A Little News
April 18, 2014

Guys, I have a little news. I wrote a book, and it’s coming out on June 24th.

Choosing Raw Book

Some backstory: in spite of the fact that the publication date is fast approaching, this book has been a long time coming. I sold the proposal toward the end of the orgo bio year of my post-bacc, with the intention of starting to write after my MCAT was behind me. Of course that process took longer than I expected it to, so the writing got delayed. Finally, last spring, I tested and worked on photographs with the incredible Hannah Kaminsky, whom I might as well call my co-author, because I absolutely couldn’t have written the book without her. It’s her photographs–over seventy of them–that make it come alive. I turned the manuscript in in September, and now, years after I first thought about writing a cookbook, it’s coming to life. The book will be brought to you by Da Capo Lifelong, a house that also publishes such culinary idols of mine as Ani Phyo, Bryant Terry, and Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

The book is about 65% cookbook, and 35% lifestyle guide. When I wrote it, I wanted first and foremost to share delicious, accessible recipes that would pique folks’ interest in vegan and raw foods. The book features 125 recipes–all vegan, many raw or semi-raw, most gluten-free–that are as flavorful and as colorful as I know how to make food be. A few sneak peak images, all courtesy of Hannah:

Raw Cobb Salad

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Plant Protein Shake and Kale, Blueberry, and Mint Smoothie

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Raw, Vegan Blueberry Cheesecake

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The recipes begin with 15 “essentials” — stuff like homemade almond milk, basic cashew cheese, a simple green smoothie, basic nut pate, and simple zucchini pasta. I go on to share 5 juices, followed by 10 raw and vegan snacks (highlights: zucchini “ranch” chips, nori and pumpkinseed cigars), and then 20 salad dressings, dips, and hummus recipes.

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Zucchini Hummus, Hemp Hummus, and Curried Sweet Potato Hummus

The main recipes are divided into three levels. I called the first “tried and true.” It features vegan, whole foods spins on familiar recipes, like enchiladas:

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Quinoa and asparagus sushi rolls:

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And (one of my favorites) carrot and millet pilaf with mesquite glazed tempeh:

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I called Level 2 “Something New.” The idea was to combine familiar techniques (smoothies, blended soups) with a bunch of ideas that might be new to someone who’s just exploring vegan and raw food: collard wraps, chia pudding, kelp noodles. Favorites from this section include a scrumptious quinoa breakfast porridge:

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Raw gazpacho:

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And heat free lentil and walnut tacos:

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Finally, in Level 3–aptly titled “Brave New World”–I dive into some of the more unusual recipes and techniques that I love so much, and have shared often on this blog. That section features a Mediterranean Cauliflower Rice with Smoky Red Pepper Sauce:

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Zucchini Pasta with Mango, Avocado, and Black Bean Salsa:

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And–I’m pretty stoked about this one–Cashew Banana Yogurt:

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One of my goals with this book was to break down the idea that exploring raw food has to mean “going raw.” The book’s subtitle is “making raw foods part of the way you eat,” and that’s exactly what I wanted to help demonstrate–that you can savor the creativity and beauty of raw food without getting weighed down by an all-or-nothing approach.

I also tried to debunk some of the lore that surrounds the culture of raw foodism, starting with the idea that all raw food is nutritionally superior and more healthful than cooked food. I underscore ways in which cooking can actually release nutrients and render them more bio-available, and I make clear that cooked legumes, whole grains, and soy foods are nutrient-rich, healthful, balanced foods. Other misconceptions I tackle include food combining, enzyme theory, and the popular “fat vs. fruit” debate in the raw food world. In fact, one entire chapter in the book is devoted to FAQ’s, while another is devoted to myths and misconceptions about raw and vegan nutrition. These chapters gave me a chance to address some of the concepts that I was really susceptible to when I first began exploring a raw food diet.

