Thursday, October 1, 2015

Sharing Obesity Action Coalition Resources

Last weekend I had the pleasure of representing the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) at the Loma Linda University Hospital Health Fair in Murrieta, California (slightly north of me) It was a great event. Huge. Lots of great health information, tons of free preventive health screenings, a mini farmer's market, lots of fun family activities all free... rock wall, petting zoo, the cars from Back to the Future, Batman, Jurassic Park, Knight Rider, a pretty great band I was enjoying. Loads of freebies, my Mum came with and she walked around while I was doing my thing at the OAC booth and everyone was handing her fun swag. So if you are local be sure to check it out next year.

I met a lot of great folks and shared some of the free educational resources the OAC publishes and chatted about our efforts on weight bias and access to care issues. Hopefully a few new OAC members are joining from this area. Almost all the materials I brought were distributed!

If you are interested in becoming an OAC member it's only $10 till the end of the year (for a full year membership) instead of the regular $20... since it's our 10 year anniversary.

Here's my booth set-up...

The wind can kick up in the valley in the afternoon and I was glad I decided to bring a bunch of pumpkins to act as festive paperweights or I would have been running after flying brochures. It worked out well and looked pretty too. They are back in place now as my dining room table centerpiece. I am trying to get into the Fall spirit despite it being high 90's most of the week. It's supposed to cool down this weekend and I am looking forward to making those casseroles and soups I've been wanting to make. I have a whole Pinterest page of Fall yummy recipes and Halloween treats to make. Come on sweater weather!

Oh and those of you in the LA, IE, OC, SD area. Mark your calendars for Saturday, November 7th. The OAC is having a FREE Your Weight Matters Local 1/2 Day Event in Los Angeles during Obesity Week. Hope to see some of my local pals.

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Saturday, September 26, 2015

It's Pancake Lover's Day!

It's Pancake Lover's Day! I love pancakes. I make mine high protein and low carb. Sometimes sweet and sometimes savory. Here's a roundup of a few favorite blog recipes...

Shelly's Bruschetta Pancakes
Ricotta Pancakes with No Sugar Added Chia Jam
Savory Onion Ricotta Mini Pancakes with Smoked Salmon
Shelly's Variety Pancakes Bites
Shelly's Sand Dollar Churro Pancakes
Shelly's Ricotta Pancake Breadless Sandwiches
Shelly's Pistachio Pancakes
Shelly's Baked Raspberry Pancake (Clafoutis)
Shelly's Blueberry Cannoli Pancakes (IHOP healthified)

Find even more here and here.

The other day I was thinking about a movie I watched when I was a kid on one of those old metal projectors (am I dating myself?!) it was the late 70's (I graduated High School in 1989) anyway... I loved it... and because you can find EVERYTHING now on the Internet. I found it and watched it. It's sort of Halloweeny. Winter of the Witch. A single mom and her son move into a creepy old house with a witch that makes magic psychedelic pancakes. Anyway if you have 22 minutes and nothing to do. Not sure why they felt the need for us to watch it in elementary school but this may explain things about me ;)

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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Flavors of Fall: Pumpkin Spice Protein Muffins

The first day of Fall is just days away but we're still in the high 90's in my 'hood so it's hard to get into the spirit. Oh how I want to. I'm longing to wear my favorite hoodie on a crisp morning walk. We had one day of rain last week I was so thrilled I roasted butternut squash and made a casserole for dinner. I want to use the oven more but uggh heating up the house is not appealing. I did make a batch of pumpkin spice muffins yesterday because they are done in 12 minutes. I can handle that. Especially for these. I have another version I make but I didn't have some of the ingredients so I adapted. I think I might even like this one better with the addition of chai spices.

