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integrative health

154 articles in integrative health

Addicted To Fragrance

Addicted To Fragrance

It’s time that I come clean about one of my most powerful addictions: fragrance. Here’s something that may surprise you: Most women choose perfume not as an expression of their personality, but as a quality they aspire to. A sexually assured, high powered businesswoman, for instance, will most often choose a delicate floral. Her shy and introverted sister is most likely to opt for a sultry oriental. As for me, I dislike most commercial fragrances. Not only are they overpriced, many of the most expensive and highly advertised perfumes smell revolting. Why? Because they have become more and more polluted by artificial chemicals which create allergic reactions in many. After all, phoney chemicals are cheap, while the real thing is costly. A discerning nose can easily sense the difference. This is the main reason why I make my own fragrances. It’s easy, and I’ll tell you how I do this. But first, come with me on a mini-journey into the sensuous, irresistible world of real fragrance that, long ago, literally changed my life. Who knows? It could even change yours... GLORIOUS GRASSE At the foot of the Mediterranean Alps, amidst the wild herbs and brilliant citrus of Southern France, lies Europe's hoard of sensuous delight and healing power: Grasse, perfume capitol of the world since the fifteenth century. But that was already long after holy orders of monks had settled in what they called a 'blessed herb garden', where cloves, tuberose, jasmine and lavender spread over the earth in wild abundance, and grew in the harmony of perfect ecological balance. They acted upon that balance with great skill and cunning, introducing rare plants from Persia, India and the Iberian Peninsula—plants to heal the plague and banish evil, plants to soothe and quiet a troubled mind, plants to perfume leather and to heighten the charisma of courtiers and bishops. In alchemists' chambers and cloistered cells, stoves glowed and retorts bubbled with one end in mind: To extract the 'soul' of each plant and flower, of every root and leaf and bark. These men knew that the life-force is something after which every creature lusts. If only they could capture it, they reasoned, if only they could distil it and then drink its essence through their skin and senses, perhaps they could heighten their own experience of abundance, pleasure and wellbeing. That was more than five hundred years ago. Now the advent of high-technology has altered the means. We no longer use words like 'alchemy' or 'soul', yet the goal is the same: To extract the fine, light, almost ethereal essence of the living plant: The essential oil—one of the great miracles of nature. SOUL OF A FLOWER These substances taken from roots, leaves and flowers in the prime of life once formed the core of the world's great perfumes. So precious and rare are these essences that it takes some 8 million blossoms of jasmine to produce a single kilogram of the essential oil, or five tons of rose petals to yield a similar quantity of the famed rose absolute. The essential oil of tuberose is so expensive that every drop is worth its weight in gold. Along with small quantities of animal substances such as civet, ambergris and musk and the new synthetic aromatics, such essential oils are the be-all and end-all of real fragrance—balms to soften skin, perfumed soaps, flowery powders, bathing oils, perfumes, spicy dishes and aromatic drinks. LAMAS AND PROSTITUTES Throughout history, essential oils have been prized for their mind-bending qualities. Tibetan lamas mixed extraordinary combinations of complex hydrocarbons taken from herbs and flowers to produce incense, to heighten concentration and center the mind. Knowing every secret of sensuality, temple prostitutes used them to create heady aphrodisiacs—fragrances carefully contrived to make themselves irresistible to their worshippers. In Persia, astrologers advised their clients on the use of balms made from opopanax and origanum, to give protection when malevolent planets made transits. But perhaps most important of all, these subtle aromatics, which are the life-blood of a plant, formed the basis of potent medicines for healing all the way from East India to the west coast of America. Plant-based essences extracted from flowers, fruits, woods, herbs, spices and resins have extraordinary complexity, both chemically and in subtle energies for healing which they carry. In some mysterious way, they capture the sun's photo-electromagnetic energy and, through the actions of enzymes, transform it into biochemical power. NATURE’S GLORIOUS GIFTS A natural essential oil is absolutely impossible to reproduce artificially. For it is something which, in its wholeness and its power to act on the human mind and body, can only be created by life itself. Herein lies the wonderful paradox of all potent nature-created substances. On the one hand, they have quite remarkable abilities to affect our bodies, minds and feelings. On the other, they are so fine and light and delicate that power can be virtually destroyed unless they are cultivated, harvested, extracted, stored and used in a manner which shows absolute respect for nature and her needs. But herein lies the rub: The essence of any plant is locked within it. In the case of flowers such as rose, jasmine and tuberose, it is found in the blossoms. It can also be taken from stems and leaves such as patchouli, geranium and mint, from fruits, (strawberry, orange and lemon) from roots, (angelica, orris, and vetiver) from woods, (rose, cedar and sandalwood) as well as from needles and twigs such as cypress and pine, herbs and grasses such as hay, sage and basil, resins and balsams such as myrrh and galbanum, and barks such as cinnamon. A few plants, such as the bitter orange tree, are "multiple producers". It yields neroli from its blossoms, petitgrain oil from its leaves, and bitter orange oil from the peel of its fruit. But the most costly and rarefied essential oils come from flowers whose fragility and fine fragrances have made them infinitely desirable. And the method for cultivating them, picking them and extracting them is as great an art as it is a science. A ROSE IS A ROSE Take rose, for instance. The Centifolia rose is cultivated in the vicinity of Grasse. It also grows in Morocco and Egypt. But the most famous rose in the world is the Damascene rose of Bulgaria, which grows in great abundance at the foot of the Balkan Mountains. It bears blossoms for a mere thirty days a year—blossoms which can only be gathered by hand individually, as they have been for centuries. This process begins at dawn each morning and is a race against time. For as the sun grows high in the sky, the flowers yield their essential oils to the surrounding atmosphere—so much so that, by midday, they are only half as potent as they were at sunrise. Whole families enter the fields to pick flowers, each person carrying a great bag over his stomach. A skilled worker can harvest as much as fifty kilos in a day. It is a considerable gathering, yet it will yield only a few drops of the essence. Flowers thus picked must be quickly removed from the sun and processed within twenty-four hours. The Damascene rose is then subjected to a process of distillation where blossoms are spread in abundance on a grill and great quantities of steam directed through them. The intense heat calls forth these fragrant materials, which have a very high boiling point. In the case of the Centifolia rose of Grasse, a process of extraction is used instead to yield not the oil itself, but what is called the rose absolute. Each species of flower is unique, and despite the high-technology of modern perfumery, there will never be a single method of drawing forth the 'soul' of every plant. SEDUCTIVE JASMINE A Jasmine harvest takes place even earlier—while the dew is still on the tiny white flowers, which appear on bushes each night and are removed at dawn by hundreds of pickers of all ages, each carrying a sturdy market basket, into which is poured the blossoms. Harvest in Grasse lasts from the beginning of August to the end of October. There each morning, as you walk in a field of 200 or more of these prolific bushes, you can find yourself inebriated with fragrance. Essence of jasmine, like many of the most prized essential oils, has a relaxing effect on the human body and a narcotic effect on the human mind. By midday, hundreds of baskets of blossoms have been taken to the processing house where they are weighed and wages are paid in cash on the spot. The blossoms are piled high on strainer grills in the extraction container. Then a solvent such as petroleum is passed through them. After the solvent has become replete with the scent, it will be distilled to yield what is known as jasmine concrete. A further process of extraction in alcohol will yield the jasmine absolute. It takes ten tons of the flowers to create 2 1/2 kilos of the concrete, which is transformed into a mere 1 kilo of the prized absolute. Tuberose, the lovely night-hyacinth—a relative of the lily—is perhaps the rarest of all the white flowers, the most costly to extract, and certainly the most demanding of care if one is to draw forth its essence. It is personally my favorite scent. It is grown in Italy and Morocco, as well as in the south of France. There the blossoms are hand-picked and swaddled in damp cloths, and then processed immediately by enfleurage, an ancient method using lard, which is painstaking, slow and laborious. Fat is spread on both sides of a piece of glass and blossoms pressed into it. After 48 hours, the blossoms are removed and new ones replace them, until eventually the fat is thoroughly saturated with essence. A further process of extraction using alcohol then produces the tuberose pomade oil. Because of the time and expense involved in using enfleurage, it has largely been replaced by more efficient and less costly extraction using liquid solvents. Yet tuberose is still one of the most expensive absolutes in the world—a treasure used only in minute quantities. LET’S PROTECT LIFE With the development of high-technology methods of analysis, the current growth in fascination with the healing properties of essential oils, and the burgeoning passion of the Western world for 'natural' products, essential oils could have a bright future. That is provided our awareness of their ecology and our intention to preserve it develops equally well. But it is a big issue. For, ultimately, the preservation of these precious etheric substances is dependent upon our caring for the wellbeing not only of the land around Grasse and other places from which they come, but on our caring for the wellbeing of the whole planet. That, and only that, will ensure the continued existence of this 'blessed herb garden' at the foot of the French Alps—a garden which has brought pleasure and healing for centuries. Don’t rule out using good quality, pure essential oils to fragrance your hair and body. Most are relatively inexpensive. They are a delight to play with, and they can be combined to create your own unique signature scent. You’ll need to dilute them, since some can burn the skin if applied neat. I use 25ml each of pure alcohol (vodka will do) and apricot oil, with 12 to 15 drops of essential oils. Store your scent in a beautiful perfume bottle. Wear it on your body, spray it in the room you work in or play in, put it on your linens and pillows before sleep. Indulge in the magic of real fragrance and sleep like a child again.

