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Controlling Cravings and Unplanned Eating

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Hello Folks!

 

I want to warn you that this contains a lot of writing about sweets. If it is too food-pornographic for you, don't read on!

 

I have been reading a lot of Dr. Beck's books on cognitive therapy techniques, and have especially focused lately on the controlling cravings and unplanned eating parts of her books. My problem is usually not my main meals... it is sweets and other unplanned eating. I have tried to go cold turkey, and although it works for a while, (up to a year and half, once), I inevitably begin to eat sweets again, and then end up overeating sweets.

 

I realized that in addition to eating sweets, I usually want to eat more sweets than I can exercise off, and then I regain some weight. I am sick of this cycle, so I am journaling about it. One think I thought of doing was writing down what I thought was a reasonable portion of these foods, and then writing how much I might eat if I gave myself free reign. When up against the food, I can remember/ encourage myself to stick to the "reasonable portion", rather than rationalizing the seconds/thirds/fourths of the food.

 

My list

Appropriate, with points : Too much:

1 slice of cake or pie 2-4 slices of cake or pie

1 smallish or 1/2 a big pastry 2-4 pastries

1 doughnut 2-3 doughnuts

1/4 of a big chocolate bar an entire big chocolate bar

1 medium-sized cookie 2-4 medium cookies

1 small scoop of ice cream 2 scoops or more...

1/3 box candy or candy bar whole box of candy or candy bar

1-2 pieces of gum 17 pieces of gum... chain-chewed

raisins in oatmeal raisins throughout the day

1 ounce of dried fruit 2-6 ounces of dried fruit

2-3 sm. Xmas cookies 10-15 xmas cookies

half a brownie more than half a brownie

2-3 hard candies 4-8 hard candies

2 See's style candies the whole box.

 

Okay, so my goal is to do the anti-craving techniques that Beck recommends, but also to keep these guidelines in my head, b/c I seem to lose all command when presented with a bunch of junk

 

Comments welcome!

Cheers.


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I can completely understand your post. I feel the same way. I have gone extended periods of time where I can just say no to sweets and stay at a nice low weight, but for some reason I allow myself to eat (and then overeat) sweets. I like your plan. I've tried something similar, what usually ends up happening to me is I end up in a situation where there are too many tasty options and I can't decide what to eat so I overeat because I want to try "everything". Right now I'm in one of those times in my life where I'm struggling with sweets. I work in an office building that has many meetings so there's tons of sweets constantly.

 

Keep us updated on how it works for you.


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Reached GW twice, third time's a charm!

We are star stuff which has taken its destiny into its own hands. -Carl Sagan

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Hi,

 

This is the time of year when unplanned eating can be hard. One thing I have been trying to do more lately is the Beck technique of looking at what I did right.

 

It isn't something I used to notice, but now I try to look over the day and remind myself of what I did well. For me, the feeling is really good when I praise myself. It makes me stronger. When I feel stronger I'm more able to avoid cravings.

 

Good for you for thinking and talking about this issue !

 

Woodland


SW: 197 / CW: 141 / GW 135

 

:bcb_march One Day at a Time !!

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Hello!

 

I like the "giving credit" activity too. I do it when I track everything at the end of the day (I do SiFi). I also circle things that I wish I hadn't eaten in retrospect.

 

Yesterday, I did 45 minutes of step class... then went to the store to shop. I bought a pumpkin cookie... definitely had the points, and thought about "healthy quantities" as I made my choice.

 

I have found that I can get really obsessed about sweets if I try not to eat any.... which in itself might be something to work on, but I think that the all or nothing approach is not a good one for me (b/c of the obsession factor).

 

I am still going to try to make sweets "high-quality", either in taste or ingredients. I hate it when I eat really junky sweets on a whim: what a waste of points! But then, sometimes when I manage to avoid junky sweets, I feel entitled to having a high quality sweet: my brain does me in, here with its justifications.

 

I am really working on only having sweets if I have done a workout and have the points (SiFi really is made to keep me off the sweets.)

 

Well, looking forward to a day of not eating junk here!

 

Cheers!


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Had to see what you posted Soya, good topic. Oh I would have the whole brownie and 2-3 brownies

 

I also like to re-read the memo cards for control


 

 

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I agree with the idea of making the sweets that you do eat "high quality". I know someone who only eats homemade sweets at events. If I followed that, I'm sure there are many situations where I wouldn't have sweets at an event.


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Reached GW twice, third time's a charm!

