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Nutrition,food,health,life,fruits,vegetables,hydroponics

With the ever growing popularity of hydroponic gardening, along the way come questions regarding the nutritional value of hydroponics vs soil grown vegetables and fruits. Nutritional value has become a very important part of our lives, therefore knowing what you are growing and consuming is an important factor.

Without doubt, hydroponics is an environmental giant but are the nutritional values on the same scale as soil grown plants? Elements and nutrients found in soil have a strong impact on the plants' values. Hydroponics, on the other hand, are grown in water vs soil. It could be said that hydroponics are therefore lacking in important nutrients and elements. That is not the case though because hydroponic growth relies on a liquid nutrients fed to the plants and therefor hydroponic plants are given the same essential elements and compounds as soil grown plants.

Some will say that soil grown plants will always have a higher level of nutrients than those grown in water. If the hydroponic gardener chooses his or her nutrient supplements wisely, they will have plants that are just as robust and loaded with great nutrients as those grown in soil. There are higher-end nutrient solutions on the market that are probably a good investment to ensure the bumper crops within your home are top quality.

Pros and Cons:

Hydroponics, grown the proper way, have exactly the same values as plants grown in soil. Those interested in hydroponic gardening must do their homework and learn how to grow plants the proper way in a hydroponic system. Without the proper lighting, nutrients and water, whether grown in soil or hydroponically the plants will not do well.

If you are just starting off with a hydroponic garden, it is strongly suggested that you get with someone who has been doing this for some time. Your local nursery might have hydroponic systems and people experienced in how to grow plants correctly.

Humidity must be controlled regularly because these plants are using water for their base of growth. Too much water can cause rot and wilting but this can be said with plants based in soil as well. Getting advice and learning from knowledgeable hydroponic gardeners is going to save you from unexpected mishaps and get you on the road to great gardening success.

Some of the Pros for hydroponics is not needing soil which makes for a great alternative for apartment dwellers. Hydroponics can be grown in the middle of a desert as long as you have an ample water supply.

As the water stays within the system, you will save on your water bill unlike soil gardening. Nutrients can be controlled as well as deciding whether you want a lower end nutrient or a higher end, it's your choice. You will not have to worry about pesticides and other chemicals that are sprayed on produce you purchase from the store. Hydroponics is extremely environmentally friendly and cost efficient.

Learn from those with experience and you will have year round wonderful produce for your table and fresh aromatic herbs for your many wonderful dishes. You will have the same high quality nutritional value as you have come to experience in an outdoor garden.

Always include a good amount of vegetables and fruits in your daily diet. These foods are loaded with vitamins and proteins that your body needs to stay healthy. Experiment with a variety of vegetable and fruit dishes for a wonderful change of pace.

food,smartphones,health,technology,hydroponics

As hydroponic gardening grows in popularity and technology, hydroponics is entering a new world of controlling your garden with smartphones!  A new European company called Niwa is a technological breakthrough for greenhouses.  This first-time technology allows you to setup the very best environment for your plants and is literally a smartphone growing system.

Their smart food technological device will literally turn your greenhouse into a smartphone garden!  Niwa is a small, smart-looking hydroponic farm ready to grow in your home.  Imagine fresh, succulent foods grown in your home with the latest cutting-edge devices and operated by your smartphone. Through your phone, you can watch the progress of your plants' growth or go for autopilot. 

Niwa offers two systems for indoor gardener. A small garden will run $199 and a much larger version is $399.  Whatever plants you are growing from tomatoes to strawberries the App will upload the appropriate program settings, including the correct values for each type of  plant.

Javier Mirrillias, Niwa's founder, said the idea came from a great deal of frustration over the globalized food system in place today.  His research brought him to "Almeria", which is the largest tomato producer on earth using hydroponic greenhouses.  Almeria is so enormous, it can be viewed from space.  He started meeting and discussing advanced technology with agricultural experts from around the world.  He wanted to know how to go about creating technology that could be utilized by ordinary people to grow their own foods.

After many prototypes and a great deal of research, Niwa was created.

food,smartphones,health,technology,hydroponics

Just What Is Niwa and Hydroponics:

Niwa is based on hydroponics which is a soilless technique for growing plants.  The plants receive their nutrients from water.  Hydroponics has become very popular in recent years, even though the technique has been around for a very long time.  The idea is to setup a grow box or grow room, purchase grow lights or plant lights and place your plants in a water-based formula of nutrients.

