Living with a non-vego - tips needed! - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 07-05-2014, 07:28 PM
 
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Living with a non-vego - tips needed!

Hey all

I'm starting out on my latest vegetarian adventure. I'm pretty aware of the factors that let me down in the past, and a big one is that my partner is a big meat eater. He's happy to increase the number of non-meat meals we have each week, which is great, but then he'll have his bacon breakfast or complain about not being able to put a ham hock in the soup etc. Ham/bacon is my weakness, as is a juicy steak, and when we have do-it-yourself dinners, I look at my legume-based dish and look at his yummy steak and it's so hard to resist. I try and make myself think about it actually being a dead animal and the health implications, but it doesn't stop the nomnom feeling.

Do you have any tips about how to co-exist peacefully with a meat eater? It's hard enough for me to fight the cravings as it is, but when it's right in my face, it's even harder!

Should I have a couple of go-to clips on YouTube that I should watch whenever I get a case of the nomnoms? Are there any suggestions about meals that are good for couples where one is vego and one isn't?

Hoping to hear from people who've also faced this challenge.
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#2 Old 07-06-2014, 02:31 PM
 
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I'd watch Vegucated and Forks Over Knives (both on netflix)
Earthlings (available on the Earthlings website)
Glass Walls and What Came Before (both available on youtube)
Also this article might help http://veganrabbit.com/2012/12/31/why-vegan-diets-fail/ its about veganism but it can extend to vegetarian too, its good to check in with yourself when you feel like wavering and when you need a good kick in the pants (which we all need now and again )
When it comes to cravings just remember there is not a bomb strapped to your chest that is going to blow the place sky high if you don't have a piece of meat, ignore the cravings, try to focus on something else and they will go away eventually. You can also try vegetarian meats, they have pretty much everything now, from temph bacon, hotdogs, ribs anything you want. They aren't good to have everyday but it's better to give in and have a piece of temph bacon or soy bacon then the real thing.
Best of luck

What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness? - Jean-Jacques Rousseau
To deny an animal the right to live just for your own convenience, preference or ego is to deny your own humanity

Last edited by veganvirgo; 07-06-2014 at 03:42 PM.
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#3 Old 07-07-2014, 12:57 AM
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Wow, every time I hear of this (we have a few co-habiting veggies living with carnists) I thank my lucky stars that I was living alone when I transitioned!

Firstly, while faux meats/veggie meats/nut meats aren't everyone's cup of tea, they did help me when transitioning.

I used Quorn when I first started (I was lacto-ovo) then went on to use Frys. But Sanitarium has been an absolute lifesaver (you can find their nut-meats in the gluten free asile, but I think they contain wheat, in case you have any allergies. Their veggie roasts are near the tofu, absolute MUST have at this time of year). If you're still eating eggs, I do recommend their 'not-bacon'. It's okay, not amazing, but okay. The Sanitarium lentil patties are pretty awesome and I really enjoy their 'nut-mince'. I've fed two very carnist parents on it, and they both couldn't tell the difference

You've got your location as Sydney, which is great if that's where you are!

Suzy Spoons and Vegan's Choice in Newtown are pretty awesome for faux meats (Vegan's Choice is run by the same people who operate Green Gourmet, I recommend the deep fried mushrooms. But a lot of their faux meat dishes are great there. The vegan cheesecake? TO DIE FOR! Or not, as the case may be :P).

Cruelty Free Shop in Glebe also have some pretty awesome things to eat.

If you're not near any of that, check out an Asian Grocery. Often, they'll have things like soy-chicken and fish. Or mushroom balls. Anything made by Lamyong is meant to be vegetarian, at the very least. But a lot of the time I've found it to be vegan.

Second, the meals that veggies and carnist can both enjoy? Are vegetarian meals :P

Unless he thinks plants have the same sentience as a pig, I doubt he'll have any moral objections to at least trying a veggie meal or two.

If you want to encourage him, then do what my lovely partner did and take him to a vegetarian restaurant first. (Mother Chu's Pop Soy in Blackbean Sauce quickly became my favourite thing to eat, even when I was still eating meat! Green Gourmet's deep fried mushrooms are amazing and the Newtown Green Gourmet's Yum Cha is a great way to try every little thing). Once you try that cooking, it's hard to say not to even just the suggestion of a veggie meal once or twice a week.


If he doesn't want to eat any vegetarian meals at home-

Pizza, burritoes, wraps, burgers and pastas can all have vegetarian versions. All you're doing with those is leaving off the meat and putting on more plants! That way, you can at least be cooking the dishes side by side.

