Author Archives: Alice

Chia Plantain Pancakes (vgn)

This winning recipe was submitted by customer David Anyinsah to celebrate Wake Up To Organic 2017.

David came up with this recipe while looking for an alternative breakfast for his daughter whose skin reacted to white flour and eggs. The pancakes are naturally sweet and the plantains are an ode to his Afro-Caribbean roots. Enjoy!


Serves 2

2 ripe plantains
1/3 cup organic chia seeds (to make 1/4 cup chia gel)
1/4 cup organic spelt flour
Drop vanilla extract
2 cups water
Oil to fry (coconut oil)
Date syrup
Seasonal fruit of choice: strawberries are a personal favourite


  • Combine the chia seeds with the water and allow them to sit for 20 minutes
  • Cut the plantains and put them in a blender with a splash of water and a drop of vanilla extract
  • Once blended, combine with the spelt flour and 1/4 cup chia gel
  • Pour the batter into a pan with oil and fry each side of pancake for 3 mins or so
  • Serve with a drizzle of date syrup and fruit of choice
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How to Balance Your Hormones

By Lynsey Creed.

Lynsey has been working in the health industry for 3 years and currently advises at Wild Oats Bristol. She is also currently transitioning to self employed to allow more time during consultations on more complex matters like hormones and digestive issues.

In this article, Lynsey looks at what you can do to balance your hormones if you have PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), or if you’re approaching the menopause.

  • Hormone Imbalance and PCOS

The hormonal system is a delicate balance. A slight imbalance can cause noticeable symptoms.

PCOS is a condition in which the amount of testosterone is usually elevated in comparison to estrogen and progesterone. This causes a vast number of symptoms, including hormonal acne, hair loss, facial hair, weight gain, infertility and more.

The problem is generally caused by insulin resistance. Insulin is another hormone that is released by the pancreas when refined carbohydrates or sugars are eaten. Its job is to bring down the blood sugar surge and balance the level again, but if we are constantly eating these foods and the blood sugar is elevated, the body starts to become de-sensitised to the insulin released, which causes the issue of insulin resistance and a consistently high blood sugar level.

One of the first steps in reversing this condition is switching to a low glycemic diet. Refined carbohydrates and sugars including: cakes, bread, biscuits, pasta and alcohol, should be reduced to a minimum, or eliminated completely, if possible. A paleo-style diet consisting of a high consumption of protein and plant-based foods, and low in carbohydrates is ideal.

Supplements that help control blood sugar and reduce androgen levels are also helpful. Some examples are:

·         Zinc picolinate

·         Chromium

·         Inositol

·         Liquorice root

For the perfect low glycemic breakfast idea…

lynsey pancakesBuckwheat Pancakes

Serves 2 (makes about 5 small pancakes)

2 cups of buckwheat flour
2 organic eggs
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
1-2 tsp organic honey/maple or agave syrup
Dash dairy/non-dairy milk
2 tsp coconut oil

Optional extras
Organic berries, sliced banana… the options are endless!


Whisk together the flour, eggs, flax and honey or sweetener of your choice. The mixture should be quite runny

Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan

Let the pancake sit over the heat until you see air bubbles in the top, and then flip and repeat on the other side

Serve with sliced banana and berries, or other toppings of your choice

  • Hormone Imbalance in Menopause

Symptoms of hormone imbalance happen at a menopausal age when the sex hormones begin to decline.

Generally speaking, leading up to the menopause progesterone levels drop before estrogen, leaving estrogen as the dominant hormone, which causes heavier and longer lasting periods.

This can be helped by making sure that the elimination pathways are working well; so eating a diet with good amounts of fibre – for healthy bowel movements – and staying well-hydrated with water and cleansing herbal teas, will all help. This ensures that the hormones, once used, get excreted and will not be recirculating in the system, causing an unhealthy build-up or excess.

