Meal Planning

Living with Food Sensitivities: Soy

Having a sensitivity to soy can be overwhelming once you realize how many foods actually contain soy. Today’s blog post discusses how you can navigate a soy food sensitivity successfully, and also includes some soy-free vegetarian recipes we love.

Obvious sources of soy like tofu, miso, soy sauce, soy milk, soy nuts and edamame may be easy to remove. However, other food sources that may require careful reading of labels may be a little more challenging to avoid: broths, mixes, chocolate, protein shakes, protein bars, baked goods, vegetable oil is usually soy oil, dairy free alternatives  like yogurts, cheeses, spreads can be soy-based, “vegan” frozen options will likely contain soy. Something you may already know is that soy is one of the top eight allergens with specific labeling requirements under the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act. Under that law, manufacturers of packaged food products sold in the U.S. that contain soy as an ingredient must include the presence of soy, in clear language, on the ingredient label. This will make it easier to determine whether or not that food option is suitable or not for you.

So now onto what or how can you replace soy containing staples in your eating pattern:

  • Consider replacing soy sauce, teriyaki, and hoisin with Coconut Secret’s line of soy-free coconut aminos Asian-inspired sauces. Ingredients like sesame, ginger, garlic, umeboshi vinegar, and sea vegetables can also help replace flavors in your Asian flared recipes.
  • Chocolate is another tough option to find soy free. Brands like Enjoy Life make it easier to continue enjoying chocolate while avoiding soy. Also, too consider cocoa powder or cocoa nibs as these will generally be 100% chocolate.
  • Many individuals following a vegetarian eating pattern rely on soy as a go-to protein option. Keep in mind other plant based protein alternatives such as other beans/legumes, nuts, seeds (pumpkin, sesame, chia, hemp, sunflower), quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, teff that will nourish the body with amino acids and other nutrients like B vitamins, iron, fiber, and calcium.
  • When it comes to dairy free alternatives that are also soy-free, options nowadays are plentiful! Milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream alternatives sourced from rice, almond, cashews, coconut, hemp (and others) are available.

Check out these protein-packed vegetarian recipes that do not contain soy:

Lentil & Walnut Salad

Homemade Veggie Nuggets

Burrito Mason Jar Meal

Protein Pancakes

It is important to keep in other food sensitivities in mind and choosing what is best suitable for you. Like any change, going soy-free may be challenging at first, but with the right alternatives at hand, living soy-free can be done. To ensure individual needs are met, it’s best to consult with a nutritionist, such as the nutrition experts at PreviMedica. Call us at 855-773-8463 or email for more information on our services.

Basilia Theofilou is a contributor on our blog as well as one of the nutrition advisors here at PreviMedica. You can read more about her here.

Crispy Crabless Cakes with Horseradish Aioli

You’re going to love these crabless cakes! Our nutrition director, Amy, has made these for us several times, and we just had to get the recipe. Vegetarian or not, we promise they will be a hit. The secret ingredient? Find out below!

Crispy Crabless Cakes with Horseradish Aioli

(Adapted from: Vegan Comfort Classics by Lauren Toyota)

Serves: 5


  • 2 cups drained marinated artichoke hearts, finely chopped plus 2 Tbsp. liquid
  • ¼ cup finely chopped shallot (about 1 small shallot)
  • ½ cup finely chopped celery (about 1 stalk)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup chickpea flour
  • 2 teaspoons coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. Old Bay seasoning (or ¼ tsp. celery salt, ¼ tsp. dry mustard, ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper, pinch each of cinnamon, cardamom, clove)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1-2 cups olive oil for frying


  • ¼ cup chickpea flour
  • 1 ¼ cups GF bread crumbs (or can use equal amounts of GF oats + almond flour)
  • ½ cup unsweetened DF milk