Shelly's Pumpkin Spice Protein Mini Muffins

1 Egg, beaten
3 Tablespoons Milk
2 Tablespoons Sugar Free Vanilla Torani Syrup
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
2 Tablespoons Pumpkin Puree (not pie filling)
3 Tablespoons Multigrain Pancake Mix
2 Tablespoons Big Train Spiced Chai Fit Frappe Protein Powder
1 scoop (1/4 cup-ish) Vanilla Protein Powder
Pinch salt

Mix egg, milk, syrup, pumpkin and oil and combine thoroughly. If you are watching your fat grams you could ax the oil and sub NSA applesauce but 1 T of oil for the whole batch is not a lot and I think they are tastier with it and doesn't compete with the pumpkin flavor. In a separate bowl, mix pancake mix, protein powders and salt. Tip dry into wet and stir till combined. Pour into a non stick 12 cup mini muffin pan that has been sprayed with Pam.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or till toothpick inserted comes out clean. Makes 12 moist, delicious, mini muffins.

Cooks Note: No Spiced Chai Protein? Get some. No seriously, it's a yummy shake or warm drink in the winter but then you can make my granola and yogurt dip too. Really can't wait to get it 1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice and 1-1/2 -ish T of extra Vanilla Protein will work. But... really get the Spiced Chai, it's soooo good.

Optional: You can add cheese filling. I usually do about 1/2 the batch with filling and half I leave plain. Allow muffins to cool slightly. Using a drinking straw poke a little hole in the center of each mini muffin and pipe filling inside. The filling really makes them like a healthier version of Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Muffins but those suckers are 420 calories a piece (most often paired with a 380 cal Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte) ouch?! that's no snack. P.S. Mine are about 40 cals.

Shelly's Cheese Filling

1/4 cup Ricotta Cheese
1 teaspoon Sugar Free Jello Cheesecake Pudding Mix, dry
2 teaspoons Sugar Free Vanilla Torani Syrup

Mix till well combined. Spoon into a piping bag or a snack sized baggie that has the corner snipped off. Seal baggie with tape. Pipe into mini muffins. This is plenty for 12 mini muffins. If you don't want to pipe it you can always slice them in half and smear it in the middle. Leftover filling is also great smeared on sliced apples.

More low carb, sugar free or no sugar added, weight loss surgery friendly recipes and tastes of Fall can be found on my Fall Pinterest Page.

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Friday, September 18, 2015

National Cheeseburger Day - 6 Low Carb Recipes to Celebrate

It's National Cheeseburger Day and while I tend to choose leaner protein sources most of the time. I love me a gooey cheeseburger. One of my favorites is a place called Burger Lounge, here in Temecula (several in Southern California) and they will wrap it in lettuce. Since I choose not to eat bread post weight loss surgery, it's a great low carb option (albeit a little messy.) I'm thankful most every place I've asked will accommodate. Try it. I think without the bread you get to taste and enjoy all the yummy stuff even more.

You can also get all the great taste of a cheeseburger in one of these favorite recipes from the blog...

Shelly's Top Hat Bacon Cheeseburger Sliders (Winner of Wolfgang Puck's Oscar Contest)
Shelly's Bacon Cheeseburger Bites
Shelly's Bacon Cheeseburger Soup
Shelly's Bacon Cheeseburger Deviled Eggs
Shelly's Cheeseburger Tortilla Pizza
Shelly's Bacon Onion Cheeseburger Mini Meatloaf

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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Post Weight Loss Surgery Menus: A day in my pouch

A day in my pouch is a series of blog posts to show what a typical daily menu looks like in my post weight loss surgery world. Yesterday's healthy and delicious menu...

Breakfast: Ricotta Pancakes topped with Chia Jam. If you haven't made this jam yet, do it. It's sooo good. No sugar added topping for Greek yogurt, ricotta or cottage cheese, ricotta pancakes, smeared on a slice of protein cake or a protein muffin, as a protein ice cream topping, stirred in oatmeal (a spoon of powdered peanut butter and a spoon of this jam = PB&J heaven)

More Eggface Breakfast Ideas

Lunch: I am so done with summer. I'm ready for sweaters, pumpkin everything, casseroles, chilly air. It was 100 yesterday. Supposed to be 102 today and above 95 for the rest of the week. Uggh. So the first of many non-cook (aka not heating up the kitchen till after dark) lunches I will survive on for the next week was this sort of Caprese Salad with Fresh Mozzarella and Avocado (drizzle of balsamic dressing, salt, pepper, oregano)

More Eggface Healthy Salads and Cold Eats

Dinner: I made a batch of un-"breaded" chicken tenders and served them with a tomato pesto Greek yogurt dip (1/2 cup plain Greek Yogurt and a dollop of that tomato pesto I made the other day) and sauteed zucchini and onions.

