Healthy Eating Makes a Positive Difference

I don’t know what to think. I got up this morning and took my 20 minute walk. I made my breakfast, fed the dogs, and made my daughter’s breakfast. I went to the grocery store and stopped at the drug store to pick up my prescriptions, then dropped off a box at UPS. ALL IN THE SAME DAY!!! Not only that, when I got home I mowed the (admittedly tiny) front lawn! Then, instead of collapsing, I made my lunch!

I’m tired now, but not so exhausted that all I can think of how soon it will be bedtime. I’m actually working on last minute things for my daughter’s college applications.

I’m sure this won’t happen every day, but I’m so excited because I feel normal today. And aside from farting and pooping like a champion, I’m not having a lot of symptoms from this week’s food plan.


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Using Nutrition to Improve Your Child’s Brain Health

By: Dhara Baiden

My last article discussed just a few of the ways modern technology can adversely affect the minds of today’s age-of-technology kids.  So the next question is: how can we fortify our kids’ brains to protect them against the damage of technology?  There are two aspects to this—first, eliminating as many chemicals as possible from children’s diets, and second, adding in foods that will build healthy brain cells.

Foods today could potentially be divided into two categories: nutrients and anti-nutrients.  The foods with nutrients build our bodies by allowing us to be vital and free from illness and disease.  Anti-nutrients are toxic to our bodies, causing harm and forcing our bodies to work hard to digest and process the chemicals contained in them.  As a teacher who spends eight hours a day around children, I am fully aware that kids today eat far more anti-nutrients than nutrients.  Even if kids have well-meaning mothers, lunch bags are filled with white bread, Cheese-Its, Gatorade, and Twinkies.  All of these processed foods are loaded with chemicals – anti-nutrients – that contribute nothing beneficial to the body.  Look at a Twinkie – it is essentially a cake, which if baked at home would require about six ingredients, but a Twinkie has 39 ingredients, many of which “bear…little resemblance to actual food” (Underwood).  A general rule is that if you read the label on a food product and you can’t pronounce one of the words on it, there is a chemical in there.  And chemicals are harmful to everyone’s brains and immune systems, but especially to children’s.

90% of the brain is made up of fat, so it takes high-quality fats to nourish the brain and keep it strong.  The fats we need to eat in order to nourish the brain are called essential fatty acids (EFAs).  EFAs build cell membranes in every cell in our bodies, which is vital for both brain function and building a strong immune system.  Some of the best foods for this are nuts/seeds, avocado, and fish.  Flax seeds are a great source of the EFA called Omega-3, and nuts/seeds and fish are an ideal source for Omega-6.  There are many kid-friendly ways to get these EFAs into children’s diets.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Substitute organic almond butter for peanut butter.  Almonds contain more EFAs than peanuts, and are an especially valuable source of calcium, a mineral that is vital for bone-growth.
  • Make a simple trail mix that contains raw (not roasted or salted) almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, brazil nuts, walnuts, or pecans. Dried cranberries, raisins, or dark chocolate chips can also add flavor and nourishment.
  • If your child won’t eat sliced avocado or guacamole, use avocado instead of butter when you bake. An example of this is Eva’s banana cake; the recipe for this can be found below.
  • Halvah is a delicious way to have something sweet that is jam-packed with EFAs.  The recipe can be found below.
  • Make homemade muffins using organic ingredients. Avoid adding sugar, which is found in high quantities in pre-packaged muffins, and use honey or agave nectar instead.
  • Make homemade oatmeal cookies with oatmeal, honey, butter, and raw seeds/nuts of your choice, like almonds, cashews, or pecans. Again, avoid adding sugar; honey is a great way to add sweetness without compromising nutritional value.

If time is a factor, there are always granola bars that can be purchased in grocery stores that have EFA-rich nuts and seeds in them.  Also, you can always add nuts and seeds to yogurt and oatmeal – a touch of honey can also add great flavor.  Of course, always try and get organic, when possible, so you know the products don’t have genetically modified ingredients, pesticides, and other nasty ingredients.

