Detoxing, Getting Healthy & The Clean Program

pdx shoot (265)

As some of you will know, I spent time in Los Angeles in March, probably the most health-concious and cleanse-obsessed place on the planet. Its no secret that I’m a ‘grab what’s available’ kinda eater, that I have a penchant for wine (and gin!) and that I’m totally allergic to exercise. However while I was in the land of buffed bodies, I did surprise myself by becoming quite the green juice junkie (something I have kept up since returning home!) and I even started to think a little more about how I treat, and what I put into, my body.

I’m no model. I’m a comfortable(ish) UK size 12 with enormous boobs and wobbly bits but, overall,  I’m pretty happy with how I look. Now it might be something to do with getting scarily close to 30 or spending more time with my much more health-conscious American BFFs, but over the past few months I have started to think more about what I eat and the effect it all has on the way I look and my mood. I’ve always figured that I ate pretty well. I don’t have a sweet tooth at all and I rarely snack, but my Achilles heel is without a doubt the regular love affair that I have with wine. Just thinking about how many calories and toxins are in the glasses I sink on a nightly basis is actually pretty terrifying.

Gala has been a committed convert to The Clean Program for a while, and although for a long time, I balked at her healthy lifestyle (“yeah, yeah, you look great but I could never do that…”) over the past few months I started to think about it a bit more seriously. I have been feeling a little more self-conscious about my appearance as well as feeling sluggish, tired and totally overworked of late, so I decided to hell with it and to finally give it a go.

clean refresh

Being a detox virgin I was really pleased to find out about their new Clean Refresh program, a seven day detox designed to boost energy and give those that might have fallen off the heath wagon a much needed jolt in the right direction. They advise that this isn’t a full-on cleanse (they have a 21-day program if that’s more of what you’re after) but for someone who’s never so much as tried to cut out chips, I decided that a gentle week long introduction would be the best way to start. Baby steps and all that.

So how does it work? Well, you have a nutritional shake for breakfast, supplements that you take throughout the day and a refresh ‘boost’ drink which you take after lunch. In terms of food, you have to eliminate wheat, dairy, gluten, caffeine, alcohol and processed sugar – which sounds very daunting. However once you get into it it’s really a lot easier than you think it’s going to be. Luckily, the Refresh program comes with handy manual full of tips, tricks, bucket-loads of information and recipes to try. There’s even an online forum with over 45,000 members and ‘wellness coaches’ on hand if you need any help or encouragement along the way. Their website is also chock-full of recipe ideas if you’re lacking inspiration.

Surprisingly, I found the food part quite easy. I bought myself a smoothie maker and instead of my usual coffee, eggs and toast I was starting my morning with a shake made with rice milk and frozen raspberries and blueberries. For lunch I was having a giant mixed salad with some protein (prawns, chicken or eggs) and for dinner, meat with veg and either brown rice, couscous or quinoa on the side. The manual also has some great dressing ideas which were, pleasingly, mostly made from things I already had in my cupboards and added some much needed variety to the dishes. If I was doing it for longer than seven days I might have got a little bored and would definitely have had to expand my repertoire, but for such a short period of time it was perfectly doable. Pretty easy in fact.

refresh manual

For me, the hardest habit to crack was my coffee in the morning and lashings of wine in the evening. On day one I was incredibly grumpy and during days two and three I had massive headaches, but by day four I literally felt on top of the world. My energy levels were up, my aches and pains were gone, and although I still craved that mid-afternoon boost that only a lovely cup of tea can provide, I quickly got used to having water, green juice or coconut water instead. You’re allowed (good) fat and I also discovered that an avocado with a few olives or an apple with almond butter made for great 4pm pick me ups.

However, perhaps the most surprising thing of all, was what happened once I finished the seven days. I thought, for sure, that I’d be desperate for caffeine that first morning and for gallons of wine as 6 o’clock (wine o’clock) drew near. But, weirdly, I really didn’t… and believe me, no-one was more surprised about that than I was! I can only put it down to the fact that I’d put all that hard work in and I didn’t want to completely waste it by having a massive blow out.