  1. Place all the ingredients for the crabless cakes, except the oil, in a large bowl.  Combine well with a fork. It’s important that the artichokes, shallots, and celery are very small and uniformly chopped so that the cakes will stick together while frying.
  2. You should have a ½ inch of oil in a large heavy bottomed pan for frying.  Heat it to a temperature of 350-360 degrees on a deep frying thermometer.
  3. To make the breading, place the chickpea flour in a wide, shallow dish.  Use another shallow dish for the bread crumbs and a bowl for the milk.
  4. Take ¼ cup of the crabless cake mixture and press and form it into a thick patty with your hands.  Gently place the cake in the chickpea flour and coat all sides evenly. Quickly submerge it in milk and make sure all the flour looks wet. Remove it from the milk and place in the bread crumbs.  Using your hands, coat all sides of the cake well in the bread crumbs.  Then lightly shake off any excess.  Set the coated cakes on a plate or baking sheet.  Once they’re all assembled, immediately deep-fry in batches.
  5. Delicately place 2 or 3 cakes in the hot oil.  Fry for about 4 minutes until golden brown, flipping halfway through.  Gently remove the cakes with a slotted frying spoon and place on paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
  6. Serve immediately with the aioli (recipe below).


Horesradish-Dill Aioli


  • ½ cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon vegan horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon  freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper


  1. Stir all ingredients together in a bowl until well combined.

Meet Our Assistant Nutrition Manager: Eunice

March is National Nutrition Month and today, March 13th, is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day! To celebrate, we asked our assistant nutrition manager Eunice Holmes, RD, LDN to chat with us about what led her to a career in dietetics, her favorite nutrition topic, and of course-food!

Eunice Holmes has over 15 years of experience in the field of nutrition and has been part of the PreviMedica team since 2012. She is incredibly smart, funny, and the creative talent behind many of our PreviMedica resources. Eunice is always thinking of innovative ways to help us do our job more efficiently and we can’t thank her enough for it! We are extremely lucky to have her here.  Read more about her here:

Let’s get right to it: Did you always want to be an RD? Can you tell us more about when you decided that nutrition would be your career?

I had no idea you could even have a career in nutrition until I took a nutrition 101 class my freshman year of college! After that, I knew that talking about food was what I wanted to do, so I said goodbye to my interior design dreams (and all-nighters that I had to pull to get the homework done).

That discovery sounds a little too familiar!

So, talking about food to people, most of the time the conversation of changing their food options comes up. Changing eating habits (like most, if not all, change) can be quite challenging. How do you facilitate this process for your patients?

Well I don’t have too many opportunities to work with patients these days, but when I do, I just listen. Most people have already identified areas where change could happen, so that’s where we start. My job is to encourage and guide, not to give a long list of to-do’s. Many of the patients we work with are dealing with newly found food sensitivities, and that can be a big learning curve, but even then we take it step by step and look for solutions along the way. 

A step-by-step gradual approach sounds more sensible than a long to-do list!

Nutrition is such a broad field and I can confidently say here at PreviMedica, we are very well versed in different areas of nutrition. Do you have a favorite nutrition topic/area you enjoy most learning about, reading about, or counseling on?

Gut health is pretty trendy right now, but it’s definitely one of my favorite topics to read about, specifically the research on how it is connected to so many other conditions. Luckily we have access to a lot of great resources here at work. There is so much to learn and new information comes out every day, so I just try to keep up!

A lot of wellness experts do say “good health starts in the gut!” It is definitely a very interesting topic!

So, I know you love to get Parker involved in the kitchen. This is always something we encourage parents doing especially when their child is a selective eater. Do you have any advice or suggestions to any parents reading on how to get their kids more involved in the kitchen- whether their children are selective eaters or not? (Parker is Eunice’s 4 year-old adorable son)

My biggest piece of advice is to be willing to get messy. 🙂 Kids have those little uncoordinated fingers, so of course there are going to be spills and food all over the place. But I have seen time and time again that kids who get involved are MUCH more willing to try things, so it is definitely worth the mess. Some other tips: talk to them about what you will be doing beforehand (even if you think they are too little to understand); give them easy to cut items like bananas or mushrooms and let them use a butter knife; give them scraps to play with in a bowl while you do the complicated steps; play music while you cook (no particular reason other than it’s more fun that way).