The book includes 21 days worth of meal plans, featuring recipes from the book. I’ve never posted meal plans on my blog–I wanted to wait for a space and context in which I could give it proper thought and dedication–and it was so much fun to create these. They’re highly customizable, but they will hopefully give readers a sense of:

  • How to create balanced, well rounded meals
  • How to use leftovers as the week goes by (I made a big effort to include leftover options in the meal plans)
  • How to make and enjoy raw recipes along with non-raw ones
  • How to incorporate variety into your diet

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And of course, since I can’t tell the story of how I got into veganism or raw food or any of this without exploring my personal history, the book opens with my own story. It’s terrain that CR readers know by now, but with a little more detail, and with the kind of perspective that I can only have developed by writing this blog for the last five years. It’s a little dizzying to share my history in print–blogging, for whatever reason, always feels less permanent, less declarative–but it feels liberating, too.

Other features of the book:

  • A useful primer in plant based nutrition
  • Non-alarmist, commonsense tips on planning a well-rounded vegan diet that includes raw food recipes
  • An honest, down-to-earth approach to raw foods
  • Advice on how to set up and organize your kitchen as you begin to explore more raw and vegan foods
  • Tips on dining out, travel, and social settings (where vegan options may be slim)
  • 21 days of adaptable, low-stress meal plans
  • Ideas for “low maintenance” breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that can be substituted for any recipe in the meal plan
  • A a sassy, spirited intro from wellness pioneer Kris Carr

Obviously, I hope the book inspires folks who already know and love vegan cooking. But it’s also my hope that the enthusiasm I feel for whole, plant-based foods will shine through and entice anyone who’s hoping to eat a few more vegetable-focused meals.

Choosing Raw is available for pre-order now on Amazon. I hope some of you will like the sounds of it, and be curious enough to consider checking out a copy. I’ll be sharing more details, photos, and information about the book over the course of the next two months.

For now, I want to say the most important thing, which is thank you. Thank you to everyone who reads this blog, because the book has grown directly out of the dialogs, conversations, and shared enthusiasm that animate Choosing Raw every week. When I think back to 2009, when I began writing CR, my perspective was so different. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was still very early in my recovery process, still searching for a food identity that would support my health. I was more rigid in my convictions about nutrition, far quicker to declare this food “bad,” or that one “good.” I was less appreciative of the beauty and fun of food. I was enamored of the health benefits of veganism, but I still hadn’t taken the lives and feelings of animals into account when it came to my food choices.

Writing this blog has prompted so much self-reflection, so much honest and critical thought. It was in writing this blog that I believe I truly was able to face the recovery process and connect with my love of food. Blogging forced me to become more thoughtful about my food choices, and it compelled me to think more broadly about veganism. It has given me a safe space in which to reassess and question things I once took for granted about health and nutrition. It has allowed me to celebrate, document, and share my passion for eating.

In some ways, blogging is the only kind of medium that could have allowed that stuff to happen, because it’s so interactive. But I hope that my book conveys some of this process. I hope it’s a testament to what I’ve learned about health and nutrition, encompassing all of the blogging years and some of the education I’ve gotten. I hope it conveys the passion and enthusiasm I’ve developed for eating and living healthfully. I hope it’s informative, useful, instructive. I hope it’s honest and candid. I hope it’s a love letter of sorts, addressed to the community that has changed my life so profoundly (you guys). And I hope you’ll love it.

More information to come, of course. But that’s the news. And while we’re on the topic, I know that I owe you guys other updates, life updates. More on those soon.

xo

 

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    120 Comments
  1. Oh Gena, this was such an incredibly project and journey that I feel so lucky to have gone on with you. The experience alone would have been enough, but seeing my name on the cover, so prominently featured below yours, is far more than I could ever ask for- Or imagine! The funniest thing is that when I showed my mom, I made a remark about how it looks like I’m practically the co-author, too. I absolutely cannot wait to see this book out in print… It’s going to be such a huge hit, and having tasted my way through a good portion of the recipes, I can tell you that with conviction. 😉

    Hope you’re starting to plan the sequel already because I want to be there to photography your work again!