Many of the items mentioned above are great (and easy) for breakfast.  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for children; they need to be sent to school well-nourished in order for their brains to be ready to learn, think, and absorb information at optimal levels.  Unfortunately, many students are sent to school either without having eaten breakfast, or having eaten anti-nutrients. On a random day, I surveyed 62 of my 7th graders, both male and female, and found that 26% of them did not eat breakfast that day.  Of the ones that did eat breakfast, only about five students had eaten food that contained no (or very few) anti-nutrients, like fruit, eggs, and bacon.  Most kids had eaten sugary cereals, soda, coffee, cinnamon rolls, Pop Tarts, or donuts.  How is the brain supposed to function at its best if the foods it is given are substandard?



¼ c. organic sesame tahini

3 Tbsp. organic honey

2 Tbsp. wheat germ

¼ c. organic sunflower seeds, ground into a meal

Mix all together and form into little balls. Refrigerate.

Eva’s Banana Cake

2 eggs

½ c. honey or agave nectar

½ c. avocado

2/3 c. applesauce

3 very ripe bananas

Combine both mixtures and bake in a greased 9 x 13 pan at 350-degrees for 25-30 minutes.

For recipe ideas, see Recipes from Rose Quest: Organic Correct Food Combining (can be ordered from Rose Quest by calling 574-259-5653)

Reference List

Underwood, Anne. (2007, March 5). Mmmmmm, Tasty Chemicals. Newsweek 50.

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ADD Meds and Technology: Harming the Minds of Today’s Kids

By Dhara Baiden

I have been a 7th grade English teacher for six years, and know there are many children in my classroom that have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) due to a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  Some are on drugs and some aren’t; in the case of those who aren’t, good luck to the other 28 kids in the class who are trying to learn anything.  When there is a child – or a few children – in the class who are disruptive by not staying in their seats, blurting out answers, telling other kids who make an error that they’re stupid, or who simply can’t sit still with their mouths closed, everyone is negatively affected.  The productive learning environment is poisoned by anyone who can’t adhere to classroom decorum.  As a result, a common question amongst teachers, administrators, and psychological professionals in a school is, “Why do so many kids have ADD in the first place?”  When we were in school there was no such thing—and if there was, it certainly did not exist at the massive levels it does now.  Kids today will very casually discuss their Ritalin, especially if they forgot to take it that morning and need to go to the school nurse to pop their pill.  What’s going on?

David P. Goldman, in his article “How America Made Its Children Crazy” suggests that we look for our answer to ADD by looking back to the 1960s with the “limitless opportunities for gratification, abetted by ever-more-realistic (and ever-more violent and perverse) computer simulations.”  Due at least in part to computers, “attention spans [have] shortened drastically.”  Today, kids have this computerized immediate gratification everywhere—even in their pockets where they have games, texting, email, and countless computer applications on their phones.  How un-cool to read, or sit and have a ponderous debate with a friend, when there is always something to provide electronic stimulation. In a world like that, where people (and kids) immediately transition from one stimulus to another, when is there time to develop an attention span?

Then, to seemingly add fuel to the fire, our society keeps increasing the levels of computerization in the very place attention spans should be developed: schools.  Goldman says that schools used to be the place where students went to “learn to learn,” to develop skills in concentration and thinking, and to become people who are clever and tenacious.  Instead, now “our children do not read; they only surf. They do not write; they only text. They do not plan and strategize in games; they react to visual and aural stimuli….”  I see this every day in my classroom.  I work in a district that gives every child in 6th grade through 12th grade a netbook computer, and teachers are expected to conduct much of their classes in an online virtual learning environment.  No matter how impressive the intent, instead of spending time thinking critically and analyzing, students spend their time either playing games or troubleshooting technology problems (a document doesn’t save, the netbook runs out of batteries right as an assignment is being submitted, a screen is cracked, a key fell off the keyboard, the internet isn’t working…).  In a society where students already lack the discipline of focus and attentiveness, technology in schools seems to be making it worse.  Kids are distracted by the very technology that is supposed to be aiding their learning.