Haha, getting messy can be fun-right? Thank you those were all great suggestions! Ok, now to some fun fact questions….

I know you’re a bit of a book worm, any good books you’ve read recently?

I loved Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Anything my Samantha Irby is good for a laugh. I’m currently reading one of Janet Lansbury’s parenting books because… 4 year old.

I have to admit, I selfishly asked that question since I’m almost done with my current book!

I know you were a candy-holic as a kid (wait, I think you still are!)…tell us what is your favorite candy?

Ugh… I love sour candy. If you’ve never had Sour Gummy Lifesavers you don’t know what you’re missing. But you know… fruit is good too!

Haha,  after all, fruit IS nature’s candy!

Knowing you personally, I know your love for doughnuts and pizza. What is your go-to pizza and doughnut flavor?

Sadly, pizza is not worth it anymore due to my inferior enzymes, but I have been known to enjoy a simple pepperoni and mushroom combo. As for doughnuts, whenever I can find a French culler, I am happy.

YUM and YUM! So we would definitely be able to share either (with our digestive enzymes for support!)

Coffee or wine? Coffee. No, wine.

The right answer there would be coffee AND wine! You should know that is always a trick question.

Favorite outdoor activity? At the beach, with a book.

I think you are living in the right state for that perfect combo!

Thanks so much for chatting and sharing with us, Eunice! You are so greatly appreciated here at PreviMedica and we are so lucky to have you on our team! And Happy Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day to our fellow nutrition professionals!

All Things Rosemary

Freshly picked selection:


Rosemary is originally from the Mediterranean but is now cultivated worldwide.  It is a woody perennial shrub that has silvery green needles that can be consumed.  Early on, it was used for medicinal purposes such as treating nervous system disorders and improving memory.  Rosemary is highly aromatic and its leaves are used in cooking, oils, and cosmetics to name a few.

What do I look for?

Rosemary leaves should be green and somewhat flexible.  The stem should be aromatic.  Discard rosemary that has turned brown or black.  Store in the refrigerator wrapped in damp paper towels.

Ways to Eat:

Rosemary is one of the most commonly found herbs.  The ways to use it are endless.  It can be used in salads, soups, casseroles, meats, fish, egg dishes, stuffings, and dressings.


If you love lamb, you know that lamb isn’t the same without rosemary.  This Roast Leg of Lamb with Rosemary is the perfect flavor combination.

Infuse your favorite olive oil with the flavor of rosemary!

This Lemon Rosemary Vegetable Stack is the perfect healthy meatless dish for a weeknight.

Nutritional Benefits:


Herbst, Sharon Tyler. Food lover’s companion: comprehensive definitions of over 7200 food, wine, and culinary terms. 5th ed. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, 2013. Print.

“26 Impressive Benefits of Rosemary.” Organic Facts,

All Things Bok Choy

Freshly picked selection:

Bok Choy

Bok Choy (also known as Chinese white cabbage, pak choy, and white mustard cabbage) is a member of the cabbage family.  Its flavor, however, is much milder than cabbage.  All parts of it can be eaten raw or cooked and it can be found virtually year-round, although the true season is summertime.

What do I look for?

The upper leaves should be vibrant green and the lower stems should be white. Look for bok choy that is crisp and bright.  The leaves should not be yellowing or wilted, and the stalks should not be brown.

Ways to Eat:

Eat bok choy raw or cooked!  It is delicious sliced and thrown into a stir fry, quick sauteed or roasted for a side dish, or even sliced and used in a salad.


One of the best things about bok choy is it’s quick to cook.  This 10-Minute Lemon Garlic Bok Choy recipe doesn’t disappoint with flavor and is on the table in under 10 minutes from start to finish!

This Basic Stir Fry recipe is essential when cooking with bok choy.  Top it with a lean protein for a delicious and healthy meal!

This flavorful and filling side dish incorporates sesame, lime, mushrooms, and cilantro with bok choy.  Try this Shiitake and Sesame Bok Choy recipe, you won’t be disappointed!

Nutritional Benefits:


Herbst, Sharon Tyler. Food lover’s companion: comprehensive definitions of over 7200 food, wine, and culinary terms. 5th ed. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, 2013. Print.