The difference between hydroponic gardens and Niwa is it's microcontroller with custom created software which is a built-in expert farmer.  You do not have to know how much water or when, what the ideal temperature is for each of your plant types or practically anything else.  Niwa has the knowledge and does it for you!

How Niwa Works:

Niwa comes with built-in sensors in order to create the best environment for your plants by controlling temperature, lighting, humidity and when water is needed.  As various plants have various needs, the App will ask for your input on some very simple questions.

For example, if you are growing flowers, the App will ask if you buds, if you answer yes, the system will start a new segment and new settings will be put into place.

You can control your settings from your smartphone App which will also allow you to keep track and understand your plants' progression.  More experienced gardeners can also setup incubation along with various experimentations for the growing process..

As mentioned earlier, grow lamps are a big part of hydroponic gardens.  Niwa offers a compact fluorescent lamp of 200 watts when running along with the heating system.  The reservoir of water should be changed out and refilled every other week.

Hydroponics is an extremely popular and easy way for everyone to grow fresh foods, house plants, veggies, fruits and herbs within their homes.  This is a wonderful alternative for those who live in cities or apartments.  Gardening could not possibly be easier or fun.

Should Niwa, while still new on the scene, be able to offer such great technology and place experience in the hands of novices, what a giant step this will be for hydroponics.  Only time will tell.

Photo credit: Niwa

food,health,life,seaweed,vitamins,minerals

The Story of Seaweed:

Anyone who has ever gone to the ocean is familiar with seaweed, it's that dark brown  stuff that washes up onto the beach.  Seaweed offers some of the most amazing nutrients and minerals for the human body - Bet you didn't see that coming!

People have been using seaweed for thousands of years and with good reason.  Seaweed is closely tied to many human cultures due to its availability and its chemical similarities to the human body.

People who have grown up by the sea have been using seaweed for their late night clam bakes for years with very good reason.  Anthropologists know that every living creature came from the sea and every living creature has elements of the sea in their bodies.  Before man got into agriculture, seaweed was the main basic staple diet  of early man who lived by the sea.  Seaweed is considered one of the oldest, nutritional food sources and one of the oldest life forms on earth.

The Magic Of Seaweed:

Seaweed is made up of minerals, vitamins and trace elements that form its composition.  Humans have the same makeup, internally, making seaweed's minerals and healing components easily absorbed into the blood and offers amazing healing benefits for various health issues.

Seaweed can offer detoxification in the human body, rejuvenate skin, destroy bacteria and give us a mountain of minerals.

Where Can I Get Seaweed:

You probably have been using seaweed and don't even know it.  Seaweed has been incorporated into many foods as well as in creams and lotions for your skin.  Seaweed pills have been available for quite sometime in health stores and can be found in an assortment of other consumable products.

How To Prepare Seaweed:

Short of washing it, there are no special processing steps involved in preparing it.  There are limitless foods cooked with seaweed worldwide.  Seaweed is an incredibly versatile food that can be consumed fresh, boiled, steamed, fried, etc. and served as a side dish with just about any type of entree.

You probably are not even aware that seaweed extracts are used in the production of gelatin, pudding, ice cream and toothpaste.  Seaweed is also used as a stabilizer and emulsifier in many everyday products.

Taking a Closer Look At Seaweed:

The benefits of incorporating seaweed into your diet are almost endless.  Seaweed is fat-free, one of the richest vegetables in minerals and low in calories. Sea vegetables  thrive without human intervention because they grow naturally in a marine environment.

This lovely food is high in phosphorous and calcium, higher still in magnesium, iron, sodium and iodine. That's better than the highest quality vitamin pill because seaweed also offers high levels of vitamin A,B1,C and E!  Adding to all this great stuff, add concentrated protein and healthy carbohydrates.

Seaweed is probably the most perfect, nutritionally loaded food source on this planet.