I recommend the Blue Lotus chilli tofu for wraps. Cook it up in a little oil, then put in chickpeas, a drizzle of honey/some form of sweetener, some cumin (a teaspoon or two, however much you like :P) and a clove or two of garlic. It takes me about 10 minutes to cool all of that up. Put it on a wrap with some hummus and avacado?....Heaven.


Hope that's not too much of an information overload! (Guess I'm just excited at seeing another Aussie vego!)

Good luck!
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#4 Old 07-07-2014, 04:14 AM
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I went vegan overnight about 3.5 years ago and my husband is still an omnivore. I never really struggled with any temptation due to a number of factors...intolerance to dairy, wasn't much of a meat eater before, very strong ethical beliefs and commitment to being vegan, etc I was very much alone in the beginning with my transition and did not know any vegans and I dealt with a lot of opposition but my strong commitment and 100% faith in what I was doing saw me through. I poured over books on vegan ethics and issues, vegan cookbooks and blogs, videos and documentaries, arguments against it, everything and anything I could find on the subject from every angle...religious, cultural, race, feminism, environmental, you name it. I needed to fully understand why this lifestyle was so important to me before I could make it work. I did some pre education and planning before making the switch (as well as some after), and made sure that health needs would be covered.

The struggles for me were more related to his acceptance of my lifestyle change and how to manage duel dietary needs. My husband is on disability and I am the bread winner and cook. I laid down the rules that I would no longer buy animal products of any kind (exception being dog food for our dog on occasion but he usually buys that as he was not willing to change our dogs diet). I would not handle, prepare, or cook meat. I would have a separate area of the refrigerator and freezer designated for my stuff and he would have the same. I would have my own cupboard for my food. Certain dishes and cookware of mine would not be used for animal ingredients/foods. I would buy food for the two of us but it would be all vegan. He would have to buy his own non vegan stuff (he does get assistance for food). I did compromise a little in doing little things like boiling his eggs or making him a cheese sandwich but usually only when he was going through a rough patch with his illness and unable to prepare food for himself. He makes his own breakfast and lunches and I prepare vegan dinners for him but often he eats my leftovers for breakfast. I have found over time and trial and error what vegan dishes he loves and which ones he is not crazy about, and I try to make foods I know he will like. For instance, I know he likes tacos, so I make them using bulgur wheat and red lentils for the "ground beef" with taco seasoning and salsa etc added to it and he actually likes that better than actual meat! It has a similar texture and bulgur wheat absorbs flavors very well. Lentils provide a boost of protein. I do the same with spaghetti, make a tomato sauce and add red lentils and bulgur as a "meat" sauce with vegetables cooked into it and pour it over the spaghetti. He loves potato salad so I make that and make my own vegan mayonnaise that is almond/coconut milk based to go on it and he actually likes my homemade vegan mayo better than the processed crap he buys. he likes my vegan split pea soup, salads with tahini based homemade dressings, crockpot chilis and hot cereals etc. I make homemade batches of bread also and he likes to eat that. Over time he has gotten to where he eats almost all vegetarian at home and if he does eat meat he will not prepare it while I am home because he knows it upsets me. On occasion he even drinks plant based milk now, as long as I buy the full fat full calorie stuff lol. I make my own plant milks mostly now and he sometimes drinks those.

Our diets are like night and day. He eats the SAD diet and I am a bit of a health nut who likes to make as much from scratch and as whole food as possible. It is still a struggle to get him to eat vegetables. So it was quite an adjustment for him. We argued a lot in the beginning because he missed me making him wild salmon and potato dishes or quiches or chicken stir fries. I found that tofu can make an easy egg substitute and once I got him over the "weirdness" of tofu by sneaking it into vegan quiches and baked goods, he found that he really liked it. I don't even eat tofu much myself but again I have compromised a bit to find vegan fare I know he would enjoy. He also loves my vegan pancakes and there are MANY variations of those out there on blogs and recipe sites. I got him to eat more beans by adding them to pureed soups, in ethnic dishes like chana masala or red lentil dahl, or adding them to mashed potatoes (white or navy beans and red potatoes blended are very good). I got him hooked on hummus lol and he goes out of his way to buy it now for sandwiches. If I add hummus or another homemade vegan sauce to vegetables he will eat them lol. He likes Tofutti vegan cream cheese and Daiya vegan cream cheese on his bagels too and says he can't tell the difference between those and animal based.