Of course I’m not going tee-total or swearing off diary and wheat for life, but coming out of this process I am much more aware of everything I eat and drink and I do honestly feel like I’m going to continue with a lot of the changes that I’ve made. I plan to stick with the rice milk, eat much less cheese (which has always my fave – does anyone have suggestions for dairy free alternatives?) and to cut out bread as much as possible. I’ve also been drinking much less coffee and tea and (shock horror!) even slurping less wine.

If you’ve never done any kind of cleanse or detox before but you’d like to make a few positive diet changes, I think the Clean Refresh program is the perfect place to start. You’re not going to come out after seven days two stone lighter or giving Gwyneth a run for her money, but its a brilliant way to give yourself a fighting chance and a great jumping off point to being healthier.

I can’t recommend it enough, and come on, seven days isn’t really that long to give it a good old go is it?!

Reader Giveaway: Win a Clean Refresh Program

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When I spoke to the Clean Program guys afterwards to tell them how I’d got on, I was thrilled when they asked if I’d like to run a giveaway on my blog and offer a free Refresh Program to one of my readers. So now you have no excuses!

For your chance to win the complete Refresh Program, worth $199, simply comment below and let me know your vice and why you’d like to give it a whirl. This contest is open to all readers of Rock n Roll Bride and you have one week to enter.

Good luck and here’s to getting healthy!

This contest is now closed

Ts & Cs

♥ The winner will receive one Clean Refresh pack worth $199.
♥ Closing date for entries is 29/05/2013. Winner will be selected by Kat Williams and notified via email after that date.
♥ Only 1 entry per email/IP address
♥ Contest is open to all readers of Rock n Roll Bride who are aged 18 or over only and are not employees of The Clean Program. Depending on your home country, you may be liable to pay customs charges to receive your prize.
♥ By entering the draw, you hereby warrant that all information submitted by you is true, current and complete.
♥ The winners will be contacted via their email address within a week of the the competition draw date. Rock n Roll Bride/The Clean Program will not amend contact information provided.
♥ None of the prizes may be exchanged or transferred and no cash alternative will be offered.
♥ Liability cannot be accepted for entries which are lost in transit or not received due to technical difficulties.
♥ Kat Williams’ decision and any decision taken by the promoter is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
♥ The Refresh program is not suitable for anybody who is pregnant or nursing, is under 18, has cancer, liver disease or hepatitis, is on any medication, or has bipolar disorder or type-1 diabetes.
♥ No purchase necessary.
♥ This is not a paid editorial, although I was gifted a Clean Refresh Program.

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126 comments

  1. keeley

    Erm my vices ? carbs , sweets and chocolate, eating late and snacking . . . eek. I would love to try this as I’ve been looking for something to motivate me into a bit of a healthier lifestyle for a while, especially with our wedding coming up in only 6 weeks- I don’t want to lose weight- just feel a hit healthier ! unfortunately the same can’t be said for my fiance who’s wedding suit trousers don’t fit him after months of working away ! hopefully this could be the thing to really help both of us !!

  2. Lou

    I already passed the dreaded 30 everyone seems so worried about – if that puts you at ease, it made no difference to me, I’m still crazy. My vice is… oh I don’t even know. Cheese – who could say no to cheese? Carbs. Time, money. Me? Does that mean it’s me? And seriously, tea? When did tea become evil? I thought tea was on my side… I’ve had a lot of health troubles the last year no doctor seemed to be able to fix, probably influenced by stress and issues from my past. I kicked my own butt an stepped up the exercise a lot, but I’m completely failing the food part, so I’m not seeing the results I wanted and I’m worried that will make me fall back into my old lazy ways. Not that I think my eating habits are that bad but they’re not very good either, and it’s something that makes me want to hide in shame. I’ve been looking for solutions but haven’t found anything I could get to work for me, so more guilt-tripping for me.
    As I read this I also thought ‘I could never do that’, like you did. I don’t know, could I? I couldn’t afford this right now anyway, I took a time out from work to write a book (almost done!) and am merely freelancing on the side. Thinking about trying this scares me, maybe that would be a good reason to do it. I’ve been trying to get out of my comfort zone.

