Raising Healthy Children: Tip # 3

By Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani: Tip # 3: TOUGH LOVE

Many parents lament that they can’t get their children to eat certain foods or meals that they prepare…

Despite their best intentions, many parents today arrive at a stand-of with their children; the children dictate what they will and won’t eat, and then the parents become distressed when their kids fall ill with frequent colds and flus, ear infections and asthma, to name but a few repercussions of poor diet. Or in ever-growing cases, children acquire seemingly mysterious behavioral disorders with long labels that require medication. Even then, the link is often not made between diet and health.

Sometimes it seems a whole lot easier to just give into children and throw into their lunchboxes that vegemite, peanut butter or jam sandwich, a packet of chips, or a cupcake. There is no doubt that this type of approach to lunches is quick, simple, and easy. But the question is:

Is life simple and easy when we have hyperactive, angry or unwell children?

NO, it isn’t…full report

 …Life is draining physically, emotionally and financially.

 

We cannot pour soft drinks or additives onto a potted plant and expect it to survive… the same applies to our body.

There is a direct relationship between what we eat and our quality of life and health. In Lunchbox Solutions, I discuss a variety of approaches to retraining fussy eaters.

Every family must negotiate guidelines and boundaries around many facets of lifestyle and behavior, but there are none as important as diet, because what your children eat has an ENORMOUS IMPACT on the whole family. It’s exhausting when they are chronically unwell when they are irritable and friends and family don’t want to spend time with them. So I’d encourage you to pick your battles and be clear that the “food battle” is one you want to win!

Even if your child appears quite healthy, remember that the impact of poor food choices may have a long-lasting effect on their health as adults. The cumulative damage of refined sugars and processed foods can be an enormous contributor to illnesses including diabetes and heart disease. It is our role as guardians to empower our family with proactive and positive habits. 

Since my boys were very little they learned that they need to eat primarily wholesome foods and at times “sometimes foods.” It is vitally important that children learn how they can strengthen digestive power through eating foods that are as close to their natural state as possible including a wide variety of fresh organic vegetables and fruits, raw or organic nuts and seeds, beans, whole grains; you get the idea.

Foods Cont.

Foods should nourish and heal the body. Eating foods in their most natural state ensures we receive the highest nutritional content. Whole foods contain naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, enzymes, essential fatty acids, amino acids and more.

Consuming food shouldn’t be a toxic event. By eating “whole foods” we also help our family to reduce their intake of harmful chemicals. Such as preservatives, synthetic nutrients, and other additives that are considered non-foods (which are added to most all processed foods.)

If you can — try to eat organic foods whenever possible. This will help to ensure you avoid harmful toxins such as antibiotics, synthetic hormones, pesticides, herbicides, GMO’s, and synthetic fertilizers. Purchasing organic food is not a luxury but rather an integral step in securing our health. Pollutants in our modern environment—for example, pesticides, heavy metals, herbicides and fumigants—have been linked to abnormalities in behavior, perception, cognition, and motor ability during early childhood, even when exposure is at so-called harmless levels.

The goal is to teach the child to make these good decisions themselves

Where possible encourage children to help you shop and prepare meals and take the opportunity to highlight the pros and cons of different foods and false foods.

Encourage your children from a young age to also be open to having supplements or “vitamin boosts” from time to time. For example, smoothies and homemade juices are a great way to add multi-mineral powders and probiotics into their weekly diet. High-quality probiotics can provide the necessary bacteria for a healthy gut, and they are an essential aid to digestive health for all children — I would recommend taking these a few times a week. It’s also a great habit to encourage them to randomly have zinc and vitamin C powder drinks or multi-mineral drinks particularly if they have been really busy or had a few late nights.

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Children Eating More Fruit, but Fruit and Vegetable Intake Still ...

Raising Healthy Children: Tip # 2 How?

By Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani: How? Take an audit.

Whenever we want to set ourselves a new goal we have to know where we are starting. This allows us to look back in 6 and 12 months time and celebrate how far we have come. It’s hard work being a parent and it’s harder again to a parent who’s committed to healthy habits and rituals. So, it’s important to take stock and appreciate your efforts.

So let’s begin how to audit.