We still have our different opinions about some issues but try to find common ground and work from there. It helped him when he learned about several UFC fighters who are vegan and excel in their sport. He is a huge UFC fan. He has also grown to respect my commitment and how much it means to me and after seeing how well it has worked for me over time. It has been a long process of acceptance for him. He still refuses to watch some documentaries but will watch a few less graphic ones like "Peaceable Kingdom" or "Forks Over Knives". I stopped preaching to him about his diet and about his support of factory farming every time he buys fast food lol. I used to hate it when he blamed every ailment I had on my diet (while he was chowing down on KFC lol) and I actually did at one point threaten to leave when he would belittle me about my beliefs. I am very independent and can easily live on my own. I don't need to put up with that crap. Thankfully he stopped doing that a long time ago. But it works both ways. I can not go on preaching and criticizing his diet either, as much as I wish he ate healthier etc and as much as I long for an all vegan household. I do appreciate other qualities about him and we have been together for sixteen years so our commitment to one another runs deeper than diet, though some of the other ethical and moral beliefs are a challenge. I am more than happy that he has at least moved toward a more plant based diet over time and has opened his mind to new ideas and eating my food far more often now than in the beginning. Often it just takes time for the other partner to adjust and understand things. As for myself, I needed little support from others but did find that joining vegan/vegetarian forums helped me feel less alone. I have also branched out and joined vegan activities and activism in real life also and that too has strengthened my commitment and activism when I start to lose focus or feel discouraged by a society that is still largely omnivore. You might not think there are many vegans around where you live, but I bet there are more than you know. I actually met a vegetarian online on an international forum only to find out she lives two blocks from me! I kid you not, it was crazy when I learned that. Often natural food stores have cooking classes and events that can help newbies too and provide the support you need. I think if I had been less talented, open minded, and creative in the cooking department it might have been harder for my husband lol. I think if I ever found myself alone again though I probably would not get involved with another omnivore romantically speaking but who knows.

ps my only cravings in the beginning were for Greek yogurt but I experimented with creamy smoothies and other creamy vegan foods to help with that, and about two years into being vegan I had a sudden strong craving for eggs (at the time I was extremely underweight for other reasons) that went on for a solid month. I found that mashed chickpea salad sandwiches or scrambled chickpeas/potato/veggies and catsup or chickpea flour omelletes helped with that (I had an intolerance to tofu at the time so could not rely on that for my egg substitute). Eventually when I got healthier the egg cravings went away and I was never convinced I needed eggs, though I did think about why I craved them and what I was missing. I am not a personal fan of fake meats and cheeses, but because my husband would complain about missing me cooking him meat, I did try a few of them. I bought Beyond Meat chick*n strips and Gardein ones once and also tried some kind of vegan deli meat a few times for his sake and he liked those but wasn't too crazy about them. I also bought Daiya cheese several times to make pizza and lasagna (I make tofu or white bean and sweet potato spinach lasagna and add Daiya to it) and he DEVOURED those lol. Not sure if those items are available where you live but vegan substitutes for meat and dairy are getting more and more varied and scarily similar in texture etc. I still find that he likes my homemade stuff better.

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#5 Old 07-07-2014, 09:50 AM
 
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How long did it take for your partner to ease up on the belittling? I myself have been going through what seems like a nightware at home with my boyfriend, thats why I joined the forum. I dont really ever comment on what he eats though, I just simply say I'm choosing not to. Its gotten to the point of my threatening to leave for how unsupported I feel in the relationship. Its a little different for me though because when I chose to quit smoking, drinking, and meat started working overtime at work and working out everyday to keep me focused on my goals. He on the other hand is still doing the same things. Just recently, like the last week he seems to be less openly rude to me about my decisions however Im not sure how to handle a relationship like this. I love him however this overhaul I'm doing for myself seems to be a bit of a shock for him.
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#6 Old 07-07-2014, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Damnwell_D View Post
How long did it take for your partner to ease up on the belittling? I myself have been going through what seems like a nightware at home with my boyfriend, thats why I joined the forum. I dont really ever comment on what he eats though, I just simply say I'm choosing not to. Its gotten to the point of my threatening to leave for how unsupported I feel in the relationship. Its a little different for me though because when I chose to quit smoking, drinking, and meat started working overtime at work and working out everyday to keep me focused on my goals. He on the other hand is still doing the same things. Just recently, like the last week he seems to be less openly rude to me about my decisions however Im not sure how to handle a relationship like this. I love him however this overhaul I'm doing for myself seems to be a bit of a shock for him.
Maybe he just feels pressured because you are doing something positive and healthy and he is too comfortable in his habits to change. If I try to picture it as my husband becoming vegan and me being the omnivore still clinging to my old ways, I imagine I would be frustrated with him too because it would automatically challenge my bad habits, even if he didn't pressure me to change. Sounds like in your situation that your boyfriend is starting to come around so that is a good sign! I think it took my husband a solid year to even begin to be ok with my lifestyle. I think he thought for a time that it was just going to be a phase, a fad. When he realized how serious I was and how well I was doing and how long I stuck to it then he started to come around. But I had to work at not getting frustrated with him for not making changes himself and to be more patient with him. It also helped when a close friend of his was supportive of my vegan lifestyle and defended me. that seemed to be the turning point for him. When I quit smoking in 2006, it also took him a solid year to quit himself, but thankfully he started smoking outside right after i quit.