Why are we computerizing education in the first place?  According to Matt Richtel, “Schools are being motivated by a blind faith in technology and an overemphasis on digital skills.” He reports that critics believe schools jumped on the technology bandwagon before any research was done to prove its benefit.  That is a major risk, since not only is equipping a school with technology expensive for taxpayers, but if the technology is not positively affecting education then America’s kids are not going to be prepared for the critical-thinking skills required for the global workplace.  Ironically, Richtel reports, “The chief technology officer of eBay sends his children to a nine-classroom school. So do employees of Silicon Valley giants like Google, Apple, Yahoo and Hewlett-Packard.”  Their kids attend the Waldorf School, which “believes in a teaching philosophy focused on physical activity and learning through creative, hands-on tasks. Those who endorse this approach say computers inhibit creative thinking, movement, human interaction and attention spans.” Those kids are learning the skills that will help them succeed in the future, and they are doing it without the technology their parents are using to change the world.  Technology can be introduced later; what is needed in youth is the foundational skills of problem-solving, critical-thinking, and analyzing—and being able to focus while doing so.

Regarding the ADD drugs, Alan Sroufe writes, “To date, no study has found any long-term benefit of attention-deficit medication on academic performance, peer relationships or behavior problems, the very things we would most want to improve.” Not surprisingly, drugs are not the answer.  But when are we going to put the leg-work in to see what is?

Note: Healthy eating plays an important part not only in children’s health but in their success in school. Watch for an article coming soon.

Reference List

Goldman, David P. (2012). “How American Made Its Children Crazy.” Retrieved from

Richtel, Matt (2011). “A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compute.” Retrieved from

Richtel, Matt (2011). “In Classroom of Future, Stagnant Scores.” Retrieved from

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A Letter of Appreciation

Dear Cynthia,

I would like to share this experience with you because I think it is an important affirmation of the approach to healthy eating you have taught me.

Last week, I had an appointment with a highly respected osteopath who practices an integrated healthcare approach – taking care of the body in all ways, including good nutrition and supplements. He is also in demand as a teacher and has maintained offices around the world. I went to see him to discuss the large doses of potassium my cardiologist has prescribed following my major heart surgery for an aortic aneurysm. As you know, I also had a hip replacement shortly after I started seeing you.

I filled out the paperwork when I arrived at his office, so he had read my medical history before he met with me. Upon meeting me he remarked about how good I looked considering all the medical issues I’ve had. I had explained on the paperwork that I had been seeing you for the past 12 years and try to eat organic food whenever possible according to your programs. He told me that he attributes my current health to the work you have done for me.  If I had not been working with you, he says I would have been in much worse shape.

I would like to thank you again for everything you have taught me and done for me.



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Nourishing Our Children with Wisdom and Healthy Food

Nourishing Our Children with Good Old Fashioned Wisdom and Healthy Food is more important than ever.

The “computerized classroom” is a reality in most public schools today. Kids start learning how to use computers at a very early age (in some families it’s as important as their baby taking a first step). Parents are tickled by their child’s ability to stay amused with animated characters, bright colors and playful sounds. But is it a good idea? Lots of experts are looking at test scores and saying, no.

At the same time, our country has gone through a period of desperately searching for a way to keep kids focused. “My kid has ADD so I’m giving him medicine to help him focus,” is not an uncommon remark. But what has happened to the millions of children who have been given drugs to reduce their Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder?

We believe a major factor in learning and ability to focus is proper nutrition. What can you do? Make sure your child is eating a well balanced diet of organic foods which are not genetically modified and are grown without harsh chemicals and fertilizers which could be dangerous to health.

Children raised with an emphasis on healthy eating, lots of love, and good old fashioned wisdom and learning are believed to have a better chance in this complex world we live in.

We found this article interesting:

Computers are not the answer to raising happy, healthy children. Our world and their lives demand so much more.

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Genetically Modified Foods: Why (And How) to Steer Clear

Healthy eating is very important to Dhara Baiden who understands the power of food.  While living in the UK, she studied at the College of Naturopathic Medicine headquartered in London, England.