Q: How Much Sugar Do You Each Consume Daily

Without realizing it, most adults and children eat refined sugar for breakfast, lunch and dinner via processed cereals and grains. Most of us consume an average of 53 kg of sugar each year (approximately
29 teaspoons of added and natural sugar each day), and 75 percent comes from the packaged and convenience products we eat and drink.

I’d encourage you to investigate the health risks associated with eating too many sugars (in Lunchbox Solutions I discuss the dangers of sugars and outline what are healthier ways to sweeten recipes, so that’s a great place to start).

There are several reasons should we should avoid sugars, including that they raise our insulin levels. Insulin is a hormone
that our pancreas produces and its main function is taking up blood glucose (sugar) into the cells for energy. High insulin levels are thought to contribute to multiple health issues but for this post where we are focused on raising the health status of our children — let’s keep to three main issues.

Key issues with sugar

1 High insulin levels can depress the immune system weakening our ability to fight disease. This occurs because white blood cells need stacks of vitamin C to kill bacteria and viruses. So our white blood cells work to accumulate
and store vitamin C within the cell. The problem is that vitamin C and glucose have similar chemical structures so they then compete to enter the white blood cells. Guess what happens when we have lots of glucose in our blood from eating lots of foods that contain processed sugars? Glucose wins and our white blood cells become deficient in vitamin C compromising our ability to fight bugs.

2 Too many sugars also upset the integral balance of good and harmful bacteria in the gut. When we consume too many sugars we can create an overgrowth of harmful yeasts and bad bacteria which override our helpful “disease fighting” helpful bacteria — hindering our immune system.

3 Refined sugars also provide us with no vitamins or minerals. In order for them to be metabolized, they draw on the body’s reserves of vitamins and minerals, depleting our body’s nutrients.

ACTION: Start a food diary and observe just how much sugar find there way into your daily diet. Here’s a tip for when looking at products and packaging — sugars tend to be any ingredient ending in “ose” — sucrose, fructose, dextrose, lactose etc. Try it — it will shock you!

Drastically reducing sugar (initially this is not an easy task) not only lightens the load on your child’s immune system it also allows your children to get off the ‘blood-sugar rollercoaster’.

Here’s another tip — cutting back sugar … life just gets better. Sugar highs and lows, make us all irritable and grumpy.

Audit Cont.

Q: How many processed foods are in your pantry, fridge and child’s lunch box?
-Literally count the number of packaged items and take an audit. If a food item has more then 5 or 6 ingredients you can bet it’s refined, altered and damaged. If you can’t pronounce the names of the ingredients in the food item, mostly likely it’s full of chemicals. I’d encourage you to become a food critic and learn what all those numbers and complex sounding ingredients really mean. Please see “Become a Food Critic” and the “Poor Choice, Better Choice and Fabulous Choice” Table in “Empower Their Choices” in Lunchbox Solutions.

Q: How many pieces of fresh fruit and vegetables are you all currently consuming each day?

-Daily consistency is key here.

Q: How many glasses of water do you drink?

Q: What sort of water do you drink?
-And I don’t mean the wet kind. One of the simplest and most important things you can do is invest in a water filter to protect your family against chemically-treated water. Most of our drinking water today contains chlorine and chlorination by-products, as well as numerous other contaminants. Drinking good quality water via a high quality filter system — promotes detoxification, enhances nutritional uptake and ensures optimal hydration.

Help your children develop the habit of drinking water throughout the day rather than juices and soft drinks. A mere two per cent drop in our body’s water supply can trigger signs of dehydration: fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math and difficulty focusing on smaller print, such as a computer screen. Many children are frequently dehydrated, suffering with concentration issues, constipation and digestive problems.

Q: How many prescriptions has your child had in the last twelve months and over their lifetime?
-With regular chiropractic care and addressing these other tips for raising healthy children, many parents delight in no longer relying on antibiotics and instead being able to rely on their child’s own immune strength.

Q: How many sessions of sweaty exercise would each family member perform each week?
-Ideally each of us should be raising our heart rate 5 times a week.

Q: How many harmful chemicals are in your personal care and cleaning products?
-Source brands that are genuinely wholesome — free of nasty chemicals and toxins which are readily absorbed through the skin and tax our body and its defence system.

