Love Your Body—Go Nuts for Nuts

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

“My mom always has her bag of nuts with her!”

My daughter, Kim, made that comment when my daughter-in-law asked her what she should prepare for my hubby and me when we were coming to visit since she knew we try to eat healthy, raw, and organic. Kim was saying: don’t worry about it. If my mom can’t find enough to eat, she’ll snack on her nut concoction.

cracked walnuts

I’ve always enjoyed a variety of nuts since I was a kid. I remember sitting with my mom shelling walnuts for hours from big bags we would fill from the walnut orchards that used to be so prevalent in Southern California. After their harvest, they let the public come through and glean walnuts. Great memories and great walnuts! My heart breaks as I watch so many of these walnut orchards destroyed to build new houses. I want to scream: “Don’t you know how good those walnuts are for you and how long it took for those trees to grow?” But I don’t think anyone would listen to me.

We always had walnuts. We baked with walnuts and loved just snacking on them. I can remember eating as many as I shelled!

Then as I grew older and was always watching my weight, I started hearing how high in calories nuts were and I treated them like a delicacy…only adding to banana nut bread or an occasional crumb topping or Waldorf salad (apples, celery, and walnuts). But then there was a trend to put nuts in salads and I was all over that. How had we missed all those years how delicious walnuts or pecans are in a salad with strawberries or pears or any array of fruit? Oh and that was something new too. Salads didn’t just need to be veggies and tomatoes—fresh fruit of all kinds is fabulous in a green salad and topped with nuts and raspberry salad dressing, a real treat.

salad

Cancer Changed Everything

So over the years, I enjoyed nuts sparingly and guiltily. But all that changed when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and began researching the best foods for fighting cancer. At the top of the list were nuts! Not just any kind of nuts though: organic and raw were the best because the high roasting temperatures used in roasting nuts can destroy many of the good nutrients and the pesticides sprayed on nonorganic nuts negate much of their nutritional value.

Nuts are little gifts from God, packed with powerful nutrients for not only fighting cancer, but heart disease, high cholesterol, endocrine and inflammatory problemsthe list is endless. Yes, they have calories, but they are such a concentrated source of nutrition, that you don’t have to eat many to gain the benefits. Nuts are good calories. Calories you want to include in your diet while you eliminate wasted calories.

So I make my own “trail mix” with a variety of organic, raw, unsalted, and if possible, sprouted, nuts. I always start with almonds, cashews, and walnuts, and then I might add pistachios, shelled sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, macadamias, Brazil nuts, or pecans. Sometimes I add dried unsulphured fruit, but usually, it’s just a mixture of nuts, which I take with me everywhere and keep on my desk in my office while I’m writing!

Remember that raw nuts are unprocessed so keep any extras in the refrigerator or freezer. I like to buy raw, organic nuts in bulk and then freeze them. Then I’ll defrost some and make a big batch of my “trail mix” combining a variety of nuts and portion into smaller bags that I keep in the refrigerator and take out one bag at a time to enjoy.

Yes, if you walked into my office today, you would see my bag of nuts . . . in fact I just had a handful while I was writing this. If you looked in my travel bag, yep there would be a bag of nuts. When hubby and I go to town for the day, you guessed it, I have my bag of nuts if I want a snack while we’re shopping or watching soccer games or hanging out with the family.

It doesn’t take many of these powerhouse gifts from God, so a handful or two will do you nicely and probably quench your appetite so you don’t eat so much at the next meal. Think how much better this is for you than a bag of chips or candy bar or even popcorn. Popcorn does not have the nutrients of nuts, but you can add nuts to your popcorn and that’s yummy too.

Check out These Websites

So I’ve researched a couple of websites that I think you will enjoy. The first one, Why You Should Go Nuts for Nuts is one I really like. On the first page, after you read the introduction, hit on “View All” and it will take you to pictures of different nuts. When you hit on the picture, you’ll get a summary of all the health benefits of that particular nut.

And here’s a great article about walnuts, 10 Surprising Facts About Walnuts.