When I lived in the UK from 2001 to 2005, people were pretty well aware of genetically modified (GM, alternate terms GMO or GE) foods.  The media covered it regularly, and people generally knew that if they wanted to avoid foods containing GM ingredients, they could—companies had to clearly display it on the box if their product contained them.  Many countries throughout the world, like Brazil, China, South Korea, and most countries within the European Union, require companies using GM ingredients to label their packaging accordingly.  Almost a decade later, living in the USA, I realize no such comparable FDA regulation exists, and it is much harder to figure out what food products contain GM ingredients. In fact, many Americans are unaware of what GM even means, nor do they understand the potentially negative impact GM foods have on their health.

GM crops have been altered at the molecular level.  They are most commonly altered so that they are resistant to herbicides—that way, farmers can spray herbicides on their fields to effectively kill weeds without reducing crop output. When crops have resilience to herbicides they are capable of surviving otherwise lethal doses of herbicide poisons.  This poses two problems: first, it means the food we eat has been changed molecularly, and therefore our bodies don’t know what to do with it. Second, it means we are ingesting the poisons from the potentially heavy doses of herbicides being sprayed on GM crops.

It is difficult to know what long-term problems may result from molecularly changing the crops we eat.  The Institute for Responsible Technology writes: “When foreign genes are inserted, dormant genes may be activated or the functioning of genes altered, creating new or unknown proteins, or increasing or decreasing the output of existing proteins inside the plant. The effects of consuming these new combinations of proteins are unknown.”  One could argue that we are a society-wide experiment right now—changing the genetic makeup of food is new, and therefore the human disorders it causes cannot yet have extensive study behind them.  Importantly, however, animal studies involving GM foods have been published, and show disturbing effects ranging across many different organ systems.  Jeffery Smith, author of Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, and founder of the Institute for Responsible Technology, wrote about one particular study that found the following: “After feeding hamsters for two years over three generations, those on the GM diet, and especially the group on the maximum GM soy diet, showed devastating results. By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to have babies. They also suffered slower growth, and a high mortality rate among the pups” (

Since GM crops can withstand a heavy dousing of herbicides, the resulting foods can contain high levels of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup.  The list of ailments that potentially result from ingesting glyphosate is vast, and includes sterility, hormone disruption, birth defects, and cancer (  Glyphosate also has a negative impact on gut flora.  According to, “Studies have already confirmed that glyphosate alters and destroys beneficial gut flora in animals, as evidenced by the increasing instances of lethal botulism in cattle.” Gut flora is vitally important to maintaining good health, and so unbalancing that flora can lead to countless disorders including allergies and digestive problems.  Furthermore, preliminary studies discussed on show that insecticide from genetically modified corn is “now showing up in our bloodstream and the umbilical cord blood of pregnant women.”

The foods that are typically genetically modified are corn, soy, canola, cottonseed, Hawaiian papaya, zucchini, crookneck squash, and sugar beets.  The list seems simple enough until you think about how many thousands of products use those ingredients in various forms.  The good news is that there are ways to shop responsibly so we can avoid buying products containing GM ingredients:

  • Buy organic. By law, to label something organic, it cannot contain GM ingredients.
  • Look for the Non-GMO Project seal. This not-for-profit organization is “committed to preserving and building sources of non-GMO products, educating consumers, and providing verified non-GMO choices” (  Consumers can trust this independent, third-party to validate products as free from genetically modified ingredients.
  • Have a “safe” list with you when you shop.  Download the Non-GMO Shopping Guide from and see what products in a wide array of categories (including dairy, baby food, and beverages) are free of GM ingredients.  It’s even easier if you are an iPhone user, because there is an app called ShopNoGMO, which is available for free in the iTunes store, and has the list of “safe” products.

People who feel this issue is important are encouraged to sign the petition at to urge the FDA to require labeling of genetically engineered foods.  Simply put, if people don’t buy genetically modified foods, then food producers will stop growing them.  As Jeffery Smith points out, if only 5% of Americans stopped buying foods with GM ingredients, we would hit the “tipping point” and get the big-name food producing companies to stop using GM.

