Before we dig into the specifics of Dr Rhonda Patrick’s diet, let’s look at her core diet strategies:

  1. Time Restricted Feeding – Rhonda aims to fit her meals into a 10 hour eating window – such that she fasts for 14 hours per day (based on promising research by Dr Satchin Panda)
  2. Cutting out refined sugars & grains – Rhonda avoids grains and simple carbohydrates; foods like bread, rice, pasta, chips, cake, cookies etc. Resulting in her diet being almost entirely vegetables, fruit, meat & fish. One caveat is that she does consume oats (for their beta glucan content) and quinoa up to a couple of times per week.
  3. Micronutrient rich smoothies – Rhonda uses these as a core method of increasing her raw vegetable intake, enriching her diet with micronutrients and pre-biotic fibre.
  4. Sulforaphane – Rhonda consumes sulforaphane containing broccoli sprouts multiple times per week in her smoothies – sulforaphane has a whole host of health benefits which we discuss more below.
  5. Nutrigenomics – Rhonda integrates data about her DNA into her diet decisions. For example, certain DNA mutations mean that some people need to supplement additional folate, others need to reduce saturated fat & replace with polyunsaturated, etc. In the section below we will discuss examples of how this data could affect your diet choices + how to get this data for yourself & take action on it.

In addition to the above core diet strategies, Rhonda orchestrates her meals such that she hits the key vitamins and minerals she needs for optimal health. Below we’ll look in greater detail at her core diet strategies, and then dig into the specifics of her breakfast, lunch and dinner.

1. Time Restricted Feeding Overview

You might have heard of intermittent fasting? Time restricted feeding is the same idea, but is the scientific term used by Satchin Panda and his team at the Salk Institute – from whom Rhonda draws her research. Their studies have uncovered huge health benefits using time restricted feeding in animals, and they’re currently researching further to understand which of these benefits apply equally to humans. Satchin’s recently released book – The Circadian Code covers the subject in depth.

Time Restricted Feeding Benefits in Mice
A key study from 2012 (source) looked at feeding a high fat diet to two groups of mice. Both groups had access to the same amount (and type) of food. However the first group could access the food at any time of the day, whereas the second group only had access for 8 hours per day. The benefits for the mice with only 8 hour access were:

  • Lower body fat
  • Lower inflammation
  • Better motor co-ordination
  • Better glucose tolerance, and less leptin resistance
  • Healthier liver blood tests

Time Restricted Feeding Benefits in Humans
A 2018 human study did a 5-week time restricted feeding trial in 8 men with pre-diabetes. They randomly assigned the participants either an 6-hour eating window, or a 12-hour eating window. After 5 weeks of one diet, each participant crossed over to do 5 weeks of the other. The 6-hour eating window achieved some beneficial results:

  • Improved insulin sensitivity
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Decreased oxidative stress

The image above shows the results of the two studies we’ve discussed. The image on the left shows the 2012 mice study, and the image on the right shows the 2018 study in pre-diabetic males.

Rhonda’s Time Restricted Feeding Regimen

Rhonda’s current window of time restricted feeding is 10 hours. On the face of it, this might not seem like a particularly small eating window – but Dr Satchin Panda’s research has shown that most people eat on a 15 hour window (!) For example, they might have a cup of coffee at 7am, and then have their last bite of food at 10 o’clock at night.

Rhonda notes that a 10 hour eating window starts the moment you put anything into your body that isn’t water, that even includes tea or coffee! Food and xenobiotic compounds, such as the caffeine in coffee, activate metabolic enzymes in your liver and gut, and those enzymes are on a “clock”. This is because humans are diurnal (active during the day, and asleep at night) – and our evolution has led to us having cells that are optimized towards 12 hours of day time activity.

Whilst eating within the 12 hour (day time) clock, we metabolize glucose, amino acids, fatty acids optimally. However, past that 12 hour clock, say we’re eating at night, that’s when our metabolism in general no longer works as well. For example, our insulin sensitivity increases, and our body switches to the storing of fatty acids, rather than using them for fuel.

For more of Rhonda discussing Time Restricted Feeding, see the snippet below from her interview on the Joe Rogan Experience episode #901. Also recommended are her two in depth interviews with Dr Satchin Panda (Interview 1 & Interview 2).

2. Cutting Out Refined Sugars & Refined Carbohydrates

Rhonda suggests that the one dietary change that would make the biggest improvement to someone eating the “Standard American Diet” would be to cut out all refined sugars.

When we talk about refined sugars, we’re talking about the sugar that gets added to sodas, candy, cookies, cake etc.

Regular consumption of refined sugar can lead to a plethora of negative health consequences, including:

  • Weight gain
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Accelerated aging + more.

One study found that the standard 20-ounce serving of soda, consumed daily, resulted in telomere aging of approximately 4.6 years (source). The below video is a snippet from a podcast with Joe Rogan (JRE #1054), discussing the effects of refined sugar on health.

3. Micronutrient Rich Smoothies

Rhonda is a huge advocate of smoothies. They’re a great way to consume large amounts of vegetables quickly and easily. No culinary skills required, simply wash them and throw them in a blender. If you kick the day off with a smoothie, even if the rest of your meals are sub-par in terms of health, you’ve at least covered your ass in terms of consuming a good amount of healthy vegetables.

The main two things you’re getting with Rhonda’s smoothies are:

  • Large amounts of what are called ‘essential micronutrients’ – vitamins and minerals that your body can’t synthesize from other things. If you don’t get adequate amounts, your health suffers (see Bruce Ames’ triage theory for more info)
  • Pre-biotics – these are non digestible plant fibre that provides food for “good bacteria” to live and grow. Evidence is mounting to show that maintaining healthy gut bacteria is crucial to good health. For more info on the subject of healthy gut bacteria, Rhonda recommends the The Good Gut book, by Justin & Erica Sonnenburg – who were also on a podcast of hers.

I’ve adopted this suggestion from Rhonda, and definitely recommend it. Vegetable smoothies are probably one of the easiest dietary adjustments to make that can have a huge impact on long term health.

See further down this post for the types of smoothies she makes, including ingredient list.

4. Sulforaphane

Rhonda is a big fan of sulforaphane, a compound derived from brassica vegetables. It activates a pathway called NRF2 which increases the expression of a host of cell protective genes. She takes sulforaphane (in the form of broccoli sprouts added to her smoothie) 2 to 3 times per week. I’ve written here about how Rhonda sprouts her own broccoli seeds, what equipment she uses to do so, and what dose (weight of sprouts) she uses to get the optimal effect.

