Elimination / bowel health and a raw food diet (yes we talk green stools)

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Elimination / bowel health and a raw food diet (yes we talk green stools)

Health and vitality, even on a raw food diet, is intricately linked to your gut and your elimination habits. A central focus of raw foods is on elimination, since we are only as healthy as how we poop.

 

The gut concept permeates our society, although rather ubiquitously. Gut phrases are everywhere: a gut feeling, a gut reaction, spill your guts, bust a gut, work your guts out, hate his or her guts…these all reflect the importance of this concept and just how tied to our minds and health our intestines are.

 

In fact, the mind is intricately linked to our bowels and intestines and new studies are proving this. For those wishing to become master of their own bodies, it is critical for excellent health that we know more about proper elimination.

 

With the traditional SAD diet (standard American diet), constipation – even mild constipation – is so common in our culture that as many as 30% of people have chronic constipation (likely many more).

 

It is no small coincidence that the most common foods in our culture, meat, dairy and processed foods, slow our intestines down terribly and irritate our mucous lining in our digestive system. Excessive mucous in our throats, sinuses, mouth and tongue are a sign that you have built-up fecal matter lining your gut and that a cleanse or detox is in order, plus a few other things which we’ll get to.

 

Mastering EliminationIMG_5795

You might think that if you have one bowel movement a day, you have perfect elimination. While this is true for some people (depending on the quality of the bowel movement), it is not true for many more.

 

So, while your doctor may say it is normal for you to have one small poop every second day because that’s how it’s always been for you (“your normal”), bear in mind what is considered “normal” by our cultural standards: heart bypass surgery, high cholesterol or blood pressure, diabetes, diverticulitis, etc.

 

In fact, a number one positive side-effect of eating healthier foods is that you simply poop more. You truly get your pipes moving. In fact, many people embarking on a new healthy lifestyle and cleanse, even at 40 and 50 years old, first realize what healthy bowel elimination really feels like.

 

How often?

Many people who eat healthier, wholegrain diets usually have anywhere from 1-3 bowel movements a day between 2-3 pounds without straining or any other elimination issues. Elimination time is brief (unfortunately, there is little time for bathroom reading!).

 

It’s tempting to think that if we eat something it will leave our systems completely but this is far from the truth.

 

In fact, the residue of the improper breakdown of less than ideal food (excessive meat, dairy and processed foods and junk/fast food) stays in our body and hurts our health.

 

Even more obtrusive, is that fecal matter can build up in our colon and prevent the proper absorption of nutrients from our food (our colon walls need to be clear to absorb vitamins, minerals, etc.)!  As well, it can cause diseases like diverticulitis and also reduce the full absorption of foods we eat, since nutrients get absorbed by the colon wall (and if the colon walls are blocked in places, it reduces the level of nutrients that are absorbed).

 

Long term constipation is also linked to a range of diseases, mainly colon cancer.

 

What should poop look like?

Your poop should be a healthy size (2-3 pounds, so no light business!). As well, colour should be medium brown or – optimally – green if you drink a lot of green juice and smoothies. People are often alarmed about a green poop but, if you look to other animals who eat grass, it’s perfectly normal!

 

As well, stools should be soft and somewhat hydrated – stools that are hard have stayed sitting in your body for too long, soaking up precious fluid from your gut. Those who have chronic rabbit poop (little pebbles) are in real need of some dietary changes, cleansing and perhaps colon hydrotherapy.

 

A note on constipation

 

Many people they think they are not constipated but – even if you are not fully constipated – you may not be properly eliminating all that you can every day which, over time, will affect your health, vitality and energy levels.

 

Here are some steps to help eliminate any digestive distress:

  • Go when you have to! Waiting to use the bathroom only makes your poop harder and less hydrated, also causing you to lose water, and increasing the chances of build-up being left over in your colon.
  • Use a stool in the bathroom! Any small stool will help you to achieve full elimination, something that is not always achieved with toilets. Why? We evolved squatting, so it is still the ideal way to eliminate and using this stool will help to mimic this movement.
  • Always stay hydrated
  • Eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, experiment with raw foods
  • Limit your stress. Pray if you’re religious and/or meditate with a CD if this feels more natural than just sitting and listening to your breath.
  • Exercise Regularly. Exercise helps the body to eliminate stools and to get things flowing.
  • Visit a colon hydrotherapist who can wipe your pipes clean. While this isn’t something you need frequently, once or twice yearly it can have wonderful benefits.
  • Cleanse or detox your system! 

