Southern Cuisine, Fitness, and Nutrition

Alabama

The posts have been sparse here lately because I have been spending so much of my time researching and learning more about the interplay between exercise and nutrition. I have really cranked up the intensity of my gym sessions this month and have become much more conscious of my diet in order to maximize my results.

Needless to say, the White Southern lifestyle of binge drinking, barbecuing on the weekends, and eating too much pork and fried foods can have a disastrous effect on your health over an extended period of time, especially in the automobile age when most people don’t get nearly as much exercise as they used to.

With that in mind, I would like to probe the OD audience here and start a discussion about exercise and nutrition. What foods are staples of your diet? What foods do you avoid eating? Does anyone here prep their meals in advance? How regularly do you exercise? What supplements do you use?

Does anyone here use an exercise program like CrossFit, P90x, or Zumba? Is anyone here on “the paleo diet”? Are you “counting your macros”? This is an inexhaustible subject.

About Hunter Wallace 9514 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent

50 Comments

  1. Low carb diet, high lean animal protein, lots of low glycemic index vegetables, no fruit, no fruit juices, no diary, limited beer, lots of water. Of carbs I don’t eat pasta, rice of any kind, only sweet potatoes and yams, for bread only whole wheat sour dough. No sweets at all. This is an older guy who has hypoglycemia diet. I’ve cycles through all the different fats, from high heat oils, olive oil, coconut butter, regular pasture butter, and since I have pressure on my chest lately I’m returning to using solely olive oil for fat.

  2. Vitamin D seems to boost my mood and energy. Maybe placebo effect but it’s the only supplement Ive ever taken that seems to register a noticeable positive change in me.

  3. It is an interesting experiment by reducing most if not all of your carbs and then observe the drop in energy, then you can introduce just enough carbs to bring your energy levels up to functional, and then keep the carb intake there. If you are fat, you’ll lose weight. If you are hypoglycemic you will feel better. Anyway such worked for me, although I’m naturally lean. What little fat I had on my gut vanishes when I restrict carbs.

  4. Of supplements I believe, or I think I do, in vitamin B for energy, but you have to keep taking for a number of weeks before the change is noticeable, and this might be an older guy fix for low energy.

  5. I did the paleo diet for a while but I feel better with some bread. Did the Primal diet too, but once again I do better with beans in my diet.

  6. I’ve been doing some form of exercise on a daily basis since January 2010.

    In hindsight, I would have achieved my goals A LOT earlier if I had spent more time watching my diet and learning more about nutrition. As a rule, I avoid regular soda, fruit juices, sweet tea, and especially anything with lots of refined sugar in it like coffee, candy, cake, cookies, etc.

    As a carb source, I’ve ditched white bread and white pasta for whole wheat bread and whole wheat pasta. I still eat baked potatoes and eat more sweet potatoes now. I also eat whole wheat tortillas which I use for wraps.

    I eat lots of fruit as snacks like apples, oranges, strawberries, and mixed fruits like the frozen raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. I eat bananas as a source of simple carbs after workouts.

    Instead of eating chips or trail mix as a snack, I now eat lots of almonds, pecans, and walnuts. I eat plenty of vegetable combinations now like carrots/celery, frozen mixed vegetables, broccoli/cauliflower, onions/mushrooms, and fresh spinach on sandwiches.

    In terms of protein, I like to buy microwavable chicken breasts, chicken breasts, chicken lunch meat, turkey lunch meat, tilapia, and steak, usually sirloin or NY strip, and even pork chops. Peanut butter, egg whites, and milk are also good protein sources.

  7. Paleo-diet, no alcohol, mild cheating on special occasions, 5 – 7 mile runs 3 days per week weather permitting, weights in the gym 3 days per week, emphasis on core muscles not show muscles. I also put a tape measure around my waist and weigh myself every day.

  8. Hunter: I eat one meal per day of whatever I like. No breakfast, no lunch on the weekdays. I usually have a snack around 4 pm of block cheese and crackers or sardines. I usually run 2 miles around noon, do 3 sets of 52 pushups and 3 sets of 32 situps.
    As you sleep overnight your body burns the sugars off–this is easiest for the body to convert to energy and must all be burned off before the body starts burning the fat. Eating breakfast gives a resupply to the sugar, so I don’t have it. By mid morning the body is really burning fat, and will slow your metabolism. This is why I run around noon, to force my body’s metabolism back up. I weigh about 175 pounds and drink almost daily. Hope this helps. A fit lifestyle is one of the best investments you will make.