  3. Ellie Gibbons

    Hi Kat, I really enjoyed reading your blog post, and I can certainly relate to your love for heese and tea; they are most certainly my vices too..in fact, I’m quite partial to a cup of builders tea with a chunk of cheddar cheese – it goes surprisingly well together!! 😀

  4. Silvia

    My vices are an integral part of my day: milk (nearly a pint in the morning) and carbs (I’m Italian, it’s in my blood!). I would like to diminish both, although I don’t think cutting them out totally would benefit me as much. But I love me some chocolate milk and porridge in the morning… and am looking for a way to crave that less, and get more protein in!

  5. Stephanie

    My main vices are ice cream and sausage rolls (not at the same time, usually)! I would love to try the refresh clean program as I have a beautiful vintage dress to wear to my oldest friends wedding in August, and it doesn’t do up! This would be the perfect kickstart to drop just a couple of pounds before her big day! x

  6. I already quit smoking, started working out and changed my diet during this last year. I feel great with the changes but still I guess the really hard winter this year in Germany (we didn´t see the sun for quite a few months at all) left some footprints over my body;) I´d like to get a boost since now spring is finally kicking in – and spring fever is, too! My summer-vice is Ice-Cream…

  7. Katie

    I’d love to win this! My biggest vices are definitely sweet snacks as a recent change in job has left me crying out for extra energy that only chocolate and biscuits seem to provide. I need to get my health back on track and get out of this spiral of bad eating! This could be just the kick start I need 🙂

  8. Ally L

    Hi Kat!
    Thank you for sharing this with us. I’ve been an obsessed reader (like REALLY obsessed… I wake up and the first thing I do is look for a new post.. it’s becoming unhealthy.. not!) since my fiance and I got engaged in December. I’m one of those Americans (unlike my Californian counter-parts) has has been plus-sized since childhood. I’ve had surgeries on my feet (bone condition inherited from my fam) that have limited my exercise ability since I was about 7. Since being engaged I’ve become even more hyper aware of my health and size. I’ve been eating well, cycling most places and have lost almost 2 stone so far- but I’ve fallen off the health train a bit since things have gotten more hectic. It’s so disheartening to walk into a wedding dress shop and had a tiny judging bridal consultant squeeze you into a dress 10 sizes too small just to see what the ‘normal size'(yes, she actually used that phrase) would look like if it did miraculously fit over my hips unzipped. Let me tell ya- doing this thing without the love and support of my family and friends on the other side on the pond (I moved to England for my masters in October… and to be with my Yorkshireman… let’s be real) is crazy emotional. So I guess I just wanted to say thanks for featuring kick-ass plus-size brides/couples. Our joy and happiness at finding our soul mates is just as relevant as anyone else and it’s more difficult than it should be to find a person in the wedding world who recognizes that. Thanks for allowing us all, no matter size, age, sexual orientation, (who else saw the biker goth wedding from yesterday? Effing amazing! ) or nationality 😉 to share in and oggle at all the pretty that a union of spirits brings!

    I hope your new outlook on health continues to go well! I have to approach this health thing from a new angle, and something like this might be just the ticket!

    Xoxo
    Ally

  9. Celi

    I have been wanting to try a cleanse for some time, but always manage to talk myself out of it (mainly due to cost). The contest ends on my birthday, so this would be a gift. What more could I ask for than a kickstart to healthy eating?

  10. Ally L

    Also, my vice is Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream. We have a long-standing Friday night date! Lol

  11. Izzi

    My vice? Without a doubt it has to be crisps. I LOVE crisps. Give me a bag of any size or flavour and I WILL eat them all. I’ve just finished uni and I think this would be a great time to kick start my entry to the ‘real world’ and (maaaaaaaybe) shift my binge crisp eating ways!

  12. Rachel

    Peanut butter…..
    By the jar…..
    With a spoon.

    I’d like to give the detox a try because I know that if I don’t give absolute 100% to looking my best before I get married I will regret it every time I look at the photographs.

    Rachel

  13. Emma

    Wow, the refresh program sounds amazing – if nothing but to educate you more about the foods you eat.
    I cant possibly list all of my vices – everything I think. My top 5 though would be 1- crisps (and lots of them. A big share bag rarely lasts more than 5 minutes and I never share them), 2- icecream (strawberry and cream if I can get it, if not any Ben and Jerry’s will do), 3- cake (cake, cake, cake – Im never not in the mood for cake), 4- sausage rolls (I hardly ever go near a Greggs but when I do my order is always 2 sausage rolls. I make homemade sausage rolls just to compensate), 5- pasta (cheesy tuna pasta bake yummy!).