BTW, congratulations on making such huge changes yourself! Best wishes to you!
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#7 Old 07-07-2014, 06:49 PM
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How long did it take for your partner to ease up on the belittling? I myself have been going through what seems like a nightware at home with my boyfriend, thats why I joined the forum. I dont really ever comment on what he eats though, I just simply say I'm choosing not to. Its gotten to the point of my threatening to leave for how unsupported I feel in the relationship. Its a little different for me though because when I chose to quit smoking, drinking, and meat started working overtime at work and working out everyday to keep me focused on my goals. He on the other hand is still doing the same things. Just recently, like the last week he seems to be less openly rude to me about my decisions however Im not sure how to handle a relationship like this. I love him however this overhaul I'm doing for myself seems to be a bit of a shock for him.
From his perspective, it must be really scary.

You're changing, you're getting 'better' and maybe that means you'll change your mind on who you're with and go after someone 'better'. I can see why he'd freak out.

But he needs to cut it out now. Look at the language you're using to describe the relationship you're in-

"belittling?"

"seems like a nightmare at home with my boyfriend"

"Its gotten to the point of my threatening to leave for how unsupported I feel in the relationship."

"he seems to be less openly rude to me about my decisions."


That sounds like an awful relationship to be in. Even putting aside the vegetarian part of it, which admittedly can be pretty confronting for people, he sounds horrible. You're doing some awesome things, that will make you happy and healthy. His reaction to that is to belittle you? Would he prefer you to be unhappy and sick?

I can only speak from my experience (which was a pretty nasty one and may not apply here). I was with a guy who preferred me to stay unhappy and sick. Constantly. Any time I would do anything to improve myself, he would try to put a stop to it and a stop to me ever attempting it again. He did it because he wanted to control me.

The best example, was when I got accepted into a course that was designed to take me to the next level of management.
His first response was "I didn't get into that course" (he didn't apply for the course).
Then came the "I bet you think you're better than me now" and "watch you don't get a big head". When I'd try and share interesting things that came up in the course, or set aside some time to do assignment, I'd be told I'd 'changed' (like it was a bad thing).

Shortly after that, I started exercising again which of course meant I was planning on leaving him. I wasn't. But his actions during that time sure helped. It had been years of that kind of treatment.

This is what I learned, you can't stay with someone who's not going to support you. You can stay with someone who gets a bit insecure from time to time. But if they're not prepared to share your joy, if they can't see you doing something and say "The person I'm with is so happy with this change they've made, even though it scares me, I love that they're happy, that's what's important" then they need to learn to do that. The only way they have the hope of learning to just be happy, rather than an acidic influence, is to see it's their insecurity that loses them the person they love, not the person they love changing.

Now, I'm hoping my story is NOTHING like yours. But if you see some similarities between my story and yours, consider whether you want to stay with someone like that.

Good luck.
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#8 Old 07-08-2014, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by missymoo View Post
Ham/bacon is my weakness, as is a juicy steak, and when we have do-it-yourself dinners, I look at my legume-based dish and look at his yummy steak and it's so hard to resist. I try and make myself think about it actually being a dead animal and the health implications, but it doesn't stop the nomnom feeling.
I am confused about these statements.

Ham / bacon comes from abused pigs, that should be able to lead a normal life.....full of enjoyment. The same goes for the steak.....it used to be an abused cow.

Why are you a vegetarian? If the sight of a steak (dead animal flesh), and health aren't motivators......what is?

Try watching MEET YOUR MEAT on the PETA website. They have others as well.

Maybe an examination of your veg*n convictions is in order, so you can determine your resolve, or take some other action.