  9. Here’s what I am doing:

    – I walk an hour a day, six days a week, at a brisk pace of about 3.0 to 3.5 mph.

    – I do a low-intensity cardio session, three days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday), for an hour.

    – I do a 30 minute HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) session on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

    – I do weightlifting five days a week for about 45 to 60 minutes: Monday (biceps/triceps), Tuesday (shoulders/traps), Wednesday (back), Thursday (legs/core), Friday (chest). I just started back weightlifting three weeks ago. Never should have stopped.

    – I take an Omega 3 supplement.

    – I’m keeping a very close eye on my diet, “counting my macros,” and watching my calorie intake.

  10. I eat bananas as a source of simple carbs after workouts.

    If you’re consuming carbs post-workout in order to replenish muscle glycogen (which is what most people do) then bananas are a poor choice. Bananas are high in fructose, which is trapped by the liver instead of being stored in the muscles, so you will not achieve the effect sought.

    I dropped some 40lb over six months back in 2005 on an ultra-low-carb regimen, though for the last couple of months I was “re-carbing” every four days. This experience was after bulking up (too much) after having been skinny for most of my life, rather than a life-long fattie finally losing weight, for what that’s worth.

    A tip: measuring your waistline is a more effective method to gauge progress than weighing yourself. Exhale all the air and suck your gut in before you take a measurement. This isn’t done in order to make the measurement smaller, rather to make the measurements over time more consistent — trying to achieve a consistent degree of ‘sag’ in your gut is a lot trickier and more prone to manipulation. A good rule of thumb is that 5-7lb weight loss on the scales equates to one inch around your belly button (for waistlines 30-36″).

  11. I’m fortunate in that I’ve been tall and slim my whole life and never really gain weight no matter what I eat — characteristics which I get from both sides of my family. As there was never a necessity to practice any dietary discipline, I’ve always just eaten what I liked — long pastsas with olive oil and rustic tomato sauce. I eat a lot of fish too, but rarely any red meat or poultry.

    My job has me outside most of the time, doing demolition and excavation on vacant properties, so being on my feet all day probably contributes to my metabolic rate. I started practicing Shotokan karate at the age of 14, and never got around to quitting. For weights, I just do deadlifts and snatches, and am careful not to get carried away with it.

    I don’t drink beer, and unusual in that I’m Italian, I don’t care for red wine either. Occasionally I’ll have a shot of Amaretto, and that’s about the only alcohol I touch.

    So all that, coupled with the long winters around here, has kept me wearing the same waist size since I was a teenager. I turn 36 next week.

  12. I’ve been following the Paleo/Primal diet fairly rigorously for more than a year now. Though since I’m at the weight I want to be (151 pounds at 5’10”) I follow the 80/20 rule. Eat right 80% of the time and allow yourself more latitude 20% of the time. For those who aren’t familiar with it the Paleo/Primal/Caveman/Ancestral diet it attempts to replicate the hunter gatherer diet which humans had for all but the last 10,000 years of human history. It eliminates grains, sweets and legumes and restricts simple carbohydrates (starches) depending on the amount of weight you wish to lose but no more than 150 grams a day. The carbs are replaced with fat. My normal day is an egg and sausage or bacon for breakfast with water. Dinner is generally a salad of spinach, broccoli and carrots with extra virgin olive oil and dried cranberries and about 4 ounces of tuna. Then supper is a meat dish and a couple of vegetables. Snarks are mixed nuts (peanuts are legumes, not nuts), dark chocolate and fruit. I had a physical the beginning of January and was pleased with my blood pressure levels, heart rate and the HDL/LDL ratio all with no exercise.

    As far as exercise I’ve just started high intensity weight training after reading ‘Body By Science’. It is a once a week session on five machines; leg press, chest press, over-head press, pull down and seated row. It can also be done with free weights. Each set lasts about 90 seconds or so but at weights sufficient to cause muscle failure within that time frame. You then quickly go to the next set. The idea is to quickly exhaust your slow twitch, intermediate twitch and fast twitch muscles before the slow twitch muscles have enough time to recover. After the session you must give your body enough time to recover and add muscle, generally about a week. The idea is to give your body a stimulus to add muscle by sending a signal that you need to add muscle because you were nearly killed by an enemy or predator. A video link on high intensity weight training is below.