I just dredged some Foster Farms chicken tenders in beaten egg then in a combo of almond meal and parmesan (1/2 cup almond meal to 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese) and (salt, pepper, sprinkle of Zaatar) seasonings. I sauteed them in a small amount of olive oil but for an even lighter version you can bake them. I do 425 (foil lined, non stick sprayed, baking sheet) for 15-20 minutes depending on thickness.

Snacks: Too much coffee, I made a Cherry Coconut Protein Shake and later in the day in honor of Ants on a Log Day (which is actually today, so still time to celebrate) I made an assortment: the OG classic "Ants on a Log" peanut butter and raisins and "Ants and Friends" peanut butter and dark chocolate almond, almond butter and dried cranberry and dried cherry and spreadable cheese. I cut them in half post picture and shared with my Mum and she declared the cherry/cheese combo the winner. I couldn't decide, loved them all. Hooray for preschool snack time ;)

Shelly's Cherry Coconut Protein Shake

8 oz. Milk (any, I used soy)
1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Torani Syrup (I used SF Coconut)
1/4 cup Frozen Cherries
a few cubes of ice

Whiz on high in a blender.

More Eggface Protein Shakes and Smoothies

More Days in my Pouch

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Monday, September 7, 2015

Life After Weight Loss Surgery Q & A - Couldn't you just try exercise and dieting?

One post-op's thoughts on life after weight loss surgery...

Question: Couldn't you just try exercise and dieting? Why have weight loss surgery?

Answer: I will answer your question but bear in mind... this is MY STORY and we (those who have chosen the helping hand of weight loss surgery to address their obesity) will have different stories (we are all unique snowflakes us humans.)

I dieted most of my teenage and adult years off and on and whenever I was told "well you know you really should lose some weight" by a Dr (they don't give you much more than that in a 10 minute visit) I would try the latest diet, best selling book, $$$ program, infomercial, pill or potion, etc. low carb, low cal, no fat, I did them all (none of which were covered by insurance, though my obesity related illnesses were but that's a rant for another day) and like most diets they will work for a time. I can suffer through anything for a few weeks, months but is it sustainable for life... that's the difference. I am not suffering. I utilized the early months after weight loss surgery to make lifestyle changes that I can live with forever... finding healthy food I love, eliminating some that needed to go, moving my body every day, working on the emotional factors of obesity. The scale #'s going down in a way no diet ever helped me achieve were a big motivation, my activity level just in everyday life increased and add the ability to move more easily and effectiveness of exercise without 150+ extra pounds but more importantly the rapid weight loss resolved all my health issues.

I had a ton of major health issues going on: GERD, acid reflux so severe that it would rise up out of my nose and mouth, severe sleep apnea episodes where I would stop breathing almost 100 times in the night, the combo of those are deadly as you can imagine (aspiration, lack of oxygen, stress on heart, stroke risk, etc.) as part of the treatment for those conditions (along with the high blood pressure and some other conditions) I was on 8 medications. You can imagine I wasn't always up for doing burpees or jogging... in fact many of the medications I was prescribed list weight gain as a side effect (not an excuse, just a fact.)

When you are next in a store like Costco or Sam's do this: pick up a 150 pound bag of something... rice or beans or dog food and try and run... but do it when you are ill and keep that bag with you for many years, at work, at school, try and fit in this world with it's airplane seats and tray tables, student desks, hospital gowns, and turnstiles... oh and on occasion as you are carrying that weight have someone call you names, or treat you differently, or pass you over, or assume and make judgements, make disgusted faces or ask questions like "have you ever tried dieting and exercise?"

Hope that answers your question.