Dr. Steve Windley writes in his article “Genetically Modified Foods,” Americans are in a “watch and see situation where we hope nothing bad happens and that we can hopefully revert if catastrophe begins to take shape.  Consumer education and voice will dictate this issue.”

Reference List

Mercola, Joseph (2010). “The Hidden Epidemic Destroying Your Gut Flora.” Retrieved from

Smith, Jeffrey (2010). “Genetically Modified Soy Linked to Sterility, Infant Mortality in Hamsters.” Retrieved from

Windley, Steve (2008). “Genetically Modified Foods.” Retrieved from

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Exercise Intelligently, with the Supplements Right for You

“I think I eat right. So, even if I exercise rigorously, I don’t need to take supplements, do I?”

Here is important information for people who think they don’t need supplements. A rigorous exercise regimen requires more than just the right moves. Yes, it’s about breathing correctly. It’s about eating right. And, it’s also about replenishing your body with the vitamins and minerals you need to keep everything balanced.

Eating healthy is extremely important, but it’s not enough. According to Cynthia Harington, professional nutritionist and founder of the nationally acclaimed Rose Quest Nutrition Centre in Mishawaka. “People don’t realize that the food on their plate is often ‘anemic’– lacking enough of the nutrients we need to support vigorous exercise.”

Harington further explained that the soil used to grow our food no longer contains as many vital nutrients as it once did. “Our farm and range soils are depleted after years of farming without mineral replacement. Certain farming methods, often practiced by organic farmers, can help enrich the soil. For instance, growing crops like alfalfa puts nitrogen, hydrogen and trace minerals back in the soil so they can come through to the food grown later in that same soil.”

Choosing organic food is a plus, but in order to ensure that one has the full range of micronutrients, a healthy food-based diet along with a vitamin and mineral supplement can be a good idea, especially for people who exercise strenuously and lose important minerals in their perspiration. Harington explained, “Sometimes the vitamins and minerals we need are not readily available in the foods we can find. A well-balanced, food based vitamin and mineral supplement can supply what we need.”

Everyone has 103 essential nutrients, according to Harington. “You have 72 minerals, 16 vitamins, 12 amino acids and 3 essential fatty acids. We strive to maintain those essential nutrients in the proper balance in order to feel our best.”

What happens when we perspire seriously during exercise? Harington explained that we lose essential minerals. Here are some examples along with the possible effects of their loss if they are not sufficiently replenished.

  1. Selenium loss in perspiration can lead to low blood sugar, depression, diabetes, or anti-social behavior.
  2. Chromium loss in perspiration can result in blood sugar instability, low blood sugar, diabetes, depression or anti-social behavior.
  3. Lithium loss in perspiration can result in depression, manic depression, or even addiction to alcohol and drugs.
  4. Copper loss in perspiration can result in joint and cartilage problems or varicose veins.
  5. Gallium loss in perspiration can cause the risk of brain tumor.
  6. Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Sulfur and Boron all play a role in healthy joints, cartilage and bones. When too much is lost in perspiration, there can be a danger of bone degeneration, fractures, hairline fractures, and arthritis.

People who exercise rigorously on a regular basis can approach their meal planning the way serious athletes embrace their “training table.” Harington explained, “Every good athletic manager knows that athletes can run out of energy if they don’t have the proper nourishment. They know that good nutrition is the key. They also know that one needs enough nutrients, but getting more than one needs offers no performance benefit and could prove harmful.”

The same is true for people who are exercising strenuously to stay fit – a healthy diet and food-based vitamin and mineral supplements can make an important difference, but always use good judgment. A professional nutritionist can provide guidance if you are unsure about what to eat or what supplements to take.

Harington offered two simple suggestions for those who exercise. First, after you exercise, replenish your electrolytes – a little apple juice is a good option. Second, if you haven’t been exercising regularly, don’t exercise more than 30 minutes to start, or you could be sore afterwards. Exercise can offer many benefits, so make sure you exercise responsibly and nourish your body to make the most of your efforts.