·         Lemonturmeric powder and root

·         Garlic

·         Turmeric

·         Milk thistle

·         Artichoke

·         Dandelion

Another way we can support the re-balancing of our hormones during the menopause is by increasing the low progesterone level to balance out the excess estrogen. This can be done with a natural bio identical progesterone cream rubbed into thin areas of the skin for rapid absorption into the blood stream. The cream can be used from ovulation for 2 weeks, until the period starts, and then discontinued until the next month. Seeing a practitioner who is familiar with female hormones who can recommend and monitor dosage of the cream is advised.

When the periods stop and the woman is in menopause, the estrogen will have also declined. This may bring with it vaginal dryness, hot flushes, and mild depression among other symptoms.

To help boost and balance the estrogen level, phytoestrogen herbs and foods can be added. These include:


·         Dong quai

·         Liquorice root

·         Black cohosh

·         Red clover

·         Soy

·         Flax

·         Sage is a useful herb to regulate temperature if the main symptom is hot flushes.


[You may also be interested in making this Menopause Cake.]


Mobile: 07796964114








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Lynsey’s Protein-Rich Buckwheat Pancakes

Serves 2 (makes about 5 small pancakes)

2 cups of buckwheat flour
2 organic eggs
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
1-2 tsp organic honey/maple or agave syrup
Dash dairy/non-dairy milk
2 tsp coconut oil

Optional extras
Organic berries, sliced banana… the options are endless!


● Whisk together the flour, eggs, flax and honey or sweetener of your choice. The mixture should be quite runny

● Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan

● Let the pancake sit over the heat until you see air bubbles in the top, and then flip and repeat on the other side

● Serve with sliced banana and berries, or other toppings of your choice

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Natural Solutions to Migraines

By Hannah Braye, Nutritional Therapist (DipCNM, mBANT, CNHCreg)



If you’ve ever suffered with a migraine headache, you’ll know just how unpleasant they can be. They are thought to effect up to 2.2% [1] of the population and have a huge impact of well-being and quality of life. Its no wonder historically people resorted to measures as drastic as trepanning (cutting holes in the skull) and using live electric fish from the Nile [2] to try and cure them!

Migraines are often defined as “a disabling primary headache characterized by unilateral (one sided) pulsating pain”[3].  This can be contrasted to more common headaches, such as tension headaches, where pain tends to be constant, spread across the head and less severe.

The two major sub-types of migraines are common: migraine (without aura) and classic migraine (with aura or neurological symptoms). It’s common to also experience nausea, vomiting sensitivity to light, noise, movement and smell [4] when suffering an attack. As brain tissue itself has no sensory nerve endings, headache pain actually arises from the meninges (the lining of the brain), blood vessels and muscles when they are stretched or tense.

Pharmaceuticals (prescription and over the counter) for acute relief are the most common intervention. However, their effectiveness is often poor and there are concerns about side effects, with some evidence to suggest that regular use can actually increase headache frequency [5].  With this in mind, many people are now looking for a more natural solution and there is increasing evidence that diet and lifestyle changes can have beneficial effects.


What causes migraines?

The mechanisms underlying pain in migraines are not completely understood but there are a number of theories, ranging from vascular constriction and dilation, platelet aggregation, excessive serotonin release or breakdown and neurogenic factors.  It’s likely that a number of these mechanisms (if not all) are at play in the patho-physiological process of migraines, which is why they can be so difficult to treat.

What factors can contribute to migraine attacks & what can you do to prevent them?


  • Hidden food allergies/Intolerances

A variety of foods and food ingredients may trigger migraine attacks. This can occur within a few hours or more long-term with reactions occurring days after eating them.  This can make identification of trigger foods difficult.

However, several common culprits have been identified:

Alcohol – especially wine and beer.

Catecholamine inducing foods  – chocolate, cheese, caffeine, and citrus.

Tyramine containing foods – fermented, cured, aged or spoiled foods (eg. strong/aged cheeses, cured meats and fish, overripe fruit, fermented soy products such as soy sauce, tofu and miso, saurkraut and other pickled products, fava and broad beans [6]).