It can be a “reality slap” to take an audit and look at where you currently sit along the “healthy” and “not so healthy” scale. Where you sit on the “fresh” and “disastrously preserved” scale. Remember though that every moment we make choices and have the opportunity and capacity to influence both our child’s — short and long-term health.

 

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Raising Healthy Children: Tip # 1

By Dr. Jennifer Barham-Floreani: My number one tip or proactive step for raising the health status of your children is to FIND AN INSPIRING, RECOMMENDED WELLNESS CHIROPRACTORs and have your child’s nervous system regularly checked.

Chiropractors and children

I’m a chiropractic baby and cannot emphasize enough how chiropractic adjustments with a wellness chiropractor are a parent’s secret weapon when desiring to raise strong, healthy children. If you have never seen a chiropractor or have any questions regarding safety and effectiveness, please read my post on The Legitimacy of Chiropractic. Chiropractic for babies and children is gentle, safe, and effective, and in the spectrum of all health professionals – chiropractors have an incredibly excellent safety record. More and more parents worldwide use their chiropractor as their trusted health resource.

While chiropractic may be able to help with many health issues, chiropractors do not treat colic or asthma. For example — chiropractic adjustments free-up the nerve “communication channels”. The body is then better able to address and clear health challenges.

Unfortunately, most of us do not realize that the way our children enter the world may have a direct effect on their health. Spine and nerve distress can, at times, arise from restricted or abnormal positioning in the uterus and also from the journey through the birth canal or potentially during the delivery process itself. In my book Well Adjusted Babies 2nd Edition I discuss that many factors may cause birth trauma, including:

Birth trauma causes:

1 False labour

2 A long or very short labour

3 Poor positioning of the infant’s head and neck as they journey through the birth canal

4 Failure of the mother’s cervix to dilate

5 The use of drugs to increase contraction intensity

6 The use of vacuum extraction or forceps

7 Caesarean section delivery because of lack of progress

8 Cord around the baby’s neck

9 Foetal distress.

10 An awkward position within the uterus before birth

 Positioning and health

Left unresolved, this spine and nerve dysfunction may place further stress on the communication systems of the body. Birth trauma can affect a baby’s nervous system, which in turn (amongst other things) may then affect digestion and an infant’s capacity to breastfeed or sleep well. The Journal of Neuroscience (2008) states that, although the first year of life may be a period of developmental vulnerability, it may also be a period in which therapeutic interventions would have the most significant positive effect.

Sometimes children have the nerve and spinal distress that results in their head being tilted to one side so that one ear sits higher than the other (refer to picture below). At other times a child’s head may be rotated or turned more to one side so that they display a preference for having their head turned this way.

A misshapen head is not merely a cosmetic issue; it is a brain stem issue. If your child’s head looks uneven or you notice flat areas, this can indicate restrictions between the skull and the soft layers that cover the brain and spinal cord. A healthy mind requires good movement of the skull and spine; when this movement is impaired, the brain and nerve function is impaired.

There is a myth that an odd-shaped child’s head is of no concern and will ‘right itself’ with time. However, anomalies of shape can be the first indication that your child is susceptible to developmental delay. Chiropractors can identify and fix this immediately.

For older children, nerve interference may play out as developmental delays, digestion issues, asthma, behavioural problems, low energy, inability to concentrate, headaches, etc – the list is endless.

Malleability

By the age of seven, a child is likely to have had hundreds of falls and while children seem to have a “bounce-back” resilience, left uncorrected the body tries to hide subtle damage that potentially leads to poor postural and neurological function. We need to keep in mind that each seemingly insignificant slip and fall our child has does ADD up, and that as the branch bends, so grows the tree. With a subluxated spine (where misaligned vertebrae may affect the function of the nervous system), our child’s “communication highway” no longer functions at 100%, potentially altering the way they can think, feel and behave.

I often explain to patients that having a subluxation is like driving a car with the hand brake on. You can certainly still drive the car but you don’t get anywhere — very effectively. And after some time, all sorts of engine issues arise. Chiropractors focus on increasing the neurological function of your child by removing nerve interference which may hinder nerve communication.

