash, wilted baby spinach and roast baby tomatoes

Tonight, after nearly three months on this diet, I achieved something I never thought possible: I got K to eat an SCD meal! And not only that, but she ate a whole bunch of things she’d never have agreed to if she’d known 😉

The reason that this is such a massive milestone for me is that when it comes to food, K likes what she likes. She’ll eat fruit and veg… but she prefers meat and potatoes. And while I love nuts and seeds and dates and bananas, she’d rather go hungry than eat them.

Tonight, I made a delicious bolognaise that I served on cauliflower mash. The meal was completely SCD legal (obviously) and apart from two tiny differences between our meals, we ate the exact same thing. Another reason that this is significant is that I cook two different meals every night. Being able to make one meal for both of us – at least some of the time – will be such a big time saver (except now I have to share my delicious food – damn!).

The recipe

Sneaky me: I snuck tons of veg into the mince and K had no idea. It’s a great tactic for kids too. If you’re still in the early phases of SCD, like me (I consider phase 3 fairly early still), make sure you cook the veg really well. There is no oil in this recipe, very little fat, and it’s packed with nutrients.

Recipe: SCD bolognaise with cauliflower mash, roast baby tomatoes and baby spinach

Ingredients

  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 3 baby zucchini, peeled and grated
  • 3-4 leeks, white part only, sliced finely
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 2 heaped tsp minced garlic
  • 500g ostrich mince (or venison or extra lean beef mince)
  • 1 small jar / 50g tomato paste (make sure it contains only tomatoes)
  • Two medium tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped (seeds removed if you are in the early stages)
  • 200ml tomato puree (I used bottled, pure tomato puree)
  • A good glug of red wine (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • A few handfuls of baby tomatoes (I used baby roma)
  • Several handfuls of baby spinach, washed
  • 1 medium cauliflower head
  • Grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Add the carrot, zucchini, onion, leek and 1 heaped teaspoon of garlic to a pot, add a few drops of hot water, and heat. Stir constantly over high heat for about 10 minutes, adding water as you need to, until veg is cooked and soft.

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Bolognaise: The best way to hide veg that kids or girlfriends won’t eat 😉

Add the mince and tomato paste to the pot. Break up the mince with a wooden spoon or fork, and continue to cook on high heat, stirring all the time.

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Now you need to disguise all that veg…

Add the wine and stir until reduced. Throw in the chopped tomato, tomato puree and the second teaspoon of garlic, as well as a good pinch of salt and several cracks of black pepper. Stir to incorporate.

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One medium tomato contains 40% of your recommended daily vitamin C intake

Reduce heat to low, stir until the pot has simmered down, and then cover and leave to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. The longer you leave it, the better the flavour – but it smells so good it’s hard wait!

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Be patient – it needs to simmer for at least 20 minutes! But you can ‘taste’ for seasoning purposes of course 😉

Meanwhile, place the baby tomatoes into a pot with a little water, and cook on medium heat until the skins have just begin to burst. Set aside.

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Keep a close eye on these!

Next, pour some boiling water over the spinach (or leave it raw if you’re able and prefer it) and leave to soften. Then grate the cauliflower into ‘rice’, like this:

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Use the smallest holes to grate the cauliflower

I know there’s a much easier way to do it using your the food processor, but I’ve still not figured out how to do much more than blend things and make banana ice cream with mine! Anyway, it’s a great bicep workout 🙂 Grate it all until it looks like this (discarding the thick stems in the middle):

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Cauliflower ‘rice’

Cook the cauliflower in the microwave, covered, for about 12 minutes. Add a dash of water before cooking if you need to.

Now it’s time to plate! Spread a spoonful of cauliflower mash onto the bottom of each bowl, then scatter the spinach leaves on top. Top with the bolognaise, then place a few cherry tomatoes on top. K also got a sprinkling of parmesan cheese, which is SCD legal, but I can’t eat it because I’m lactose intolerant. And here’s what our meals looked like:

K's meal: Cauliflower mash, raw baby spinach, ostrich bolognaise and roast baby tomatoes

K’s meal: Cauliflower mash, raw baby spinach, ostrich bolognaise and roast baby tomatoes

My meal: Cauliflower mash, ostrich bolognaise, cooked baby spinach, roast baby tomatoes

My meal: Cauliflower mash, ostrich bolognaise, wilted baby spinach, roast baby tomatoes

Oh my gosh guys, it was amazing! And there were NO leftovers (sob).