Food additives such as nitrates and MSG – in processed meats and other processed foods.



Artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and aspartame

Gluten – gluten sensitivity can often present itself in symptoms outside of the gastrointestinal tract and has been associated with neurological disorders, including migraines [7]. A gluten-free diet has been shown to be beneficial for some migraine sufferers [8].

Histamine-rich food – histamine intolerance (where the body isn’t able to adequately breakdown and detoxify histamines) has also been identified as potentially contributing to migraines [9] and can lead to other allergy type symptoms such as hives, asthma and rhinitis. Histamine tends to be present in high amounts in similar foods to tyramine.

If it’s obvious which foods trigger your symptoms, it’s best to avoid these as much as possible. If it’s less clear whether food is playing a part your could consider:

a)     Keeping a food diary of what you eat and drink and recording any corresponding symptoms;

b)     Carrying out an elimination diet where commonly allergenic/intolerable foods are removed for a period of time and reintroduced in a systematic way. As elimination diets can be restrictive, I would recommend seeking the advice of a nutrition professional before embarking on one to ensure you are still getting all the nutrients you need;

c)      Carrying out antibody based food allergy/intolerance testing and following an elimination diet based on the results. This has been shown to have positive results in a number of clinical studies [10].


  • Inflammation

Neurogenic inflammation plays a key role in the development of migraines, with low-grade systemic inflammation thought to contribute to localized inflammation in the brain.  Clinical studies have shown that a combination of increasing dietary omega 3, and reducing omega 6 intake, can help reduce both duration and frequency of migraines, and the need for medication [11].

To help reduce inflammation:

a)     Increase dietary omega 3 – oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, herring (aim for 2-3 portions a week), flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts.

b)     Reduce omega 6 fatty acids – vegetable oils, processed foods, excessive meat and cereals.


  • Poor Blood Glucose Regulation

Poor blood glucose regulation has been associated with migraines and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and can be a trigger for attacks. Blood glucose volatility is most often due to a diet of high-glycemic-index carbohydrates (eg. sugar and refined carbs).

Ways to help regulate your blood glucose include:

·         Avoiding sugary processed foods and refined carbohydrates such as chocolate, sweets, fizzy drinks, cakes, cookies, white bread and pasta

·         Eating smaller meals more often throughout the day. Instead of eating 3 big meals a day, consider having 3 smaller meals and a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack.

·         Ensure good quality protein each time you eat (eg. organic meat, fish, tofu, eggs, beans, pulses, peas, nuts and seeds). Hummus and veg sticks, chia puddings, boiled eggs, nut butters spread on fruit or oatcakes and edamame beans are great protein rich snacks.

·         Switch to more complex carbohydrates such as oats, lentils, quinoa, and wholegrain varieties of rice, pasta and bread and keep portions of carbohydrates to about the size of your fist.

·         Exercise! Physical activity stimulates receptors on our cells making them more sensitive to insulin and better able to uptake glucose from the blood. Shorter bursts of intensive exercise have been shown to be particularly effective [12].


  • Being Overweight

Obesity can increase the risk of migraines as well as exacerbate frequency and severity (potentially due to the associated increased inflammation). Studies have shown that weight loss intervention can significantly reduce migraine frequency and intensity [13].  An integrative approach to weight loss including nutrition, physical activity and cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be particularly effective [14].


  • Low Magnesium

It is thought that magnesium deficiency may be present in up to half of all migraine sufferers [15]. Magnesium plays a central role in maintaining vascular tome and preventing neuronal hyper-excitation. It can become depleted by intense exercise, stress, alcohol, hormonal imbalances and other factors. Increasing magnesium levels through diet and supplementation has been shown to have positive results in preventing migraines in those with low levels [16]. Magnesium rich foods include leafy green vegetables such as spinach and chard, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, quinoa, black beans and cashews, so try adding these into your diet on a daily basis.