 

I hope this article has helped you make more sense of what proper elimination really means. Leave comments or questions – obviously anything’s on the table!

 

© 2013, ohmyraw!. All rights reserved.

 

47 Comments

  1. If I am allergic to “yard grass” am I able to have wheatgrass?
    I know that you can’t give a 100% yes/no but, have people had wheatgrass with no problems if they are allergic to yard grass (seasonal grass allergy)?

    • It is not usually a problem but everyone is different. You could try and see how you feel. Everyone is unique. Sorry I can’t be more specific :-)

  2. I have heard and read so much talk about poop.

    I have heard many natural Doctors say that you need to be pooping a very dark brown poop.

    I eat about 70% raw food, drink a green juice every single day and eat salads etc….. my poop is a green colour every day. It never changes. This has concerned me.

    I used to think its green from my food, but now I worry maybe my body is not absorbing correctly. I go 2 times a day but that is with taking pysllium husks.

    I also have leaky gut. Which is why Im wondering. Would love to hear your thoughts.

    • Hi Sienna, In my experience and that of many raw foodists, it is nearly impossible to eat as many greens as you are eating and not poop green. Cows that eat grass poop green. In my experience it is actually nothing to worry about. If my stools aren’t green, I realize I didn’t drink my smoothies of juices the day before and drink them immediately. Keep in mind who you are taking this information from: naturopaths that probably ascribe to a more grain based diet, like macrobiotics. Your poop won’t be green if you follow that diet.
      If you think you have a deficiency, then get your blood tested at your doctors office – the only way to know. The old wives tale, if you poop green you aren’t absorbing iron? Just that: an old wives tale with no merit (or at least from people that didn’t eat a high amount of greens).
      Hope this helps,
      Sarah

      • Thanks so much Sarah.

        My concern is I have been eating a high raw diet for over 2 years and I used to poop normal brown. It has been in the last 6 weeks my poop is green every single time. At that same time I gave up all sugar including fruit and have increased my good fat intake. I also 100% gave up coffee. Basically I am on a candida diet now.

        I have had blood tests done, a few actually. At first I was low in iron and B12. My latest ones have shown everything is ok now. I was taking iron tablets for the last 3 months but have been off them for a few weeks now.
        I also take HCL tablets twice a day. So for me the theory of my diet making my poop green seems to not be my issue. Maybe something else is going on inside????

      • Hi Sienna, Sorry I cannot be of help, as I cannot diagnose individual situations based on this information. I’m giving you what is “normal” to me and to many others in hopes it will help make sense of your own situation. Hope this helps you to sort it out. Sarah

  3. I seem to be good with the bowel movement after every meal. But they are never consistently the same. They range anywhere from what looks like a like a lot of shredded paper(not sure how else to describe it) to broken up finger lengths of very soft but formed poop. Would the shredded stuff be the green smoothie? Not having “normal” formed poop has me concerned.

  4. I’m starting my second week of green smoothie meal replacement, I drink 3-4 a day, 30% spinach and 70% fruit, with couple of table spoons of nuts, flaxseed and 1/4 cup of rolled oats. My question is I am still experiencing bloating and I only have one bowel movement only once a day if that, is that normal or is there something I should add to my drink to go more often. Also 7 days ago, I started drinking a smoothie that consist of tomatoes, spinach, cucumber, red/green peppers, garlic, lemon, with unfiltered apple cider vinger and red onion…still no relief, do you have any suggestions….Thank you

    • Yeah me too!

    • Yes me too help!

    • I think this has a lot to do with improper food combining. Specifically, the nuts and flaxseed you add to your smoothies. Fat digests at a different rate than fruit/veggies and they need different digestive enzymes to digest properly. When you eat them together, the digestive enzymes don’t digest the food properly, so undigested food travels to your colon and causes bloating along the way. Rolled oats could also be causing digestive problems too, since they take much longer to digest than fruit (which when blended absorbs almost instantly).

      As far as the frequency of bowel movements, drink extra water (lots when you first wake up) and try exercising more if you don’t already. This works for me.