K’s verdict

Here are some things that K said during the meal:

“Oh my gosh this is so good. I don’t know why you’ve been complaining about SCD food.” (luckily this was punctuated with a grin and a wink).

“I love it.”

“…nmmmnonmmmmsshluuuurrrpnommmmmm…”

“Is there more for seconds?”

“What’s the squashy type thing that was in there?”

“I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU MADE ME EAT ZUCCHINI. YOU’RE EVIL.”

“I’m too full for dessert.”

So I did pretty well, and it’s another dish I can add to our weekly rotation. I am SO proud of myself for taking a bunch of ingredients that K would never normally eat, and turning it into something that she actually loved – AND it was SCD legal! BEST. EVER.

Please feel free to share you recipes or links to your blogs – I love finding new SCD recipes and I need all the inspiration I can get!

 

Day 81: My foodie inspiration & today’s new food

Today, I started thinking about my mom, one of the healthiest people I know, and incidentally, someone who’s overcome ‘chronic’ disease. ‘Chronic’ is in inverted commas for a reason – you’ll see why. My mom is my foodie (and lifestyle) inspiration! Here’s why:

About eight years ago, she was diagnosed with Graves Disease, an autoimmune disease that mainly affects the thyroid. She lost a ton of weight and had a lot of other nasty symptoms that led to her diagnosis.

The specialist she consulted immediately recommended that she have her thyroid destroyed, which in itself can have very serious health implications. She declined this course of treatment and stuck to her meds. Fast forward eight or so years, and there hasn’t been a hint of her Graves Disease in years. Regular tests reveal, over and over again, absolutely no further indication of the illness in her body.

Why it spontaneously manifested, and why it subsequently beat its retreat, is not known. What I do know is that my mom lives one of the healthiest lifestyles of anyone I know. My whole life, until about three years ago, she was the same steady weight of 50kg (she’s very short so this weight is perfect for her). It’s increased a little over the past few years due to regular ageing (she’s 63 53 49), but she’s still a small little person with an excellent figure for her age.

Mom, my sister (on the right) and me

Mom, my sister (on the right) and me

She’s been a vegetarian for more than 35 years and eats every fruit and vegetable under the sun. When I was growing up, she cooked three to four different kinds of vegetables every night, and EVERY night we had a fresh salad with supper (and she worked a full day!). She snacks on things like nuts and never drinks alcohol, fizzy drinks or juice.

Instead, she loves her tea, which she consumes by the bucket-load every day (with the tiniest drop of milk and half a teaspoon of sugar), and her milky cappucinos. You’ll never see her eating takeaways or junk food, bingeing on cake or eating dessert after supper, as she simply doesn’t have a taste for these things. She’s never been given to over-indulgence, except when it comes to chocolate, which she seems able to consume in unlimited amounts, and of course that never-ending stream of tea and cappucino with the odd bran muffin thrown in.

At 63 53 49, she’s incredibly good for her age. She can’t sit still, so she walks her hyperactive Jack Russell several times a day, often for an hour at a time (a habit she’s had for decades – not the same dog of course) and she’s constantly on the go. She also practices yoga twice a week, which she’s done for years, and works as a voluteer teacher at a school for underprivileged kids.

This is what my mom and her Jack Russell are working towards!

This is what my mom and her Jack Russell are working towards!

Although she doesn’t sleep well and has the occasional ache or pain, overall her health is excellent. She’s fit, hardly ever gets sick, and her body is in good shape. If you ask me, I think so much of it has to do with the food she eats, her level of activity and, of course, genetics (yay for me!). So this is why I’d say my mom is my foodie inspiration. When it comes to living clean, my mom’s got it waxed.

Who’s your foodie inspiration?

Springing a leek

Thankfully, not that kind of leak. Tonight I introduced leeks, which is not a vegetable I’d eat very often, but it adds such a great flavour to your food. Also, the supermarket had such a limited variety of veg available this evening, and the Brussels Sprouts that I’d been planning on buying were super overpriced.
Who knew there was good bacteria in leeks!