Are There Different Types of Seaweed:

Yes, there are two basic groups of seaweed - brown algae and red algae.  Adding to that, there are many variations to these two groups.  Each group has it's own nutritional properties and a number of different species:

Brown Algae:

Hijiki:

This algae is from the Far East and contains the highest level of calcium of all the types.  It's harvested, steamed and dried to capture the highest level of flavor.

Kelp:

This is the commonly known brown algae and grows along the coastlines of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.  It is usually dried and sold as a granular that is sprinkled on foods or sold whole for an added part to a salad.  Kelp has been used for many years as a supplement for people who suffer from thyroid disorders.

Kombu:

This  algae is often used for added flavor in soups.  Added to beans, Kombu can reduce the gas effects caused by bean consumption.

Irish Moss:

This is used mostly in relishes, breads and various delicacies.

Nori:

Found in Japan, this algae is an ingredient in many recipes around the world.  It  is used in bread and sushi wraps. Nori is  extremely high in vitamin A and protein.

Incorporating Seaweed and Fresh Foods for a Healthier Life:

It would be a shame to consume seaweed with all those amazing benefits and then wash it down with junk foods!  Have you ever thought about starting your own hydroponic garden and taking the nutritional benefits a step further?

Hydroponic gardens are so hot that outdoor gardeners are bringing their expertise inside for fresh, nutritional vegetables and herbs year round.  Hydroponic gardens consist of a grow box or grown room, some plant lights, water filters and excellent nutrients for the production of the healthiest, most robust vegetables to place on your table.

Many gardeners and consumers are becoming less satisfied with the produce they find at the local supermarkets.  People are concerned about the chemicals that are applied at vegetable farms and the lack of flavor once they hit the shelves is disappointing.  A hydroponic garden is easy to start and the benefits are year round great tasting, healthy foods.  Growing your own herbs will give you the best flavor for your salads, soups and side dishes of seaweed!

In Conclusion:

Seaweed, in its raw state, has a less then pleasant taste, leaving few people beating down the doors to get it.  But, it is offered in so many excellent forms you needn't consume it raw.  The benefits for a healthy body, both internally and externally, are to extensive to ignore.  Used as a body wrap, the  seaweed literally draws out impurities or toxins.  From seaweed facials to seaweed sprinkled in soups, this amazing food has been benefiting humans for thousands of years and it's about time everyone found out about it.

0 Comments | Posted in News Fruits & Vegetable Gardening Recipes By Karen B. Vance
dehydrated snacks, organic food, healthy diet, growing vegetables, fruits, vegetables, lifestyle, health

Dehydration is a method of preserving foods that involves removing water from vegetables, fruits, seafood and meats to help them last longer. With dehydration, you retain many of the health benefits of the vitamins and other nutrients in foods without having to worry about botulism. Dehydrated foods are easy to store and don't require refrigeration or freezing.

Here is a quick guide to DIY food dehydration to help you get started enjoying the many benefits of dry-food.

Getting Started

  1. Carefully select the foods that you want to dry. Select fruits and vegetables that are fresh and ready to eat. Fish, crab, lobster and other seafood and meats should also be as fresh as possible.
  2. Ready your foods the way you would to enjoy them. You need to do all of the cutting, slicing, mincing, trimming and chopping of your foods prior to dehydration. Foods in thinner 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch pieces will dry more quickly.
  3. If you're dehydrating any fruits, vegetables or plants that include skins or outer coverings, such as grapes or herbs, be sure to wash the foods first.
  4. When you're drying light-colored fruits and veggies, coat the foods with lemon juice or an ascorbic acid product to help prevent drying. Vegetables should also be steamed or blanched to help prevent them from becoming tough during dehydration

Successful Drying

  1. You can dry foods in the oven, in an appliance called a dehydrator or even in the sun. Dehydrators are by far the fastest and most efficient way to dry, so you may want to invest in one if you plant to prepare your own dry-foods frequently.
  2. Before you begin to dry and throughout the drying process, you should get the temperatures of the oven or dehydrator to 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and then maintain the temperatures at that level. Air should also be allowed to circulate through the space to ensure optimal results.
0 Comments | Posted in News Fruits & Vegetable Gardening Recipes By Karen B. Vance

healthy,diet,fruit,health,nuts,seaweed,lifestyle,organic,food,minerals,vitamins

Cheese with fruit or even dried fruit makes for a delicious healthy snack

People concerned about their weight and health in general usually have a snack to provide themselves with extra nutrition and prevent overeating during a meal.