  5. Hello Sarah. I have a question on home-made enemas. I did it for 5 days after my juicing using diluted espresso coffee. Was a good and relaxing experience. Planning on doing it again after the 10 day detox. Any thoughts or suggestions? … Thank you

    • Hi Lina, I have truthfully heard mixed reviews about coffee enemas. Ultimately, I think it depends on the person and how you react to caffeine. Critics say it is far too stimulating but proponents rave about it. If you found it a great experience though, it might be beneficial for you. Something I do (and prefer) are wheatgrass enemas (done in the same way). Hope this helps…Sarah

  6. Hi there, I had a colon resection 6 weeks ago.I’ve. Always had 3-5 poops daily prior to that. Now I am having 8 – 10 and it is very fluid. I wanted to juice and take smoothies but have been toldto keep down my fibre intake. What do you recommend for me? Thanks dragonfly

    • Hi Dragonfly, Thanks so much for reaching out. My advice cannot replace that of your doctor’s or nurse’s advice. That said, green juices have no fibre at all (the juicer removes the fibre). As well, green juices are particularly healing for your system, so I highly recommend them. Make sure to keep each green juice down to one peice of fruit, and a generous squeeze of lemon will take away the green taste. Very best of luck with this!

      If, in the future, you get the Dr’s ok to increase your fibre, then integrate smoothies but start really small, with 1/2 to 1 cup a day and work up the amount you are comfortable with over a period of weeks.
      Best, Sarah

  7. Thank you Sarah for such an informative site. Is it safe for my 3 and a half year old, who i am breastfeeding, if i began to drink green smoothies. Or could she be affected by detox. I am new to green smoothies but reasonably healthy.Or would it be ok if i had low doses of greens to start?:)

    • Hi Alauda, It is safest to wait until you’ve stopped breastfeeding. Yes, indeed toxins can be passed along to your child. Theoretically, it is possible to do it so slowly enough so you are spared detox symptoms but it’s not an exact science and you don’t want to take risks. Hope this helps! Start with a lot of salads and work up that way instead…Sarah

  8. Sarah, I love your site! It’s always such a great, informative read.

    I have recently gone through health havoc, and wanted to respond to a few of your readers. I am a 38 year old womn with “the heart of an athlete”. I look 10 years younger than my biological age, likely due to genetics but also my almost purely alkaline diet (raw, vegan, supremely green) since I was 21. I have been on and off the raw train since 1998, a staunch green juicer, acv taker, coconut oil lover, and rarely drink, don’t smoke etc. I meditate, am blissfully happy, and exercise medium to high intensity. You’d think I should be (aside from looking younger) the picture of perfect health. But I am not.

    I have been diagnosed with low-stomach acid, as well as bacterial dysbiosis. I did a parasite cleanse and candida cleanse, and rashed AFTER it all – we’re talking hives that went anaphylactic. I ended up in the hospital 4 times this summer, and doctor’s put me on prednisone – which made my heart go out of control and then I though I was having a heart attack. When the hospital investigated that, they found i had elevated calcium and parathyroid hormone levels.

    Now they want to take out my parathyroid!

    Back to my low-stomach acid and parasites. My own GP, my allergist and the hospital docs all denounced my parasite claims. They had no answer for my symptoms:

    – upper and lower stomach bloating (all the time)
    – gas
    – pain after eating
    – undigested stool
    – unexplained rashes/hives
    – night sweats
    – teeth grinding
    – constpiation/diarrhea
    – dry, peeling nails with vertical ridges
    – sometimes acne
    – dry, cracking skin in ears
    – ear/nasal drip

    So modern western doctor’s have told me it’s just my parathyroid and ignored the rest of my symptoms. But my new naturopath, bless him, looked at all of my blood results and scans and declared: “Your symptoms are almost all hypochlorhydria – low stomach acid! And there’s a bacterial infestation present – likely because of the low stomach acid, not being enough to kill anything that came from your raw food diet.” That’s right dear readers, raw foods can harbour tonnes of bacteria, so wash and peel it all super carefully, down your probiotics and MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ENOUGH STOMACH ACID TO KILL THAT BACTERIA! So now we are treating both, and I can’t tell you how amazing I feel.