End Digestive Problems And Irritable Bowel Syndrome

End Digestive Problems And Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Participants on Cura Romana continue to report that former digestive disturbances—from irritable bowel problems and acid reflux to chronic constipation—clear up during an online Cura Romana Journey. The vast majority of participants who have been on long-term medication for these ailments end up no longer needing any medication. Meanwhile, I am continually being asked by others what causes digestive troubles. Here is a pretty good list of the causes that you might like to check off and get rid of in your own life: WHAT CAUSES GUT UPSET Eating too much Eating before the previous meal is completely digested Drinking iced drinks often (especially before or during meals) Too much alcohol Eating on the run Eating at irregular times Eating heavy meals and late snacks at night Over growth of yeasts and fungi such as Candida Albicans Dysbiosis—low levels of good guy bacteria in the gut, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria adolescentis Food allergies or sensitivities Nutrient deficiencies such as zinc, magnesium, vitamin B complex Low stomach acid On-going physical, emotional or mental stress Medications such as antibiotics—even when used for only one day—or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) A diet too low in protein Increased demand for protein owing to trauma, surgery, excessive exercise, illness, fasting Too little fiber in your diet Go through the above list and see what, if any, of these issues you can clear from your own life, enabling digestive issues to clear up. What I love about Cura Romana is that it appears, quite naturally, to clear digestive problems from within in most cases, wiping out any need for drug intervention as the body rebalances itself. MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME A CURE For Digestive Problems She was part Native American and I learned a lot from her while I was growing up about the blessings of the herb goldenseal—Hydrastis canadensis. Favorite cure-all of the Cherokee Indians, goldenseal has in recent years won praise from scientists for its widespread benefits, which include banishing morning sickness and nausea, calming digestive disturbances, and banishing skin diseases and hemorrhoids. It can even be used as a douche in the treatment of vaginal infections, as a mouthwash in the treatment of gum problems, and to fight off flu and fevers. One of the most generally effective of all remedies, this is another herb I would never want to be without. HOW IT IS TAKEN: Many people prefer to use the powdered root in capsules rather than as an infusion or tincture, since goldenseal does not taste good. Personally I love the bitter taste. I can feel it working the moment I take it, as an extract or tincture in half a glass of water. Take 1 to 4 capsules three times a day, or tincture of fresh herb 10 to 30 drops, 3 to 4 times a day. NATIVE AMERICAN MAGIC This bitter tonic was much used in the 19th century to soothe disorders of the stomach and heal the liver. The alkaloids which the root contains not only stimulate bile production and secretion, they also destroy unhelpful bacteria in the gut and increase the tone and movement of the gastrointestinal tract. The root relieves nausea during pregnancy, has over-all tonic actions on the nervous system, and is excellent applied in strong infusion to eczema and many other skin problems. COUNTERS INFECTIONS: Excellent for the treatment of all kinds of infection, goldenseal can banish catarrh in the head and throat, and clear up infections of the teeth and gums when used as a mouthwash. CALMS UTERINE CONTRACTIONS: Gently strengthening to muscle tone and circulation, it has a mildly sedative and muscle-relaxing effect on the body, and helps stabilize blood sugar. It can even be used for menstrual disorders, especially menorrhagia.