  13. In terms of my weight, I think my worst point was around mid-2009 when I had ballooned up to 225lbs.

    I started working out regularly in January 2010 right before moving to Virginia. Three years later, I am down to 155lbs and my BMI is very close to the “healthy” range. At the beginning of 2012, I made the foolish decision to shift from weightlifting + cardio to pure cardio to accelerate the fat loss, and I lost a lot of the muscle mass and strength over the course of 2012 that I had built up underneath the layer of fat over the previous two years.

    Now that it is 2013, I have lost 70lbs and virtually all the fat is gone, or will be gone within the next month or so. Once I get well within my BMI window (135 to 151), it will be time to shift gears from a fat loss diet to building lean muscle, so I will have to adjust everything I do.

    It is my understanding that bodybuilders in their “cutting” phase rely upon cardio and an extreme low carb diet. I’ve been learning more about nutrition lately in anticipation of finally shifting my emphasis away from a low fat/low calorie diet for weight loss.

  14. Sorry, forgot to include the supplements. The only supplements are a muli-vitamin and 3 grams of omega-3 fish oil capsules a day. Which reminds me….

  15. – I walk an hour a day, six days a week, at a brisk pace of about 3.0 to 3.5 mph.

    3mph isn’t really a brisk pace, imo. Aim to reach 4mph. You’ll burn 30% more calories per unit of time as you move from 3mph to 4mph. Listening to an audiobook is an ideal accompaniment to walking, since it doesn’t detract from performing the exercise nor does the exercise require so much concentration that the book can’t be listened to properly.

    – I do weightlifting five days a week for about 45 to 60 minutes: Monday (biceps/triceps), Tuesday (shoulders/traps), Wednesday (back), Thursday (legs/core), Friday (chest). I just started back weightlifting three weeks ago. Never should have stopped.

    Assuming your goal at the moment is losing fat, you’d probably be better off with a fully-body, strength-based routine. While it’s very difficult (many say impossible) to gain muscle while losing fat, you can certainly increase your strength significantly at the same as you lose fat, especially when starting out or after a lengthy lay-off. If at some later point you decide to attempt to gain muscle, your increased strength will be a tremendous aid. As a rough guide, if at present you cannot bench press your body weight for ten reps or squat your body weight for twenty, I would unreservedly urge you drop the body-part split and go full-body, squats, deadlifts and bench presses (or dips or overhead presses), being the big three to focus attention on.

  16. If you’re consuming carbs post-workout in order to replenish muscle glycogen (which is what most people do) then bananas are a poor choice.

    Either bananas or apples. Followed by a protein/vegetable meal before bedtime.

  17. The weightlifting for now is mostly to 1.) boost my metabolism, 2.) regain some of my strength, and 3.) reintegrate weightlifting into my daily habits. I plan to shift much more heavily toward weightlifting within the next two months. I will also have to change my diet to complement the weightlifting.

  18. When I walk at 3.0 to 3.5 for an hour, that is the speed which I drop down to when I am doing HIIT intervals on the treadmill at about 8.5. When I am doing a low intensity session on the treadmill, I will usually put it on about 4.2.

  19. For years I used to eat a lot of collected wild food, including the edible weeds, besides whatever I grow, and I baked good bread. Since I am married now and share meals, it’s often a lot less nutritious, too much meat, storebought bread and dairy products now. This must change.

    Homemade vegetable soup gives me the most energy, in my experience, and Mediterranean and Hispanic foods (fortunately I despise both) generally do the opposite, in my experience.

    We can live on just potatoes, especially eaten skins and all. Our average temperature in winter in the north makes ideal “ground cellar” storage conditions for potatoes, carrots, beets and other root crops.

    The “Southron” diet (or what I think it is) is too fatty. But Pennsylvania “Dutch” is also pretty heavy on fat, pork, salt.

    I may overeat peanuts, one of the best farm products of the southern states. We CAN grow them here though, and sweet potatoes, watermelon and okra do VERY well here. Peanuts and okra came from Africa with the slaves.

