Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Buying Organic on ANY Budget!

Buying Organic on ANY Budget! 

Some may think that buying organic, locally grown food may be out of their price range while in reality it is well within anyone's reach! There is a saying, "pay the farmer now or the doctor later" and it is so true! Action expresses priority, so where are your priorities? Do you want to invest in your health? That is the first question to ask yourself when transitioning to an organic lifestyle. When health is your first priority one is more willing to invest in more expensive products, but don't worry… that doesn't mean you ever have to buy things marked up at full price. There are always ways to get discounts!

When you invest in your health by choosing healthier, organic produce you are investing in your future. That being said, when money is tight it's hard to choose the organic products that may be more expensive. However, where there is a will there's a way! As I student I know first hand the struggles that go with being organic on a budget and I want to share with you some practical tips for achieving an organic lifestyle on ANY budget! There are so many amazing resources available on the internet that great deals are within your finger tips!

Source Local Produce! 
Friend a farmer, shop your local farmers markets, start a community garden, and support your locally grown food! 

Here are two great sites that you can use to local local farmers, restaurants, co-ops, farmers markets & more!

Eat Local Grown allows you to find, rate, and share locally grown food, their site is easy to navigate with maps and an awesome blog filled with informative articles!

Local Harvest is another site that allows you to real, locally produced foods! You can specify what you are looking for or browse all the local food available in your area!

It's awesome how technology allows us to find natural, organic, local foods in just a few seconds! I love the internet :)

Grow your own food! 
It's a lot easier than you may think & I look forward to sharing my organic gardening experience with you this year. There are plenty of online resources that can teach you how to begin, just be sure to stick with all natural, organic fertilizers as pesticides are contributing to the honeybee collapse and the significant decrease of Monarch butterflies.

Shop online! 
In particular, Tropical Traditions offers a wide variety of high quality health and wellness products for competitive pricing. Tropical Traditions also has two other stores, Household Traditions and Grassfed Traditions so it's your one stop shop! Tropical Traditions has great weekly sales where you can score free shipping, buy one get one free Organic Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil & so much more! 
{If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you}

Know The Dirty Dozen & Clean 15!

Food Matters also has a free Shoppers Guide To Pesticides that you can download here

Eating conventionally grown fruits and vegetables is far better than not eating them at all. Use this guide to help you determine which fruits and vegetables to buy organic. 
ALWAYS BUY ORGANIC celery, peaches and strawberries as these products have the highest levels of pesticides. According to EWG's (Environmental Working Group) calculations, you can reduce your exposure to pesticides by nearly four-fifths by avoiding the dirty dozen and instead eating the less contaminated conventional produce. 

How was this guide developed? Food Matters explains,
"EWG analysts have developed the Guide based on data from nearly 89,000 tests for pesticide residues in produce conducted between 2000 and 2008 and collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. You can find a detailed description of the criteria EWG used to develop these rankings and the complete list of fruits and vegetables tested at their dedicated website, www.foodnews.org"

I always keep this guide with me in the "notes" section of my iPhone. It is an easy way to ensure you decreasing your pesticide exposure, without buying only organic produce. 

Find Organic Coupons!
Couponing is a great way to save money and the internet makes it super easy to find the coupons you want! Here are two of my favorite sites for finding organic coupons & deals:

Organic Deals
Organic Deals is dedicated to solely organic deals & coupons
You can find online deals, printable coupons, reward programs, & so much more! This site is very well organized and has a lot of great deals! 

Couponing 101 has an organic section where you can score printable coupons, freebies, and online deals!

Contact Organic Companies!
Sign up for your favorite organic companies newsletter! Many companies have coupons and special promotions for those whom are on the mailing list.

Send a love note! Send an email or handwritten note to your favorite organic companies, tell them how much you love their product and how important it is for you to buy your family organic, nonGMO foods. Thank them for supporting the organic movement. You never know the love you may get in return!