“The Journal of Nutrition” published a study in February of 2010 which revealed that about 97% of Americans have a habit of snacking. The article went on to say that on average Americans get about 24% of their caloric intake from snacks. Knowing that snacks are such a big part of our diet it is imperative that we know what kinds of foods to snack on in order to maintain healthy eating habits.

Snacking quells hunger which prevents overeating

When you become overly hungry this is when you end up overeating at meal time. Having snacks between meals helps you from becoming too hungry and thus can prevent you from eating too much at your next meal. When you start getting hunger pangs between meals you really shouldn’t wait until lunch or dinner to appease that hunger. It’s much smarter to just have a snack to help you hang on. But stay away from junk food. Have something healthy like vegetables, fruit or something made from whole grains, which are all rich in carbohydrates. Combine with a protein like nuts or a dairy product such as cheese. When you start early giving your kids snacks like these they will learn to like healthy eating and not be inclined later in life to fill up on chips and dip.

Healthy snacks help maintain even blood sugar levels

Healthy people strive to maintain even blood sugar levels in order to stave off Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and heart disease. When you make it a habit to have healthy snacks with a consistent number of carbs for every snack or meal you are way ahead of the game. If you already suffer from diabetes this is even more important in helping prevent huge spikes and dips in your blood sugar levels, which can lead to a resistance to insulin. A healthy diet is crucial to living a healthy productive life and if you go online you will find many free recipes that you can use to achieve this.

Healthy Snacks can provide essential nutrients

It’s okay to splurge on a junk food snack once in a while but you really need to learn how delicious and much more satisfying and filling healthy snacks can be. If you choose good nutritious snacks like whole grains, low-fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables, seeds or nuts you can gain the essential nutrients you need without adding unnecessary calories. These snacks can all be prepared without any cooking needed.

Things to remember

The important thing to remember is not to overdo it. Don’t have a snack if you aren’t really hungry and don’t have a snack right before you sit down for a meal. If you’re upset think first before you start soothing yourself with food. This can only lead to eating way too much, gaining weight and more reasons to be upset. The same goes for boredom. Don’t eat just to occupy or entertain yourself. According to MayoClinic.com a healthy snack should contain approximately 100 calories. If you don’t have time for a meal and want a heavier snack, don’t consume more than 250 calories.

0 Comments | Posted in News Fruits & Vegetable Gardening Recipes By Karen B. Vance

asian recipes, healthy food, seafood, seaweed, diet, delicious, health, nutrition, japanese

The New Seafood: Cooking with Seaweed

Gourmet seafood isn't just fish, calamari, crab, lobster, shrimp and other shellfish. Plants from the sea are becoming a culinary craze all across the country and are cropping up on menus at some of the finest restaurants around the world. Seaweed can be a delicious addition to your diet, and one that offers incredible health benefits at the same time.

The Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed

Seaweed has long been a staple of Asian and Scandinavian cooking, where aquatic freshwater and saltwater plants are readily available. Now, more and more people are adding seaweed to recipes, largely for the health benefits of the plants. A single serving of seaweed provides more immune system-boosting vitamin C than a serving of orange, grapefruit and other citrus fruits. In addition, seaweed is a natural source of vitamin D, providing more than what's found in a glass of milk. A serving of seaweed also treats your body to iron needed for producing healthy red blood cells, iodine for supporting thyroid function and the essential immune system mineral zinc. You'll also get a heaping dose of omega-3 fatty acids, the essential healthy fats that many people take fish and krill oil capsules to treat their bodies to get the benefits of.

Types of Seaweed for Cooking

There are many types of seaweed available at Asian food stores and online with which to experiment in recipes. The three most commonly used types are:

  • Nori - these Japanese algae is usually sold as a dry-food in sheets. If you've ever eaten a maki sushi roll, you'll quickly recognize the crispy blackish-green seaweed as the wrapper most commonly used by sushi chefs.
  • Kombu - Made up of broad leaves, kombu is a staple in Japanese cuisine and can be purchased fresh or as a dry-food.
  • Wakame - Sold as a dry-food and then rehydrated, this type of seaweed has a bright green color and a flavor that is slightly sweet.