Celebrating Ecstasy

Celebrating Ecstasy

Frequently discussed yet little understood in the context of our post industrial society is the value of ecstasy and the power of the erotic. For power it is of an order that is both frightening and tremendously creative. It is no accident that in all of the Eastern religions it is the erotic which symbolizes man's pathway to realizing the Divine. In our capacity to experience ecstasy at the deepest levels may lie both the key to our survival and to our ability to create. Recent studies of the human brain and its interfaces with the body have for the first time in history begun to chart biologically what takes place when one allows oneself to enter fully into an erotic state. The results of this research are not only helping us see just how important this can be to health and wholeness, they are also making us conscious of just how far away the so called sexual revolution has taken us from our being able to experience our own ecstasy. For the mechanistic approach to sexuality with which we have lived for the past thirty years, with all its sex-manuals and all its advice on 'how-to-do-it-better', instead of leading us towards a state in which we are more able to plunge into the irrational, oceanic, all-trusting state which every ecstatic encounter demands, has taught us to intellectualize sexuality making it into something which too often we do and watch ourselves doing, something which we learn about, something which we try to control. Yet right at the core of the truly ecstatic experience is a fundamental demand that we give up all control so that we are able for a time to allow ourselves to dissolve our boundaries and merge into a celebration of the body, of life itself and in doing so to experience our own wholeness. Each man and woman in reality has not one brain but two: The rational brain or the neocortex which like an immensely complicated computer enables us to make conscious choices and to collect, store and interpret the data we receive from our sensory organs and the subcortical nervous system or the primitive brain . This primitive brain is sometimes referred to as the 'reptilian structures' because from an evolutionary point of view it is the oldest part of the brain and also because, unlike the conscious mind, it can never be disassociated from our basic adaptive systems - the hormonal system and the immune system on which our survival depend. Your emotions and your instincts are bonded to the activity of your primitive brain which through the hypothalamus communicates via nerve cells with the rest of the body and via hormones regulates the activity of all the other endocrine glands with the aid of complex feedback mechanisms. When you experience joy the hormonal balance is not the same as when you grieve or when we engage in intellectual thought. This complex feedback network between mind and body, mediated through the primitive brain might be called our primitive adaptive system. On the quality of its responses and how well it is balanced with the actions of the neocortex depends how healthy we are physically, mentally and emotionally. But being human in the so-called civilized world is not always easy. The neocortex or rational brain in our society has become highly developed. It is this development which gives us the capacity to make rational decisions, to examine reality and to consciously manipulate the outside world to our advantage. In a truly healthy person the balance between the two brains is good. However the rational brain has the ability to inhibit the primitive brain. And in the modern world this neocordical inhibition of the primitive brain (on which our experience of joy and our hormonal and immune strength depends) has been carried to extremes. So much is this the case that we have undermined our ability to experience ecstasy, diminished our capacity for joy and lost our trust in the knowingness of our instincts. Take the experience of childbirth for instance. Instead of being able during the birth process simply to give over our bodies to the event and trust that at the right time the appropriate hormone will be secreted to dilate the cervix, bring the child into the world, lead us instinctively to nurture it at the breast, we tend to try exerting conscious control through our reason. In doing so we inhibit the primitive adaptive processes for we no longer trust them. We shift hormones in inappropriate ways and loose touch with the ecstatic experience of surrender to the body as well as with all the joy this can bring. In short we bring into play the rational brain at an inappropriate time and we suffer for it. (So incidentally does the baby.) We experience ourselves as separate from what is happening to our body, and we feel pain. It is not our highly developed rational brain that is the problem but the inappropriateness of allowing it to come into play in such circumstances which results in a sense of separation and our anguish. For human instincts, which need to be trusted and allowed freedom to be if we are to come to live in real health and wholeness, are fragile things. They are easily repressed and inhibited, constantly changed and controlled by the power of the neocortex - so much so that in most of us these inhibitions have become so unconscious and so habitual that we are not even aware of them have no possibility of choice. We have quite simply forgotten how to let go and trust to our body so we deny the power of human instincts. Then, instead of working with us they tend to work against us. Each woman is a great deal more than her rational mind. To be whole, to be truly healthy, to live the power of her own individual beauty she needs a highly developed emotional and instinctive life as well as a strong rationality. Each woman needs to be able to trust her body and, at appropriate times, such as in childbirth or lovemaking, to be able to abandon herself to it fully. Then the highly developed neocortex which is responsible for the development of culture and rational achievement instead of working against ones energy by inappropriate inhibition serves to channel her instinctive and the emotional life in tremendously exciting and creative ways. Then she is able to experience joy in simply being the way a child does - a joy and a radiance which does not depend upon what she does or what she has or on how clever she is or on how admired she is but simply on being. How does one rediscover this kind of trust in the body and in ones instincts? The answer is not simple. It involves experiment, listening, adjustment and it usually comes slowly, in fits and starts, through learning to trust and through becoming aware when instinctive responses begin to take place and simply allowing them to happen - particularly in the realm of ones sexuality - a realm in which the primitive brain, if it is allowed, probably comes into its own more easily than in any other. For the erotic - the ecstatic - has a power far beyond the experience of pleasure it brings. Ancient philosophical and religious traditions teach that the font of sexual power, known as the kundalini, lies coiled like a sleeping serpent at the base of the spine. When it becomes aroused this powerful procreative energy, the most powerful energy known to human life, begins to uncoil and to rise up the body activating its energy centers or chakras one by one. There are said to be seven chakras - locusts where the life energy which controls all biological processes, interfaces with the physical body. Each chakra appears to control particular endocrine glands and each is said to manifest a different quality of this powerful instinctive energy which makes human development possible. For instance the first or base chakra which lies near the base of the spine deals with survival while the next chakra, located in the pelvis looks after specific procreative energies. The chakra at the solar plexus is said to be involved with the will, the heart chakra with compassion, the throat with ones higher creative energies and so forth. The seventh chakra at the crown of the head is known as the thousand petal lotus. It is believed to be responsible for man's spiritual development at the highest level. When strongly activated it is believed to emit a radiance which you find depicted in every religious tradition in the form of the halo painted around the head of saints, the Christ, the Buddha and all the rest. The kundalini or life force is not something which can be aroused or activated through any rational effort of the conscious mind. For its energies, being sexual in the very deepest sense of the word (a sense which encompasses self-expression and creativity in every way from giving birth, to art, to the Dionysian celebration of the erotic in sexual intercourse,) are irrational in nature and belong to the realm of the primitive brain. As such they defy definition and elude any who would classify, categorize or try to control them. Since we belong to a civilization which has placed great premium on classification and control and which therefore has sought to conveniently ignore or dismiss as nonexistent any part of experience which does not fit into the rational and controllable, we often feel particularly unsettled whenever the force of these profound life energies surface. They can make us decidedly uncomfortable. For if we follow them we risk dissolving the boundaries of self and we fear a loss of the very control which the overdeveloped rational mind so loves. Yet the irony is that it is this very loss of control that we often most long for. For without an ability to live the instinctive as well as the rational we can never experience wholeness. Even more important, without it, the full creativity of our humanness being can never be realized. For it is the inhibition of this ability to experience the ecstatic and to trust in it that brings in its wake the sense of powerlessness and meaninglessness so widespread in our society. As black American writer Audre Lorde says in her book Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic As Power (The Crossing Press, Freedom, CA), 'The Erotic is a resource within each of us that lies in a deeply female and spiritual plane, firmly rooted in the power of our unexpressed or unrecognized feeling...As women we have come to distrust that power which rises from our deepest and nonrational knowledge... It has been made into the confused, the trivial, the psychotic, the plasticized sensation. But the erotic offers a well of replenishing and provocative force to the woman who does not fear its revelation, nor succumb to the belief that sensation is enough.' Exploring the realms of ecstasy, the truly erotic in ones life, is a long way from experimenting with all the mechanistic sexual stuff you will find in the popular press that tells you how to get more pleasure sex by doing this or that to your partner. Sadly the sexual revolution instead of freeing us to explore ecstasy and helping us learn how to surrender ourselves to the realm of instinct thereby bringing a healthy balance between our two brains, has tended even to relegate sexuality to the realm of the neocortex. When this happens, the ecstatic becomes the pornographic and the powers of creativity are wasted. For health and wholeness we must somehow find a marriage between instinct and reason. It is a union which like any marriage takes time to develop and grow, but a union which in terms of your health and beauty and your wholeness can bear infinite fruit.