  20. That’s a good idea, Silver.

    I’ve been wondering about that … what’s the point of weightlifting while I am doing so much cardio and eating a low calorie/low fat diet to maintain a calorie deficit? If I want to gain lean muscle, then I need to eat slightly more than my maintenance while keeping my eye on my protein level, right?

    The people who I have been listening to say that I should start doing weightlifting anyway while in the calorie deficit, not so much to gain lean muscle, but because weightlifting will boost my metabolism when it is done with high reps and with a minimum time of rest between sets.

    They also say that the weightlifting will help me retain the muscle that I already have now … which unfortunately isn’t much, after a foolish year of doing nothing but cardio, in which the calorie deficit ate away at most of my gains.

    I will have to inquire about that … split body routine vs. full body routine. Makes more sense to me.

  21. Some studies show longevity is related to slightly underweight, underfed condition. Not poor nutrition, but less calories.

  22. Wakeup
    Tablespoon Barleans or Carlson fish oil. Megaman multi.
    Toasted Ezekial 4:9 bread, spicy peanut butter and banana sandwich. OR steak tartar. OR vanilla Chobani with sliced almonds, cornflakes and blueberries. OR blueberries in skim milk. OR something from Smoothie King.
    Green tea extract pills, black iced coffee no sugar
    Affix ironman iphone armband, most likely play new Turisas album
    Bike 5 miles
    Strap on ankleweights
    Pushups / Pullups / weighted crunches
    Free weights and/or machines
    Take off ankleweights
    Run 5 miles
    Lukewarm shower
    Swim 1 mile varying stroke
    Sauna
    Steam
    Hot tub
    Cold shower
    Start my day.
    Lunch is likely chicken breast-laden salad with hard boiled egg, no dressing (use lime juice).
    Or guacamole loaded with jalapeno, onion, cilantro, tomato to the point it is more of a spicy veg “salad” with avocado base.
    Drink a brown betty of Oolong
    Eat as many fresh fruits, raw veg or charred veg, nuts needed to satisfy hunger throughout day.

    Smoked Kipper OR stuffed grape leaves OR sushi (optional)
    Dinner is optional, usually steak, pork or seafood. Glass of wine. OR two beers.

  23. Sorry to hear that Mossie.
    I have been rather lax in exercise and diet for the past few years but recently have started to walk again which is good though not sufficient. I would say even in my most fit years I could never lose the fat around the waist entirely fo abs and what not, however I also have never been fat, a bit chubby quite possibly but not fat. Though from what I noticed it is basically you use it or lose it(muscles) and I have found that one of the best things diet wise is keep yourself busy or you may snack out of pure boredom. The other is that if their is any liquid that is good it is healthy water drink it to the exclusion of all else and you will lose weight. Running is fun though a bit hard on the body; sit ups, pull ups, push ups work out certain muscles, yet there are muscle you didn’t even know you had. Swimming helps lung capacity and is good exercise all around. If you want to be have large bulky muscles(why?) climb a tree. No really climb a tree… or more.

  24. I don’t count calories, just try to eat low carb/high fat/high protein diet. I lift heavy four times a week, in the early AM hours, usually before the sun makes its appearance.

    I weighed about 220lbs six months ago, a little gut, but not fat or ripped (I’m 6′ even). I stopped eating fast food and dropped down to a lean, muscular, 190lbs. I have been lifting weights off and on since 1996, so, in my case, the musculature was already formed, just hidden under the layers of Taco Hell.

    Taco Hell was my weakness, even writing it makes my taste buds reminisce … my mouth is literally watering thinking about it, but I know it’s poison and my discipline has grown stronger than my appetite.

    I don’t lift weights for aesthetics like I did when I was younger, now I just want to live a healthy/active lifestyle. I love a cold beer, especially after a hard week’s work … so I have no plans on cutting that small pleasure.

    High Fructose Postscript:

    I highly recommend Kale, it has more iron per calorie than red meat, more calcium per calorie than milk, in addition to a panoply of other nutrients.