Ways to Enjoy Seaweed

There are a number of ways that you can enjoy seaweed at home. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Take sheets of nori and bake them in the oven as a potato chip alternative that is great for dipping and rich in vitamins and minerals.
  2. Add a small bit of kombu to a sauce to bring a touch of unique flavor.
  3. Use crumbled nori in marinades for fish, chicken or seafood.
  4. Rehydrate wakame and serve it in an Asian dressing with octopus, shrimp or crab for a DIY version of a seaweed salad.
  5. Crisp kombu in a skillet and then crumble it. Use it in place of salt on all types of foods for delicious, healthy seasoning.
  6. Soak wakame and add it to a stir-fry with mushrooms, vegetables and your favorite protein like seafood or chicken.

Adding seaweed to your diet will please your palate and supply your body with essential vitamins and minerals. Don't be afraid to experiment. Dry-food seaweed is simple to work with and guaranteed to bring nutritious results.

 

0 Comments | Posted in News Fruits & Vegetable Gardening Recipes By Florence B. Harrell

It’s rather amazing that in the US people consume an average of just over 2 snacks each day which accounts for 1/4th the daily calories we consume. Unfortunately, most of the snack foods that are consumed have high amounts of sugar, carbohydrates, fats, starches and so forth that can add additional weight to our bodies and have a negative impact on our health.

However, eating healthy snacks can actually be beneficial as long as the calories consumed do not exceed the amount that is burned off on a daily basis. Foods that are loaded with nutrients can provide you with the nutrition your body needs while providing plenty of energy as well.

Healthy Snack Ideas

Of course, the question is just what type of snack foods do we consume in the place of the junk food that fills up our diet? Consider that on average Americans eat less than 60% of the recommended amounts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy products. This means that there are plenty of sources for snacks that are perfect for adults and kids alike.

There are many snack ideas to choose from, including putting vegetables in yogurt or adding fresh fruit to oatmeal. Taking healthy foods and combining them results in getting more good nutrition in your body while helping to eliminate the fats and sugars that add unnecessary weight.

Increase Your Energy

One of the main reasons we eat snacks is to give our bodies a quick boost of energy. Healthy snacks can prevent your blood sugar levels from dropping too much between meals. You’ll want to avoid sugar filled snacks because the energy burst will be fast and over with leaving you worse off than before.

Instead, eat snacks that are rich in fiber and protein such as carrots or even better, dipping your healthy snacks in bean dip which offers plenty of protein as well. Being slow to digest, you’ll feel full without being bloated and stave off any additional snacking between meals. When you finish exercising, your body will need some energy to properly recover and increase the recovery of your muscles. A mix of protein and good carbohydrates will provide the energy your body needs and the materials for your muscles to properly recover. Try peanut butter on whole wheat toast or yogurt and a banana to get the right mix of snacks for your body.

Kid Snacks

Kids love snacks probably more than adults, but it still proper to provide them with plenty of healthy foods. Try trail mix which has plenty of tasty nuts and dry fruits that will provide them with plenty of potassium and fiber so that they conquer the cravings and have the energy needed to get on with their day.

Cantinastar offers many healthy snack foods and free recipes to fit your diet while providing the health benefits that your body needs. Eating healthy foods is what our company is all about, including main dishes such as calamari, lobster, shrimp, crab and other healthy snack ideas that include kelp and seaweed which has many different uses in popular foods. Let Cantinastar be your place for snack foods and healthy meals.

0 Comments | Posted in News By Karen B. Vance

sundried cherry tomatoes on dehydrator

Healthy snacks are an important part of any healthy diet, and ensuring that there is plenty of variety in the snack foods that you eat will help you to maximize the health benefits of healthy snacking. If you're interested in cooking your own snacks, using a food dehydrator is one way to experiment with different ways of preparing seafood, fruits and vegetables.

What Is a Food Dehydrator?

A food dehydrator is an appliance that removes moisture from foods. It can be used with plants, meats and fish to eliminate moisture. Most fruits and vegetables get 80 to 90 percent of their volume from water while meats are half to three-quarters water. Food dehydrators remove this moisture and with it, the likelihood of food spoiling. Without moisture, bacteria can not readily grow in food, so dry snacks last for a long time.