P.S. But wait there's more... and then when you decide with the advice of your doctor that surgical assistance is needed you have to justify your "readiness to change" and wait for 6-12 months as you jump through hoops for approval of the procedure. Often despite all the hoop jumping, you are denied coverage and that blow is so devastating that many do not recover from it, too tired and ill to fight the powers that be. Is there another condition or disease that this would ever happen with?! (There isn't) "I'm sorry Ms. Vicari before we grant your heart bypass or stent you have to prove you tried to change your diet and exercised and if in 6 month you lose xx amount of weight and bring us proof we'll help you... maybe." or "I'm sorry Ms. Vicari we can't remove the tumor or give you chemo or radiation until you show that you can change your lifestyle." It's unacceptable.

I am thankful everyday for the helping hand weight loss surgery gave me and to all those that infer I cheated, took a shortcut or the easy way out (like health is some sort of game) or say "Ohhh you had that surgery, I lost weight with diet and exercise" I say... "Yeah me too, every single day for the rest of my life." Best wishes to all of us!

Join me and become a member of the Obesity Action Coalition, together we're working for positive change to some of the negatives above (It's only $10 for the remainder of the year too, part of the OAC's 10th Anniversary celebration.)

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Sunday, September 6, 2015

You Say Tomato, I Say Tomato Recipes

Last week I found out I was the winner of an Instagram contest held by Windset Farms and California Grown. Big THANK YOU! Oodles of gorgeous California grown veggies arrived on my doorstep: Concerto Grape Tomatoes, Tomatoes on the Vine, Campari Tomatoes, Symphony Tomato Ensemble, Roma Tomatoes, Fresco Seedless Cucumbers and Fresco Cocktail Cukes! Cucumbers are my post weight loss surgery cracker replacement and I love tomatoes (Hello?! 1/2 Sicilian) so it really was the perfect prize for me to win.

You should go follow them on Instagram @windsetfarms and @CAgrownofficial to get in on their next giveaway tell them @theworldaccordingtoeggface sent you over. Be sure to follow me I do some fun Instagram giveaways from time to time too.

Needless to say I've been making A LOT of recipes with tomatoes this past week. I took the Roma tomatoes and made a big pot of Chili for dinner the very first night, 1/2 of which is in the freezer and will make for an easy dinner next week. I made a few salads, a few bento box lunches, invited neighbors to have a taste and I even broke out my dehydrator and dried some. This morning I turned the dried tomatoes into a crazy good pesto I plan to use in recipes this week... thinking about mixing some into one of my mini meatloaf recipes. Will post the results.

Here's a few of my favorites uses from last week...

Shelly's Pizza Tomatoes

Sliced Tomatoes
Shredded Italian Blend Cheese
Grated Parmesan
a sprinkle of Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper
a dash of Oregano

Slice the tomatoes, top with a Tablespoon of shredded cheese, sprinkle seasonings and Parmesan. Broil till bubbly and slightly golden.

I served them as a side with Egg Bites (crustless quiches) and another day with grilled fish. Delicious and easy side dish I will make often. I think I might put a slice of pepperoni on top next time.

5 Healthy Pizza Snacks

Along the same lines as the above one afternoon I made low carb, breadless Tuna Melts...

Shelly's Breadless Tuna Melts (Tuna Salad topped Tomatoes)

Sliced Tomatoes
Tuna Salad
Sliced Cheese

Make your tuna salad however you like it. Mine: Lemon Pepper seasoned tuna with chopped green onion and chopped cucumber, a dollop of plain Greek yogurt, salt & pepper to taste.

Top the sliced tomatoes. Top with sliced cheese. Broil till melty and bubbly. About 3 minutes.

More Eggface Healthy Salads

Some of my winnings showed up in some Bento Box Lunches like this one...

Pink Box (top left): Ham and Cucumber "Sandwiches" with Mustard
Green Box (top right): Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pecan Quest Protein Bar "Cookies"
Blue Box (bottom left): Tomato and Mozzarella Salad with a dash of Oregano & drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar
Orange Box (bottom right): Mango

More Bento Box lunches, FAQ's and an Online Source for them
My Bento Pinterest Page (Tons of Lunch Ideas) 

Some became part of one of my favorite things to do Tidbit Parties: protein packed snacks, fresh air, good conversation and laughs with family and friends.