  2. Congratulations Gena!! I am so genuinely thrilled for you and cannot wait to go pre-order the book. I’ve been reading for about 4 years now and am just so grateful for the work you’ve put into your blog to be such a healthy and kind role model for veganism, raw food, and general health and body positivity. I think your book will be a great gift for a lot of my friends and family who want to inject more plant-based foods into their diet but have some reservations about it. I can’t wait to read it! <3

  3. Congratulations!!! Your blog is the only one I consistently follow (and usually pin almost every recipe you post!). I love that you provide evidence for claims you make about nutrition and offer a balanced perspective–something that is sometimes lacking when discussing veganism and the raw food diet. I will definitely be pre-ordering your book. Congrats again!

  4. Congrats, Gena! This is fantastic…such a big accomplishment! Looking forward to grabbing a copy, though may have to wait until back in the States. Hope everything else is going well.

  5. Gena!!! Congrats 🙂
    Please tell me it’s coming out in digital too??? I’ve switched my cookbook collection to digital to save room in my small house!!!

  6. Oh wow! Congrats Gena!!!! This is such exciting news =D
    I can’t believe you’ve been working on it for so long and we haven’t heard a peep about it until now.
    I’m glad there is a chance to pre-order.

  7. Congratulations Gena!! Everything looks incredible, and the photos are stunning! I wouldn’t expect anything less from you, I can’t wait to read it! So proud of you and all that you have accomplished. xo

  8. I’m a little late to this party but can I say that I am not at all surprised by this news? Of all of the bloggers out there, you are the one that I have been most surprised that you have not written a book. Your recipes are phenomenal and your writing is the best. I’m so happy for you! May it sell a million copies!!!! xoxoxo

  9. Congrats Gena!! Book looks amazing, just put in my pre-order. Woohoo, can’t wait! Absolutely thrilled for you!!

  10. Gena – I am so proud and excited for you – what an amazing accomplishment!
    Though I’m not a vegetarian, I am always interested in improving my diet and love reading your blogs and trying your recipes. I’m glad you are reaching out to those who enjoy a healthy lifestyle. Can’t wait for June!

  11. I am so excited to hear about this! I can’t believe you’ve been able to keep it a secret for so long. I would have probably bought the book just because I love the blog and trust it would have some good recipes in it. BUT… your description made it sound even better. I have always hoped someone would write a good lifestyle book about how to make it a healthy vegan diet work day to day. Meal plans that utilize leftovers sounds amazing as well as discussing some of the fads that can make you lose track of the good.

    Thanks for writing it and I can’t wait to get my copy!

  12. This is amazing! CONGRATS to you!!!!!!!!

    I actually started reading back in 2009, but stopped for a while because I felt like I could never measure up and that maybe your beliefs were a little too strict for me (sorry!!) BUUUUT, I am so happy that I kept checking in from time to time and a few years ago I was back being a loyal reader! This book looks so so amazing, and is something I am going to LOVE reading. I just pre-ordered!

    Congrats again, I’m so happy for you!!

  13. Congrats!! Can’t wait to buy your book. I love your blog so I am sure I’m going to love your book too 🙂

  14. i kinda was hoping this would happen 🙂 i’m just gonna put it out there that FINALLY someone who actually SHOULD be given the task of writing a book was given that opportunity! it’s a testament to your recipe development and information that this omnivore has been making your delicious recipes for years! i’ve been an avid reader for some time and you continue to offer up informative and creative suggestions not only for the vegan reader but for the health of the gen pop. it’s really refreshing and i hope you have nothing but continued successes gena! x

  15. SO incredibly excited for you Gena! I kept thinking ‘when is Gena going to bring out a book’! Cannot wait, already pre-ordered 🙂 Those enchiladas have my name on them.

  16. fantastic news – I don’t visit as often I wish I could but I do love your blog and wish you a happy journey with the book – it sounds amazing

  17. This is AMAZING! I have been reading for years, and your blog is one of my enduring favorites. I’m so happy that you’ll have a book out too 🙂

  18. Guuuuuurl…you’re like the Beyoncé of cookbooks! Seriously…I love how you casually you shared this “little news” and YAY IM SO EXCITED that I’m making bad pop culture puns.