Enter Organic Giveaways!
I enter many giveaways and you may be surprised what you can win! I have won many organic, eco-friendly, and natural products. I wish I kept a list of everything I have won!! Some of the biggest giveaways I have won were eco-friendly, sustainable sunglasses from Dizm Eyewear, two $50 Vitacost gift cards, $150 Reebok gift card, Newmans Own Organics prize pack, and many many more! I have also won many prize packs that include coupons for free products! Remember, you can't win if you don't enter! 
One of my favorite sites to find natural giveaways is GoNaturalGiveaways.com
This site is very well organized and tells you when the giveaway ends, who is eligible, and how to enter. This site is also updated daily which is great for giveaway junkies like myself :)

 Get Rewarded for Purchasing Organic, Sustainable Products!
I just found EcoBonus today and wanted to add it to this blog post! This is a great tool for those being organic on a budget. EcoBonus is a website (they also have an app) that allows you to upload your receipt or code from a product's packaging and get rewarded!  You can shop the rewards store and get some awesome free products once you have enough points. EcoBonus also has exclusive coupons and samples!!!
 EcoBonus is rewards program for your healthy lifestyle! You can learn more about EcoBonus here and how it works here

How do you stay organic on a budget? Do you prioritize which foods to buy organic? 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Endangered Species Chocolate Review & Giveaway {CLOSED}

Endangered Species Chocolate 
Indulge in a Cause

Read my review or scroll down and enter this giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget!

Thank you to Endangered Species Chocolate for providing me samples to review. Regardless, all opinions are 100% my own!
Feel good indulging in Endangered Species Chocolate! Every time you make a purchase 10% of profits are donated to protecting endangered species! Their chocolate is both Rainforest Alliance and Non-GMO Project verified! These programs support ecosystem conservation, honor farmers, and respect the Earth. Endangered Species Chocolate offers many certified organic and natural varieties and many of their products are also gluten free and vegan! 

Endangered Species explains, "Thanks to your purchase, together we are protecting diversity of life on our planet and promoting true global change. Endangered Species Chocolate donates 10% of net profits to organizations that support species, habitat, and humanity
I love that the cocoa used in Endangered Species Chocolate is sourced from ethically traded cacao farms that ensure fair trade, responsible labor practices, and sustainable farming.
You can read more about their commitment to ethical trade here and environmental stewardship here!

 Endangered Species explains the health benefits of dark chocolate so well, I had to share:
 We all have a need for something sweet and dark chocolate is a healthful way to indulge that desire. Scientific research shows that dark chocolate in small amounts can promote heart health, help cells resist damage from free radicals, and even help you better cope with stress.
Want to reap the maximum benefits from chocolate? Keep these 3 things in mind when selecting chocolate: 
1. Aim for chocolate that has a 70% cocoa content or higher. 
2. Make sure the first ingredient listed is chocolate liquor or cocoa (not sugar).  
3. Choose natural and organic chocolate for a healthier planet and healthier you!
Cocoa contents of Endangered Species Chocolate’s dark chocolate products range from 70-88%, chocolate liquor is the first ingredient listed on the nutrition panel, and we offer natural and certified organic chocolate selections. Healthy never tasted so good!
As a self proclaimed chocoholic, I am glad there are some health benefits to consuming chocolate. It's all good in moderation.. right? :)
 Endangered Species Chocolate is so rich and I was surprised that the 70% dark chocolate bar was not bitter at all. Dark chocolate has grown on me lately as I like that it has stronger taste. I also enjoyed the 70% dark chocolate infused with cherry! It was perfectly rich with a hint of rich cherry! Can you say yum?! 
Ingredients (70% dark chocolate): organic dark chocolate (organic chocolate liquor, organic dried cane syrup, organic cocoa butter, organic soy lecithin, organic vanilla)
Nutrition facts: 1 bar (70% dark chocolate) has 200 calories, 17g fat, 10g saturated fat, 18g carbohydrates, 4g fiber, 10g sugar, 3g protein
The milk chocolate bar is 43% cocoa and while it is NOT vegan, it is gluten free, certified organic, kosher, non-GMO project verified, and Rainforest Alliance certified. All three bars I received were 1.4 oz and retail for $1.99
I also received the dark chocolate mint pouches that contain 72% cocoa and are also vegan and gluten free. Unfortunately, they are not organic, however they are non-GMO project verified!
These pouches are perfect to settle your chocolate craving on the go. They come with 10 pouches, are .35 oz each, and retail for $3.29! Endangered Species Chocolate offers many different flavors, including dark chocolate with cranberries and almonds, dark chocolate, dark chocolate peppermint crunch, dark chocolate with blueberries, dark chocolate with sea salt & almonds, milk chocolate, and more! 