For more information on sulforaphane, see Rhonda’s deep dive video on sulforaphane. For a less technical, but potentially more engaging description on the benefits of sulforaphane, see the below snippet from Rhonda’s podcast with Joe Rogan on JRE #901:

5. Nutrigenomics

Rhonda is a huge proponent of nutrigenomics, the idea that patterns in our DNA illuminate how we as individuals handle certain foods in our diet.

Examples of genes that are noteworthy for diet choices include:

  • MTHFR – can affect folic acid synthesis
  • PPAR alpha – can affect fatty acid metabolism, particularly good to know if you’re embarking on a high fat diet
  • FTO – certain variants predispose individuals to obesity in the context of a diet high in saturated fats, and low in polyunsaturated fats

Rhonda has talked previously about how she encouraged all her family to get their DNA checked, and upon learning that her mother had a mutation in MTHFR, that leads to poor synthesis of folic acid… she encouraged her mom to start supplementing methylated folate.

Possible Theory for the “Why” of Nutrigenomics

It is thought that our ancestors adapted to the food sources available in their local region. One example of this, is how certain human populations developed mutations in their DNA that lead to them still having the correct enzyme (lactase) to consume milk into adulthood. In Neolithic Scandanavians, only 5% of those sampled had a gene associated with lactase persistence in adulthood, vs 74% of the the existing Swedish population1. Suggesting that as humans moved from hunter gatherers to sedentary agriculture, we selected for genes that allow us to consume milk through adulthood. Of course we didn’t do this consciously per se, but through natural selection.

Why is this relevant? Well, firstly, many of us don’t live in the same circumstances that our ancestors did. Even if you are currently living in the same geographic location as your ancestors, it’s unlikely you’re eating the same things they did. Therefore, considering that we live in an “un-natural” food environment, it can useful to understand any dietary biases that your genetics are adapted for. That way we can adjust our diet to avoid any pitfalls we would otherwise be unaware of.

How to get your Nutrigenomics Data

To get your nutrigenomics data there are 3 simple steps:

  1. Purchase a DNA (SNP marker) testing kit, via providers such as 23andMe or Ancestry
  2. Spit in the plastic tube they provide you (yes, really), and post it back to them
  3. Once they have processed your data, export it into Promethease and/or Rhonda’s Genetic Tool

Once you have either report, you can start learning more about your DNA.

23andMe vs Ancestry

There are quite a large number of DNA testing services available. However, to keep things simple, the major two are 23andMe & Ancestry. 23andMe actually offers some health related data within its dashboard, but to really make the most it, you’ll still need to export the data and analyze it via third party tools.

For the purposes of our nutrigenomics exploration, both 23andMe & Ancestry provide adequate SNP data to analyze in Promethease.

Currently Rhonda’s genetic tool supports both 23andMe and Ancestry.

23andMe’s ancestry kit (which is plenty for our nutrigenomic needs) is around $99, as is Ancestry’s kit (which also works). Granted their prices vary quite a bit depending on promotions.

Promethease vs Rhonda’s Genetic Tool

The simplest tool for analyzing your nutrigenomic data is Rhonda’s genetic tool. It has been configured to cover all the SNPs that she regularly talks about + more. The cost of processing your report is $10, but for Patreon subscribers of $10 or more, it’s free. As mentioned above, it is best optimized for analyzing 23andMe reports currently.

Promethease is a more comprehensive analysis tool. It utilizes the SNPedia.com database, and provides a comprehensive SNP analysis. Promethease will cover everything Rhonda’s tool analyzes + more. But the rub is that you will need to wade through its library to pick out the data points you want.

I’ve used both tools, and appreciate them in their own ways. Promethease for its comprehensiveness (for example, it also covers disease risks), and Rhonda’s tool for its razor sharp focus on important nutrigenomic markers.

Promethease also costs $10 to run your report, and can handle reports from all the major DNA tests, including 23andMe, Ancestry, FamilyTreeDNA etc.

Rhonda talks more below on how nutrigenomics works:

DNA Testing & Data Privacy

One very reasonable hesitation with genetic testing kits is the possibility that this data gets shared beyond the company you purchase it from. For example, health insurance companies would probably like to know if their customers have SNPs that increase the likelihood of cancer. As of August 2018, the major DNA testing services (including 23andMe & Ancestry) have created a Privacy Best Practices for Consumer Genetic Testing Services policy (document link + 23andMe’s press release on it). This provides some reassurance, but what it doesn’t do is stop the services from anonymizing customer data, and then selling it. We recently saw this with pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline purchasing a $300m stake in 23andMe, to use their data to help identify new drug targets (link).

What we don’t yet have are guidelines on how to anonymize the data thoroughly and correctly, thus we run the risk of this data being de-anonymized.

Personally, I’ve taken a risk to use DNA testing services, because I decided the pros (for now) outweigh the cons. But I think in 2019, privacy is more important to consider than ever, and wanted to touch on this topic briefly to give fair warning.

Rhonda’s Typical Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

In an excellent Tim Ferriss podcast episode (link), Rhonda went into details on the specifics of her day to day diet. Below we’ll dig into the meals she eats, and the rationale behind the ingredients.

Breakfast

#1 – Scrambled Egg, Satueed Kale & Garlic with Grapefruit

One of Rhonda’s go to breakfasts is scrambled eggs, sautéed kale + grapefruit. Clicking on the meal images will take you to Rhonda’s Instagram page where she explains in more detail the rationale behind the ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Scrambled eggs
  • Sauteed Kale & Garlic (topped with salt, olive oil and mustard powder)
  • Grapefruit
  • Avocado oil for cooking the eggs and sautéing the kale
  • Tomatillo salsa (to give the eggs more flavour)

Optional Variations:

  • Add an avocado filled with salmon roe (see first image above)
  • Rather than scrambling eggs and sautéing kale separately, in the last image she’s opted to mix kale plus salmon into her scrambled eggs
  • Scrambled eggs topped with salmon roe

#2 Mixed Nuts & Berries Bowl

As a contrast to the above cooked breakfast, Rhonda also likes to mix nuts and berries together to form a muesli like cereal. Whilst Rhonda doesn’t eat wheat, she does eat oats up to a couple times per week for their beta glucan content. Using nuts and berries as a base, she then tweaks it by adding things like pomegranate, flaxseed, cacao nibs and almond butter.