Chiropractors recommendations

I encourage parents to have newborn babies checked by chiropractors very soon after birth. Special techniques exist, that carefully correct any subluxated areas of the spine. Many chiropractors have a special focus on family health and work with babies and young children. If you haven’t had your child checked by a chiropractor then find a recommended family wellness chiropractor in your area.

If you are already taking your child to a chiropractor but feel that they are not thriving in a manner that you hoped then consider if you are only seeing your chiropractor sporadically, — investments in health work best when made consistently and regularly. I believe that children do well to be checked each fortnight, your child may not need to be adjusted each time but a quick “check-up” is an important health ritual. Most chiropractors have fee systems that make regular care viable.

People see chiropractors regularly because they feel and experience how adjustments add vitality, immune strength and clarity into their lives.

It’s like eating clean, healthy food — every cell in your body tells you, “this is a good thing.” Ask other parents who take their child to see a chiropractor about their experiences — worldwide, typically parents delight in the results they notice in their children.

Looking for a Family Wellness Chiropractor in Auckland?

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Kids Balance Exercises: Snow Angel

Kids Balance Exercises: Snow Angel

This activity will help your child to forge stronger sensory and movement connections to their limbs. Chiropractic care for your kids can greatly benefit their physical and mental development including improving their balance. Kids Chiropractic care is gentle, precise, and effective. Here’s a tip on how you can help your kids improve their balance with Snow Angel.

STEPS for Snow Angel:

1. Have your child lie on the ground face up with arms by their side and legs together.
2. Have them close your eyes.
3. As the parent you will tap an arm or a leg to indicate for your child to move it outwards then bring it back into their body.
4. You can tap an arm, or a leg, or both at the same time. And voila, snow angel.

 

LEVEL 2: Instead of tapping the limb you will tell them “left arm” or “right leg”.

 

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTiOxlXbgFE[/embedyt]

Looking for a Chiropractor in Auckland?

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Low Back Pain and Pregnancy

Just when you think being pregnant is enough to deal with, nature has to throw in the curve-ball of a higher risk of low back pain. Not only that, but statistically, it’s said to start early on in pregnancy and increase over time. This can put a lot of stress not only on the mother, but everyone around her as well. So what causes it? How does it affect your baby’s development? And what can you do about it?

 

Cause

 

Low back pain on it’s own is a complicated condition. Muscles, ligaments, discs, and tendons are all potential culprits, but sometimes even your brain itself perceives dysfunctional patterns and sends pain signals as a response.

As the baby grows, the lower back will gradually start to increase its curve as the pelvis tilts. The shoulders move back to compensate for the shift in the centre of gravity. Finally, the head takes on a more forward position, a condition called Anterior Head Syndrome. All this happens as the body releases a special hormone to relax the ligaments in the pelvic area to allow for easier birth and movement of the structures as the uterus enlarges.

All of these shifts and changes increase stress and strain on the low back, so it’s no surprise that low back pain is expected during pregnancy.

 

Baby Development

 

The low back pain itself is not the concern when it comes to the baby’s development. However, it does throw a wrench in the works when you’re trying to maintain an optimal, healthy environment for your baby. It can make it hard to stay on track with movement and exercise, get high quality sleep, prepare healthy meals (to avoid eating out and consuming processed, innutritious food), and manage stress levels.

 

Solutions

 

  1. Walking: 30 minutes a day should do, just to get some motion in the pelvis and avoid uninterrupted sitting.
  2. Foam Rolling: working on the fascia and muscles will help your soft tissue adapt to all the structural changes that your body is going under.
  3. Strength Training: developing strength, especially within your core stabilizing muscles, can help immensely with low back pain and overall health.
  4. Structural Chiropractic: a structural chiropractor can act as valuable asset in the health care team of any pregnant woman. They can keep the body functioning optimally as well as address conditions such as Anterior Head Syndrome and low back pain. We usually find pregnant women to have the speediest recovery at our office.

If you’ve got a baby on the way, try these out and benefit from a better and more comfortable pregnancy. If you have any questions about pregnancy, low back pain or other health concerns, feel free to bring them up with your Structural Chiropractor.