    To Anonymous from July 20th, I would say look into low stomach acid! No amount of clean, healthy food and living will be absorbed by your body if you don’t have enough stomach acid. Google beatine hydrochloride and do the “test’ that most sites suggest – you’ll know pretty quickly if that’s the issue for you.

    And Andrea from July 18th, that sounds like parasite residue in your poop to me! I have had the exact same thing – without eating anything shredded that day/day before. Your digestive system should not be passing pieces like that if it’s digesting properly, so also look into having enough stomach acid.

    I had to share my experiences, as reading this post and these replies makes me want to add “make sure your stomach acid levels allow for the best possible absorption!”. And with all this raw, you need it.

    To your health, all of you!

    XO,
    Alicia

  9. Hi Alicia, I sound like you. Very very healthy it would seem eat high raw but have picked up 4 parasties and have been faithfully trying to get rid of them naturally all year. Its been a real hard road without much success.

    I was taking HCL tablets for stomach acid but not noticed any changes.

    Can I ask you what brand you take and how often you take them and do you take them just before eating your meals? Is this something you have to just take for the rest of your life.

    I know I would also have leaky gut because of all thats going on inside. I buy organic and wash my veggies but I am not overly anal about scrubbing them. I soak them for a few minutes in acv then rinse and store.

  10. This is such a relief, and not a poop relief…lol
    Ive cut red meat out of my diet, turned to mostly vegs and fruits and my poop has been green, so I had some concerns… Thanks for helping me get my poop together…

  11. To Alicia and Sienna above and everyone!!!

    To clear your GI tract of all parasites and also effectively detox heavy metals like mercury and aluminum, add food grade Diatomaceous Earth to your daily regimen. Start with 1-2tsp per day (perfect to add into a smoothie) and work up to 1-2tbsp per day. DE is an amazing detoxifier and kills parasites on contact without causing any harm. Do try! You will feel amazing!

    • Is bentonite clay the same sort of thing? I tried that for months and it did nothing.
      Thanks for you feedback.

  12. Hi Sienna,

    So sorry for the delay! I currently use a Natural Factors Betain Hydrochloride, along with New Roots Pancreatic enzymes (that was what my body needed in addition to the HCL). It was recommended to me that I find an hcl with digestive enzymes, so definitely look for that!

    I take 1 pancreatic enzyme for every 4 HCL capsules, about 5 min before each meal. When I first began, I was taking 10 HCL before meals – that was back in November! So to go from that to just 1 capsule of HCL before meals is amazing to me. It tells me that my body is definitely catching up.

    Apparently the enzymes and HCL prompt your body to make its own, so eventually you won’t need them anymore. I suppose it depends entirely on where your own body is at.

    I also strongly recommend that if you suspect parasites of any kind, drinking borax – NOT BORIC ACID – to completely alkalize the system and remove heavy metals/parasites. I did a course of borax by purchasing 20 MULE BRAND (it’s completely pure borax with nothing added), and drinking 1/8 tsp in 1 L water over the course of a day SLOWLY (not all at once!), for 5 days on and 2 days off 4 times. That makes a month’s worth of this treatment.

    I had no die-off or evacuation symptoms as I did when I first did parasite cleanses (which also did not work, and made my condition worse). In fact, after about one week I no longer had night sweats, teeth grinding, weird rashes, panic attacks, ringing in ears, digestive issues, etc etc.

    According to my naturopath, only one month is needed – anything longer than that is superfluous.

    Within 2 days I saw parasites pass, and after that I was symptom free. Please do your own research on the healing powers/alkaline powers of pure, unadulterated borax – according to safety data sheets it is less toxic than table salt, and a powerfully effective anti-fungal/anti-microbial.

    I hope this helps!

    PS UPDATE: I just saw my endocronologist last week, and he confirmed that I am now in great health. While my parathyroid levels are a little higher than normal, every thing else has stabilized including my hormones and calcium levels, so he told me to do NOTHING but stick with my protocol of diet and supplements. Good luck to everyone here – you can have the health you were born to have!