Ingredients:

  • Chopped nuts – including pecan, macademia & walnut
  • Mixed berries – blueberries, blackberries raspberries
  • Hydrolyzed collagen powder (Rhonda uses Great Lakes brand)
  • Coconut milk (unsweetened)

Optional Variations:

  • Adding pomegranate in with the blueberries
  • Adding Greek yogurt with a sachet of high strength probiotic (Rhonda uses Visbiome brand)
  • Adding flaxseed (for omega-3 ALA + fibre content)
  • Adding shredding coconut
  • Adding Cacao nibs and/or almond butter

Lunch

Micronutrient Rich Smoothies

Whilst lunch for many is a sandwich or cooked meal, Rhonda tends to opt for a micronutrient rich smoothies.

She has 2 “famous” smoothie recipes.

They both use these as the base ingredients (technically “smoothie 1” uses a bit more chard, spinach and carrots). Note that the ingredients list below are designed for two portions (Rhonda makes for both her and her husband), thus if you’re making them just for yourself, half the quantities or consume in 2 sittings:

  • Kale (8 leaves)
  • Rainbow Chard (2 leaves and stems)
  • Spinach (2 cups)
  • Carrot (1 large)
  • Tomato (1)
  • Apple (1)
  • Frozen organic blueberries (1-2 cups)
  • Avocado (1)

Then “smoothie 1” adds:

  • Banana (1)
  • Unsweetened flax milk (3 cups ~710 ml)
  • 1 tall shot glass of flaxseed (optional)

Or “smoothie 2” adds:

  • Lemon (1)
  • Celery (2)
  • Parsley (8 pieces)
  • Hydrolyzed collagen powder (Rhonda uses Great Lakes brand) (1/4 cup)
  • Water (2 cups of water)

Rhonda has 2 videos dedicated to her smoothie recipes, check out smoothie 1 video and smoothie 2 video for more details. The key takeaway is that by blending vegetables you can get a huge overall increase in your micronutrient intake.

Additional smoothie receipes Rhonda has discussed:

  • Kale, beet, garlic, ginger, bell pepper, carrot, lemon (source)
  • Raspberry, blackberry, kale, and chard (source)
  • Cacao smoothie: 2 avocados, 13.6g of unsweetened cacao powder (~2 tablespoons), handful of raw pumpkin seeds, 1 cucumber, 1 cup of blueberries, and unsweetened almond milk (source)
  • Kale, beet, raspberry, avocado (source)

Avocado Topped with Salmon Roe

As well as aiming to consume sufficient omega-3 fatty acids, Rhonda also aims to consume omega-3 fatty acids in “phospholipid” form. In this way, the omega-3s are more easily absorbed by the body. Wild Alaskan salmon roe is a great source of phospholipids, and thus Rhonda combined them with avocado to make a healthy (light) meal.

Ingredients:

  • Avocado, topped with lemon juice
  • Wild Alaskan Salmon Roe (Rhonda has said previously she bulk buys hers from Vital Choice)

Dinner

#1 – Baked Salmon & Greens

Rhonda aims to eat salmon 2-3 times per week, which is what the American Heart Association recommends. Specifically, they suggest adults consume 500 mg per day of EPA and DHA. Which is ~2-3 servings of fatty fish per week (~8 oz). However, the average intake in Western society is only ~135 mg per day (which is about 2 servings of fish per month)

Ingredients:

  • Baked salmon
  • Assorted vegetables – often kale and spinach. Last image shows her adding avocado

#2 – Chicken Legs & Vegetables

Ingredients:

  • Grilled chicken legs from pasture raised chickens, which has some cartilage – high in collagen, proline and glycine
  • Green vegetables, such as salad or sauteed kale
  • Kimchi – for prebiotics and isothiocynates

#3 – Chicken Bone Soup with Vegetables

Rhonda makes a chicken bone soup that intrinsically has the same benefits as the hydrolyzed collagen powder she sometimes supplements; high in proline, glycine and collagen.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken bones & chicken
  • Vegetables: Kale, carrots, sweet potato, celery, onion, garlic
  • Flavouring: Pepper, rosemary, black pepper, Himalayan sea salt

#4 – Grass Fed Beef

Rhonda has a grass fed fillet steak a few times per month, which is a good source of vitamin B12, Iron, and Zinc. Around 16% of all menstruating women are actually iron deficient. For the vegetarians out there… it has been recommended to take in around twice the RDA for iron, since iron which is bound to phytate in plant sources and is ~2-times less bioavailable.

Ingredients:

  • Grass fed beef – fillet steak or otherwise
  • Green vegetables – such as kale or broccoli
  • In the image above, Rhonda’s combined pear with cheese. Pears contain catechin and proanthocyanidins, which both activate antioxidant and anti-inflammatory genes. The pears also contain prebiotic fiber to feed the gut bacteria. The aged cheddar cheese contains vitamin K2 (which prevents calcification of arteries), fat, and some calcium.

Drinking Water

We’ve covered Rhonda’s diet in detail – now lets move on to the other thing we all consume on a daily basis; water. On the face of it, it’s a colorless, odorless liquid that many of us take for granted. After all, isn’t it all more or less the same? In part, that depends on location; certainly some places have better water quality than others.

Rhonda recently tweeted about a study that showed 81% of global tap water samples tested were contaminated with plastic particles2.

Then when asked what Rhonda uses to filter her water, she replied on Twitter saying a Berkey filter (tweet link).

The Berkey water filters are free standing, gravity fed filters that have been tested to remove a whole host of things, including:

  • Chlorine
  • Heavy metals
  • Pesticides
  • Even viruses (as tiny as they are)

Plastic particles are a somewhat new contaminant, and according to this article, the Berkey filters haven’t been fully tested on them yet.

One encouraging sign is that Berkey’s can filter down to 0.1 micron or better (which is what gives it the ability to filter out tiny viruses). According to the study Rhonda linked3, 98.3% of the microplastics were between 0.1–5 mm – which is between 100-5,000 microns – more than big enough that the Berkey *should* filter them out (more testing needed).