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Eating Organic in Chicago

Finding restaurants and stores that offer high quality organic and food can be a challenge, especially for travelers. That’s why we are developing a guide to identify restaurants and stores where good quality organic food can be found.

Please share information about organic restaurants and stores in your area so travelers to your city can enjoy the benefits of healthy eating.

3267 S. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL

Serving local, organic and sustainable food in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago, Nana is family-owned and open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week.

Nana is an organic restaurant offering choices for those who are not only passionate about great tasting food but who are also passionate about where their food comes from. They source their organic ingredients from farmers, producers and vendors who meet and maintain USDA National Organic Program standards.

Nana offers a selection of housemade items, and sources exceptional ingredients from over 30 local farms, orchards, artisan craftsmen and other suppliers who have the same passion for high quality food they do.

Their breakfast menu includes seasonal favorites like pumpkin pancakes and tasty dishes like Hoevos Rancheros – two eggs any-style, corn tortillas, carmelized onions and sweet peppers, black beans, poblano cream and avocado.

In addition to tasty salads, poultry and beef, their dinner menu includes Iron Skillet-roasted River Trout – bacon and sweet corn johnnycake, black grape pan sauce and greens.

The food is delicious and healthy eating has never been easier.

Uncommon Ground
1401 W. Devon
Chicago, IL

This eco-focused restaurant in Chicago’s north side Edgewater neighborhood features seasonal, locally produced, family farmed and organic products whenever possible.

In 2008, Uncommon Ground’s roof top garden became the first certified organic roof top farm in the country.

Come for breakfast and enjoy their house-made granola with organic yogurt and seasonal fruit, or try their Chilaquiles – eggs any style, house-made spicy chorizo, tortilla chips, chihuahua cheese and sour cream.

Their dinner menu includes seasonal favorites like Genesis Pumpkin Agnoletti – roasted green acre butternut squash, spinach, roasted pumpkin seeds, sarvecchio parmesan, and sage brown butter sauce – as well as Great Lakes Whitefish, poultry and beef selections.

Join us in identifying those organic restaurants and stores in your city which you would like to share with our Rose Quest community.

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Is It Really Organic?

When my neighbor brought me a bag of fresh “organic” tomatoes and cucumbers she’d grown in her garden, I was appreciative of her kindness, but concerned about whether the veggies were really organic. So, I asked her a couple of questions (nicely, of course) about her use of fertilizers and pesticides. She claimed she had been careful not to use anything that wasn’t approved for organic gardening. Then I asked her where she got her seeds, and she admitted they were from the local superstore. Were the seeds organic and guaranteed not to be genetically modified? She looked sheepish and told me she had not checked, was sure they were nothing special, but she would check next year.

After she left, I was pleased to share that bag of vegetables with a friend who “cannot be bothered” to eat organic. Now, everyone is pleased!



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Eating Right Can be an Explosive Issue

Welcome to our new blog where we’ll explore ideas, issues and products which influence wellness for you and your family. We all need to stay informed on the myriad of factors influencing our food, lifestyle, and environment so we can make intelligent and informed decisions.

Think the world’s food producers are looking out for our best interests? Think again.

Bigger is better, that’s what many Americans have been taught. But when a giant watermelon explodes at your next family picnic, you should be doing more than just picking up the pieces and demanding a refund. You should be seriously watching where all your food comes from and how it’s been grown.

Sounds funny at first, perhaps. But, gigantic watermelons grown in China have been reported as exploding due to an overdose of growth-boosting chemicals. According to the American Free Press, this “…underscores how the Chinese regularly use toxic chemicals in their food production. The US Agriculture Department reports that in 2006, the US imported $4.1 billion in food products from China. In 1995, it was only $800 million.” What are you eating that was grown in China?

As more issues are brought to light about the bad effects harsh chemicals found in pesticides can have on our health, we remind ourselves why we have decided to eat organic food. Avoiding genetically modified foods is another important issue – one we will discuss here in greater depth.

Next time you see a monster melon at a picnic, wear your protective gear before approaching, and play it safe with the organic apple for dessert!

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