We are star stuff which has taken its destiny into its own hands. -Carl Sagan

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soya- The high quality thing is HUGE for me. I have a lot of allergies. When I eat any kind of processed junk food, fast food or sweets, it's not pretty. I have horrible breakouts on my face, neck and back. I get headaches. It's just a hot mess. But if I allow myself to have homemade sweets and try to limit the sugar in them as much as possible, it does become more doable. I make Core granola (using soy milk powder) and homemade applesauce (in my VitaMix) as the binder. There's no sugar in there but I do sometimes put in a bit of chopped nuts and raisins/craisins for sweetness. Likewise, I make baked oatmeal for muffins or cookies or squares (when I can tolerate oats). I make a carob banana vegan polenta loaf that tastes so much like banana bread but has a bit of a grainier texture. I *love* it!

 

I am starting to suspect that I may have to permanently adopt an "all or nothing" approach. Once I start in with chocolates or swedish berries (etc), it always triggers a binge. I can't just have one handful and be done with it. The only way it will work for me is if I'm in a controlled environment (not my home) and with a controlled quantity. I was at my parents' today and my mom did some Christmas baking. I was able to have a sliver of a square and keep it to that. If it had been at my house, I would have eaten most of the pan, thrown the rest in the garbage (or, more likely, eaten it all), had my family upset with me (or else would frantically make them finish it off so it's not there to tempt me in a few minutes/hours), wound up feeling disgusted and sad for the next day. I could go on!! :bcb_blush But, at my mom's there really wasn't any option for me to just start shoving the squares in as quickly as I could before I was "caught". It is leaving me feeling a bit shaky here at home tonight but I have *nothing* in my house that can be a trigger like that so I have to pull myself together.

 

I've learned the hard way that even if I've been OP for 500+ days or can't even get more than 1 day under my belt, I am not ever going to be able to handle having this stuff sitting around in my house. I can't have a big chocolate bar and just portion out one square a day until the bar is gone. I'm missing that gene/capability. It just means that I have to find alternate ways to balance and make this work. Sometimes I am able to beat this back into remission and truly feel in control and other times I feel like this is going to be the albatross at my neck forever. What I am learning to deal with now is accepting that even if I feel deprived when I have to control myself, the flip side of what I do to myself when I don't "deprive" myself is a much more negative situation to live with. It's better for me to feel resentful that I can't live in a world where there is a bag of M&Ms in my pantry and it doesn't make me break into a cold sweat, rather than live in a world where I have a bag of M&Ms in my pantry and I wind up the psychological equivalent of Gollem, constantly obsessed with "my precious"!! :bcb_down


Kimberley

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Hello...

 

yes Debbie and Kim: high quality is one way to limit it, just to avoid using points for total yucky junk.

 

Kim, I know the feeling of being obsessed with junk food. Not fun.

 

So anyhow, I have a few times this week when I will need to keep full control, so I am making a plan.

 

Teacher appreciation lunch, tomorrow.

Wed/Thurs: Holiday Parties in my classes (that I teach)

Thurs Nite: baking some cookies for DH to take to his cookie exchange.

Sat: Ladies' Nite out with my friends.

The copier room at school where everyone brings junk for everyone else to eat.

 

I am just going to say that these will not be times to eat sweets for me. If I make the decision now, it takes some of the drama out of the moment (so says Dr. Beck, at least).

 

I will eat healthy things... fruits, veggies, tea but not get into the sweets.

The teacher appreciation thing has gone well at times in the past, but last year I ate a bunch of sweets.

 

Beck suggests doing a few "environment things" like removing yourself from the vicinity of the stuff you don't want to eat, drinking a lo-cal beverage, and also advises some cognitive therapy stuff: identifying the desire as "a craving", reviewing reasons for wanting to lose weight, and doing a "negative/positive fast forward" mentally. Meaning you imagine how you will feel if you do eat the craved food, later.

 

I will try those things if I am feeling a strong desire to go off my plan.

 

Cheers to all,

Soya


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Phew, thanks for the reminder Soya!! I'm making a batch of soup for Teacher Appreciation lunch tomorrow! It will be all veggies, all the time so definitely a "safe" item for all! :bcb_up


Kimberley

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Hello All,

 

Well, I am happy to say that I made it through my first party on the list successfully: there was a lot of sweets, but I just ignored them... although my brain was not 100% convinced, I reminded myself that I would not be happy later if I gave in... (neg. fast forward for you Beck ppl). Also, I brought my nice Core lunch, and just had a few veggies, crackers and some pesto.

 

Tomorrow will be equally challenging b/c I am having parties in all my classes (five classes). I am bringing clementines, but kids signed up to bring all classes of junk food. I think that I just have to commit to not eating any sweets again, since it is the only way to keep a bite from becoming a whole bunch.