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A pregnant woman holds her hands behind her back. Concept … | Flickr

Proper Development of Spine For Your Baby

Introduction

“Stand up straight!” We have all heard this at some point in our lives. And while the intention of encouraging proper spinal alignment is good, our spines are actually not straight. A properly developed spine is actually shaped like an elongated S. The first year of life and the movement experiences you provide your baby are key to the proper spinal development.

The curvature of spine

 

The Primary Curve: C shape
The primary C-shape curve

When your baby is firstborn, his/her spine will have a convex curve in the shape of the letter C. Your newborn does not yet have the muscle strength to hold up his head. They need to be carried carefully with his head and neck fully supported.

You will also notice your newborn will tuck his/her legs into a frog-leg position, thighs pulling up toward the chest, while laying on her belly or when you pick her up. This fetal tuck allows your baby to maintain her primary curve alignment, reducing the pressure on the spine and hips.

 

The Secondary Curve: Cervical
The secondary cervical curve

Over the first few months after birth, your baby will begin to interact with the world around him. He will lift his head to look around, engage with you, or turn to the direction of noise or light that catches his attention. As your baby moves through these experiences, he is developing the muscles in his neck and the secondary curve of his upper spine, the cervical curve.

The best way to encourage your baby’s cervical curve is to give her plenty of tummy time. Arching her neck against the pull of gravity will strengthen her neck muscles. But don’t forget your baby is a social creature who does not enjoy being without you for a long period of time. While a toy, mirror, or other objects may provide a few minutes of entertainment in tummy time, after a while your baby will grow tired of being without you. They likely show their dissatisfaction by fussing and crying, so get down on the floor on your tummy facing them! You can also lay on your side beside them, so they know you are close by and ready to engage them.

Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of tummy time daily. This can happen in 5-10 minute intervals throughout the day.

 

The Final Curve: Lumbar
The final lumbar curve

The final spinal curve develops in the lower back and is called the Lumbar Curve. The lumbar curve starts to develop when your baby begins to creep and crawl. In order for the lumbar curve and the surrounding muscles to develop properly, give your baby as many opportunities as possible to creep, crawl, and play on his tummy. The lumbar curve provides for proper postural alignment. Your baby will complete his spinal development between 12-18 months, once he has mastered walking upright.

 

Slow and steady…

Avoid the urge to rush your baby through any stage of her spinal development. Placing her in a position she cannot support on her own can delay your baby’s development or create long term spinal issues.

Spending too much time in a container on his back can cause issues with your baby’s spinal development. Swings, bouncy seats, and even strollers keep baby in the C curve position, so the cervical and lumbar spine do not have the opportunity to develop. Without tummy time, he cannot exercise his muscles to provide him with the strength he needs to move through important milestones, such as rolling, sitting and crawling. These containers can provide your baby with a safe place to lay while you tend to other day-to-day tasks. However, avoid overusing them and try to balance this time spent in them with the same amount of tummy time.

When your baby is placed in a sitting position before she is ready, this puts the entire weight of her head on her spine. When the spine and surrounding muscles have not developed the strength to properly support this weight, it can lead to the risk of spinal degeneration or issues with the surrounding organs. Toys such as exersaucers, jumpers, or baby seats should not be used until your baby can sit on her own. Even once your baby is able to self-support a seated position, these toys should be used in moderation, as she does not have the freedom to move. Your baby still has many other muscles and movements she needs to develop on her tummy to help promote crawling and eventually walking.

 

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Tummy Time: Definition and Tips

What is tummy time and why is it important?

Tummy time is exactly what it sounds like, that is, any amount of time your baby spends in a prone (belly-down) position while awake and supervised.

Babies who don’t spend any time on their tummies can miss out on the important practice of lifting their heads against gravity and bearing weight with their arms—activities that strengthen the muscles of the neck, shoulders, arms, and belly. This physical development will eventually become crucial for babies to sit, roll, push up, and crawl.

Additionally, placing your baby on her belly for play will provide her with the opportunity to move from side-to-side, which can help with coordination, balance and postural control. As she gains these new motor skills and perspectives, she’ll become more confident and curious, which will encourage her to move and explore the world around her not to mention, prepare herself for crawling.