    I certainly think I need to educate myself about what I should be eating and cut out a lot of carbs!

    Emma x

  14. Clare

    I’ve been looking for away to get into clean eating for ages. But have been frightened to just jump in think this will be perfect to ease me in!! Need to detox desperately. Am lacking all kinds fo get up and go.

    My Vices really vary to moods. Stressed requires something reeeally sweet but other wise its something carbalicious sigh.

    Im also terrible for grazing. Jacobs Cream Crackers… I’m a fiend for them :S

  15. Clare

    Also trialing making my own wedding cake at the moment cue lots of oo il just try a corner…..wait its a waste not to eat a full slice… its too nice not to have more

    then comes the cake shame hahaha

  16. Erm, my vices where do I start take out, chocolate, crisps, pudding, ice cream, cake, vodka but I would say mainly sugar!!!! I am moving soon and starting a new job so would love to feel full of energy and foxy for my up coming wedding anniversary!

  17. My biggest vice is cheese, I literally can’t have it in the fridge otherwise I eat it all. My other half once walked in on me standing in the kitchen, scraping the last vestiges of stilton from a rind. Not my finest hour!

    Would love to give this a go – been left feeling a bit run down after a horrible cough/cold for the last few weeks and a good old detox would hopefully give me my energy back!

  18. Hi Kat! My top vice would be eating Sweets – in all kinds, colours and sizes. A day would not pass without me eating it. I have been trying to lose weight for 5 years now and have already tried numerous ways to lose those excess “baby fats”: I have already tried 3-4 diet plans, is taking anti-obesity capsules (with doctor’s prescription, don’t worry), have enrolled in gym for 3x (stopped already), and at one time separately enrolled in a boxing class. I’m still hoping to lose weight, and believe I still will. 🙂 Maybe this program will probably bring the wonder I’ve long been hoping for! 🙂

  19. Hi Kat!
    I had a beautiful baby girl on March 6th. Since I got the go-ahead from the doctor, I’ve been working out everyday. I’ve already given up dessert (chocolate chip cookies are my vice, I ate the break-n-bake kind every night while I was pregnant), I’ve started making my green shakes every day and I’ve tried to cut down my wheat and cheese intake. I’ve barely lost any weight besides the initial water weight and I’m dying to fit back into my awesome wardrobe- I hate maternity clothes with a passion!!! This cleanse might be the kick start my metabolism needs!!!
    xoxo

  20. My vice is donuts! I could eat them all day every day! But I’ve been on a one sweets/cheat day a month!

    I’d love to detox because I’ve always wanted to try but haven’t yet!

    xoxo,
    Tara O.
    tara at taraophotos dot com

  21. Rebecca Hall

    I’m an ice cream and chocolate kind of girl. I cannot get enough of these and have to restrict them coming into the house in order to resist them. I swore off them when on a dairy free diet for 2 years (my eldest was allergic to cows milk) but am completely addicted again now. I’d be sooooo slim if I could keep of them!

  22. I felt like reading your words could be my own. I have never really tried dieting for more than a few days. My problem is sugar. I love cupcakes, candy or anything sweet. The same goes for coffee. These are two habits I would like to break. I have always been on the boarder of plus size, curvy but the biggest problem is that I often do not feel comfortable in my own skin. I always say I want to do something about it but with so many diets and programs choosing one is overwhelming and I want to choose something that I can continue rather than a fad that I give up on easily. I hope to win this so that I can finally feel great both inside and out and also start something that will be a lifetime habit.

  23. Lyndee H.

    My vice is Sugar- anything with sugar in it, sugar is a drug and I am definitely an addict! I have Coeliac disease and I am vegan so my diet is restricted and mostly healthy. I don’t smoke and rarely drink so I feel I can justify my vice for the most part. I particularly like Green and Black’s organic hot chocolate drink and Vanilla-flavour Swedish Glace ice cream. The problem is, a lot of processed Gluten-free foods are relatively very high in sugar also so I would dearly love to get rid of sugar from my diet and let my body have a break for a while. I am in my late twenties and still have problems with acne so I wonder whether a detox would aid that? It is a big worry for my wedding photos!