Pictured above: Fresh Mozzarella, Cucumber Spears, Tomatoes, Shelly's Parmesan Yogurt Dip (1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, a Tablespoon grated Parmesan, a sprinkle of oregano, salt and pepper to taste.)

More Eggface Healthy Party Foods

and my Pesto project...

Shelly's Tomato Pesto

1/2 cup Dried Tomatoes (not oil packed)
1/4 cup Grated Parmesan
2 Tablespoons Walnuts
a couple of cloves of Garlic
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt and a few twists of Black Pepper to taste

Pulse all ingredients in a mini food processor till desired consistency. You can replace walnuts with pine nuts (they are $$$ though) or almonds. It'll stay for a week in the fridge or freeze in ice cube trays. Mix in Greek yogurt for a dip or dressing. Spread on fish or chicken before baking. Mix in recipes. Spread on a tortilla pizza instead of sauce. Mixed in chicken, tuna, bean or egg salad. Mix in soup. Endless uses.

I was determined to use every last one of those delicious tomatoes. Hope the above gives you a few ideas.

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Heads Up: Premier Protein Bars $5 off at Costco

Heads up Premier Protein bar lovers: Score $5.00 off the 30 gram protein bar, 2 flavor variety pack at Costco Wholesale stores nationwide from September 3rd through September 27th, no coupon is needed. The new variety box has a combination of two popular Premier Protein bar flavors Chocolate Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Mint, 11 bars of each flavor. It's an awesome deal works out to around 70¢ a bar.

You have to try this: We've had quite a hot summer in Southern California, a few weeks of triple digits. I was always looking for protein packed snacks that didn't need cooking and wouldn't heat me up. This was great...

I chopped up Premier Protein bars into bite size pieces, placed them in quart size zipper baggies and froze them. When I wanted a snack in the hottest part of the afternoon I grabbed a couple of frozen pieces to nibble on. The Dark Chocolate Mint bars taste like a healthier version of those famous Girl Scout cookies everyone eats waaaay too many of.

Head over to the Premier Protein website for all the nutritional 411 on the bars.

Oh and FYI Costco also carries Premier Protein RTD Ready to Drink shakes (my Temecula location has all three flavors) Vanilla, Chocolate and Strawberries & Cream. They are great to take to the beach or park. Freeze one, toss it in your beach bag and by the afternoon you will have a frosty shake for the drive home.

Or breakout the blender for another big savior this summer: my Lemon Pie Shake: 1 Vanilla Premier Protein RTD Shake, 1 Tablespoon of Sugar Free Lemon Pudding Mix (dry) and a few Ice Cubes. Blend on High. I topped it with Homemade No Sugar Added Whipped Cream and a few summer sprinkles.

This post is sponsored by Premier Protein. For the purposes of this post Premier Protein provided me with products used. Want to learn more about Premier Protein products LIKE their Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram and tell them The World According to Eggface told you to stop by. Hope you get in on the Costco deal and give the frozen bars (and Lemon Pie Shake) a try.

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

15 Protein Packed Portable Healthy Snacks (or Lunch)

Protein packed is the key to a satisfying snack. If they are portable even better. Here are 15 protein-packed snacks I love. Many of these are very portable and perfect for tossing in your carry-on, purse or lunchbox. A healthy snack in your arsenal can help you fight the urge to hit the vending machine, pick at the break room goodies, or make an impulse choice at the pastry case.

15 Protein Packed and Portable Snacks

Protein Bars - Read labels, figure which type is right for you, there are high-protein and low-carb bars, high fiber bars, meal replacement and energy bars and they vary greatly in nutritional values. They are a convenient favorite of mine when traveling. I always have some in my carry-on bag.

Protein Bar Cookies - I take Quest Protein Bars cut into 8 pieces and baked them into little cookies that are great to tote along in a snack size baggie during the day or take with to coffee with friends. The latest batch I made were these apple pie protein bar cookies with a cinnamon almond pressed in.