Herbal Help

Herbal Help

Valerian: This is the root of the plant Valeriana officinalis, which was the primary herbal sedative used on both sides of the Atlantic before the advent of barbiturate sleeping pills. It is a safe and well tested herbal remedy with a smell like dirty old socks (the smell drives some people's cats wild). Don't let that put you off, since Valerian is a powerful and useful tool for inducing safe sleep - more potent than most of the other natural tranquilizers such as hops or skullcap or chamomile. You can take Valerian in a couple of ways, but I like the tincture best - 10 to 20 drops before bedtime in a little water, or in the middle of the night when you awaken. Alternatively you can use a couple of capsules of the dried root. Valerian in lower doses is also useful when your nerves feel 'shot' during the day. Very occasionally Valerian will be too strong for a particular woman, so that she awakens with a little sense of hangover in the morning. If so, you can either cut down on the dose or try another milder remedy. In any case, it can be a good idea to change remedies every so often so your body doesn't become accustomed to one, rendering it ineffectual. Passion Flower: Passiflora incarnata, also known as Maypops, is a climbing plant that boasts magnificent white flowers with a purple center. It has a wonderful sedative and mildly narcotic effect on the body. Passion Flower is most useful for women who wrestle frequently with nervous tension and particularly helpful when nerves seem to be edgy before and around the time of menopause, when hormones can fluctuate wildly. It is also useful for relieving pain, thanks to its mild analgesic and antispasmodic qualities - all of which has been well demonstrated in laboratory and clinical tests. Passion Flower can also be useful for a woman troubled with premenstrual tension. It is not as strong as Valerian in its actions, is more calming than sedating, and as such is a great alternative to tranquilizer drugs. Use 10 to 20 drops of the tincture or the same amount of the liquid extract in water. Alternatively take two capsules of the dried extract up to four times a day as needed. Where a woman might take Valerian at night just before bed, the best results from Passion Flower often come from taking it 2 to 4 times a day to calm nerves and make everything easier and less stressful. Chamomile Tea: Matricaria chamomilla. One of the nine herbs sacred to the Anglo Saxon god Wotan, chamomile was also much loved by the Romans. Its name Matricaria is derived either from the Latin word 'mater', meaning mother, or from 'matrix', meaning womb. It has for thousands of years been used as a woman's herb against painful menstruation, to calm anxiety and aid sleep - even to help build strong bones, since it contains a form of readily absorbed calcium. Chamomile is also a uterine tonic - something else that has been scientifically evaluated. It boasts many other therapeutic properties as well such as being antibacterial in its actions and good for skin. The easiest way to take chamomile is in the form of a tisane or tea by infusing 5 to 10 grams of the dried flowers in hot water before bed or whenever you need relaxation. Chamomile works particularly well when taken together with Passion Flower. Hops: Humulus lupulus. The flowers from this British herb are often used together with other remedies to treat everything from indigestion to calm nerves. Like Valerian, hops has a pronounced sedative effect, but is milder. Unlike Valerian, hops smells sweet, and can be used without concern for side-effects. You can use hops in the form of a tincture but by far the best way for sleep - particularly good for women who are awakened in the middle of the night and have trouble going back to sleep - is to drink hop tea, which you make before going to bed by steeping the flowers for ten minutes in hot water then straining and allowing to cool. Sit the tea - sweetened with honey if you like - by the side of your bed, so you can drink it when you awaken in the night. Also wonderful is a little pillow stuffed with dried hops blossoms, which you put under your neck when you go to bed, or if you awaken. Oatstraw: Avena sativa. The straw from oats has an ability to restore energy when nerves have been frayed, and for counteracting insomnia. It can help ease night sweats, calm anxiety, and even relieve headache. Again, stuff a little pillow with oat hulls or infuse them in hot water as with hops, and keep beside your bed through the night in case you need it.