    But seriously…Beyoncé. In other words: a huge congrats. 😉

  19. I am so proud of you, so so so proud of you, and I am beyond-words thrilled that I can now shout this to the heavens! It was such an honour to test your recipes, and I’ve been giddily awaiting the moment when the book became real for you, for me, and for everyone. I know it’s going to create sparks in so many hearts. You are a gem, and I love you. Congratulations again, beloved. xoxo

  20. Congrats, Gena! And I am soooo excited! I was just telling my husband that I wouldn’t know what to do should you for whatever reason decide to stop blogging and keeping up with this site. I was starting to think I should start printing up every single recipe just in case. Anyway, just pre-ordered! Congrats again!

  21. Oh my gosh…I’m so excited for you and so immensely proud of you, Gena!!!! I just marvel at your many accomplishments at your young age. I’m just beaming…:)
    xo

  22. Congratulations! I was so excited to read your “little news”. I have been following your blog for going on 5 years now, and your positive voice was so great to hear when transitioning from vegetarian to vegan. Can’t wait for the book — just pre-ordered my copy on Amazon! 🙂

  23. Congratulations on this very exciting news! Your blog has been a source of inspiration, I can only imagine what an amazing resource your book is!!!

  24. GAH! I am SO excited and happy for you! I’ve been with you on your journey the past few years and have to say that you are someone I completely admire and respect, as genuine as a raw piece of fruit 😉

    And although I have never even purchased a cookbook before, I just added this to my Amazon cart. You know my issues, and I think this is going to be a great way to branch out with some new recipes to augment a new perspective. Thank you so much for your hard work, and congrats on all the success!

  25. So, so thrilled for you Gena and I couldn’t agree with your philosophy more about Raw. I’m certain that so many people don’t even begin to explore Raw recipes when they here “oh, you have to go all Raw, or nothing” Of course the more raw in your diet the better but any is a good thing.
    BTW, those lentil tacos look to die for 😉
    Can’t wait to see everything else and thanks for all your hard work on this for us ♥

  26. HUGEST of congratulations to you, Gena! You’ve long been an inspiration for me, and I could not be more thrilled to see your astounding work between two covers. I can hardly wait for June 24th!!!! You rock, girlfriend.

  27. well Gena, I would buy mostly to encourage you: there are plenty of vegan blogs and thousands of great recipes to try, but I keep coming back to your page because of the intelligence, the subtility, openeness and the balance of your dialogue. Your are always showing your commonsense and critical thinking, as well as a very intimate introspective point of view. I am sure you have helped many people adopting an healthier (both physically and mentally) approah to food. Can’t wait to read!

  28. Congratulations! This is the best news I’ve heard all day. I can’t wait to get my hands on this book to read with a cup of tea and then to stain the pages as I try all the recipes. You’re inspiring!

  29. South Korea chanel Bag
    Greetings from Idaho! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to browse
    your website on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the info you present
    here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m shocked at how fast your blog loaded on my phone
    .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, great site!

  30. Congratulations, Gena! I have been a big fan of your blog. Glad your book will be published and reach even more folks.

  31. YAY!! I’m SO happy for you! I can not WAIT to get my copy- it’s going in my Amazon cart right now and as soon as I can order it, I will:) I’m SO proud of you and know you must have worked so hard to get to this point. You’re truly an admiration and inspiration in more ways than you know:) CONGRATS GENA!!<3

  32. Wow- So I’m just going to add to the slew of congrats here (it’s going to be one HUGE string!). CONGRATULATIONS! What an amazing surprise, I was so psyched to see this when I popped over to your site just now and just preordered. I’m really looking forward to the particular elements you mentioned about setting up your kitchen, meal plans and using up leftovers. Your writing and your recipes have been such a powerful (and empowering) tool for me since I first found your blog just over a year ago. Onward and upward! <3

  33. Wow, congratulations! I can’t wait to get a copy of the book – it sounds so comprehensive yet easily accesible and informative. I know how much attention, creativity, and love you must have put into it based off of your blog posts. Keep up the inspiring work!