“Bok Choy.” Worlds Healthiest Foods,

All Things Lime

Freshly picked selection:


Limes are small green citrus fruits that are similar in shape to a lemon.  They have a thin outer skin and 8 segments like other citrus fruits.  Limes were given to British sailors to prevent scurvy because of their high vitamin C content.  The Persian lime is the variety seen in most grocery stores while the Florida Key Lime is found throughout Florida, and some specialty stores outside of Florida.  Limes are grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions.

What do I look for?

Limes should have thin bright green skin that lightly gives when pressed.  Choose limes that feel heavy for their size.  Avoid limes that have hard dense skin.  Limes that have brown patches (scald) won’t affect their flavor.

Ways to Eat:

While limes are a delicious accompaniment and flavor enhancer, they are generally not eaten individually due to their acidity.  Add lime juice or zest to tacos, smoothies, beverages, soups…the list goes on.  Their natural acidity adds brightness to any dish you add it to.


This Roast Chicken with Scallion, Ginger, and Lime blends bright flavors for a delicious weeknight meal.

Who says you have to cook rice in water?  This Coconut Lime Rice is the perfect accompaniment to a fruit salsa and grilled protein such as chicken or steak.

These Vegan Mini Key Lime Pie’s are the perfect healthy play on Key Lime Pie.

Nutritional Benefits:


Herbst, Sharon Tyler. Food lover’s companion: comprehensive definitions of over 7200 food, wine, and culinary terms. 5th ed. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, 2013. Print.

“Lemon/Limes.” Worlds Healthiest Foods,

Mediterranean 101

You may have heard that a Mediterranean style of eating can lead to a healthier life, but what does this mean exactly? There is a lot of information out there regarding the Mediterranean diet and we have pulled together what it really means for you and why it really should be considered a lifestyle and not a “diet”.

The Mediterranean way of eating is, of course, adapted from those who live in the Mediterranean.  Research suggests that following this eating pattern leads to decreased risk of heart disease, lower LDL levels, decreased incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, and cancer.

Eating foods that are rich in monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats such as olive oil, nuts, and some fish are hallmarks of this eating pattern.  Yes, fats (especially plant based fats that aren’t saturated) are good for you!  Eating the Mediterranean way doesn’t focus on limiting calories and fat consumption; it’s more about the types of fats and foods eaten.

Foods that are consumed frequently are fish, chicken (lean protein), nuts and seeds, lots of fruits and vegetables, olive oils, whole grains, whole grain breads and pastas, herbs and spices.  Salt should be used sparingly and most flavor should come from fresh herbs and spices.

The experience matters just as much as the food when you follow the Mediterranean lifestyle.  Cooking the meal and gathering with friends and family, as well as letting a meal last instead of rushing through, is ideal.  This way you are truly able to savor and listen to your body’s cues of fullness.  Having a glass of wine with dinner is common, though it is enjoyed thoughtfully and in moderation, if at all.

Red meat is typically consumed no more than once per week if that, and low fat dairy products are used instead of full fat. Choose unprocessed, unrefined oils (cold pressed is best) and avoid butter or any food high in saturated fats from animals, such as bacon or sausage.  Load up on a variety of in-season vegetables, whole grains, minimally processed breads and pastas, and raw or dry-roasted nuts and seeds.  Remove processed foods and avoid anything fried.  Skip dessert and enjoy a ripe piece of fruit instead.  Sugar should be consumed in small amounts if at all, and is more acceptable in the form of a natural sweetener.

Staying active is an important aspect of this lifestyle as well!  It doesn’t have to be strenuous, but walking, playing a game, and physically exerting yourself for energy, metabolism, and health is vital.













(image courtesy of Fundacion Dieta Mediterranea)

The Mediterranean lifestyle is a well-rounded lifestyle that includes food, activity, and socialization.  Following this lifestyle may be appropriate for you if you are looking to lead a healthier way of life in general.  Some aspects may not work for everyone, but generally, it is a good place to start for lifestyle change.