Sleep

Scientists used to ask the question “why do we sleep?” – looking for 1 big answer. However, it’s now understood sleep improves every process in the human body. In February, Rhonda released a podcast interviewing sleep scientist Matthew Walker. If you haven’t listened to it already, I highly recommend it. Off the back of that, she has talked about the steps she takes to ensure good quality sleep.

1) Get Early Bright Light Exposure

Rhonda aims to get 30 mins to 1 hour of bright light exposure in the mornings. This gives your circadian clock an anchor for the morning.

2) Avoid Blue Light After Sunset

Whilst daylight in the morning is good, exposure to blue light in the evening can suppress melatonin release4. Releasing melatonin in the evening is natural, and it signals the need to sleep. However if we suppress the melatonin, we suppress the feeling of needing to sleep, resulting in later sleep times.

To tackle this problem, Rhonda has swapped out the lights in her home for Philips Hue bulbs. They can be controlled through software on your phone to only emit red light in the evenings, avoiding the wakeful blue light. She says this results in feeling sleepy earlier, something even friends visiting have experienced and commented on.

Philips Hue bulbs + software that controls them

An alternative to changing your bulbs are light blocking goggles. However compliance can be worse, as you have to remember to put them on each evening.

3) No Screen Time 2 Hours Before Sleep

Rhonda aims to avoid screen time (phone, computer, ipad) 2 hours before sleep. Rather than it being about light this time, she says that isn’t the key part, because we can use applications on our devices to reduce the blue light. Instead, these devices increase anxiety and reduce relaxation, and that’s what we’re trying to avoid. Things like emails, social media and news headlines can all increase anxiety and alertness before bed.

Something she has taken to is ordering science publications; such as New Scientist, and reads them in the evening. Whilst that may not be everyone’s cup of tea content-wise – the general principle of reading offline content is likely to help, be it fiction, fantasy etc.

4) Time Restricted Eating

Rhonda aims to finish eating 3 hours before bed. This reduces digestion whilst sleeping, which can improve sleep quality.

5) Blackout Curtains / Dark Room

Even a little bit of light can disrupt sleep, so Rhonda takes steps to ensure her bedroom is dark at night.

6) Sleep in a Cool Room

Our bodies naturally drop their core temperature at night, and having a warm room makes this harder. The Sleep Council suggests 60-65°F (16-18°C ) is the ideal temperature range, whilst temperatures below 53°F (12°C) and above 71°F (24°C) are likely to make sleep more difficult. A colder room is easier to modulate with blankets, whereas with a hotter room, there’s only so much clothing you can take off.

Rhonda resides in a warm part of the world (San Diego, CA), and thus has taken to using what’s called a ChiliPAD. It’s a temperature controlled topper that circulates water inside to maintain the desired temperature. What’s your desired temperature? Well, it’ll likely be somewhere between 60-68°C, but each person is different. So it requires a bit of experimentation at the start to find what works for you. Once a temperature is set, the ChiliPAD will maintain it throughout the night, even as the temperature in your room fluctuates. Whilst I haven’t got a ChiliPAD yet, I’m certainly curious. It’s not just Rhonda who’s a fan, podcasters Peter Attia (source) and Tim Ferriss (source) also use them.

 

ChiliPAD illustration showing how it circulates water above the mattress

Side Note: Melatonin

Whilst Rhonda doesn’t actively supplement melatonin herself, she does suggest this can be a useful strategy either if you’re over 50 years of age (because natural melatonin production decreases), or if you have trouble sleeping.

The aspect of melatonin production decreasing with age is important (see this study for more discussion). We know that good sleep is absolutely crucial to overall health, so if we can supplement melatonin and measure a noticeable positive impact on sleep, that’s a huge (easy) win. This can be coupled with exercise, which also improves sleep quality (for both younger and older people).

With melatonin, it’s easy to fall into the trap of more = better. However an MIT study found that supplementing no more 300mcg (microgram) was ideal. Doses above this induced hypothermia (being too cold during sleep) and caused melatonin levels in the blood to remain elevated the next day (which can lead to groggyness).

It’s actually not so easy to get low dose melatonin supplement, because most are measuring in mg (milligram) range (such as 2mg, 5mg etc) which is much higher than 300mcg, but a company called Life Extension do offer a 300mcg supplement – which fits into the parameters of the MIT study.

Rhonda’s Supplements

Whilst Rhonda strives to meet all her micronutrient needs through diet, she also takes daily supplements in order to cover all bases. Part of her rationale for supplements comes from the work of one of her mentors; Bruce Ames. His “triage theory” informs us that even moderate micronutrient deficiency over time can damage our bodies. See my post on Bruce Ames’ Triage Theory for more information.

Below is a list of the core supplements that Rhonda either consumes daily, or, consumes intermittently for specific function:

Dr Rhonda Patrick’s Daily Supplements

Additional Supplements Rhonda Uses:

Rhonda’s Preferred Nootropics:

  • Choline – Alpha GPC – NOW – Alpha GPC 300mg – Taken for public speaking events or podcasts to increase mental acuity
  • Lion’s Mane Mushroom – Four Sigmatic Mushroom Elixir – Taken specifically for intense periods of work
  • Sulforaphane – From self-grown broccoli sprouts

Additional Recommendations:

  • Beet Powder – Activz Organic – Rhonda has recommended to her family members with high blood pressure
  • Wild Salmon Roe Caviar – from Vital Choice – Natural source of EPA & DHA phospholipids
  • Methylated B Vitamins – Swanson’s B Complex – Rhonda has recommended to family members with MTHFR mutation

The above is just a high level overview of the supplements Rhonda takes. For more information, including sources, see this lengthy post on Rhonda’s supplements.

Exercise Routine

Each week Rhonda aims to include:

  1. Endurance Training – specifically Rhonda opts for Running
  2. High Intensity Training – specifically Rhonda opts for Spinning classes (stationary bike class) or Squat Jumps
  3. Resistance/Strength Training – specifically Rhonda opts for lunges, squats & other weight lifting exercises
  4. Stretching/Flexibility – specifically Rhonda opts for yoga and ballet exercises

Rhonda explains that the top 3; endurance, high intensity & resistance training are necessary to stave off muscle aging.