Vegetarian Truths And Secrets

Vegetarian Truths And Secrets

For ten years I was a vegetarian—a way of eating for which I have the highest respect. My vegetarian diet, at times even vegan, helped my body heal damage that had been done to it when I was a kid. I had been raised on junk food before junk food as we know it today even existed: I was never breastfed. I survived on pasteurized cow’s milk mixed with corn syrup, then as soon as I could wield a spoon, Rice Krispies smothered in sugar. Then I feasted on greasy eggs and white toast in truck driver cafés, usually at 5am. For my father was a jazz musician. I traveled with him from one gig to the next from the time I was 4 or 5 years old, not attending school, often covering 200 or 300 miles a day to get to the next job. As a result I was never well. So, in my early twenties, while living in Paris with my three children, I went looking for health help. And I found it. FUNDAMENTAL RESEARCH I researched the work of gifted British doctor Sir Robert McCarrison, who initiated the first epidemiological investigations into the relationship between diet and the development of disease. I investigated the theories and practices of Max Bircher-Benner MD, creator of the world famous Bircher-Benner clinic in Zürich. There, for almost a century, people suffering from chronic degenerative conditions went to have their lives transformed by changing the way they lived and ate. Bircher-Benner’s work had changed the eating habits of hundreds of thousands by the end of the 19th century, by teaching people to eliminate white bread and meat, and to eat a balanced diet of raw vegetables, fruits and nuts. I was fortunate enough several times to visit the clinic which, for 40 years after his death in 1939, was run by his niece—the charismatic Dagmar Liechti-von Brasch MD. She and I became good friends. At the clinic I learned the principles of good vegetarian eating from Bircher-Benner’s son, Ralph, whose job it was to look after the publications that flowed forth from the clinic and were printed in many languages throughout the world. I learned about the powers of natural healing, then put them into practice, changing my own life and improving the lives of my children as they grew up. DIGGING DEEP Meanwhile, I read many books and papers, listened to dozens of lectures from physicians and scientists, and interviewed scores of doctors personally who were involved in the new exciting field of lifestyle medicine. I was impressed by their work and by the work of many others including Dean Ornish MD, director of the Preventative Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California. Ornish and his colleagues went so far as to measure the effect of comprehensive lifestyle changes on patients with coronary artery disease. These patients were introduced to a meat, fish and poultry-free, ultra-low-fat vegetarian diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes, coupled with stress management sessions and regular exercise. By the end of a year, over 80% of the patients had experienced regression of their arterial fatty deposits without the use of drugs. During the same year, the control groups of patients, who had no lifestyle intervention, experienced a substantial progression of their illness. Change a person's way of eating and alter their lifestyle, and you can not only largely prevent degenerative conditions, of which overweight is a major one: you can even reverse degeneration after it has occurred. Certainly, a well-designed vegetarian way of eating can play a major role in the process. HERE’S THE RUB Given the surprising benefits that many people—including myself—have experienced from a properly constituted vegetarian way of eating coupled with lifestyle change, why, then, do so many devout vegetarians eventually become ill, obese and disillusioned with this way of eating? The answer to this is likely to surprise you, since so little has been written about it. I have written a lot about Paleolithic man’s way of eating, our genetic inheritance from him and how important it is that, in choosing the foods we eat, we respect this genetic inheritance for the sake of our health, our mental strength and emotional wellbeing. As you know, until the agricultural revolution took place, Paleolithic man was primarily a hunter. He killed his food—be it animal, insect or fish—then gathered whatever plants, nuts, fruits and vegetables were available to him. He ate mostly fat and protein. He would go for long periods between kills, living off his own fat stores. His body handled the processing of the foods he ate primarily in a ketogenic manner—relying on fats, not glucose, to supply him with energy. ENTER THE GATHERERS At the same time, and after the agricultural revolution began, a large number of people became primarily gatherers. The gatherers got most of their nourishment from what grew out of the ground in the form of fruits and vegetables, herbs, nuts and seeds, most of which they ate fresh and raw. Unlike the hunters, who derived their energy from fats, gatherers relied on glucose from their foods to supply their energy. The early gatherers were vegans. Only when man began to domesticate animals and birds so that eggs and milk were available did some of these vegans become vegetarians. To this day, both vegan and vegetarian diets are practiced in certain cultures throughout the world. Some contemporary vegans and vegetarians stay healthy. But it is common knowledge that more and more these days develop deficiency diseases, experience rapid aging and end up with serious chronic diseases. Why? DANGEROUS CONVENIENCE Because the foods most vegetarians and vegans eat now are a far cry from those that our original gatherers collected and consumed. Like more than 90% of today’s omnivores, the majority of vegetarians and vegans have now come to live on denatured, processed convenience foods. Such foods are just as dangerous to vegans and vegetarians as they are to the rest of humanity. Yet the majority of vegetarians and vegans remain completely ignorant of this. They still think that, by not eating animal products, they are protected from all the chronic illnesses that now plague humanity. What’s worse, for a few of these people, vegetarianism has become a religion—a source of self-righteous congratulation which they ignorantly assume sets them above the rest of us human beings. Here’s the secret and bottom line: If you want to thrive as a vegan or vegetarian, you will need to fashion your way of eating as close as humanly possible to the way our gatherer ancestors did. This means saying no to convenience foods. It also means becoming savvy about how to get enough of the nutrients that are low in vegetarian and vegan diets, and making sure you supplement your diet with them. FOLLOW THE GATHERERS When it comes to spring-cleaning the body, following a vegan or vegetarian diet for a period of time can be a great help. This is how Bircher-Benner and the other great physicians who worked with high-raw diets were able to work their healing wonders. BUT... If you decide to follow a vegan or vegetarian way of eating long-term, you must eat as your gatherer ancestors did. I see serious health problems in some vegetarians and vegans I mentor on our Cura Romana programs—yeast overgrowth, cancers, hypothyroidism, diabetes, leaky gut syndrome, anemia, food cravings, and chronic fatigue to mention only a few. Some people cannot manage a vegetarian diet because of enzyme deficiencies. Others have food sensitivities to grains and cereals or milk products, but do not know it because, like almost 99% of non-vegetarians, they are eating masses of convenience foods which none of our bodies can handle. HOW TO BE A HEALTHY VEGETARIAN Stop eating manufactured foods and processed foods, be they cookies, cakes, crackers, soft drinks, packaged salad dressings and other ready-in-a-minute packaged foods. Replace sugar in all its forms with good quality, pure stevia for sweetening. Avoid all chemical sweeteners. Stay away from anything containing high-fructose corn syrup. Read labels carefully. Never drink sodas or diet sodas. Forsake all “white foods” such as white flour, all products made from it, and white rice. Eat only free range and organic eggs. Buy or grow organic vegetables and fruits. Eat your fruits and vegetables in their fresh raw state as often as possible. Use no food additives such as MSG, hydrolyzed vegetable protein or aspartame. They are full of neurotoxins. Avoid all processed vegetable oils made from corn, soy, canola, cottonseed or safflower. Choose only natural oils such as coconut, extra virgin olive oil and butter from grass fed cows. Never drink fluoridated water. Avoid rancid nuts and grains which you find in granolas and elsewhere, as they block mineral absorption and impair good digestion. Never eat sprayed, waxed, irradiated fruits and vegetables or GMO foods—particularly GMO or non-organic soy. Take only food-state supplements, never chemically-made vitamins. Make sure you supplement any vegan or vegetarian way of eating with extra zinc, vitamin B3, iodine, omega-3 oils and vitamin B12. TO LEARN MORE: Crane, Milton G., Sample, Clyde J., Regression of Diabetic Neuropathy with Total Vegetarian Diet, Monograph, Weimar Institute, Weimar, California, USA. Crane, Milton G., Shavlik, Gerald., ‘Newstart’ Lifestyle Program. A Survey of the Results. Monograph, Weimar Institute, Weimar, California, USA. Fraser, G.E. Vegetarian Diets: What do we know of their effects on common chronic diseases? Am. J. Clin. Nur, 2009: 89: 1607S-12S. Lustig, Robert, Fat Chance. The Bitter Truth About Sugar. Fourth Estate/Harper Collins, London, 2013. Ornish, Dean, Reversing Heart Disease, Random House/Century, London, 1991. `Unusual Heart Therapy Wins Coverage From Large Insurer' New York Times, July 28th, 1993.