All animals should be respected & should have the ability to lead a natural & enjoyable life. This means not eating them, or abusing them in any way.
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#9 Old 07-08-2014, 06:50 AM
 
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Thank you kindly for sharing your experience with me.

I am right now one foot in and one foot out the door. I am young and growing into the person I want to be and its empowering given the childhood I've had. We first started dating when we were 14 and minus the 2 years of being in a behavior modification long term rehab have been together ever since almost 10 years and just before the change he purposed. It is very hard to let go esp when you see the potential and greatness in someone for what they could be if only they believed in themselves. The last two months I have been very conscious about everything going on and sadly I feel it may be only a matter of time, however I know I'm not quite ready yet.

You have shared some very wise words and I thank you for that. I didn't even realize the magnitude of the verbage I was using, that says so much.
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#10 Old 07-08-2014, 07:32 AM
 
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Honestly in my experience the more you emphasize what you want by actually following through with your decision to be vegetarian, then the people around you will not only support you and uplift you, but they will make some drastic changes where you won't feel the pressure and the cravings. Also the more you go cold turkey, the easier it is for the cravings to go a way. There will be a day where you will still love the smell of bacon but won't be tempted to eat it!
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#11 Old 07-08-2014, 09:50 PM
 
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I live with my girlfriend and her mom (which both are meat-eaters) and we all have a agreement. I'm Vegetarian, I don't expect them to be. If they want meat that's fine but I will not purchase it for them. Pretty much that's all I had to say and do. It's just a matter of everyone respecting each other.
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#12 Old 07-10-2014, 04:38 PM
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I am confused about these statements.

Ham / bacon comes from abused pigs, that should be able to lead a normal life.....full of enjoyment. The same goes for the steak.....it used to be an abused cow.

Why are you a vegetarian? If the sight of a steak (dead animal flesh), and health aren't motivators......what is?

Try watching MEET YOUR MEAT on the PETA website. They have others as well.

Maybe an examination of your veg*n convictions is in order, so you can determine your resolve, or take some other action.
And I'm a bit confused about THESE statements :P

My motivation for being vegetarian has nothing to do with my reaction to a piece of animal on a plate. I don't want there to be violence against animals, I don't like that animals die for people to eat them and at the same time..... I miss the taste of animals. Not all the time. I don't advocate eating them at all. But, as I've been vegetarian for a fraction of my life, I don't beat myself up for occasionally missing a taste.

But I suspect that in 50 years time I might still want to eat animals from time to time. I also plan on not eating them.

MissyMoo, it's okay to want to eat the things we've always eaten. But when you get those cravings, I suggest thinking about what it is you miss from those things. Textures and flavours can be recreated. (Seitan is awesomely chewy)

And IF you fall off the veggie wagon, just try again.
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#13 Old 07-15-2014, 08:04 PM
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I live with a room mate who feels like he will be protien deprived if he does not eat meat at every meal. He is in total fear of not getting enough protien. Good to say he eats lot of vegetables and is happy to eat vegetarian as long as there is cheese. I am going more strict vegetarian, and I solve the problem by making him vegetarian meals. He likes them. I even do the dishes. Then for breakfast he will make his hamburger stuffed, bacon wrapped chili rellenos for himself, but I at least could justify making my overstuffed vegetarian lasagnia.

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#14 Old 07-22-2014, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Tiger Lilly View Post

My motivation for being vegetarian has nothing to do with my reaction to a piece of animal on a plate. I don't want there to be violence against animals, I don't like that animals die for people to eat them and at the same time..... I miss the taste of animals. Not all the time. I don't advocate eating them at all. But, as I've been vegetarian for a fraction of my life, I don't beat myself up for occasionally missing a taste.

But I suspect that in 50 years time I might still want to eat animals from time to time. I also plan on not eating them.
TL -

I have not "missed" the taste of meat since I found out what happens to "produce" a steak on a plate, or a chicken wing, or a hot dog, etc. I guess we have different opinions, which is OK.

Also, I will not "want" to eat any animal for my remaining time on the planet, however long that might be. Good for you for not planning to eat them. I can't come up with one good reason to do so. We have that in common, which is nice!!
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All animals should be respected & should have the ability to lead a natural & enjoyable life. This means not eating them, or abusing them in any way.
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#15 Old 07-26-2014, 02:19 AM
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I really relate, my hubs is a rampant carnivore and sometimes I feel jealous of his guilt free meat consumption!

All you can do is remember why you decided to leave meat behind. Know that the cravings will pass and concentrate on something delicious that you can eat without feeling evil xxxxx
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