This is important to realize, because many of us get comfortable in exercise routines of limited variety. If we get comfortable just doing endurance training like running or cycling, then we might miss out on the muscle preserving benefits of weight lifting. Vice-versa, if we only do weight lifting – we may miss out on the mitochondrial benefits of endurance training. Below are specific benefits of each type of exercise:

Endurance Training – Prevents age related decline in mitochondrial respiratory capacity – helping your muscle cells produce ATP similar to your younger self

High Intensity Training – Boosts mitochondrial biogenesis – increasing the number of young, healthy mitochondria your body makes

Resistance/Strength Training – Maintains or increases muscle mass, strength & power – all of which decline without training

For more of Rhonda on exercise & its benefits, see this longer post – Rhonda Patrick Exercise – Routine and Recommendations.

Closing Words

Whilst this post is long, hopefully you’ve found some of it useful for your own life. If it all seems a bit much, and you only take away one thing from the post, Rhonda has previously mentioned that cutting out refined sugars will yield the largest benefit.

In case they’re of value, here are some further posts I’ve written on Dr Rhonda Patrick related content:

  • A relatively comprehensive list of supplements that Rhonda has discussed taking, some daily, some for specific use-cases (link)
  • Notes on many of the key things Rhonda has discussed about pregnancy & baby health – based on her journey into motherhood (link)
  • As mentioned above, a comprehensive look at both Rhonda’s exercise routine + the science behind exercise benefits (link)
  • Rhonda on Curcumin – discussing the potential medicinal benefits of the plant (link)

See Post Sources Below:

  1. High frequency of lactose intolerance in a prehistoric hunter-gatherer population in northern Europe – Malmström H, et al 2010 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20353605/
  2. Anthropogenic contamination of tap water, beer, and sea salt – https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0194970
  3. Anthropogenic contamination of tap water, beer, and sea salt – https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0194970
  4. Action spectrum for melatonin regulation in humans: evidence for a novel circadian photoreceptor – Brainard GC et al (2001)
Alex

Posted by Alex

51 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Denise Hagerman August 22, 2019 at 8:37 am

    Does she eat the same foods everyday?

    Reply

    1. Alex

      Hi Denise. Did I give that impression? Sorry. No, Rhonda definitely doesn’t eat the same meals each day. Above I was just giving examples of the types of foods that she has shared about eating. A template if you will, should you wish to emulate similar types of meals.

      Reply

  2. Avatar

    I have a question in regards to intermittent fasting/time restricted eating. Does is matter that I start my time restricted eating at different times everyday? Does it matter if I eat from 10am-8pm on Monday and on Tuesday I eat from 7am-5pm? That is if I do it within a 10 hour time window…which I find to be easier than trying to cut that time shorter.

    Reply

    1. Alex

      Hi.
      With regards to varying the time window (in which you eat) day to day, I’d imagine it’s not optimal. For the reason that it could (slightly) disrupt the circadian rhythm of our body.
      But from a pragmatic standpoint, it’s an inevitability of life, and better than not practicing intermittent fasting at all.
      With the eating windows you gave as examples, there doesn’t seem to be an issue. But one thing to watch out for is to avoid eating windows that get too late into the night. For a variety of reasons, including digestion and its effect on sleep + reduced glucose tolerance in the evening (source paper).

      Reply

  3. Avatar

    This page is hands down one of the greatest health resources on the net, not sure why Rhonda hasn’t linked to it on her site.

    Question: Are you familiar with Athletic Greens supplement? Do you reckon the following consolidated stack taken from Rhonda could replace it?

    Multivitamin – Pure Encapsulations O.N.E – 1 capsule/daily
    Vitamin D3 – Thorne Research – D3 (1,000iu) – 2 capsules/daily
    Fish Oil – Norwegian PURE-3 DHA – 6 capsules/daily
    Magnesium – Thorne Research – Magnesium Citramate – 1 capsule/daily

    Reply

    1. Alex

      Hi Son. Thanks for the compliment.

      In terms of just micronutrients, then yes, the stack you’ve listed will have you covered. You can compare the micronutrients from PureGreens here (once loaded, scroll to the image of the back of the packet, and click the plus symbol), with the micronutrients from O.N.E here.

      Unless you’re getting lots of fresh oily fish, then the addition of omega-3s is a good move.

      Reply

  4. Avatar

    Hi Rhonda/Alex
    Thank you for all this info. I am looking at all the food and to me it seems like a lot..I would eat that in two or three days even if I have a physical job. I also would like to know if all the food is organic. Alos not mentioned I would like her opinion on Hemp or rice protein powders for the vegetarians out there
    Cheers and thank you
    Geoff

    Reply

    1. Alex

      Hi Geoff, thanks for your message. In terms of quantity, Rhonda’s meals don’t look that large to me? Especially if one is abstaining from unhealthy snacks. Perhaps you’re seeing the pictures side by side and assuming she eats multiple plates per sitting? Either way, you can of course tailor these suggestions to meet your own dietary requirements.

      I haven’t heard Rhonda talk specifically around hemp or rice protein powders, so can’t offer comment on those. In terms of organic, I’d imagine Rhonda strives to eat organic where possible, but I haven’t heard her say specifically that she eats 100% organic. That could be a question you put forward to her directly in one of her Patreon subscriber AMAs. Link to her Patreon page here.

      Reply

  5. Avatar

    God bless you for this information. I’ve listened to reams of her stuff. Found myself taking stacks of either mental or paper notes. BUT… You’ve consolidated EVERYTHING in one article. I even have brands of supplement.

    Aside from keeping up with the quantity of information she fires off, I find I am distracted by her looks. There is something about her that I can’t put my finger on…she’s a scorcher. As in hot.

    Do you know if she is single?

    You seem to know everything else about her. I mean…you even know what she has for breakfast.

    Jokes aside, I take health very seriously. I’ve been unwittingly following restricted eating for seven years now. Used to be because I ‘never had time’ for breakfast.

    Although I would eat absolute JUNK back then, I now eat a 90-95% plant based diet with some fish, organ meats and occasional chicken. Limited dairy (both quantity and frequency): organic sheep’s yoghurt and eggs. Considering whether to axe eggs. Maybe not based on this post.

    Do you know why she opts for beef over organ meats? I assume she is eating solely for nutrition and not for taste. It’s no secret that steak tastes gorgeous and liver is well…so-so. But other than taste, organ meats surely superior.

    Once again, thanks so much for this information.