Mini Protein Muffins - Another great one to stave off the bakery case are my yummy mini protein muffins. If you have tried any of my 5 minute protein cakes these are the same batter just poured into a 12 cup mini muffin tin and baked instead. Something fun to do is to make two different flavors, slice them in half, smear some SF jam or nut butter on the bottom half of the muffin and top with a muffin top of the other flavor.

Greek Yogurt, Cottage Cheese or Ricotta Cheese Parfaits - A dollop of yogurt, cottage cheese or ricotta layered with fruit like berries or apples that have been cooked down a bit (softened) and topped with protein granola or almonds. Place in a plastic cup with plastic wrap on top for a portable snack or breakfast. Don't forget a spoon.

Hard-Boiled Eggs - hard boil and peel a few on Sunday for snacks for the week. Toss an egg in a small container for an easy on-the-go snack or use them for lunch sliced on a salad or mashed with Greek yogurt, celery, seasonings and cucumber slice scoopers. If you have a little more time turn them into some my favorite deviled eggs.

Ants and Friends on a Log - celery sticks smeared with a tablespoon of any nut butter (almond, cashew, walnut) or cream cheese spread topped with a raisins for the traditional "Ants on a Log" or "Ants and Friends" with almonds, cranberries, cherries (look for low sugar or juice sweetened fruit.)

Cold-Cut Roll Ups - slices of deli meat (turkey, chicken, or roast beef work great) with a slice of cheese. Add a pickle spear, avocado slice, mild green chili, lettuce, cucumber spear. Eat roll-ups cold or warm and melty. Pictured is one of my favorite combos Turkey, Cheese, Avocado.

Cucumber "Sandwiches" - with cold cuts, cheese, or topped with spreads or salads using cucumbers as the bread/cracker.

Protein Shakes - many companies make travel protein packets or scoop your favorite powder in baggie and put it inside a shaker bottle, buy ready to drinks versions (RTDs), or at home blend into a frappe-style creation like the ones pictured. Find oodles of recipes on the blog and my Protein Shake Pinterest page. Be careful they may bring all the boys to the yard ;)

Nuts, Roasted Chickpeas or Bean Snacks  - sometimes you just want a salty crunchy snack. Almonds and pistachios are higher in protein than other nuts. Homemade roasted chickpeas or garbanzos or store bought bean snacks all great chip alternatives. Portion them out in snack sized baggies.

Beef or Turkey Jerky - look for the low-sodium ones. 1 oz. serving (the average size of most single-serve packs) = 9 grams of protein. Jerky is portable, required no refrigeration and takes a while to eat so it's a good snack in a movie or on a plane.

Ricotta Pancakes - I eat these for snack or breakfast. Hot or surprisingly yummy cold, smeared with almond butter or SF jam. Find oodles of Eggface pancake recipes here. The pancakes pictured below are my Cinnamon Churro Ricotta Pancakes.

Edamame Pods - the fun to eat bean pods you get at Japanese sushi restaurants (1 cup = about 17 grams of protein), steam them in a little microwave steamer (these rock) sprinkle with a little seasoning or salt and scrape the pods with your teeth to pop out the little green yummy beans inside.

Apple or Mango Dippers - sliced apple with dip or mango with dip. Greek yogurt dip or SF sweetened (sweetener of your choice) Ricotta Cheese with or without protein powder added.

Cheese Platter - we call these Tidbit Parties at my house. A few pieces of cheese, olives, cucumber slices, a few nuts, cool breeze, laughs and good conversation shared with loved ones = perfect night in my world. Make it portable, fill your bento box and take it to the beach or park.

Honored to be included in many post weight loss surgery bariatric patient guides and surgeon's office web sites as a recommended site for post weight loss surgery eating, recipes, menus, tips and ideas but each program has variations, as do individual patient's needs so refer to your plan and program guidelines and when in doubt print it out and bring with to your next appointment. Depending what stage of your weight loss journey some of these may be meals or snacks for you and obviously what is pictured is often for several people. Always consult your medical team for portion sizes.

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