As always, speak to your practitioner if you are interested in following the Mediterranean way of eating to be sure it is appropriate for you, or you can make an appointment to speak to one of our PreviMedica nutritionists by contacting us at 855-773-8463.

Stefanie Gates, chef, is a regular contributor to our blog and a culinary advisor for PreviMedica. She enjoys developing recipes and creating cooking videos to share with our readers, as well as working one-on-one with our clients to teach them valuable cooking skills. You can learn more about her here.

Low Histamine 101

If you’ve tried the conventional route and have even searched for natural remedies to help alleviate allergies but are still experiencing nagging symptoms, it’s possible that a histamine intolerance is at play. A low histamine eating plan could provide some relief! Here is what you need to know:

What are Histamines?
Histamines are biogenic amines released by our cells in response to injury, inflammation, and allergic reactions. They are also naturally occurring in many foods.

In healthy individuals, histamine is rapidly removed by DAO (diamine oxidase) and HNMT (histamine n-methyltransferase) enzymes. The main enzyme, DAO is stored in epithelial cells and secreted into the circulation on stimulation.

Histamine intolerance results when the body is unable to breakdown histamine sufficiently, leading to a histamine excess. This can lead to a host of symptoms which usually mimic those of an allergic response. The main cause of histamine intolerance seems to be the impairment of DAO activity caused by gastrointestinal diseases or through the inhibition of DAO. There is also evidence for a genetic predisposition for histamine intolerance in some people.

Histamine Intolerance Symptoms?

Histamine intolerance can be difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms are similar to those seen with allergies, as well as symptoms of sulfite intolerance or intolerance to other amines. The signs and symptoms of histamine intolerance include:

• Diarrhea
• Headache
• Hives
• Asthma
• Hypotension (low blood pressure)
• Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)
• Pruritus (severe itching of the skin)
• Nasal congestion and runny nose
• Tissue swelling (usually of the face or oral tissue and sometimes throat)
• Chest pain
• Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
• Fatigue/confusion/irritability
• Flushing

Additionally, excess histamine in individuals with histamine intolerance can exacerbate some existing conditions such as eczema, digestive issues, and anaphylaxis.

Low Histamine Eating Plan
Histamine intolerance will vary from person to person. What sets off symptoms for one person, might not do the same for someone else. This is due to the many different factors leading to a histamine intolerance and any other medical conditions present that may be contributing to the amount of histamine in the body. Therefore, the guidelines for foods to avoid are to be used as tools to help each person determine what their threshold level is.

There is no such thing as a histamine-free diet so keeping histamine intake as low as possible is key. When considering a low histamine plan, it’s best to avoid all foods known to contain high and moderate amounts of histamine, foods known as histamine liberators, and those that are DAO inhibitors.

Improvements in symptoms are usually noticed after 4 weeks of following a low histamine plan. Once symptoms are alleviated, one can determine the individual threshold levels by introducing foods back one at a time into the diet. A food diary can be very helpful in keeping track of foods and symptoms, and will facilitate creating a customized list of foods to avoid for each individual.


Aside from histamine-rich foods, some foods, like alcohol, are also DAO inhibitors and should be avoided for that reason. Other guidelines are as follows:
• Avoid canned or ready-made meals
• Avoid ripened, fermented, or aged foods (aged cheeses, alcoholic beverages, yeast containing products, stale fish)
• Purchase and consume only fresh products
• Avoid leaving food out of the refrigerator (especially meat products)
• Consume only fresh wild caught fish (ideally cooked within 30 minutes of catching)
• Avoid smoked products such as ham, salami, and sausages
• Avoid foods that contain preservatives and artificial colors. Focus on consuming fresh whole foods.
• Avoid histamine liberators. (Some of these are citrus, cocoa, nuts, papaya, beans, tomatoes, and spinach.)
• Avoid DAO blockers. (alcohol, black/green/mate tea, energy drinks)

Histamine intolerances often go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed due to the number of different symptoms that may result and their similarity with those symptoms of allergies and other intolerances. All histamine sensitivities are not created equally and efforts should be made to determine the mechanism of the histamine intolerance and individual threshold level, therefore it’s best to implement with help and guidance from a qualified nutrition expert like our experts at PreviMedica. If you are interested in scheduling a nutrition consultation or enrolling in our monthly membership, give us a call at 855-773-8463. You can also schedule a complimentary discovery call by completing this quick questionnaire. 