Tips for Going Nuts

  • If you find nuts hard to chew, try grinding them and adding to your recipes or chopping them.
  • Add nuts to your salads, cereal, oatmeal, granola, cereal, vegetables, cookies, cobblers . . . the list is endless.
  • If you can’t go raw nuts, Dr. Oz says in his book, You On a Diet, that it’s OK to cook them at 275 degrees for 9-12 minutes to roast without damaging the good oils and nutrients.
  • If raw organic are too expensive, I would opt for at least raw because roasting at high temperatures damages most of the nutrients. You might wash them off and then do a light roasting, as I mentioned above.
  • If you don’t like a particular nut, no problem. There are so many to choose from.
  • Substitute almond milk for regular milk. Some people like to make their own almond milk and I just discovered how to make walnut milk. Yummy!

What are some ways you’ve found to use nuts?

If you received this blog by email, leave a comment here.

*Pictures are from the websites listed in the article.

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Love Your Body—Prevent or Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

It’s Love Your Body Monday! I’ve been so encouraged to hear weight loss stories from many of you and how this series has helped and encouraged you to start living healthier. I love your successes, so please send them to me or leave comments on this post.

Some of you may have decided that 2016 is the year you get fit and healthy, and you don’t know how happy that makes me. As a reminder, my first career was as a Registered Dietitian in hospitals. I thought I would be the Florence Nightingale of Dietetics and patients would be so happy to learn that many of their health issues could be resolved by changing their diets and lifestyle. There I was a naive young woman fresh out of college and a yearlong internship ready to save the sick and help them live healthier happier lives.

But I hit a brick wall. Patients didn’t want to change their diets and doctors didn’t support the R.D.’s counseling. Patients would rather take a pill then alter their diet. The R.D.’s were always the meanies taking away their “one pleasure in life.” Repeatedly, I would see patients return to the hospital because they refused to take ownership of their health. It was a rude awakening and a thankless profession.

Fast forward to today, when the public and the medical profession are more respectful of the cause and effect of food on the body. As evidenced by an article, “The Diet Prescription,” in the January 25, 2016 issue of TIME magazine. Studies are now proving something that I have been saying for years: Just because diabetes runs in your family or you show pre-diabetes indicators for Type 2 diabetes, “diabetes development is not inevitable.”

This is so important because: In the US, more than two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese and extra body fat is a major risk factor for Type 2 diabetes! Here is a direct quote from the TIME article:

“I think people intellectually know that eating healthy and being active is good for you, but I don’t think they understand what an impact it has on preventing Type 2 diabetes for those at high risk,” says Ann Albright, director of the Division of Diabetes Translation at the CDC. “It really is the most effective intervention for delaying or preventing Type 2.”

The article said for those who already have Type 2 diabetes, diet and exercise alone cannot reverse diabetes, but they can reduce the severity of symptoms. But you will read a true story by  Anita Sherwood at the end of this post, which proves that it is possible to reverse Type 2 Diabetes through diet and exercise!

Doctors are not trained in behavior modification and so they don’t always know how to help you change your eating habits. They do know how to write a prescription. I can’t tell you the number of overweight people I’ve seen with knee replacements and I ponder, why doesn’t their doctor tell them to lose weight to help the success of the new knees?

Doctors Writing a Prescription for Nutrition

I was delighted to read in the Time magazine article about internist Dr. Monica Peek who has found that the way to get her patients to take notice of changing their lifestyle is to pull out her prescription pad and write: “I recommend the following nutrition for this patient…” And she says the patients started taking her seriously. It’s so simple! In fact, the subtitle to this article was “A deceptively simple approach to Type 2 diabetes is showing promise.”

But here’s the rub: the patient has to want to avoid diabetes badly enough to start eating healthy and exercising. Many think they’ll just start taking a pill and they can keep eating the way they always have. Maybe if the doctors told them that some of the complications of Type 2 diabetes can be extreme fatigue, blurry vision, sores, and foot problems, which can led to amputations, they would take diet and exercise more seriously. Potentially, there can be a damaging of blood vessels and nerves that can progress to vigilant monitoring of blood sugar levels, counting carbohydrates, timing meals, taking multiple blood lowering drugs with their own side effects, and sometimes requiring insulin injections.