 

I will let myself have some sweets on Christmas Eve and Xmas day... otherwise, I think that this tact works pretty well.

 

Cheers!


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Hello All!

 

Well, one of my parties didn't go so well. I ate about 10 pts of junk that I hadn't planned for. I had a moment of thinking "I shouldn't do this." But then my illogical rationalizing kicked in "I should do this so that my students will feel good about partaking." (The kid who brought in the junk is a Special Day Class Kid and I wanted the other kids to support his contribution.)

 

It seems that there are all sorts of weird reasons that I use to rationalize my sweets habit that have nothing to do with being hungry.

 

Anyhow, I still didn't go crazy... If I hadn't been concentrating on limiting my sweets intake, I would have eaten three times as much... progress, not perfection.

 

I have three more chances to practice my sweets resistance skills today at the parties in my classes.

 

Also, Ladies' Nite Out on Friday.

 

Cheers!


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Hello,

 

So, today I had three student parties in my classroom, and I did WAY better. I was resolved to not eat unplanned sweets, which helped a lot. I ate breakfast, yogurt for snack, had tea throughout my classes and did great overall. I had a tiny little square of brownie that my student gave me, which I had points for (and some very salty chips which I had points for) but otherwise, stuck OP. I felt pretty good about it at the end of the day.

 

One thing I need to watch for is the "rebound effect" in which I do great in one situation, and then later in the day/week, I feel justified in eating some junk... like tonight at dinner I ate the candies they bring with the check at the restaurant... kind of without thinking about it.

 

Anyhow, I just baked a bunch for DH's cookie exchange at work. I am keeping a plate to give to my housecleaner who just had a hysterectomy: I need to be on guard tomorrow against helping myself to her cookies!

 

I think I will set aside a few for me, with five points (WPA) to have with tea tomorrow, but I am not going to simply eat a whole bunch.

 

Okay!

 

Off I go, wish me luck!

Cheers,

Soya


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Lillith, congratulations on using your resistance at the parties. Regarding the reboud effect. That is exactly what I was talking about at my meeting last night. I found onThanksgiving day I did excellent, the next day, not so much. I had planned the meals, cooked the meal, followed my points, left room on my plate, everything good. The next day was HARD. There were all kinds of differeent foods in my house as leftovers. I was finally relaxed and had some down time and I wanted to cruise the kitchen over and over. I struggled to stay away from the food. My feeling is that it had to do with feeling done with the holiday and able to relax, my defenses were down.

 

I am concerned about having the same reaction after Christmas. It will the same setup. Christmas Eve and Day here. Leftover food, which is nice because I dont have to keep cooking but dangerous also. I need to have some plans in place for the couple of days after Christmas. Some suggestioins were freezing the leftovers, sending them home w/guests etc. I think my best defense is to have minimal food left here and just move on to a normal menu. Skip the whole leftover idea. At least I am aware this time!

 

Thanks for starting up this thread, its been really helpful to see how others handle these same confiicts. Stay strong :salut


Sandy

Joined WW 02/02/02

Lifetime 04/05/03

sw 165.4 cw 165.4 gw ??

 

Little by little, one travels far.....J.R.R. Tolkien

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Hello Folks,

 

Hi Sandy! Thanks for sharing about the rebound effect. I think that your plan sounds really good. I have the same problem, but I want to develop more strength in avoiding the junk, b/c junk is everywhere.

 

Today, I have a bunch of cookies left over from the ones I baked for DH's cookie exchange. To help keep control, I planned in my daily plan to eat 3 of them with tea this afternoon: this in itself seems to have calmed the demon inside me, but I also cleaned up the whole kitchen, put all the ingredients away, finished washing cookie trays and such.... so there is not so much stuff around reminding me "cookies cookies!".

 

Also, I fully wrote out a plan with a healthy snack for the a.m. and evening.

 

Another issue that I am going to face today is going to my sister's house. I always struggle big time with going there b/c she has a lot of snacks that I wouldn't normally eat. I was considering going after dinner to be able to have a controlled dinner at home... but I don't like the idea of avoiding social events b/c I am out of control. I think it is better to plan and try to have some control while in those situations. Beck says that the more control you exert, the easier it becomes to do it. I am still waiting.

 

So: remove myself from the situation, distract myself with other activities, tell myself "No choice", drink tea or water, do "negative ff activity".

 

Okay! Gotta go do some chores/errands!


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Hello,

 

My resistance muscle was on at my sister's house... I didn't do perfectly, but I did pretty well. My vigilance with sweets made my focus extend to other food too, which was good.

 

Anyhow, credit where it's due... I avoided all sweets at the concession stand at the dance recital, didn't eat cheese, and ordered a salad at the pizza place.