  25. I have lifted weights on and off since I was a wrestler in highschool. If your goal is to get ‘buff’ you need to consume at least one gram of protein for every pound you weigh.
    I drink a whey protein drink with five egg whites a five grams of creatine every morning.
    I also eat two packets of oat meal with the shake, an apple and an orange.
    Through out the day I eat three more meals.
    Post workout it is an absolute necessity to have a blast of protein within thirty minutes of your workout. I drink a protein shake as soon as I leave the gym. When I get home I eat big.
    You grow when you sleep and your body needs fuel.
    My bench max is 325 now. I shoulder press max 225.
    I don’t gain fat for whatever reason even when I don’t workout.
    When I hit weights I get up to 265. When I’m not I hover around 250.

  26. Creatine will help out a lot. But you need to stay hydrated. I also take glutamine capsules, it is a free form amino acid, it helps the soreness go away.
    Pull ups, push ups and dips will help gain strength. Your bench will go up a lot if you do sets of push ups and weighted dips.
    Cardio is important, but power lifting is just as effective for weight loss.

  27. Hunter, next chest workout try this.

    Put up weight on the bench that you can only do two/three reps.
    Next remove 20% of the weight and do as many as you can without any rest time. Next take off another 20% and do as many as you can.
    Rest for three minutes and repeat.
    Three sets on flat bench, three on decline and three sets incline. The three sets machine flys to stretch out the pecs.
    Then three sets of push ups then call it a night.
    Using dumbbells is fine too.

  28. I’ve been wondering about that … what’s the point of weightlifting while I am doing so much cardio and eating a low calorie/low fat diet to maintain a calorie deficit? If I want to gain lean muscle, then I need to eat slightly more than my maintenance while keeping my eye on my protein level, right?

    In theory yes, but in my experience I’m yet to see anyone gain significant mass by eating “slightly more than maintenance.” The greatest gains I’ve seen have occurred when eating substantially more than maintenance. Naturally, this involves gaining a good deal of body fat, too, which then has to be lost in order to achieve an aesthetically pleasing look.

    Also, you’re probably aware of the distinction, but it bears repeating: there’s no necessary relation between low calorie and low fat that would justify the term “low calories/low fat.” There’s nothing stopping a diet being high calorie and low fat or low calories and high fat. Moreover, at the risk of incurring religious-like fury, the focus on fat is misplaced. I and many people prefer lowering carb intake to lowering fat intake.

    The people who I have been listening to say that I should start doing weightlifting anyway while in the calorie deficit, not so much to gain lean muscle, but because weightlifting will boost my metabolism when it is done with high reps and with a minimum time of rest between sets.

    They also say that the weightlifting will help me retain the muscle that I already have now … which unfortunately isn’t much, after a foolish year of doing nothing but cardio, in which the calorie deficit ate away at most of my gains.

    That’s all quite true. I’m not suggesting stopping the weight-training. My point referred to the style of training. Training with a focus on gaining strength is somewhat different (depending on how great the focus, even hugely different) to training for muscle hypertrophy. Although training for strength commonly involves very low-rep sets (including single-rep sets), there’s no law against including high-rep sets.

    I will have to inquire about that … split body routine vs. full body routine. Makes more sense to me.

    You’ll gain strength more quickly. For starters, you’ll focus on big, compound exercises and stop wasting time with ‘filler’ exercises like triceps kickbacks, cable crossovers and leg extensions that exhaust you and can cause aches and pains but, at your level of development, are almost completely a waste of time. You’ll do less sets per body part, which means you’ll recover more quickly and thus be able to perform the same exercise sooner. It’s not uncommon for trainers to perform three full-body routines per week, adding more weight to the bar each week (or even each workout, at least in the early stages) without their bodies giving out. The point is you can continue to lose fat but come away from your weight-training much stronger. Whereas if you train in a ‘bodybuilding style’ you’ll continue to lose fat, but you won’t be gaining any muscle mass nor will you have much strength gain to boast of.

  29. My diet and excercise have always been very good. But, last year I got diagnosed with high blood sugar. The main culprit.

    I drink a ton of beer!

    I’ve cut out most carbs, lots of things I liked like potatoes, pasta, White rice, White Italians bread. I never was in to sweets, now I don’t use any sugar.

    I’ve cut back a lot on beer. My excercise is tennis (I’m very good at tennis) some bicycling and lots of walking. Chicago and the best Northern cities are great for walking, my city makes it almost imposible to keep a good car without buying the car a garage and even then the city charges a fortune just to park on a street for a night out, vising anyone, much better to use fast mass transit and walk.