Two Faces Of Sleep

Two Faces Of Sleep

There are two kinds of sleep: orthodox sleep, which is dreamless - sometimes called `synchronized slow-wave sleep' because of the brain wave patterns that accompany it - and paradoxical sleep, during which dreaming occurs along with rapid eye movement (REM), sometimes called desynchronized sleep. Orthodox sleep is vital for physical restoration of the body while paradoxical sleep is essential to your mental and emotional stability. Research into sleep measured by electroencephalograms has shown that all of us spend our sleep time moving in and out of these two stages in predictable rhythmic patterns. If for any reason these patterns are repeatedly disturbed, we suffer. There are four levels or depths to orthodox sleep. When you fall asleep you move into the first level, characterized by low-amplitude fast-frequency brain wave patterns. Sometimes sleep starts with a sudden twitching movement called a myoclonic jerk. This is the result of a sudden flare-up of electrical activity in the brain, as in a minor epileptic seizure. Then, as you move to level two and even deeper into levels three and four, there is a general slowing of the frequency, and an increase in the amplitude of your brain waves. pure contradiction REM sleep, which is diametrically opposite to orthodox sleep in many ways, is just as vital. It more than earns its name `paradoxical' by being a mass of contradictions: although the body is virtually paralyzed during the REM state, the fingers and face often twitch and the genitals become erect. Breathing speeds up to the level of your normal waking state. Heartbeat rate, blood pressure and temperature rise, and adrenaline shoots through the system. Beneath the lids your eyes move rapidly from side to side as though you were looking at a film or tennis match. And this is exactly what is happening - you are viewing images that come rapidly in succession. Your brain waves in the REM state show a marked similarity to the rapid, irregular patterns of being awake. Although the exact purpose of REM sleep remains a mystery, researchers know that it is essential for maintaining one's mental and emotional equilibrium. The need for paradoxical sleep also varies from one person to another. How much you will need is related both to your personality and your general psychological state. Longer periods of REM sleep and more of them throughout the night take place in times of psychic pain, or when your defense patterns are being challenged by new demands. Women tend to have increased REM sleep during the three or four days before the beginning of a period. For most women this is a time of increased anxiety, irritability, mood changes, and unstable defense patterns. But there is a lot that is not known about the function of paradoxical sleep. Well-known French researcher Michel Jouvet, who has done extensive studies of the REM state in animals and their unborn young - in which it occurs as well - believes it is a kind of practice of the genetic code in which lower animals run through their instinctive behavior patterns. In mammals and man, he thinks, it is a time when we are probably practicing our learned behavior, as each night we go through the process of integrating new information with the knowledge we already have. Normally you fall asleep and remain for a short time at level one and two, and then plunge into levels three or four to stay there for seventy to one hundred minutes. At that point comes your first period of REM or paradoxical sleep when dreams begin. This dream period of REM lasts only ten to twenty minutes. It is repeated again at about ninety-minute intervals throughout the night with orthodox, undreaming sleep in between, culminating in the longest period of REM - usually about half an hour - just before you wake up. During orthodox sleep your body is quiet, heartbeat slows, blood pressure falls slightly, and your breathing gets slower and more regular. Even your digestive system winds down. In the deeper levels of orthodox sleep, brain waves gradually become more synchronized, as if everything is at peace. At such times your body's restorative processes come into their own, rapidly repairing damaged tissues and cells, producing antibodies to fight infection, and carrying out a myriad of other duties necessary to keep you healthy. Without orthodox sleep in all its different stages, this important vegetative restoration does not take place properly and you become more prone to stress-damage, illness, early aging, fatigue and muddled thinking. Orthodox sleep is the master restorer. psychic necessity When scientists disturb sleepers in the orthodox state, they find that deprivation of orthodox sleep doesn't lead to any psychological disturbances. But after being deprived of REM sleep for several days,  sleepers become desperate for it. Their normal sleep patterns alter so that they slip into REM immediately on falling asleep and then experience twenty to thirty periods of it each night instead of the usual three. Psychologists refer to this phenomenon as `REM rebound'. It is often accompanied by fierce nightmares as psychic imagery, too long repressed, seeks strongly to reassert itself. Sleeping pills repress this REM phase, and repression can result in lasting psychological damage to the pill popper. After taking sleep-inducing drugs regularly, when you come off them you may fear you are going crazy as you start to experience the REM rebound. Vivid and frightening hypnagogic images and nightmares appear, as the body hungrily tries to make up for what it has been denied. There are other reasons to steer clear of sleep-inducing drugs too. Both barbiturates and non-barbiturates prescribed for sleep are physically and psychologically addictive - barbiturates to an even greater degree than heroin. They can be fatal, even at low dosage, when mixed with alcohol in the bloodstream. Finally - something that few people realize - they are also not very effective over the long-term. Sleeping pills can be successfully used to bring on sleep only for the first week or two. After that, dangerously increased doses are needed to work. When sleeplessness becomes chronic it can leave you feeling exhausted, hopeless and washed out, in which case something needs to be done about it. Sleeping pills are not the answer. Their side-effects include digestive problems, poor concentration, disorders of the blood and respiration, high blood pressure, liver and kidney troubles, problems with vision, depression, dizziness, confusion and damage to the central nervous system. Using them can even lead to worse insomnia. There are better ways. For many people who rely on sleeping pills, the power of suggestion brought about by putting one in the mouth and swallowing it is far more useful than the drug in introducing sleep. The drug itself can only do harm in the long run, sleeping pills themselves put your body under continual stress. There are safer and more effective ways of getting to sleep using nature's sleep aids. how much sleep? The amount of sleep you need varies tremendously