 

At night, I just got a soy latte, while my friends had sweets/port/ and other high points food at the restaurant.

 

I went and danced for three hours at the end of the night: reward, the scale dropped back to 138! Yay. Now just 3 lbs from goal.

 

Cheers.


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Hello!

 

Well, I had some emotional turmoil in my life for a few days, b/c of family stuff, which had the effect of totally taking away my appetite. It was much easier not to eat if you don't feel like eating. I realize how much my general like of eating plays into my food choices. Yesterday, I could truly feel the stomach pangs, and even then, I didn't really want to eat... just made myself eat to avoid getting a migraine.

 

Anyhow, the problems have been resolved, so I need to get back on the horse around sweets. Dh brought me a box of See's candy yesterday that he had got from his work. I automatically said, "Well, let's save it for when the family is here!" b/c I knew that if I opened it, I would eat or want to eat too much of it. Then he said, "Hey, we could give it to your mom!" I felt sad at first that I wouldn't get to eat my way through the box, but then thought "good solution".

 

I think that all or nothing thinking around sweets has been my downfall in the past. Either i have a free for all attitude, or a very strict no-sweets policy, and I oscillate wildly between these.

 

I am trying, with these cognitive therapy techniques to develop something more "normal"... hence my little list on the first post.

 

So, today, back to doing the negative fast forward technique, the "no choice" thing, and moving myself away from sweets physically. Also, I have lots of distraction, so I will do things instead of eating things today.

 

Cheers!


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Hello All,

 

So, I am continuing to not stop my fight: often I will get "on fire" about controlling sweets, then life intervenes and I cool off about it. This thread is good b/c when I see it I am reminded that this is important, and to not get all casual about sweets.

 

So, I have some upcoming challenges: my sister and family are coming for 2-3 days at Christmas. I am going to a big Xmas eve celebration at which there are always tables full of cookies and hot chocolate/cider. My plan is to not eat sweets all day, then to have 3 cookies and some tea. If I get a work out in, I will have plenty of points for that. I noticed that last time I had a plan in advance, I didn't stress about "getting to eat" sweets all day.

 

Also, on Xmas day, we are preparing a Carribean feast, as part of my family is Jamaican. My sis will probably make a cake, so I need to be prepared to have a single serving of that, too...not five pieces.

 

I want to watch out for all the candy on Xmas day too: the kids are going ot have candy all around, so I need to choose not to indulge.

 

I realized yesterday while doing the negative ff activity, that in my mind, I knew that I would feel guilty and kind of sick to my stomach if I chose to eat junk. Not really worth the junk.

 

Cheers!


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Hello all,

 

I just read an article about sweets in Seattle's "The Stranger" by Megan Selig... look it up: in comparison to her, I look very mellow... but still, same addiction on a continuum.

 

She described eating massive amounts of sweets, trying many things to rid herself of the addiction, like diets, detoxes, exercise, eating a potato every nite before dinner, etc..

 

I truly think that the cognitive therapy tricks have worked best for ME, along with a bunch of other tricks that I have come by, some from WW. One is that I avoid having sweets in the house: I actively decide not to buy quantities that I might end up eating. It has helped a lot.

 

Journaling what I eat each nite, and circling what I "wish I hadn't eaten" has been a good mind trick. Now, when faced with a sweet, I sometimes think, "I am not going to eat that, b/c then I'd have to write it down and circle it."

 

Major problem times for me are while socializing, and after a long stressful work day at school. Working on those.

 

Cheers, and happy holidays to all.


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Thanks for reminding me, Soya.

 

I'm going to pull out my Beck book. :salut

 

I need to work on my head, too. :bcb_wink3 :buddysmoo

 

 

.


May you be happy. May you be well. May you be free from suffering.

 

Check out my website! Plant-Powered.com :bcb_smile

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

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Hello Folks,

 

I have been reading about the "evils of sugar" b/c I know that it inspires me to avoid it...

 

One of the things that I keep reading is that when one eats sugar, opioids are released in one's brain, which give good feelings and create a sort of addiction reaction. Let me tell you, I know firsthand what the articles are talking about! I have noticed that I crave sugar intensely at times of the day or locations in which I usually have sugar. For instance, I notice that when I approach a certain store where they have a candy bowl, my brain immediately sends cravings/memories of the candy bowl. After teaching a full day, my mind almost immediately craves/expects something sweet... (not surprising... it's a habit of mine to eat something sweet as a "reward" for getting through the day).