I don’t know about you, but losing weight and eating food my body needs to be healthy sounds a lot easier, less painful, and a much better alternative. But Dr. Peek admits: “‘We can prevent a lot of chronic diseases if we eat better and exercise more,” Peek says. “But people don’t always think about it in that way.’”

So here’s what I’m suggesting friends: Let’s start thinking about it that way!

I know many of you have had doctors tell you that your blood sugar is too high and you need to cut back on sugar intake and lose a few pounds. Or one of your parents has Type 2 diabetes so you’ve just resigned to eat what you can while you can before the “inevitable” happens. Or you’ve already been diagnosed so you think, what’s the use? But let’s change that thinking today!

Here’s a Start:

  1. Be Honest with Yourself. It’s easy to convince ourselves that we’re “eating healthy, but it just doesn’t help.” I heard that so many times as an R.D. and I would look at the overweight person in front of me and cry inside that this person was in denial.

Or friends and family will say, “I’ve eliminated all cholesterol or sugar from my diet, but it just doesn’t help.” Then I watch them slather butter on their bread, gravy on their biscuits, ice cream on their pie. You get the picture. Denial!

God made our bodies so there is no fooling Him. When I was a little girl, my mother used to warn me: “God sees everything you do.” So train yourself to think, “God sees every bite.”

  1. Avoid desserts and fill up on salads and proteins. During the holidays, I was at several parties where people were discussing their “pre-diabetes” and high blood sugars and how they were going to control it by diet and then headed right over to the cookie and candy table. That’s feeding diabetes, not preventing it.

Our church, like many churches, puts out cookies or donuts and coffee between services. It’s so tempting, and I feel bad as I watch those I know who shouldn’t be eating them, head over to the snack table. Don’t go over to the table or bring your own healthy snack, or talk to your church about putting out healthier choices. The latter probably isn’t going to go over very well at your church, but it would be helping so many people.

The same applies for work breakrooms and small group snacks.

  1. Don’t buy sugar. Then you won’t be tempted to cook with it!
  2. Don’t buy sweets, desserts, sodas, chips. Avoid all “empty calories.”
  3. Eat less carbs. Maybe sweets aren’t your downfall, but you eat lots of bread, crackers, and starches. Switch to lean meats, steamed veggies, salads with olive oil and vinegar dressing, and a piece of fruit for dessert.
  4. Avoid alcohol. It’s straight sugar.
  5. When eating out, choose wisely. Then cut the meal in half, ask for a to-go-box, and put half of your meal in it to take home for another meal. Love Your Body On Vacation discusses how to eat out or away from home.
  6. Read labels. Sugar in many different forms is in almost every processed food, even in foods that sound healthy. Ingredients ending in “ose” are added sugar. Brown rice syrup and honey is still sugar.
  7. Keep a food journal. Write down or keep it electronically. Record every morsel or liquid that passes your lips. It counts if you eat it standing up, in the car, on the run, talking on the phone, cleaning the kitchen … if it goes in your mouth, it turns into calories.

Be aware of what you’re putting in your mouth and ask yourself: “Is this bite that’s going to be gone in a swallow, worth the risk of Type 2 diabetes some day?”

  1. Pray and ask God to help you and ask family members and friends to help keep you accountable.

Encouragement

You can do this!

You’re never too old to make healthy changes and benefit from them. The TIME article noted a three-year trial of overweight and prediabetes people who changed their eating and exercise habits: “Lifestyle changes were especially impressive for older people; those 60 and older reduced their risk of diabetes 71%! That’s huge!

If you’re overweight, it’s only a matter of time before your blood sugars start reflecting it; but the good news is this also works in the reverse. The more weight you lose and exercise you increase, the faster your blood sugars will decrease.

Anita Sherwood Shares Her Type 2 Diabetes Reverse Story at 74!

Anita is on the left. Two years before overcoming her Type 2 Diabetes

Anita is on the left. Two years before making lifestyle changes to overcome her Type 2 Diabetes

My dear friend Anita was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 1997, but she says, “Who knows how long I had it before then.” Here’s her amazing story:

When I first went on medication for my Type 2 diabetes, I thought hurrah, now I can eat whatever I want and just take this pill! Over the years, I tried to watch my diet and be careful what I ate, but I wasn’t as diligent as I should have been. I’m 5 ft. 2 1/2 inches tall and weighed 143 pounds, which is too much for my height.