  34. Wow, Hannah’s photos are gorgeous! I cannot wait to see it…. and did you sneak new recipes in there? I don’t recognize all of them. 😉
    I love that this is more than a cookbook but filled with more good stuff. I really am looking forward to reading this through, Gena. 🙂
    Congratulations again. 🙂

  35. Such great news! Congrats Gena! I was just thinking this week, “I wish there was a Choosing Raw cookbook…” I’m so excited! I love your recipes, but also the honesty and vulnerability in your writing. Yours is one of my favorite food blogs, along with Angela at Oh She Glows and the one and only Isa 🙂
    The recipes pictured look delicious and I can’t wait to get my hands on that cookbook.

  36. Oh wow! Awesome! I’m so happy for you! Good on ya! And, love the idea of the primer and the debunking especially. We need some level heads in such a passionate topic as food!

  37. Congratulations Gena! I just preordered mine and can’t wait to get my hands on it!

    xoxo

  38. Congratulations!!!!!!!!
    I’m amazed you were able to keep this a secret. All of the recipes pictured look and sound incredible, and I’m sure you’ve poured your heart and soul into this book just as you do your blog.
    I’m not vegan, but your blog is one of the first vegan blogs I discovered (and always gravitate back to) when exploring how and why I eat what I do. Your recipes are incredible, and your intelligence and passion, along with your honesty and willingness to share your own struggles and evolution, are why I keep reading.
    Congrats again!

  39. YES! I can’t wait for this. I am so happy that the book is finally out soon, and that more of the world will experience your insight (and delicious recipes). Congratulations.

  40. A little news? A BIG news! 🙂 I’m so glad you’ve finally announced it so I can rave about you and it everywhere! 😉 Congrats, dear one! xo

  41. I have always hoped that you would write a book! Can’t wait to get my hands on this! Congratulations! P.S. the pictures look amazing!

  42. Oh Gena, my heart is bursting with happiness and pride for you! What an accomplishment – and one that looks totally amazeballs. So, so exciting!!! Can’t wait for life updates 🙂 Big hugs, my friend. XO

  43. So HAPPY for you Gena!! I’ve been waiting years for this announcement and am so happy you are finally creating a cookbook. Congratulations and count me in as a proud owner when it comes out.

    Kate

  44. (I am writing this before reading this post because I am so excited!) I have been meaning to ask you if you were writing a book for a few months now–so excited you actually have been! I actually just got OSG’s book in the mail yesterday and was really wishing I had one by you as well. I have become recently more interested in raw foods–and am transitioning back into vegetarianism (hoping to move to veganism) from doing a Paleoish thing the last couple years (Can you say quarterlife crisis? It has been a rough few years for me.) and I have always wished you had more resources about your lifestyle and how you eat this way in real life. I have always loved how many fresh, colorful ingredients your recipes have-always trying to get in my produce-and will definitely preorder this book. So excited for you! (And am hoping to hear good news from you soon about med school. I am applying this cycle as well and am hoping to get off a waitlist. Wishing the best for both of us. 🙂 )

  45. Wow, I have always wished you’d write a book! Your blog is what I was reading when a vegan friend of mine started telling me about her raw meals and your blog also helped me become vegan and incorporate lots of raw. So thank YOU!

  46. Such exciting news for you, congratulations!! I just recently started following your blog because I’ve been curious about raw food, how to incorporate it more, and the benefits of that lifestyle. I’ve been a vegetarian for over 10 years (but not vegan), so this book sounds like it would be an amazing resource. Can’t wait!

  47. I am so thrilled for you! A big CONGRATS!! And not only will I have my own copy, but will be buying one for the chef at my favorite veg friendly cafe and all my family members. I could not be happier!!!

  48. Gena – I am so excited about this book. And it looks like a BIG book too, with so much good stuff in it. It’s going to be great to have an off-line resource for Choosing Raw recipes and all the other good things you offer us. Thank you!