 

I have always been down on myself because I crave and overeat sweets, but from what I have been reading, it seems that it is part of our biological make-up as humans, and extremely common, too. Come to think of it, both my mother and father had major sweet tooths, and struggled with sugar. While it is good to understand the partly biological nature of these cravings, it isn't an excuse to not get it under control.

 

After doing all this reading about it, I am considering stopping all sweets for six weeks to see if I can rid myself of the physical "addiction". I have gone off sweets for years at a time before, but started to eat them again after a break up. I am not sure if six weeks will help break the HABIT of eating sweets... after all, I have a lifetime of sweets eating to get over, but I figure that it can't hurt, and if nothing else, I will have a healthy six weeks.

 

Modulating my intake works in some ways (I eat less sweets than I would if I just had a free-for-all) but not in other ways for me (I spend a huge amount of mental energy thinking about sweets/feeling guilty about sweets and rationalizing my intake). I think that this time of year is a good time to try something like this.

 

I am thinking of eating natural things that are sweet, like fruit, carrots, yams, which I adore. I have already stopped using sweeteners in many foods that I used to sweeten, so it won't be that big of a jump to stop altogether. Plus, it will make SiFi much easier to stick to. I can use my WPA for things like more oil, healthy bread/crackers, nuts.

 

Alright.... what a word wall!

 

Cheers and hey, you are welcome to comment.


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Sweets are my problem, too. My WW leader says it's like "crack". :bcb_huh: (Highly addictive)

 

I like your idea of switching to fruits and sweet vegetables instead.

 

Dr. Oz makes a BIG thing about sugar being bad for you. It causes inflammation in your arteries. It's like glass in your arteries...scratches them, they try and repair themselves and become less flexible. Which contributes to all sorts of health conditions. :bcb_huh:

 

I always got "sweets" for doing things I didn't want to do: after the dentist, doctor visits...It still pops into my head and I'm over 60! :bcb_up

 

And we always finished a meal with dessert or a chocolate-mint (used to be 2 cents) at the check-out counter of a restaurant...ALWAYS.

 

I think it's a good place to start, Soya. :bcb_smile Good for you. :salut

 

 

.


May you be happy. May you be well. May you be free from suffering.

 

Check out my website! Plant-Powered.com :bcb_smile

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

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Hello All,

 

Carol: I kwym about the addictive qualities. I noticed that when I stop altogether for a few days, the desire for sweets goes way down.

 

So, I stopped eating sweets: and I noticed that I am scared of my cravings! Even though I don't crave sweets at the moment, I find myself fearing when I do crave them.... like I don't trust that I will be able to resist or I don't want to deal with the "pain" of having to resist.

 

I have also found myself mentally negotiating what counts as a sweet... the mind is a very tricky organism. Another thing I found myself doing, was imagining eating some sweets in six weeks.

 

My Plan for when sweets cravings occur (from Dr. Beck's book, basically):

1. Identify the feeling as a craving.

2. Physically remove myself from the stuff.

3. Do neg./pos. fast forward in my mind.

4. Do a distracting activity.

 

Also, although I usually don't talk about/ broadcast my diet activities to my friends and families, I posted on FB that my New Year's Res. was to not eat sugar for six weeks... also told DH about it, and told him to support me.

 

Also, even since yesterday... I dropped another lb. yay.

 

Cheers.


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Hello Buddies!

 

So, this has been an adventure, for sure. I have been off the sweets/junk for three days now... and let me be clear, I barely use any sweetener (a little agave syrup), and have been "limiting" my sweets for years, but I am having "sugar withdrawal symptoms". Who knew?

 

I felt highly anxious yesterday, at times, and then woke up with restless legs syndrome and anxiety symptoms... but with no disturbing event to cause the anxiety! I looked it up on the internet, and guess what?

 

from Wikipedia:

" Hypoglycemia has also been found to worsen RLS symptoms.[12] Opioid detoxification has also recently been associated with provocation of RLS-like symptoms during withdrawal. [13]"

 

So, when my brain is being taken off the sugar, it no longer gets the drug like effects, and walla! Withdrawal symptoms. But, I feel even more determined to stay off the refined sugars: I don't want to be a sugar addict.

 

Plus, I have dropped 2.5 lbs since I stopped the junk three days ago: that works. Supposedly, the withdrawal symptoms fade in a few days to a few weeks.

 

Cheers!


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Let us know if it fades, Soya...! :bcb_bigsm

 

I totally "get" the unaccountable fear/anxiety.

 

Just reading about yours made me feel anxious! :bcb_huh::bcb_up

 

I've got my Beck book out and I'm starting at the beginning. :salut:bcb_smile

 

 

.


May you be happy. May you be well. May you be free from suffering.

 

Check out my website! Plant-Powered.com :bcb_smile

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

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