Then at the age of 74, I read a book that told me about the damage to my body diabetes was doing and how it could compromise my later years. I had started experiencing blurred vision and restless leg at night. I paid attention when the book said I might even be able to get off diabetic medication if I stopped eating sugar, lost weight, and started exercising regularly. I wanted to enjoy my next season of life, so I committed to try it.

The result: Four months later, I lost 15 pounds and my blood sugars are normal!!! I went from 150 blood sugar with medication to 100-97. (99-65 is normal range) My doctor said I rebooted my system and my pancreas is kicking back in and I can soon be off all medication if I maintain my diet and exercise.

I feel and look younger wearing skinny jeans like I wore in high school! I sleep all night, my restless leg and blurry vision are gone, I can reach down and tie my shoes easier, my cholesterol levels have improved, and I’m full of energy!

Anita 15 pounds lighter with normal blood sugars

Anita 15 pounds lighter with normal blood sugars

Here are the changes I made:

  • Drink 2 quarts of water a day. 1 quart before noon.
  • Eat on salad plate instead of dinner plate and eat slowly, taking time to chew my food thoroughly.
  • Always have a bag of washed fresh raw veggies to nibble for snacks and homemade broth-based soup for mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks.
  • Eliminated all carbs except 2 cups of air popped-corn in the evening and ¼-cup raw oats made into oatmeal for breakfast.

Breakfast- one egg, ¼ cup raw oatmeal cooked with nuts and craisins.

10:00 1-cup homemade broth-based soup.

Lunch—Cottage cheese or plain yogurt with fresh fruit or salad.

Afternoon: 1-cup homemade broth-based soup

Dinner—Meat (usually chicken) 2 servings of veggies and salad or stir-fry.

When we eat out, I have a cup of my soup at home first, then I choose lean meat, veggies, and salads.

Exercise: Swim laps three times a week, volunteer at a 2nd hand store with lots of walking on Mondays, and work in my yard.

Over the past four months, slowly the weight came off and the sugars came down. I realize this is a lifestyle change. This year I will be 75 and my motto will be: I’m now 75 and it’s great to be alive!

Anita happy and healthy at 74! Diet and exercise changed her life!

Anita happy and healthy at 74! Diet and exercise changed her life!

***************

Share with us ways you’ve found to also stay healthy and share Anita’s enthusiasm: It’s great to be alive!

Quotes are from “The Diet Prescription,” by Mandy Oaklander/Chicago, TIME, January 25, 2016.

To read more about Dr. Peek’s Food RX program.

If you received this post by email, leave comments here.

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Love Your Body: Stop Overeating

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

Today is Memorial Day and the grandkids are visiting, so I’m going to get right to the point on this Love Your Body Monday and then share a blog post that I could not have written better myself.

Are You Being Tempted to Overeat Today?

Healthy Eating

Chances are you’re going to a picnic or BBQ today and you’ll survey a table full of delectable foods just calling your name. Foods like chips and dips, greasy ribs or fried chicken, and oh, the desserts … luscious brownies, pies, homemade ice cream maybe even with toppings. You think to yourself, well it’s a holiday and I’ll go on a diet tomorrow. But wait, haven’t you been saying that since New Years and now it’s six months later and you’re still playing that same “holiday” excuse for eating unwisely? There’s a “holiday” almost every month when we could justify “going off the diet” not to mention vacation time. I did write a blog post last year to help you Love Your Body On Vacation.

What if you looked at that table spread of food and mentally labeled each food that you know you shouldn’t be eating as “poison,” which you wouldn’t eat even when it wasn’t a holiday. That’s exactly what I do when I encounter a potluck. We now live in the land of potlucks at church, small group, people houses … and I never know what they’re serving or what’s in some of the dishes. So I make sure to take something to the potluck I can eat … usually a green salad, watermelon, or fruit. I don’t eat red meat or pork, so if that’s what they’re serving, I just fill up on the things I can eat. It won’t hurt me not to have the “main dish.”