  49. Okay, now I really think you’re superwoman. 😉 Oh Gena, I’m so happy and excited for you! This is going to be such a wonderful cookbook (gorgeous photos, too) and a practical, inspiring resource for so many. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy! xo

  50. So flipping excited for this!!!!! Congrats, love. It’s going to be a HUGE hit! Cannot wait to get my hands on it and to not only make your beautiful recipes but read all of your insight into raw foods + nutrition in general. YAY!!!!!!!!! xo! Let’s celebrate in June.

  51. Pre-ordered! I’ve loved your blog for many years and it has opened my eyes to many yummy raw foods. Thank you for always being well rounded and very well spoken. Can’t wait for the book to arrive.

  52. Gena!!! Congratulations! I’m stoked! I will without a doubt be pre-ordering immediately. I didn’t even need to read this post to decide that. You could have just written “I wrote a book” and I would have placed my order. 😉

  53. WOW! I can’t wait, i’m so excited. I love your blog so much and your cook book sounds amazing. It’s definitely going on my Amazon wishlist!

  54. Wow you’ve been keeping quite the secret! And it’s funny too because with all the amazing vegan cookbooks that have been coming out recently, I was actually wondering how it was that you haven’t written one yet! Little did I know… 😉

    CONGRATS!!!

  55. What a surprise!! I am seriously excited to read this book as I’m certain it is filled not only with wonderful recipes but also with meaningful insights as many of your posts are.

    The “mesquite glazed tempeh” sounds great!

    P.S. Doesn’t blending raw foods in a high speed blender make the foods bio-available? Such as lycopene in tomatoes?

  56. Congratulations, Gena!
    This is wonderful news and all aspects of this book sound incredibly useful and attractive as well. I’m totally confidant that this copy will become a dog-eared addition to many kitchens! I’m so excited!
    xoxo and hope to catch up soon!
    C

  57. This totally came out of the blue (not that I’m surprised!). I can’t believe you were able to keep this under wraps, you sneaky thing.

    I am so excited for you Gena. You are absolutely the one of my food bloggin’ co-horts that I feel most mirrors or compliments my style. Or rather, I just love your food choices because they speak to me! Simple, fresh & lovely.

    Please, please let me know how I can help you promote your book! I’m adding your book to my Amazon store, *now.*

    Again, congrats!!

  58. OMG Gena this is brilliant !!!! Did you ever mention you were writing a book ?!? Good job on keeping this on the DL !!! I can’t wait to check it out 🙂

  59. This isn’t “little” news…this is huge news! Congratulations, G. I know it is probably completely fabulous.

  60. Congratulations! I like the “Essentials and Levels” and the pictures look and the recipes sound mouthwatering!!

    I want to read it and try the recipes!

    Cynthia

  61. I’m relatively new to your blog (about 6 months), but I love it! Just pre-ordered 🙂 I cant wait for it to arrive! Well done 🙂
    Jen

  62. I saw that you were writing a cookbook when we connected on LinkedIn, but I kept my lips sealed! I’m very excited for you. You’re such an inspiration, Gena! I know this book will be well-received. xo

  63. Congrats!! i have tried tons of recipes from your blog and love them all, needless to say i cannot wait to get your cookbook 🙂

  64. WOW, congratulations! How exciting!! You, my dear, are amazing – where on earth did you find the time to write a cookbook??

    Just pre-ordered and looking forward to June. Hopefully us Canadian readers will get the book around the same time as the US! 🙂

  65. Ahhhh Gena I’m literally in tears at my desk in excitement! The book looks and sounds SO GOOD I absolutely cannot wait!!!!!!!!! HUGE HUGE HUGE congratulations to you! <3 <3 <3

  66. Oh my goodness!! Congratulations Gena! I have no idea how you managed to keep this a secret. So so excited 😀
    I’m thrilled that Choosing Raw has allowed you to really move forwards in recovery. I think blogging has had the same effect on me.
    Aaaaaah, cannot wait for June!!

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