  24. Oh, Kat. You and I are in the same boat – except that my vice isn’t wine, it’s chocolate. In the evenings I can rip through a 200g slab without even thinking. I like to convince myself that it’s okay because it’s my only vice – I don’t drink alcohol or coffee or smoke, and I eat bread maybe once or twice a week – but the truth is that I’ve picked up ten kgs in the last year, and I’m always sleepy and sluggish. A friend of mine recommended Juicing, but all the paraphernalia just cost too much. I’d love to win this so I can have a proper go at cleansing without worrying about how expensive it is!

  25. Jessica

    Hi there! I truly would love to try out this system, unfortunately my budget is no where capable of taking a hit like that on top of everything else. I am somewhat happy with my body as well, although like many, I secretly harbor a desire to be able to confidently wear short skirts and bikinis without awkwardly pulling down the hem line and covering my waist.

    I have a ten month old son, Quenton, and stretch marks have become my arch nemesis. I have literally gone to the gym once….for like twenty minutes. FAIL. Like you said, some of us a grab and go people when it comes to food, and between fifty-plus hour work weeks, an attention seeking baby, and an adoring fiance, getting the time to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner gets a little hard to find. Plus, it seems like to eat more healthy and buy the organic all natural foods you have to be a billionaire to afford the bill at the grocery check out line.

    Next year we are eloping in Paris and I want to be completely happy and caught up in the moment…..instead I am worried that I will be in the most beautiful city with the most amazing man and only be thinking about how fat I look or how much my pregnancy stretch marks are showing.

    Overall, I need a new start with my body. I don’t hate myself or constantly look at the mirror pointing out my flaws, but I am tired, I’m stressed, I’m grumpy, and I am all around run down with everything right now. I seem to never be able to catch a break. The end of my day currently consists of sitting on the sofa drinking a beer and watching a movie with my fiance and overly happy son, and although I am perfectly happy with that part, I would like to actually have the energy to mix it up a bit. When Quenton starts walking (more likely running) I want to be able to chase and play with him and not be the grumpy bitter mommy who doesn’t want to share he secret stash of chocolates.

    Anywho, thanks for the consideration in your giveaway. Sorry if i vented too much. Good luck with your detox/diet! You always seem so confident and happy in your photos. You have no reason to be self conscious, just be yourself and then you are already unique. (-:

  26. eloise

    hi Kat, is this also to lose weight? Or just to cleanse/detox? I don’t want to lose weight for my wedding, just feel a bit better, as I’m pretty comfortable being a curvy bride 🙂

  27. Ashleigh Paul

    Anything sweet is my problem! Chocolate in particular, and I have started drinking more fizzy drinks recently. Definitely trying to cut down on those.

  28. Post author

    Eloise – it’s not designed for weight loss, no. You may well lose some because you’re making better food choices and consuming less crap but that’s not what it’s designed for. I never ever weight myself so I couldn’t tell you if I lost any weight while I did it but I doubt you would lose much in just seven days anyway!

  29. Jenn

    what a fantastic giveaway, and the perfect time of year for it really – I would love the chance to try it!

    My vices are cheese (which I am TRYING to cut back) and ice cream, which I can’t seem to get enough of once the weather starts to get warm. I do go to the gym, and try to eat healthy but I’ve never done a detox and think it is definitely the next thing to try – especially with my wedding coming up in September this year!
    I do find that I am tired and have low energy sometimes – wedding planning can wear a girl out! – so I’m really interested in the energised feeling that you got from it!

  30. Tifa

    Beer and bourbon. I’ve done cleanses, detoxes, gone paleo and all, but the first thing I give in to is beer or bourbon.

  31. Well, what caI say – my vices are many in their numbers…. crisps is a big one, and cheese. I bloody love cheese. oh and wine. (mmm cheese and wine…..) HOWEVER, I have been trying, really tryig to kick myself into a bit of a heathier regime, I just end up rewarding myself for doing well and it all sprials downwards to a chocolately end. sigh. I’m getting married in September, and whilst I’m fairly happy with my figure I would love to feel healthier. I’m definitely inspired that this detox has made a difference to you Kat and seems quite easy. This could be the start of something awesome! 🙂

  32. jessica

    Vices are fun. I suppose mine is anything I can drink as a pick me up, but never anything of benefit for my body. Energy drinks, Dr. Pepper, coffee and related sugary deliciousness. I have a terrible tendency to drink convenient beverages over making thought out selections, and generally intake more soda and coffee than actual water each day. (And by a lot; I generally drink like 5 cups of coffee a day.)