Often The Church Encourages Overeating

The church has always been a place of eating and overeating as we fellowship together. The early Christians ate together and “broke bread,” but I doubt their potlucks would look like ours today. Church gatherings often center on food, and sadly, many pastors are overweight. Not so much the younger generation of pastors, but many of the older pastors set poor examples of taking care of their bodily temples. Especially when the Bible says that gluttony and overeating is wrong!

Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony, and laziness

—Ezekiel 16:49 NLT

Oh listen, dear child—become wise;
point your life in the right direction.
Don’t drink too much wine and get drunk;
don’t eat too much food and get fat.
Drunks and gluttons will end up on skid row,
in a stupor and dressed in rags.

—Proverbs 23:19-21 The Message

I find that people often consider me an anomaly at our church as I ask what’s in something or only have a few items on my plate at a potluck or dinner event. One person even made the comment, “I saw you eat some chicken so I guess you do eat ‘normal.’” I laughed and said, “Yes I do eat normal, it’s just depends on your definition of normal.

Why Aren’t There More Sermons on Overeating as a Sin?

Like any sin, sin is personal and today especially even the church shrinks from calling out personal sin and its dangers. Churches are full of unmarried couples living together—that’s a sin. And they’re also full of parishioners eating themselves to death—that’s a sin too. But how often do you hear either as a topic of a sermon?

This week, I came across a blog post and I thought to myself, I must share this with my followers. It’s written by a pastor and I couldn’t say it any better than he did, so I’m going to leave you with the link and encourage all of you to prayerfully read it and consider for yourself whether or not you’re abusing your body with food and would that be considered a sin in God’s eyes.

Pray for the Military—Especially Christians             

American flag                       

Today, is a day to honor those who died in battle fighting for the very freedoms that our government is trying to take away from Christians today, especially the men and women in the military. Read this articleAir Force general who spoke of God should be court-martialed,” weep and pray as you remember the men and women who gave their lives so that you and I could worship the One True God.

Now, go to this link to read about “The Sin of Overeating” and leave your comments here.

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Love Your Body–Read Labels

Love your BodyIn February, I announced that the last Monday Morning Blog of the month would be Love Your Body the Way God Loves Your Body. If you haven’t read that post, stop and read it now, or review it before reading further. In that blog, I explained that my first career was as a Registered Dietitian and it saddened me that some people pay more attention to what they put in their cars then what they put in their own precious bodies—God’s temple.

It’s Not All about Genes!

Some of you know that I’m a three-time breast cancer survivor, but otherwise, I’m extremely healthy—as is my husband. Even though both sides of my family struggled with heart disease and diabetes, my annual lab results in all areas are so pristine that my doctor said at my last physical that he could probably stop ordering the blood tests! I said no, I love to see the results of our healthy-lifestyle.

My husband’s father had quadruple bypass heart surgery and died from heart disease too early, and Dave’s mother had numerous health issues related to obesity. However, at 68 my husband’s doctor told him that he was healthier than 98% of the men he saw in his practice. Neither of us take medications, except I take thyroid for hypothyroidism—low thyroid.

I don’t tell you this to brag, but simply to point out that I often hear: “It’s hereditary; I can’t do anything about my condition, so I might as well eat what I want.” That’s a fallacy—Dave and I are healthy proof. Yes, genes do play a role, but knowing what you’re dealing with gives you a head’s up on being proactive rather than feeding into a generational cycle.

How the Thompsons Eat

I have always fed my family healthy foods, but when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I stepped it up a notch. I believe my breast cancer and recurrences are the result of cell damage from X-rays I had during puberty when I wore a body cast for debilitating scoliosis. I had X-rays to my chest throughout puberty and they weren’t as sophisticated as today’s are. After my first breast cancer surgery and radiation in November 2002, I wanted to do everything I could to recover quickly and get back About His Work. So we converted to eating organic and raw.

I’m not obsessive about eating organic, but I buy organic and raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and some meats. We don’t eat pork or red meat, except for lamb occasionally, but we do eat chicken, turkey, and wild fish. The only oils are organic: olive, grapeseed, and coconut.

On our Love Your Body Mondays, I’ll share more specifics, recipes, cooking ideas, and frugal shopping tips, but I’m going to start with helping you know what you put in your body.