    Richard, England

    Reply

    1. Alex

      Hi Richard, thanks for the comment!
      Actually I think there’s a few things I can improve with the article, will try and make time soon.
      With regards to organ meats, I’m in agreement with you that they’re packed with nutrients (that seems undeniable). Especially great if they can be sourced organically.
      To my knowledge (?) Rhonda hasn’t talked about making organ meats a regular part of her diet. Although she does like to eat bone broth, which is about the closest thing (although not the same).
      If she talks more about organ meats, then I’ll of course update the post.
      If I had to guess, and it would just be a guess, I’d imagine this is more of a cultural thing, rather than with her having an issue with organ meats. I.e. culturally most Americans don’t eat a lot of organ meats. But not because they have anything against them, other than lack of familiarity in terms of taste, cooking and receipes.
      Not sure if you’re a Patreon subscriber of hers? If so, could submit that question to her upcoming AMA (ask me anything).

      Reply

      1. Avatar

        Hello Alex; thanks for getting back to me.

        You may be right about the organ meats. It could just be culture. That said, even in the UK, organ meats haven’t been popular for decades and decades.

        The look of amazement and/or disgust I get from people when I tell them I eat lambs heart…

        I explain it’s just another muscle, like any other cut of meat. I’ve tried that line so many times and it’s never worked! Heart, in my opinion, is the best organ meat for those who are unaccustomed to the flavours. Heart is close in taste to ‘normal’ cuts.

        I also think in the USA, you don’t like lamb full stop. But any of your readers interested could probably buy organic grass fed hearts of their choosing, etc.

        I don’t subscribe to her, no. I’ll look into this. If I get some info, I’ll post it under this comment.

        Thanks, Richard

        Reply

  6. Avatar

    Wish we could have an overview like this from a Dr. Peter Attia approach. Would love to compare their methodologies.

    Reply

    1. Alex

      Thanks Jason. I’ll try to add some content regarding Peter Attia in the near future.
      Definitely find his approach interesting, with the use of “fast mimetic” drugs like metformin and rapamycin.
      I know in the past he went through a period of keto-only eating. And these days he fasts until the evening, then eats a large quantity for 1 meal (non-keto).
      Definitely different approaches, but both utilizing some form of time restricted feeding.
      To me, probably the most interesting thing will be to discuss those fast-mimetic drugs. Not sure if you caught his episode with Nir Barzilai – they talked quite a bit about metformin. Also in his appearance on the Kevin Rose show they dug deep into rapamycin.
      At at least at the moment, rapamycin is a bit beyond my tolerance level for risk. But metformin has been used for years in diabetic patients, so far more is known around its safety profile. Crossing my fingers for progress in the Tame trial, which is Nir’s project to test metformin a healthspan improving drug, and has a chance to get Metformin prescribed for aging as a disease. As it stands currently, aging is not seen as a disease, and thus it hasn’t been possible to get drugs approved for that, they always have to be approved for other ailements.

      Reply

  7. Avatar

    Thanks for taking the time to add the links and descriptions 🙂 well written

    Reply

  8. Avatar

    Excellent summary and report, Alex. Thank you for putting in your time to make this easily digestible for others!

    Reply

    1. Alex

      Thanks Josh, appreciate the kind words.

      Reply

  9. Avatar

    Alex,

    This site is incredibly helpful and well put together. Thank you so much for your time and effort. Please, please keep up the great work! 🙂

    Reply

    1. Alex

      Thanks Mike, appreciate the kind words!

      Reply

  10. Avatar

    Thanks for the info! I wish I could afford the smoothie. I calculated out smoothie #2 to be $20 per person (I am in Canada, we have ample organic produce available), using all organic produce. I would be interested if anyone else has done this calculation. I don’t think I could afford this smoothie, maybe once per week only!

    per 1 smoothie
    Kale (8 leaves) $3.49
    Chard (two rainbow chard leaves and stems) $1.75
    spinach (2 cups) $2.75
    celery (2) $1.66
    parsley (8 pieces) $1.16
    carrot (1 large) $0.80
    tomato (1) $0.75
    apple (1) $1.16
    lemon (1) $0.83
    frozen organic blueberries (1 – 2 cups) $2.00
    avocado (1) $1.98
    hydrolyzed collagen powder (1/4 cup): $1.00
    water: ( 2 cups)
    Total: $19.32

    Reply

    1. Alex

      Hi Stevie, thanks for the comment & calculation, I think it forms the basis of an interesting conversation.

      In terms of quantities; Rhonda quotes that for 2 servings, so for 1 person your calculations come to ~$10 – which (for me at least) is still a lot.

      Personally I tend to make much simpler smoothies, both to bring down cost & save time. Mine look a bit more like (generally organic):

      • Kale
      • Spinach
      • 1/2 Apple
      • 1/2 Banana
      • Beet powder – for me, powder is more convenient than prepping fresh beets (cooked beets lose some of their nutrient value)
      • Ginger
      • Lemon or Lime

      If I’ve got blueberries or avocado (which are both fairly expensive), then they’ll occasionally go in too. I haven’t actually worked out the cost of the ingredients, but it’s much less than $10 per time.

      For me, the main goal is to consume uncooked leafy greens, which this achieves – otherwise I don’t think I eat enough.

      Would be curious how others do it, and what it costs them?

      Reply

    2. Avatar

      Prices in the US are much lower than what is suggested here. I can make the smoothie for less than $10 and have enough to make atleast one more smoothie. Is growing some veggies an option? Buy bulk and freeze?

      Reply

  11. Avatar

    So Im reading the china study- their findings on a carb based diet is a bit different …

    Are you aware of any comparison or material where Dr Rhonda – talks a bout the findings of the China Study

    Reply

    1. Alex

      Hi Brian, I’m not aware of any material where Rhonda has gone into detail on the China study.

      She has mentioned a couple of relevant bits of Twitter, which you’ve probably already seen:

      In answer to the question “What’s your take on the China Study in relation to your work?” she replied in 2014:

      “My take is it is more complicated than they say. It has to do w/the interplay between IGF-1, inflammation & DNA damage.”

      If I was to try and interpret this… when she says “it is more complicated than they say”, she’s referring to the China study suggesting that poor health in the west is primarily down to the high animal protein diets. The study suggests that adopting plant based diets will ameliorate these issues.

      Rhonda instead says its more complicated and mentions IGF-1, inflammation & DNA damage. So lets look at them separately.