* * *

It’s clear that there is no one clear cause or solution to migraines. Tackling them may require investigation into a number of different aspects of your health. However, by approaching them through changes to diet and lifestyle and with appropriate supplementation, it’s been shown that significant reductions in attacks and improvements in quality of life can be achieved.



[1] Natoli JL, Manack A, Dean B, Butler Q, Turket CC, Stovner L, et al. Global prevalence of chronic migraine: a systematic review. Cephalalgia. 2010;30:599–609.

[2] Stabatowski, R., et al. (2004) Pain Treatment: A Historical Overview. Current Pharmaceutical Design; 10(7):701-16.



[5] Isler H. (1982) ‘Migraine treatment as a cause of chronic migraine’. Advances n migraine research therapy, ed. Rose FC. New York: Raven Press, 159-164.


[7] Hadjivassiliou M, et al. (2002) ‘Gluten sensitivity as a neurological illness’. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry; 72(5) pp. 560-3.

[8] Hadjivassiliou M, et al. (2002) ‘Headache and CNS white matter abnormalities associated with gluten sensitivity’. Neurology; 56, pp. 385-388.


[10] Alpay K,  et al. (2010) ‘Diet restriction in migraine, based on IgG against foods: a clinical double-blind, randomised, cross-over trial’. Cephalalgia;30(7) pp. 829-37

[11] Ramsden CE, et al. (2013) ‘Targeted alteration of dietary n-3 and n-6 fatty acids for the treatment of chronic headaches: a randomized trial. Pain’;154(11) pp. 2441-51.


[13] Cervoni C, Bond DS, Seng EK. Behavioral Weight Loss Treatments for Individuals with Migraine and Obesity (2016). Curr Pain Headache Rep; 20(2), pp.13.

[14] Verrotti A, Agostinelli S, D’Egidio C, et al. Impact of a weight loss program on migraine in obese adolescents. Eur J Neurol. 2013 Feb;20(2):394-7.



Fine Feather NutritionHannah is a registered nutritional therapist providing evidence-based nutrition advice from a naturopathic, person-centred approach. She offers 1-1 consultations in central Bristol and by Skype.

Hannah is also: a member of the World Health Heroes, a network of health and well-being practitioners, promoting affordable health and well-being across local communities; an Assistant Clinical Supervisor at the College of Naturopathic Medicine; and she works part-time for the Soil Association where she helps caterers improve the quality and sustainability of their food.



T. 07572 094 019

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Emily’s Sri Lankan Hoppers

Hoppers are essentially a mixture between a crepe and a crumpet – yum! They are made in a small wok and are traditionally eaten in Sri Lanka with a half-baked egg in the centre.

I hope this inspires people to get cooking Sri Lankan style!

Makes 6-8 hoppers

100ml coconut water
1 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
300ml coconut milk
200g brown rice flour
100ml soda water
6-8 eggs
coconut oil


  • Heat coconut water until tepid. Whisk in yeast and sugar then leave to stand for 15 mins. Mix in coconut milk, pour in rice flour in large bowl. Whisk until smooth. Cover and leave overnight.
  • On the day of cooking, add soda water and whisk in. Leave to stand for an hour.
  • Heat your pan with the coconut oil. Slowly pour a ladle-full of the batter into the pan and swirl it round the pan to coat all the sides evenly. You can use a non-stick frying pan or small wok – you can even buy a special ‘hopper pan’ online! A hopper pan is essentially a high sided wok with a lid.
  • It would be at this point you would add the egg, but if you would like a vegan alternative, you could cook the hopper without the egg, choosing an alternative filling – suggested below.
  • If you are going for the traditional egg, crack it in the middle whilst it is cooking and place the lid on. Wait for the egg to cook and the sides of the hopper to brown and crisp up.
  • Enjoy!

The sauces that make nice accompaniments to the hoppers would be dhaal and sambals (relish) like these ones:

Sambal 1Sen wellness 2

1 large red onion, finely sliced
2 tbsp dried chilli flakes
1 tbsp lime
3 large tomatoes

  • Simply mix the ingredients together.