from one person to another. It also varies from one day to the next. There is no truth in the idea that you need eight hours of sleep to stay well and feel energetic. You might need ten hours, while another person gets on very well with four and a half. One study showed that short sleepers tend to be active, outgoing people who are sociable, flexible in their personalities and more conformist socially. Those wanting longer periods of sleep are more introverted and creative and are particularly good at sustained work. Often the more stress-filled your day, the more sleep you will need to balance it. As we get older we tend to sleep less. Many sixty and seventy-year-olds get by on a mere three or four hours a night. Occasionally you meet someone who sleeps as little as half an hour to an hour each night, yet appears to be perfectly normal. The amount of sleep you need depends so much on your biological and psychological individuality that you can't make hard and fast rules about it. Many high achievers and great minds throughout history - Napoleon, Freud, and Thomas Edison, for instance - have been poor sleepers, while others like Einstein could sleep the day away. Many people who consider themselves insomniacs are really victims of general propaganda about sleep rather than true non-sleepers. And many people seek treatment because they can only sleep four or five hours a night, although that may be all they need. Forget insomnia. But the idea that you need a certain amount of sleep each night to stay well is a powerful one. For many people it is so embedded in their unconscious that if they only get seven hours one night instead of eight, they are convinced they will be tired next day and soon develop all the signs of it. If you are one of these people, try re-examining your premises, and experiment - sleep less and see what happens. You may find that how you feel after a certain amount of sleep depends more on your own choice than on the time spent in bed. Try sleeping less for a few days. Many people find when they do, they actually have more energy. Although it is best not to go to bed on a full stomach, some people find it helpful to have a little something before retiring. Some foods help promote sleep because they contain high quantities of the amino acid tryptophan - a precursor to the calming brain chemical serotonin - or because they encourage the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin. Others taken at bedtime can disrupt sleep, because they stimulate or because they contain high quantities of the chemical tyramine, which increases the release of noradrenaline - a brain chemical which excites the nervous system. Find out what bedtime snacks work for you. hydrotherapy Water, applied to your body, can `stress' your system in very positive ways - ways which make you stronger and more resistant to illness and which can increase overall vitality. It can improve biological functioning and provide a healthy mental stimulation which takes you away from the habitualized ways of thinking which can result in boredom, stress, and sleeplessness. Sebastian Kneipp, after whom European hydrotherapy is named, was born in Bavaria in 1821, the poor son of a humble weaver with an ambition to become a priest. While studying for the priesthood he contracted tuberculosis: his physicians pronounced him incurable. But Kneipp was unwilling to accept their judgment. He came across an old book written by a German physician on the curative powers of water and began to experiment on himself by applying water in various ways. This, coupled with a growing awareness of the body's own ability to heal itself in accordance with certain laws of nature, brought him back to full health. He went on to develop hydrotherapy into the remarkable therapeutic and preventative system which bears his name. In a world where the benefits of an invigorating, quick shower are more and more appreciated, it is easy to forget the bliss and the relaxation of a long lazy bath. Water - especially when it has been fortified with plant essences - has the power to soothe, heal and relax a tense body, to lift a fatigued spirit, and to put you in just the right frame of mind for sleep.  See A benevolent bath. Several herbs act as safe and natural tranquilizers which can help relax your mind and body for sleep. One of the most popular is passionflower, or passiflora; others include hops, valerian root and skullcap. You can swallow them in pill or capsule form or make a herbal tea night cap. The classic bedtime herbal tea is chamomile, or you could try a tablespoon of orange flower water stirred into a cup of hot water with a little honey. See Herbal help. You've counted a hundred sheep, told yourself to relax, tried the left side, the right side, the back, the front, turned the light back on, read your book, done the crossword, turned the light off again and still you're wide awake. Your mind is racing. So why lie there and let it? Rather than try to block all your thoughts out of your head, face them. See Write It Out.

See And Feel Its Power

See And Feel Its Power

How much do you know about astaxanthin? It is one of the most important nutritional supplements ever created. This fat-soluble antioxidant has been much studied. One of 700 different carotinoids it may well be the most powerful antioxidant in existence. It is 65 times more powerful than Vitamin C. It brings effective support to the brain, helping to protect it from abnormal functioning. It helps protect from cellular damage to the eyes and the skin as a result of exposure to excess UV sunlight. It may even slow the proliferation of breast cancer cells. Astaxanthin is a super anti-inflammatory as well. Athletes—from weekend enthusiasts to endurance runners and pro boxers—sing its praises for the stamina it brings them. Astaxanthin is derived from part of Haematoccous pluviallis, the algae which gives flamingos and wild salmon their orangy-pink color. It helps the algae survive when they dry out in the baking sun by creating a protective energy field. [video src=http://d1vg7rm5xhtxe9.cloudfront.net/video/sd/astaxanthin.mp4 poster=http://d3oy45cyct8ffi.cloudfront.net/health/video/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2013/08/astaxanthin1.jpg ] Nutrex BioAstin Hawaiian Astaxanthin Evidence emerging from clinical studies indicates that astaxanthin may even go a long ways to help protect us from nuclear radiation. Finally, it’s an effective internal supplement helping to keep skin strong and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. I take it daily and have for several years—2 capsules of Nutrex BioAstin Hawaiian Astaxanthin 4mg each day. Order Nutrex BioAstin Hawaiian Astaxanthin from iherb ORDERING FROM IHERB.COM: If you decide to order any products from Iherb.com, you will automatically receive $5 or $10 off your first order. Their products are the cheapest and best in the world…I use them for everything no matter where I am. Get it sent to you via DHL. It will be with you in three to four working days… iHerb.com ship all over the world very cheaply.