Maintz, Laura, and Natalija Novak. “Histamine and Histamine Intolerance.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 85 (2007): 1185-196. Web. 26 Feb. 2016.

“About HIT.” Histamine Intolerance. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Sept. 2016.

Joneja, Janice. “Histamine Intolerance Investigated by Dr Janice Joneja.” Histamine Intolerance Investigated by Dr Janice Joneja. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2016.

Joneja, Janice M. Vickerstaff, and Cabrini Carmona-Silva. “Outcome of a Histamine-restricted Diet Based on Chart Audit.” Journal of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine 11.4 (2001): 249-62. Web.

All Things Grapes

Freshly picked selection:


Grapes are technically berries that grow in clusters on small shrubs or vines.  There are thousands of varieties of grapes, but the main classifications are white and black (red).  They can be seedless or contain seeds, sweet or acidic, used for wine, juice, or commercial purposes.  Grapes are truly one of the most versatile berries available!

What do I look for?

Look for grapes that are firmly attached to the vine, plump, and vibrant in color.  The green grape variety should be yellow/green in color with little to no blemishes.  They should be stored unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, and washed when ready to eat.  Grapes are part of the “Dirty Dozen” so it is important to wash them well when ready to eat as non-organic grapes are sprayed with insecticides.  Of course, organic is always recommended over conventional.

Ways to Eat:

Grapes can be eaten out of hand, in salads, jams, jellies, pies, the list goes on!  You can find them canned, fresh, juiced, dried, and of course, in wine.  The grapes that are used to make wine are not suitable for eating as they are too acidic.  Red grapes are in general the sweetest, green grapes are semi-sweet, and grapes used to make wine and the least sweet.


In this Chicken, Fennel, and Grape Salad, grapes add a layer of sweetness that is perfectly complimented by the tart red wine vinegar.

Frozen grapes make the perfect snack for kids and adults alike.  Take it to the next level by dipping them in Greek yogurt and seeds for protein healthy fat.  These Greek Yogurt Grape Popsicles are completely addictive AND healthy!

These Chicken Apple Wraps are so simple and made with ingredients you probably have on hand.  Wrap your chicken and grape mixture into a piece of lettuce for an extra boost of nutrition!

Nutritional Benefits:


Herbst, Sharon Tyler. Food lover’s companion: comprehensive definitions of over 7200 food, wine, and culinary terms. 5th ed. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, 2013. Print.

“Grapes.” Worlds Healthiest Foods,

All Things Fig

Freshly picked selection:


Originally brought to the U.S. by Spanish Franciscan Missionaries (hence the name “Mission Fig”),  figs symbolize peace and prosperity.  There are hundreds of varieties of figs that range in color from purple-black to almost white.  Figs have a unique sweetness and texture that only intensifies as they ripen.  They are often found dried or as a syrup.  Their season runs from mid June through September.

What do I look for?

If you are purchasing fresh, look for figs that have fresh smooth skin and are still plump.  Avoid figs that look shriveled or moldy.

Ways to Eat:

Fresh figs are incredibly delicate and go well with cheese, salads, and salty accompaniments.  Dried figs are the same, but hold up in any recipe dried fruit is used in.  Since figs are so perishable, they should be used within a few days of purchase.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


Keep it simple with figs instead of tomatoes in this Fig Caprese Salad.

These Glazed Chicken and Fig Skewers are the perfect combination of sweet and salty.

These gluten free/vegan Oatmeal Fig Bars utilize dried figs and with only 9 ingredients come together in a snap.

Nutritional Benefits:


Herbst, Sharon Tyler. Food lover’s companion: comprehensive definitions of over 7200 food, wine, and culinary terms. 5th ed. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, 2013. Print.

“Figs.” Worlds Healthiest Foods,

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