  13. Bentonite clay is also an amazing detoxifier, but it does not kill parasites like DE. Bentonite is volcanic ash that becomes alkaline and positively charged when it gets wet, attracting ilke a magnet all of the negatively charged toxic metals in your body like mercury, aluminum, cadmium, and arsenic. Just adding a teaspoon to your daily regimen is very beneficial to your body! It even makes an awesome toothpaste to replace all the nasty fluoride stuff out there – mix it with a some cinnamon, stevia, and water and bam you’ve got a great non-toxic toothpaste. Try using it as a face mask too! It will pull all the nasty out of your skin like a sponge! Just make sure it doesn’t come in contact with anything metal as this disrupts the charge of the clay.

    • Thanks Dana.

      I do use it as a face mask about once a week and love it.
      And yes Im always sure to use a plastic spoon and bowl.

      Ive been warned by a few people about the dangers of bentonite clay from actual health professionals in the alternate medicine field. Saying they are just not sure about the long term affects of it. And you have to know the source of it very well.
      So it put me off using it for a while.

      I got my bentonite from a US company online called bestbentonite.com

      The DE. Can you tell me what to look for when buying this? Im in Australia. Thanks so much.

  14. The only thing to look for when buying DE is to make sure that it’s FOOD GRADE. You don’t want to end up buying the stuff they use to clean pools!

  15. Hi Sienna,

    I have had MS for 30 years and am now in a wheelchair. I have been glycerin suppository dependent for the last 10 years. I eat alot of spinach salads, fruits, vegetables, fish and chicken. No beed or pork. My stools are usually dark green. Will I ever be able to stop using suppositories? Advice please.

    • Have you ever had you B12 levels thoroughly checked? And I mean thorough! There are many ways B12 can be misread, but if you haven’t I would. I’ve heard MS is a sign of a B12 deficiency.

  16. Hi Sarah,
    I’ve always had healthy poops that came out easily, remained whole and in tact, and very hydrated. These last 2-3 months I’ve altered my diet and have been eating clean, with more of an emphasize on veggies. The last month or so, when I have a bowel movement, it doesn’t come out like diarrhea, but it comes out soft, choppy and floats. The only time my poop comes out whole is if I eat something heavy like steak. I have also been on the birth control pill for the last 2 months, so I’m not sure if this is a factor. But aside from that, is it possibly that my change in diet would cause me to have these issues? Should I discuss it with my doctor?

  17. Smelly Gas

    I have been drinking one green smoothie each morning for the last 3 days and actually woke my partner up in the middle of the night because of the smells I am producing… My juices consist of spinach, carrot, cucumber, ginger, lemon, apples, celery, avocado and sometimes virgin coconut oil.
    Is such foul odor “normal” for the detox process? Is one of these ingredients causing more than normal? Is there something I can do to stop the gas from building up?
    Thanks in advance!

  18. Hi Sarah, your website is absolutely awesome! Thanks for sharing your expert insights. I’ve been drinking a blended green drink every morning for the past month and have been experiencing watery green poop, which leaves me running for the bathroom at times. Is this normal and safe to experience for a prolonged period?

    Sometimes I take a dietary supplement for “weight loss, energy, appetite control” in the morning…and I assume this contributes to the urgency to go. Would this also interfere with the “good” the green drink is supposed to do? Am I not absorbing all the nutrients? Or is this “flushing my system” in a good way?

    THANKS FOR THE HELP!

    • Yes, I have an article on green poop. Cows poop green since they eat grass (at least grass fed ones), so yes, it’s perfectly normal!

  19. Hello Sarah,
    I’m just wondering if you mean each bowel movement should be between 2-3 pounds? Or if 2-3 pounds is the total amount for the day? Currently I average 2-ish bowel movements per day but my 2nd bowel movement is usually much less than 2-3 pounds. Thanks.

  20. Hello,
    I was wondering if anyone is experiencing the same things as me? I am completely lost and need advise. For about the last two years I’ve had severe diarrhea and no solid poop since. I had an endoscopy a year ago and was told I had severe acid reflux therefore have been prescribed nexiums which I only took for 3months since I no longer have issues with that only diarrhea still. In November I had a colonoscopy with no other results except for a spastic colon and some hemorrhoids. I am barely eating anything because I’m terrified of running to the restroom, since my colonoscopy my doctor told me to do a high fiber diet but it’s not working,,,I have been eating pretty much bananas, ,goat cheese with red pepper, cauliflower, broccoli, strawberries, oatmeal, apples, sunflower seeds, and occasionally go-gurts. I took every blood test, lactose intolerant test, and allergy test, etc.. Only one thing I was told is high cholesterol . I am only 24yrs of age, I feel too young for all this crap. How can I cure this diarrhea? I also have an innocent heart murmur and have been under a tremendous amount of stress could this be causing my diarrhea?