Ageless Aging

Ageless Aging

How long you live rests largely in your own hands. So does how well you live, how much vitality you have and how good you will look in twenty years' time. They are not, as most people still believe, accidents of fate. Instead they depend mostly on two things: first, your lifestyle; second, how much use you make of some of the recently discovered tools for protecting your body against degeneration. Together these two form an integrated approach to ageless aging which has two branches. natural law The first branch I call natural law. It is based on what appear to be the biological laws of life. It centers around becoming aware of the quite specific needs of your mind-body-spirit for optimum health and vitality and then on supplying them. These include psychosocial, physical, nutritional, environmental and spiritual needs which, when fulfilled, keep you in a state of maximum wellness year after year. It forms the foundation of every major tradition of natural health and healing throughout history, from ancient Taoist medicine in China and the Ayurvedic tradition of India to nineteenth-century European nature-cure and the `holistic' approach to health that has become so popular recently. It largely determines how susceptible you are to `premature' aging - a widespread phenomenon which makes faces wrinkle and arteries harden and which can be halted by such things as correcting any subclinical nutritional deficiencies which you may have, by altering your diet and by changing your lifestyle. high tech The second branch of an integrated approach to ageless aging, which I call high-tech, depends on making intelligent and effective use of the tools for age-retardation which have recently come to light thanks to research done in scientific disciplines such as free radical biochemistry, submolecular biology, biophysics and electrobiology. This approach is entirely dependent on scientific discoveries which have taken place, mostly within the last fifty years. These discoveries include a growing understanding of the role that the immune system plays in the rate at which we age, a knowledge of how certain natural and artificial chemicals known as the antioxidants can be used to prevent age-related damage on a cellular level and to strengthen immune functions, and how specific nutrients such as the free amino acids can be used to alter the chemistry of the aging brain or firm sagging muscles, as well as an awareness of how specific pathways between mind and body enable your feelings, attitudes and expectations to play a major role in determining the rate at which you age. Unlike natural-law anti-ageing, which can banish the `premature' factors in the aging process, the high-tech approach aims at longevity by attempting to extend `maximum' lifespan as well. In effect it is involved in exploring the processes of aging and degeneration in very specific terms - from the wrinkling of skin to the disruption of a cell's genetic material which is implicated both in aging and in the development of cancer. Even more important, science is discovering specific and effective remedies for counteracting these processes of aging and degeneration. fusion To get maximum benefits from what is currently known about age-retardation we need to fuse natural law and high tech into a single power for de-ageing. Used together they can not only have you looking good and feeling good twenty-five years hence, they can go a long way towards alleviating human suffering for they will also go a long way towards preventing the degenerative diseases of civilization.

Brush It

Brush It

Some of the simplest techniques for supporting your body’s elimination processes also happen to feel wonderful and can bring delicious relaxation in their wake. Your body is working hard to get rid of all that stored waste, so treat it gently and give it some attention. Your mind will benefit too. Your two day apple fast is a not to be passed-up opportunity for some bodily indulgence of the first order. Skin brushing is now frequently recommended by health practitioners and has a long history for health and healing in the annals of European natural treatments. It is a particularly helpful technique to use during a detox, and can do wonders for your skin used daily afterwards. Skin brushing acts both superficially to draw out wastes from the skin, and deeply by boosting lymphatic drainage (more of this later) and helping to break down congestion in areas where the lymph flow has become sluggish and toxins have collected. It improves the look of skin, helps eliminate cellulite, and tones the whole body. It is an extraordinarily gentle yet powerful technique, and it feels wonderful. Using a natural bristle brush, preferably one with vegetable bristles and a long handle (available from pharmacies, natural beauty shops and health-food stores), go over the surface of your body once with long sweeping motions. Brush across the tips of your shoulders and upper back, then down over the neck and shoulders and down the arms and over the hands – always working in a downwards direction and covering the surface of the skin once. Now brush down over the trunk and tummy and down the back until you’ve covered every inch of your upper body. Then, beginning at the feet, brush upwards in the same long sweeping motions up the legs, front and back, and up over the buttocks. Do this slowly and enjoy the feeling of having the skin of your whole body gently exfoliated. Always brush your skin with a dry brush and never brush your face. How much pressure you put behind the brush should depend on how strong your skin is, your age, and how much stimulation it is used to. Go easy to begin with. Your skin will soon become fitter and then you will be able to work far more vigorously. But you should never go too hard too quickly or you risk being counter productive and will miss out on the benefits of steadily increasing skin firmness and fitness. Skin brushing encourages better circulation, brings energy into ‘deadened’ areas of flesh, smooths and softens skin, and encourages better lymphatic drainage. You are also sloughing off dead skin cells with the brush, so encouraging new cells to come to the surface and make the skin of your whole body glow. detox test Being your body’s largest organ and one of the most important for elimination (almost a third of your body’s wastes can be eliminated through the skin), skin that is brushed regularly yields up the most amazing quantity of rubbish. You can check for yourself just how dramatic is the skin’s elimination of wastes by performing a practical experiment with the help of a flannel. Every day before your bath or shower, brush your skin all over for three to five minutes. Then take a damp flannel and rub it all over your freshly brushed body. Hang the flannel up and repeat the process with the same flannel the next day. After a few days, the smell of the flannel will be quite revolting thanks to the quantity of waste products that have come directly through the skin’s surface. Just think how much better off you are without them.

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana®

Fast, Healthy Weight Loss

Leslie Kenton’s Cura Romana® has proudly supported 13,000+ weight loss journeys over the past 12 years. With an overall average daily weight loss of 0.5 - 0.6 lb for women and 0.8 - 1.0 lb for men.

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 26th of January 2021 (updated every 12 hours)

-0.65 lb
for women
-1.19 lb
for men
-0.65 lb
for women
-1.19 lb
for men

Yesterday’s Average Daily Weight Loss:

on the 26th of January 2021 (updated every 12 hours)

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