      IGF-1: This is primarily regulated by eating amino acids – of which animal sources are the most abundant. Certainly there’s evidence to suggest that lower IGF-1 reduces vulnerability to age related diseases. There are good mice and human models where they have a receptor deficiency resulting in low/zero IGF-1, and they don’t exhibit age-related diseases such as cancer to the same level as those with working receptors. For example see this paper by Valter Longo et al.

      Inflammation: This can be caused by a range of lifestyle factors, including consumption of sugary foods and drinks, smoking, drinking, bad air quality, sedentary behaviour & poor sleep quality. These are all things that permeate Western lifestyle, and it’s quite possible Chinese villagers in the study were not as exposed to them as Westerners.

      DNA damage: This can be caused by many of the same things mentioned above; smoking, drinking, bad air quality, poor sleep quality. In addition, many Western diets don’t contain adequate quantities of essential micronutrients, which over time can also cause DNA damage. See Bruce Ames’ work on Triage Theory for more info. We can get more essential micronutrients from plants, especially plants grown in nutrient rich soil (which isn’t necessarily the case with factory farming).

      So putting that all together (IGF-1, inflammation, DNA damage)… she’s saying that we can’t look at the meat consumption in Western diets and say for sure that it’s causing the majority of diseases. We need to also factor in things that cause inflammation and DNA damage.

      Then, somewhat related, Rhonda answers on Twitter to someone asking what she thinks of high animal protein diets:

      “Mostly plant-based diet is very healthy & if eat diet high in animal protein better not eat refined carbs & exercise like a mofo.”

      Rhonda doesn’t advocate for vegetarianism or veganism, as you see from the above post, she eats meats & fish in moderation. With regards to fish, she doesn’t believe you can get *optimal amounts* of omega-3 EPA & DHA with plant based sources only (such as algae oil) – but algae oil is certainly better than nothing.

      Reply

  12. Avatar

    Oh my, Alex, how can I thank you? You have put an incredible amount of time in this website. I’ve been looking into Dr. Patrick and her videos, I would like to change my lifestyle, and this page just has everything I need. Thank you!

    Reply

    1. Alex

      Hi, thanks for the kind words, hope it helps. Let me know if you spot incongruencies or have any questions.

      Reply

  13. Avatar

    Hi Alex,

    Loving what you do here, has been so helpful for me and many others!

    Do you know why she takes both the fish oil and the omega 3 supplements? Are there different benefits to each? I’m wanting to follow this, but cost-wise it does get a little expensive.

    Thank you!

    Reply

    1. Alex

      Hi Taylor, thanks for your message.

      Good question.

      So the Omega3 fatty acids, DHA & EPA are essential to our survival. And getting adequate amounts of them is essential to our healthy survival.

      Their roles are complex and diverse, but you could say that EPA plays a big role in inflammation regulation, and DHA is important to the brain (it makes up around 10% to 20% of the fat in the brain, of which the brain is 60% fat (lipids) by dry weight).

      So of course Rhonda takes these to ensure she gets adequate quantities, rather than just relying on oily fish in her diet.

      Then in terms of why you might want to add a phospholipid form of omega3s – it’s primarily down to their increased bioavailability. In particular the phospholipid form of DHA appears to be well absorbed by the brain by the Mfsd2a transporter.

      There’s more to it than that, but that hopefully does the question justice at a high level.

      And then lastly, one reason Rhonda is particularly keen to get enough omega3 phospholipids in, is because she carries the APOE4 allele. Depending upon which form of APOE4 you have, it can predispose you to between 3x & 15x the probability of developing Alzheimers disease in later life.

      It appears that one of the reasons behind this is that APOE4 hinders transport of DHA into the brain. And DHA helps in clearing amyloid plaques and tau tangles – which are involved in alzheimers disease.

      The good news is that it seems a form of DHA that you can get from fish (but not from regular fish oil supplements) called phosphatidylcholine DHA gets converted into DHA-lysoPC, and this DHA-lysoPC does not appear to have its transport effected by APOE4.

      Allowing it to help clear amyloid plaques and tau tangles.

      Thus… for those living long lives (which we all want), with APOE4 allele’s, who want to avoid/delay Alzheimer’s as long as possible – consuming omega3s in phospholipid form makes sense.

      You can get this from fish, and in particular fish roe (fish eggs) – which are Rhonda’s primary source these days. And then you can also get these from supplements.

      I haven’t seen a source for this statistic, but its quoted that around 25% of the population carry a form of the APOE4 allele.

      Reply

  14. Avatar

    Just going to echo the many comments you get here. A] what a great idea to do this. I hope you get lots of commissions for clicks. B] You’ve done an enormous amount of work and a huge service to people who listen to podcasts and don’t have time to write it all down.

    So – thanks!

    Reply

    1. Alex

      Hi Christine, thanks for the message, and glad the post has been useful.
      Let me know if you’ve any questions the article didn’t answer – and I’ll try to improve it.

      Reply

  15. Avatar

    Thanks for this Alex–extremely helpful. Do you happen to know what brands of flax milk and almond milk she uses in the smoothie recipes noted above?

    Reply

    1. Alex

      Hi Tim, thanks for the message.
      I haven’t been able to find a mention of Rhonda’s brand preference for the unsweetened flax & almond milk she uses. If I do, I’ll add a follow up comment that you should get email notification of.

      Reply

  16. Avatar

    Today I have heard for the first time about Birm ( the plant from Ecuador that cures cancer. Is that plant replaceable with broccoli sprout or they are completely different?
    Thank you
    Isabel Lastres

    Reply

    1. Alex

      Hi Isabel, thanks for your message.

      With regards to your research into Brim & Sulforaphane – what type of cancer are you looking to treat?

      Cancers are all different, and what works for one, may not work for another. So would encourage when looking up treatments in the scientific journals (I like Google Scholar for those searches), to try and find data on both the substance (in this case Brim & Sulforaphane) and the relevant type of cancer.

      If you find that substance x is good for cancer type y, but you actually want to treat cancer type z – it’s less likely the scientific study is relevant for you.

      Reply

  17. Avatar

    I am positive for the CDH1 Gene. I had lobular breast cancer in 2008 and again in the bone in 2016. My last PET scan showed NO ACTIVE CANCER. I have mad many changes in my lifestyle. I have 2 sister also with cancer and my mother at 40yo. I have a daughter and 3 nieces. What can we do to not activate the CDH1 gene.