Sambal 2

3 tbsp desiccated coconut
2 tbsp chopped parsley
A handful of de-stemmed kale, finely chopped
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 green chillies, finely chopped
1 tbsp lime juice

  • Cover the coconut in boiling water and leave to stand for 15 minutes.
  • Sieve and gently press to remove any excess water.
  • Tip the coconut into a bowl and mix with other ingredients. Season well.

sen wellnessIn February Emily stayed at Sen Wellness Retreat in Sri Lanka.

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Black Bean Brownies

From fertility expert, Zita West, who believes good nutrition is key to optimising your chances of conceiving. Free from gluten and refined sugar and a good source of protein.


Makes 12 brownies

60g walnuts, toasted
60g almonds, toasted
60g pecans, toasted
350g black beans, cooked and drained
60g coconut oil, melted
50g cocoa powder
1 apple, cored and chopped
60g soft dates, pitted
50g chocolate protein powder
½ tsp sea salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 180g (gas mark 4). Line a 20 x 20cm traybake tin with baking parchment.
  • Place the nuts in a food processor and process briefly until they are finely chopped. Add the remaining ingredients and process to form a thick soft batter.
  • Spoon the mixture into the traybake time and smooth the surface. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Allow to cool in the tin completely and when ready cut into 12 bars to serve.

The brownies can be stored in the fridge for one week, or frozen up to three month.

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Spiced Carrot Protein Porridge


A protein-packed breakfast, made veggie or vegan, from nutritionist Monique, of Nourish Every Day!

1 serve
1/2 cup rolled oats  (45 grams) – certified gluten-free if required
1 medium carrot  (finely grated between 1/2 – 3/4 cup)
2 tsp ground flaxseed (ready ground or ground up fresh in your coffee grinder)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2-3 tsp granulated stevia  (Natvia) – or 2-3 tsp of preferred sweetener e.g. honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup almond milk  or any other milk of choice
1/2 cup water

Optional additions for a protein punch
1  egg  , whisked, OR
2 tbsp protein powder of choice (neutral or vanilla flavoured)
(we’d recommend Pulsin’ pea or hemp)


  • Grate the carrot and pop in to a small saucepan together with the rolled oats, flaxseed, Natvia (if using) and spices. (Honey shouldn’t be heated, so if using honey, add this at the end. Maple syrup always seems sweeter when drizzled on afterwards too!).
  • Pour in the almond milk, water and vanilla extract. Stir everything together.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-10 minutes, or until the porridge reaches your preferred consistency. Add a little extra water and/or almond milk to thin the porridge out as it’s cooking, if needed.
  • If you’d like to add some additional protein, simply add in a whisked egg towards the end, or a few tablespoons of your preferred protein powder. If you’re adding the egg, make sure to stir briskly so the egg becomes completely incorporated in to the porridge.
  • Serve the porridge piping hot with a sprinkle of extra cinnamon and extra toppings of your choice (coconut yoghurt, blueberries, toasted pumpkin seeds etc.).
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Turmeric Baked Beans & Cauli Mash

From a recipe inspired by Sam Murphy, author of Beautifully Real Food.


2 tsp coconut oil
1 red onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 x 400g can (2 cups) haricot beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp coconut sugar / blackstrap molasses
1-2 tsp bouillon
125 ml tomato puree
200g (1/2 can) chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp coconut cream, grated
1 long pepper ‘catkin’, ground (or good grinding of black pepper)
Salt as required

For the cauli mash

1/2 head cauliflower
1 potato
2 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp white miso / soya-free miso
Salt & pepper to taste
Optional: parsley


  • Heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic until fragrant
  • Add the beans, sugar, spices (including the pepper), veg stock, puree and canned tomatoes, and simmer for 5-6 minutes
  • Meanwhile break the cauliflower into small florets and chop the potato into small pieces. Simmer in a small amount of water (or steam until tender). Mash together with the remaining ingredients
  • Add the coconut cream to the bean mixture, stir in until it melts and season to taste
  • Serve and enjoy!