 

Tummy time!

 

How much tummy time is recommended?

Pediatricians recommend that parents or childcare providers start by placing alert infants to play on their tummies 2-3 times a day, for 3-5 minutes each time.

In early infancy, tummy time might only last a few minutes before your baby becomes sleepy or begins to fuss. Don’t force a fussy baby to endure time on their tummy. Instead, provide her with more frequent, shorter sessions on her tummy. If your baby becomes sleepy, always place her on her back to nap.

Increase the amount of time and the frequency of tummy time as your baby shows more interest in playing belly-down. By 3-4 months, try for around 20 minutes of tummy time a day. If your baby is content and alert, allow her to stay on her tummy as long as she likes, working up to 40-60 total daily minutes.

By the time your baby has the strength and coordination to roll over (at 4-6 months), she’ll be trying out tummy time all on her own.

 

What if my baby hates it?

Many babies are initially resistant to the new position and perspective of being belly-down on the floor. If your baby fusses when you start tummy time on the floor, try comforting her by returning to a position on your belly or lap, reminding him that he’s safe and secure on his tummy.

Remember, more than anything, babies crave emotional connection and interaction with their parents, so be sure to help your baby along during tummy time by getting down on her level and interacting with her in a loving, stimulating way.

Avoid putting babies on their tummies if they’ve just eaten or if they are gassy or irritable.The pressure on their belly will, understandably, be uncomfortable. This is especially true for babies who have colic or acid reflux. Be especially sensitive to their unique needs. Do tummy time just after your baby wakes from a nap or directly after a diaper change. You also want to avoid at the end of the day or during the witching hour time.

 

10 best tips for tummy time success

1. Start early

Newborns can seem so fragile in their early days that some first-time parents feel nervous to handle them too much? But you have the amazing opportunity to introduce your newborn to the wonders of her new life on land by giving them belly-to-belly tummy time with you in their first days of life.

2. Make tummy time a bonding time

Especially while your baby is having tummy time on your body, sing to her, talk to her, make eye contact and enjoy this special moment of growing and learning together. She’ll love smelling your skin and the warmth of your body on hers. When she moves to the floor for tummy time, go with her.

 

3. It’s for the whole family

Partners, dads, siblings, and grandparents can participate in the bonding, too by placing baby on their bodies or lying down on the floor while baby has tummy time there.

 

4. Get on her level

Babies will be more interested in floor time on their tummies if their loved-ones are nearby. Your baby will naturally look for your face and turn her head toward the sound of your voice, thus encouraging her to build strength.

 

5. Introduce texture

Textured mats, sheepskin rugs, or soft blankets will provide interesting tactile stimulation, something babies crave.

 

6. Stimulate your baby’s senses

In addition to stimulating her sense of touch, engage your baby with colorful mats and toys, as well as by singing and talking to her throughout play.

 

7. Take it slow

If your baby doesn’t like staying on her tummy for an extended time, give her very short experiences that introduce her to the activity. Build slowly from there.

 

8. Timing is everything

Remember that lying belly-down with a gassy or full tummy would be uncomfortable for anyone. And if your baby is already sleepy or fussy, it’s best to hold off on tummy time until she’s rested. Try it just after a nap or a diaper change, and avoid classically fussy times of day. (Looking at you, witching hour.)

 

9. Consider side-lying

An alternative to tummy time (if your baby doesn’t tolerate being on her stomach) is placing your baby on a blanket on her side. Support her back with a rolled towel and her head (if needed) with a folded washcloth. Allow her arms and legs to be in front of her, and play with her in this position. While side lying may not give the same kind of strength training as belly-down play, it allows for important position changes and supports development and motor skills in other ways.

 

10. Don’t stress it

You may be doing everything right, but your baby just doesn’t like being placed on her tummy. That’s okay, too. Babies who refuse tummy time still grow to sit up, crawl, and walk like their peers.

 

Looking for a Chiropractor in Auckland?

Contact Revolution Chiropractic – Leading  Sports Chiropractor Auckland

To Schedule your FREE CONSULTATION at Revolution Chiropractic E-mail or Call us on 09 418 3718.  

You can also book online here!

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