    Also, I am VERY interested in the FMD. Would you recommend it for me? I would love to get your opinion.

    Reply

    1. Alex

      Hi Teresa, thanks for your comment.

      Regarding CDH1, that’s not something I’ve studied, so can’t give any specific information on it. Sorry I can’t be more help on that front.

      Reply

    2. Avatar

      Go with your gut Teresa! I have done FMD for autoimmune issues and general health improvement and will do it again. Have you read Longo’s book The Longevity Diet yet? There is a section that specifically discusses diet for cancer. I would check that out along with regular use of FMD. Best wishes!

      Reply

  18. Avatar

    Hi there,

    I have been on the keto diet for about 5 months with great results. I was introduced via the Joe Rogan pdcast. I’m not up to date with her episodes, what are her thoughts on the keto diet now? It’s been a few years since the episode i saw. Does she recommend it still or has she found it to be harmful now?

    Would you have a link to article or video on her latest views on Keto please?

    Cheers

    Reply

    1. Alex

      Hi Daniel, thanks for the comment. Glad to hear the keto diet is working well for you.

      Rhonda hasn’t yet experimented with keto. Her current diet is relatively close to keto (for example she avoids most grains and has eliminated sugar), but she still consumes more carbohydrates than one would if they were eating keto.

      In her recent podcast with Dr Dale Bredesen they touched on keto (which he’s using for patients), and she asked him if he thought it would be beneficial to her if she used it. His response was that she’d have to try, and then monitor her health whilst on it too see if there are benefits vs her current diet.

      But for now at least, she isn’t experimenting with it.

      Reply

  19. Avatar

    Can I use your smoothie (not the one with the banana) as the calories for Dr. Longo Fasting Mimicking Diet? Does it have the correct ratio of carbs, fats and protein?

    I was thinking 64 oz for the day – with coffee and cream.

    Coffee is not likely an acceptable item, but I hope it will still work.

    Reply

    1. Alex

      Hi Lyla, thanks for the message. Regarding a DIY Fast Mimicking Diet, assuming you don’t exceed the calorie + macronutrient ratios set out, that smoothie should be fine.

      You’ll probably want to weigh out your ingredients to ensure accuracy.

      From memory I think Valter discourages coffee on the FMD where possible, but on balance I’d imagine it’s okay (if the alternative is not doing the fast at all).

      Reply

      1. Avatar

        Thanks Alex.
        His diet limits carbs to 400 calories and healthy fats to 400 calorie.

        The avocado has 261 calories from fat. So two servings would be a little over (I’ll use less than a whole avocado)

        The smoothie #1 has a single serving calorie count of 446 – in total. I can not find the calories for smoothie #2, but it looks much less. Do you know the calorie count of the smoothie #2?

        Reply

  20. Avatar

    Dr Rhonda Patrick’s Diet…2018 Update is absolutely the most beneficial and time saving resource I’ve read in years. I’m always driving while listening to Dr Patrick’s podcasts then find myself getting absorbed reading too many additional ‘research’ articles, thus never categorizing exactly what dietary and lifestyle changes I need to implement immediately.

    While I absolutely love the links and videos of Dr Rhonda Patrick, it is your article which logically distills each topic that has allowed me to quickly make needed changes. Your generosity in sharing has immensely helped me.
    With gratitude

    Reply

  21. Avatar

    I made the first smoothie this morning and it was surprisingly good! I halved the ingredients but my blender was still full to the top.

    Reply

  22. Avatar

    Alex,

    This is an incredibly valuable resource. Thank you for taking the time to centralize all of Rhonda’s life altering information in one place.

    For those of us trying to heal our bodies from deep physical setbacks this kind of page is far more than mere casual reading. Keep up the great work. . .it makes a difference.

    Jeff

    Reply

    1. Alex

      Hi Jeff, thanks for the kind comment.

      I see the potential life altering benefits of the information that Rhonda is spreading, so it’s nice to hear that this struck a note with you also.

      Good luck on your journey, and let me know if there are any elements you’d like to see elaborated or improved upon.

      Reply

  23. Avatar

    Thank you Alex. I know the drill about the salmon being better wild but since all our fish population is decreasing I was hoping someone would start to find some decent farmed raised fish. Thank you for the info on the sauna. All makes sense.
    Jo

    Reply

    1. Alex

      Great point about healthy, sustainably farmed fish. Agree, that would be interesting to learn more about.

      Reply

  24. Avatar
    Richard Chalker July 29, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    Thank you for putting this together – very much appreciated. Dr. Patrick did state at one point – and I almost missed it – that the smoothie number 2 she is preparing in her video is for both her and her husband to consume – albeit those making a smoothie for one person only, should perhaps consider halving the ingredients.

    Reply

    1. Alex

      Hi Richard, good spot! You’re right that her ingredient quantities are meant for two servings. Will update that now so people don’t go overboard with huge smoothies. Thanks.

      Reply

  25. Avatar

    Hi Alex,
    This was great to see the pics of what Rhonda eats daily. Does Rhonda eat farmed salmon? I also tweeted her a question about thermal therapies like using the sauna she never responded. I was curious if you know if one should drink water while using the sauna. I want to get the theraputic effects of stressing the body and thought that drinking water during my sauna would interfere with that process.

    Reply

    1. Alex

      Hi Jo, thanks for the message. From the material Rhonda has shared on Instagram, she seems to aim for “Wild Alaskan” salmon, rather than farmed (for example see this Instagram post). Probably the main difference comes down to the foods the salmon eat wild vs farmed, leading to changes in the nutrient composition, including higher amounts of omega-6s in the farmed fish. However, wild fish costs more, and isn’t always an option. From a pragmatic stand point, it would likely make sense to go for farmed fish over none at all.

      With regards to your sauna use, the “leaders” in this field (outside of the scientists) tend to be the Finnish, so they’re a good “go to” for any details. From what I’ve read your approach seems optimal. Drink some water in advance of the sauna, then omit the water whilst you’re in it. If you’re cycling sessions in the sauna, drink the water inbetween the sessions. That way whilst you’re encouraging your body to sweat, you’re not cooling it down or affecting it in any way by drinking water.

      Would be curious to see if the two methods (drinking water vs not drinking whilst in the sauna), when compared against each other, would have much of a difference. Don’t think that study has been done.

      Reply

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