Read Labels

I read every label; if I don’t recognize an ingredient, I don’t buy the item. I avoid soy because of my breast cancer and some soy mimics estrogen in the body. The FDA has allowed the food industry to add soy indiscriminately to much of our food. “Soy lecithin” is one of the most ubiquitous additives in our food supply. It’s used primarily as an emulsifier and you find it in everything from salad dressings to vitamins. The soy portion comes from soybean oil extracted from soybeans. You can avoid the brunt of soy lecithin by eliminating most processed foods, but read the labels.

Sadly, most labels are ambiguous. The FDA is supposedly making labels more user-friendly, but the food industry is marketing against the higher cost of making new labels, and it will be easier for us to see what’s in our food. It might take a while before we see a change, so here are some tips to get you started now:

Front of Package

1. Don’t be fooled by words like “healthy,” “all natural,” “fat free,” “wholesome”, “sugar-free.” For a detailed list read “16 Most Misleading Food Labels” (they actually give 19!).

“Natural foods” and “all natural foods” are widely used terms in food labeling and marketing with a variety of definitions, most of which are vague. The term is assumed to imply foods that are minimally processed and do not contain manufactured ingredients, but the lack of standards in most jurisdictions means that the term assures nothing. The term “organic,” however, has an established legal definition in many countries, including the United States, as well as an agreed upon international standard. Therefore all natural and organic products are not the same. In some countries, the term “natural” is defined and enforced. In others, such as the United States, it has no meaning.—From Wikipedia

2. Don’t trust “Organic” labeling unless it has a certified insignia:

certified organicorganic labelsorganic

 

If the box states “organic ingredients,” read the label to be sure all the ingredients are organic. Also all “organic” foods are not necessarily good for you—organic sugar is better than nonorganic sugar, but sugar is still sugar and just because it’s organic doesn’t give it a free pass. It still has “wasted calories” with no nutritional value.

Label on Back of Package

1. Check the serving size. Often it’s only ½ cup. Who only eats a half cup of ice cream or cereal? If you eat 2 cups, you need to multiply the nutritional breakdown, including calories, by four!

2. Listed ingredients go from highest content to lowest. So if water is the first ingredient, the product is mostly water. For example, a lemon drink that touts “made with lemon” may list lemon juice as the last ingredient. Or it could even be lemon flavoring.

3. If you don’t recognize an ingredient, don’t buy it. You don’t want to put an unknown into your body…do you? Write down the ingredient and look it up when you get home. Chances are it’s a preservative, which you want to avoid.

4. Natural food sugar isn’t listed separately from added sugar in the nutritional breakdown. Reading the ingredients shows added sugar and its position in the list of ingredients. Even if it’s organic sugar or maple syrup, it’s still sugar with no nutritional value…just calories.

Avoid anything with high glucose corn syrup. Especially check children’s snacks.

I sent my husband on a mission of finding a barbeque sauce that didn’t contain high fructose corn syrup. He read every label on the grocery store shelf, and there was only one.

5. Check the sodium level, and again, that’s per the label’s serving size.

6. Avoid everything with saturated and Trans fats.

7. Look for added soy, which could be in the form of soybean oil or soy lecithin. No one needs the amount of soy added to our food.

8. Choose wild fish, not farmed.

Buy Fresh, Be Healthy

When possible by fresh and avoid packaged, processed foods, then you don’t have to worry about labels unless you’re looking for organic. Then you do need to look for the certified organic emblem. Beware at farmer’s market, because they may tell you they don’t use pesticides, but you’re only taking their word for it.

It may take you longer to shop at first, and it’s probably not a good idea to have the kids around; but soon you’ll know what to look for and which foods to avoid. You may think that buying organic is more expensive, but when you see all the products you aren’t buying, you’ll actually reduce your food bill and increase your health.

Happy shopping! Tell me how the experience goes and what you found on labels.

Why do you spend your money on junk food, your hard-earned cash on cotton candy? Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best, fill yourself with only the finest. Pay attention, come close now, listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words. I’m making a lasting covenant commitment with you, the same that I made with David: sure, solid, enduring love. — Isaiah 55:2-5

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