Why Eat Dry Food?

There are many reasons why dry food recipes are great snack ideas. For one thing, dried foods are easy to take with you on the go because they typically don't require refrigeration, so they can be packed in a lunch bag or backpack as kids snacks or snacks for work without worrying about ice packs and other cooling solutions. Dry food is also incredibly nutritious. Unlike cooking food with heat, dehydrating food does not typically cause vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and other essential nutrients to break down. You also don't need to add fat, sugar or salt to foods to dry them. As a result, dry fruits, dry vegetables and dry fish provide plenty of health benefits while remaining low in calories, saturated fat, sugars and sodium.

How Do Dehydrators Work?

There are two main types of dehydrators: those that receive power from the sun and those that run on electricity. Most food dehydrators consist of three main parts. A heating element is used to raise the temperature inside of the dehydrator and cause the moisture in the food to evaporate without causing the food to fully cook. The fans and vents keep air circulating throughout the dehydrator and release the water vapor from the food to the outside of the appliance. The amount of time that it takes for a dehydrator to remove moisture from food depends on which type of food is being dried and the efficiency of the model. It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours for foods to become fully dried.

What Are the Benefits of Dehydrators?

Foods can be dried without food dehydrators in the oven or outdoors in the sun; however, dehydrators greatly simplify making dry food at home. This is because dehydrators not only provide heat but also adequate air flow, helping to ensure best results. Of course, you don't have to purchase a dehydrator or hunt for free recipes to enjoy the health benefits and taste of dry food. Cantinastar has a wide range of dry seafood and dry fruits that make great snack ideas.

0 Comments | Posted in News By Karen B. Vance

“Never drink the water here.” That is what local newspaper articles have reported, indicating that; in some rural areas of San Joaquin County, the water supply from privately owned water wells is Unsafe for public consumption. More importantly, recent notification to customers of high levels of Arsenic in groundwater wells in two cities in San Joaquin County indicated unsafe drinking water. In light of this, the 2012-2013 San Joaquin Grand Jury (Grand Jury) reviewed the inspection reports of five drinking water treatment plants and toured plant facilities. This was to ensure that water provided by the municipal entities is of the highest quality and safe for public consumption. This informational report is a result of Grand Jury tours and information gathered on how and where our water supplies originate. The question remains: “is our drinking water safe?”

City water supplies come from both under the earth and the rain water left on the surface, called surface water. The water that the people living in the country drink is water that comes from the local rivers, streams, channels, lakes, and underground aquifers. These people are county residents, as opposed to city residents. The population is exceeding the borders of the city and the city is busting their seams open by opening all the borders between the country and the city. Moreover, the development of industrial buildings and factories, places of gainful employment for us humans, but nevertheless, these industrial developments are sucking the county’s water supplies bone dry. Currently, the excess agricultural runoff, commercial, and industrial, excesses; and all lake and river related activities are seriously polluting the water, bringing the quality down to a threatening unhealthy mark.

The water systems are both publicly and privately owned. The systems are maintained in a manner of the highest regards for, clean, reliable, drinking water to the area in the community that they serve. The fact remains, the different water systems may not all look exactly alike because their size and shapes are different, but their intentions are all the same, giving us clean, healthy, drinking water all the time. The origins of the groundwater supplies are basically in more of a pristine condition then the other sources and do not require a treatment for harmful contaminants unlike surface water. The water treatment systems undergo testing for harmful contaminates throughout the entire system to prove to the federal government the safety and the quality of the drinking water provided to the citizens of the area which that water system serves.

Monitoring the dangerous contaminates includes keeping a watchful eye out for:

  • (Chlorinated solvents and fuel components), synthetic organic compounds (herbicides, pesticides)
  • Inorganic compounds (chemical elements containing no carbon atoms), radionuclide’s (radioactive Contaminants)
  • Volatile organic compounds

After the reports are in from the testing’s done; the federal and state standards may or may not have been met. Subsequently, the EPA also calls for a set of standards for the community to uphold and practice regularly. Evidence of the findings can be viewed by the public at your local records office, water treatment facilities and your court house.

Credit: San Joaquin County Grand Jury

1 Comments | Posted in News By Charles R. Sword

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