  21. Hi Sarah,

    I just started on the raw food diet about a week ago and before it my stools were just fine but now they are very loose, almost diarrhea. What can I eat to change this? I don’t want to be taking Imodium all the time.

    Thanks,

    • Hi Dannielle, This should subside in awhile. Since you started al all-raw diet, this detox period is normal. Stick with it or introduce some cooked food to slow the detox. :-)
      Sarah

  22. I have been eating fully raw for the last day and a half, and today I pooped out remnants (seeds) of something I had eaten just 2 or 3 hours prior. Is that normal? Does that mean I don’t have a lot of backed up poop in my intestines? Or is it bad?

    Prior to the last few days, I have been eating a typical SAD diet of pretty much anything and everything (although a decent balance of healthy food and total and complete crap junk food) for 5 months now. Before that, I was vegan for 5 years. I’ve never really been constipated for days and days and days (except once after I had surgery, but that is common), but I’ve also never had a full digestion schedule, from intake to elimination, of a few hours.

  23. I need help and hope someone is having a similar issue I’ve been on the 10 day green smoothie cleanse for 2 days and have not had a bowel movement except for a minor little one but my stomach is bloated and hurts like it’s to full making me not able to even finish my second shake is this normal?????

    • Yes, Tasha, Take care to increase your water content, and perhaps ease up on the amount of green smoothie you’re drinking.

  24. I have been juicing greens two times a day and having one normal/healthy meal and eating done good fats in between like a avacados. .. migyt question is why am I not having regular bowl movements still I have been on this meal plan for 11 days now haven’t gone I two days :-/

  25. Hi Sarah I am always worrying about my toilet habits because due to being on Morphine I dont go much or have to go without my medication leaving me in pain in order to go. I am a little better at the moment being on tablets that help you go. This makes me not want to eat which obviously is not good for you and I dont drink much water so am trying to do that. Do you know the answer to this question if I ate a pound of apples as I do eat at least three a day would I poop a pound of poop, odd question I know. Thanks Sarah I hope you can help :-)

    • Hi Julie, This is an odd question (thank you for asking though!) but I do not know the precise answer. However, I DO know that eating more greens and vegetables will increase your fibre content and in fact help your elimination. To start you might also want to try psyllium husk fibre to get things moving while you are on the meds (drink lots of water with this). I hope this helps,
      Sarah

  26. I’ve been on the elimination diet for about a week now and I am having frequent, but very small bowel movements. I was never very constipated before, but my bowel movements were far mor substantial. I’m definitely eating less, I’d say maybe about half the calories of before, but not enought to warrant such a drop. I eat mostly salad, zucchini, carrots, and chicken thigh meet, with a little bit of kiwi and raspberries thrown in (I’m gong pretty hard core on this diet). Today, I started having pain similar to menstrual cramps, even though I’m not due for that for a couple more weeks, and I noticed a little bloating. Do you know what all of this could be from?

    • It is most likely simple detox symptoms. If your symptoms are really bothersome or getting worse, consult your doctor. However, it is most likely detox and will pass. Supplement with some pysillium husk fibre to rid yourself of the constipation.

  27. first my tummy was.painful and very gassy then my bowels has been dark.green for about four days i recently had an sinus iinfection could this be the cause of my green bowels. no pain just i litle gassy and green bowels. I LITTLE WORRIED. HELPPPPP

  28. I couldnot believe when i shat green…thought i was dying

  29. Hi. So desperate for some advice. I have been vegan, mostly raw for a year now. 3 weeks ago I started a candida cleanse and no sugars at all. Juices, protein shake, green veggies only. Then I had a horrible setback and I ate a ton of yogurt covered raisins/peanuts and chocolate covered almonds :'(
    I then noticed a few days ago while I was on this down slide that my stools turned to a very light tan color. Almost cream color. Could this be from eating those yogurt raisins etc? Would it change your stools when you have been eating such a strict diet for almost 3 weeks?
    I made the mistake of googling it and now I am terrified :'(

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