Nice served with some steamed or sauteed seasonal greens!

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Coconut Flour Breakfast Waffles

From Wellness Mama


8 eggs
½ cup melted butter or coconut oil
½ cup coconut flour (plus a little more)
2-3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt

  • Crack the eggs into a medium sized bowl and beat with whisk or blend
  • Add the melted butter or oil, cinnamon, vanilla and salt and mix well
  • Add the coconut flour and mix well, ideally using a blender. The batter should be thick. If it is too thin, add a little more coconut flour.
  • Spoon into heated and greased waffle iron or griddle pan and cook until light brown and firm to touch (about 3 minutes on mine)
  • Serve with a pat of butter and fruit, pure maple syrup or a nut butter of your choice.
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Tips to Get the Big January Detox Rolling!

By Eva Killeen

Eva Killeen is a Bristol-based Nutritional Therapist. She is also passionate about spreading the concept of healthy eating far and wide which is something she does in her marketing and events role with the College of Naturopathic Medicine (CNM).

The process of detoxification is your body’s way of neutralising, transforming or removing unwanted materials or toxins. It is a primary function, which means that it is constantly working and interacting with all other functions. When we talk about embarking on a detox there are two aspects:

1.      Optimising your body’s own detoxification systems

2.      Minimising the toxins you eat / drink / expose yourself to

After a Christmas of excess, January feels like the natural time to lighten the digestive and toxic load on your body. While the trend appears to be going all out on a one week deprivation drive, the truth is our bodies are constantly exposed to a barrage of harmful toxins, so the best thing you could do for your body is to implement a daily detoxification regimen. Here are a few simple suggestions worth including in your daily routine.

  • Morning booster

Start the morning with a glass of warm water and 1⁄2 a lemon juiced. You have probably heard this 1000 times but that is because it is just so powerful. Just do it!

  • Eat plenty of fiber

The soluble fiber from fruits and vegetables binds to toxins residing in your gut and helps flush them out when you have a bowel movement.

  • Drink dandelion tea

It is a fantastic way to detoxify the liver, because the special compounds in the root help cleanse it by increasing bile production and improving digestion.

  • Herbal helper

Try using a Milk Thistle tincture. This may help to improve liver function and protect the liver from toxins. It may also help to prevent depletion of glutathione, which is very important for liver detoxification.

  • Eat clean

Clean eating is a surprisingly simple concept. Rather than focusing on more or less of specific things (for instance, fewer carbohydrates or more protein), this method is more focused on being mindful of the food’s pathway between its origin and your plate. At its most basic, clean eating is about eating whole foods — those that are un- or minimally processed and refined, making them as close to their natural form as possible.

  • Body brushing

Did you know that one of the skin’s primary functions is the elimination of toxins? To help circulate the lymphatic system, which is another major route for detoxification, and to stimulate the skin, which is the body’s largest organ of detoxification, take a stiff bristle brush and before you take a bath or shower, brush the entire surface of your skin, working from the extremities inwards towards the heart.

  • And breathe

Deeply that is… Deep breathing can help to stimulate the lymphatic system which will encourage the body to rid itself toxins. If your abdomen moves more than the chest, then you are breathing deeply, but if the main activity happens in the chest, you are only shallow breathing. Try to introduce deep breathing into your everyday life and you will support your hard-working detoxification system with minimal effort.

On January 21st / 22nd CNM Bristol are running an intensive Food for Health weekend event. With CNM’s special one weekend ‘Food for Health’ course, you’ll gain the knowledge and confidence to make educated choices about the food you eat. You will broaden your understanding of the impact of nutrition in our daily lives, and gain practical tips for better health and wellbeing. This course is ideal for those who want to embark on a career in nutrition and want a feel for what to aspect while equally appealing to those who simply want to incorporate healthier eating habits in to theirs and their families lifestyles. Click here ( to find out more.

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