    Unfortunately the same applies to snacks; if it is easy, I am likely to decide I want to eat it. I do not eat meat sans very occasional fish, and limit my dairy to a very small amount, but chips, candy, store made sandwiches… All too many terrible decisions made.

  33. Daniella

    Ugh, my 3pm sweet tooth I only developed when I started my full-time job.

  34. Liz Smith

    Where to start… There’s alcohol. With two kids and a stressful career – a glass of wine or Saki at night is the perfect way to unwind – or is it? Then there’s late night snacks. Right now I’m devouring my kids jelly candies. They’re made with 100% fruit juice which means congealed sugar. I’m a total addict. I down maybe 5-6 mini bags a night. Inactivity is next. I’m a writer (former professional dancer) and have traded years of being fit (bc it was my job!) for being a total sloth. I need to jump start a real health plan. With two little kids I plan on being around a looooong time.

  35. holly

    I eat well for the most part – lots of fresh fruits and veggies – but I have a weakness for sweets. I can’t go a night without dessert. I’ve had my eye on the Clean Program for a while, but I’ve yet to try it. This would be just the motivation I need to get on track!

  36. I hit the big 3-0 this year, and I’m definitely starting to feel it. I’ve been trying to eat a little healthier for a while now, but I just can’t give up CHEESE! Of all the things I’ve ever tried to cut out of my diet, cheese is the most difficult. A few years back I had to stop quite a few things due to health reasons and I spent a whole year with no alcohol, meat, dairy, spicy foods, soy and so many other things I can’t remember now – and I felt amazing! I’ve been trying to get back on track for years and just cut a few things out, hopefully this cleanse will help jump start my path back to healthy living.

  37. Hi @eloise, Just to add to what Kat said, most people do lose a little weight on the program, but thats not the focus. The focus is create the conditions for our body to show up how it needs to show up.

    Great question!

    Dhru

  38. Sophie Bresser

    I have so many food vices! Since January I’ve lost a stone & a half and would like to lose at least another one. I find it so hard trying to cut out salty foods like crisps & cheese though. I seem to be craving them even more now I’ve started working out. If I won this then hopefully a weeks detox would help me kick the habit & I could speed up my weight loss as it’s been slow going up to now.

  39. Carbs. Definitely Carbs. I am a bagel for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, pasta for dinner kinda person and it’s gonna be the death of me. Also, wine. I don’t even wanna think about wine being bad…

  40. Emily

    I am just a complete sucker for bread! It’s like my kryptonite! If we eat out, I literally have to shove the bread basket away from myself, or I will just keep eating bread and butter. I know I’m definitely do for a jump start! Something to get me back on track to just eating as clean as possible.

  41. PS Well done – you’ve done super well, and was really interesting reading your article as it was written with a pinch of realism too!

  42. PS Well done – you’ve done super well, and was really interesting reading your article as it was written with a pinch of realism too!

  43. My all-time vice is meat with melted cheese and lots of ketchup. I’m constantly craving a cheeseburger. On top of that, I love Coca-Cola and Oreo’s. Dang those Oreo’s. My fiance can eat a whole pack of Oreo’s in two days, and a pie, chocolate chip cookies, and anything else sweet he can get his hands on and is still losing weight. Men. Pffft.

  44. My vice is being lazy and making my husband cook dinner way too often. Which means meals of mostly meat. I like my veggies tons, but the allure of not having to cook often trumps my desire for ruffage.

  45. I’ve been thinking of trying the Clean programme since I saw it on Gala’s blog and now you’ve done it too! Very inspirational. My vice is chocolate. Which is why today I’ve had a Kit Kat chunky, some Thornton’s choccies and a Green & Blacks hot chocolate. I was poorly a few weeks ago and couldn’t eat anything for a few days. When I started back on the food I vowed I’d make healthy choices. It’s really not happened. But I’m thinking that something like the Clean programme could make all the difference. Pick me Kat and we’ll see if there’s hope for me yet… 🙂

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