    Having a walkable place to live is one area where we in Northern cities have it much better than our kinsmen in the South. I know Whites in the South will never do mass transit because they would have to sit next to low life Blacks, I understand that, but here in great Northern cities we find ways to finesse this problem.

    brisk walking is much better than jogging – which looks stupid and is bad on the knees.

  30. You won’t grow doing high reps. The body needs to be pushed to grow, one warm up rep at 50% of your max then go high weight, 5 or 6 reps right away heavy. Your first set after warm up is when you are at your strongest. Use that fist rep to push whatever muscle your working on then work down in weight increasing reps.

  31. One more bit of advice, I can easily get carried away when workout routines are discussed.
    Only half of your protein intake should be in the form of a supplement. The other half needs to be food. Chicken and fish is the best way to go.
    Hunter, cardio is important, but if you dedicate yourself to a power lifting routine, weight loss is equally achieved.
    Eat smart, avoid garbage, basic common sence eating coupled with a lot of lean protein and y

  32. Plan on a year of excercise to get anywhere too. Unless you join the forces and get their boot camp treatment. If you are working take your time with it. If you get injured it takes weeks to recover.

  33. Eat plenty of calories. If you fall over or pass out from not having enough to eat you could crack your head open. Just don’t hurry it. Think in terms of a year of excercise to see what happens.

    I really like rowing. both crew and machine. I balance that out with squats, I stick about 200 pounds on the shoulders and do 4 sets of 10. This keeps the gut trim the thighs and backside. I find im more balanced and strong from this than any other excercise. It improves every single sport I dabble in. Soccer, baseball, running, rowing, hurling.

    Then there bench presses and skull crushers. I’m a dilettante with that 3 sets of 10 with about 140 lbs.

    I still eat what I like and can run 3 miles quickly without getting out of breath. I’m approaching 40.

  34. What foods are staples of your diet?

    I tend to eat a lot of ham and cheese sandwiches, Krakus Polish Ham. I prefer to purchase sliced sandwich items prepackaged, I don’t consider supermarkets in Chicago clean.

    What foods do you avoid eating?

    Carbs generally, but being unemployed (and in Chicago) I am killing my “If Romney wins” riot stash. Funny thing was Turkey SPAM tasted great when I was stocking up, now I am beginning to loath it.

    Does anyone here prep their meals in advance?

    Used to but single portions are to time consuming to make and doing regular portions means you end up eating the same thing for a week.

    How regularly do you exercise? What supplements do you use?

    When employed I generally walk the 2.5 miles home from work. Sometimes I play with dumbbells.

    Is anyone here on “the paleo diet”? Are you “counting your macros”?

    My diet is similar. Breakfast is 4 espresso shots with equal amount of half & half. I make another to take to work. I have snacks a couple of times a day, generally seeds and nuts. I eat one meal a day, lunch. Don’t eat much fruit, but keep bananas around because I tend to get cramps in my legs. I like beer and still consume, but might throw in a martini because it doesn’t have the beer sugar calories which you don’t get from pure alcohol.

    People might think this is odd but I contend that just as recently as the late 1800s early 1900s it would have been a common condition for people to be hungry during part of the day. Remember there was no gas or electric stoves, microwaves, refrigerators, 24 hour restaurants or supermarkets. Baking and cooking with wood stoves …..

    For this reason alone, it is my view that if you couldn’t have eaten it prior to the Civil War, it is probably not good for you. Mosin Nagant said we can live on potatos. Think what we in the northern climates could have even had in the middle of winter to eat – whatever could be stored in the root cellar, non perishables like nuts and seed, whatever could be brined, and cured meats. The Mason jar was not invented until 1858 so there were no canned goods put up back then either.

    My high weight in August 2009 was 212.X, in April 2010 I weighed in at 148.X and have since hovered around there.

    Regarding what Silver said:
    A tip: measuring your waistline is a more effective method to gauge progress than weighing yourself. Exhale all the air and suck your gut in before you take a measurement.

    If you become unemployed (or retired) and you have a gut, do not start wearing stretch clothes like athletic shorts or parts. Your fat will fall and you will have to lose significantly more weight to get back into the same clothes you previously could wear.

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