Who knew there was good bacteria in leeks!

The leeks were fresh and organic, and they just looked amazing. I added them to some venison ‘bolognaise’ and thoroughly enjoyed them. Best of all? I can sneak them into meals without K realising – like soups, stews, sauces, etc. She thinks she doesn’t like them but I plan to sneak them into our food tomorrow night (oh, that’s another thing: I’m cooking an SCD meal for her tomorrow) and I’m 99% sure she won’t notice 🙂

There are still loads of fruits I can add now on Phase 3 but I’m still not in love with the idea of cooking my fruit so I’m giving it a skip until I can eat them raw.

How’s your diet going? How far are you and what new foods have you introduced?

Day 79: Coconut ginger chicken with cauliflower rice

Does it seem like I’ve made a massive leap from soggy broccoli and pureed carrots to proper gourmet meals? Ha! It feels like that to me… but the days have really flown on this diet.

Over the past week I’ve realised that I can actually already make some pretty awesome dishes based on foods I’ve already introduced. That, combined with the fact that I’m slowly introducing the skin and seeds of well-cooked vegetables means that I have much more freedom to create exciting meals.

Tonight, I cooked a delicious chicken dish that I made up from ingredients I can already eat. I can’t actually believe how good it was, so I’m going to share the recipe here.

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Coconut ginger chicken with cauliflower rice

Ingredients

  • 400g skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • Half a lemon
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 400ml coconut milk (homemade – I made mine ‘lite’ by diluting 1 cup with water)
  • 250g broccoli florets
  • 200g baby marrow, peeled and sliced into batons
  • 2 handfuls cherry or baby roma tomatoes, sliced into halves
  • Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 small head of cauliflower

Method

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to a pot with the garlic and all the juice from half the lemon. Add a little hot water and fry on med-high heat for about 5 minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink.

Add the coconut milk, ginger and vegetables to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until veg is tender and flavours are infused.

While the chicken is simmering, ‘rice’ the cauliflower by grating it,then place it into a microwave-safe bowl and add a little water. If you like, sprinkle some lemon juice over it for extra flavour. Microwave for 10 minutes or until cooked.

Just before serving, add the coriander to the pot and stir to incorporate. Serve the chicken over the cauliflower rice and garnish with extra coriander if desired.

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This dish was so good and I absolutely plan to make it again (and again and again…)

I also can’t wait to experiment with other foods and flavours. It’s so exciting to be creating completely SCD-legal dishes that are not only helping to heal my gut, but are totally yummy too 🙂 I served tonight’s meal with organic rose wine called Live a little. Appropriate, methinks!

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Day 78: A jar and a spoon…

…is all that’s left of the almond butter I opened… on Friday. This is why I shouldn’t buy things like this! I have absolutely no self control.

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I love nut butters. LOVE. On SCD, particularly the early phases, there’s not much ‘naughty food’ to binge on. Not that nut butter is particularly naughty, but of course it is very high in calories and I suspect nut butters make me bloated.

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And of course, peanuts are illegal on SCD plus they’re not *real* nuts… they’re legumes (neh-neh-ne-nehhhh-neh)

Nuts and an SCD belly

Nuts definitely don’t agree with everyone, and in fact they’re known to cause problems for people with damaged guts. Nuts are very hard to digest, and they can be bloating. They can also cause diarrhoea and/or constipation.

It’s recommended that you don’t introduce nuts (even nut milks and nut butters) until you’ve been symptom free for 3 months (for me, it’s going on 4 or 5 months).

I tested almonds quite some time ago when I first made SCD yogurt on phase 2. The first time I made the yogurt, I used unstrained almond milk which meant it had lots of ground-up almonds in it, and that didn’t agree with me (lots of bloating).

I used strained almond milk next, and I tolerated that a lot better (SCD yogurt recipe here). Since then, over the weeks, I’ve introduced coconut milk, cashew butter and macadamia butter. They don’t wreak havoc on my system and I tolerate them well in small amounts, but I doubt I’m doing my body any favours by clocking a jar in 72 hours!

How well do you tolerate nuts? Any tips or advice? And HOW can I stop eating it like a crazy person?!?

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