Endangered Species Chocolate offers high quality chocolate at an affordable price. They are committed to ensuring the cocoa is ethically sourced and fairly traded. I love that 10% of net sales goes to protecting endangered species and the diversity of life on our planet! 

Enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below!
The winner will receive a prize pack from Endangered Species Chocolate retailing at $25 

All entries are optional! Winner's entries will be verified
This giveaway will start November 8th and close on November 22nd 2013 at 12am EST
Open only to the USA ~ I'm sorry International friends! Must be 18+ 
Winner will have 48 hours to respond to the email or another winner will be selected
I received Endangered Species Chocolate  products for review purposes, regardless all opinions are my own!
I am not responsible for prize fulfillment
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Three RAW'kin Kale Chip Recipes

Three RAW'kin Kale Chip Recipes!

This past weekend I decided to create some super easy & healthy dehydrated kale chips! My entire family loved them and I ended up making more on Sunday! I created three different flavors: cashew cheeze, garlic & lemon and hot & spicy! 
Kale chips are so nutritious & delicious because they are dehydrated, all the enzymes are kept in tact. Kale is packed full of nutrients, including vitamins A, C, K, calcium, antioxidants and fiber! 
If you buy kale chips in the health food store, they will run you about $7-$10 a bag. Not to practical for those on a budget! Making your own is a great way to save money, plus you know exactly what you are eating! Kale chips are so addicting, I could eat them everyday! They are a perfect crunchy snack that you can feel good about eating ~ no guilt here!

Cashew Cheeze
Kale ~ take out the stems 
Raw cashews 
 {1/2 container, soaked for 2 hours in warm water}
Redmond Garlic Real Salt & pepper to taste
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 scallion or small onion
1tbsp garlic
Wash & dry the kale. Strain cashews and combine cashews, Real Salt, pepper, nutritonal yeast, chopped scallion and garlic in a food processor. Massage mixture onto kale chips. If the cashew cheeze mixture does not stick to the kale, simply drop a bit of the cheeze on each of the kale chips once they are placed on the dehydrator. Dehydrate for 16 hours or until they are your preferred crunchiness!

Garlic & Lemon
Kale ~ take out the stems
Juice of 1 lemon
Redmond Real Salt & pepper to taste
1tbsp garlic

Wash & dry the kale. Combine kale and other ingredients in a bowl, massage well. Place kale chips in the dehydrator and dehydrate for 16 hours or until they are your preferred crunchiness. 

Hot & Spicy
Kale ~ take out the stems 
Redmond Real Salt & pepper to taste
1tbsp garlic
a healthy sprinkle of cajun seasoning & cayenne pepper
Juice of 1 lemon (optional) 
Wash & dry the kale. Combine kale and other ingredients in a bowl, massage well. Place kale chips in the dehydrator and dehydrate for 16 hours or until they are your preferred crunchiness. Enjoy!

Have you ever made kale chips? What is your favorite way to spice them up?!

Healthy Options for the Pickiest Eaters

Healthy Options for the Pickiest Eaters!

I am not a professional in this topic as I do not have any children of my own, but I understand that many parents have a difficult time with their picky eaters. Hopefully I can give you some helpful tips on how to integrate healthy foods in family meals that the entire family will love!

Make it fun! Decorate the plate, make a picture out of fruit, create a favorite character out of food, etc! We all eat with our eyes first so making the plate FUN and creative will spark your picky little eaters imagination! Pinterest has a ton of fun ideas for you or simply just search "creative healthy food ideas" into google, click images and BAM ~ so many great ideas!

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/soulstruck/3401379586/

Be the example! Children will copy what you do. Are you eating processed foods then handing your little one an apple? No wonder they don't like it, they want to be just like you! Try eating the foods you want your little to eat! 

Sneak it! Creating fruit smoothies with some kale in them is a great way to sneak in a serving of deep leafy greens, and I promise your little will have no idea you snuck some veggies in! One of my favorite smoothies is a frozen banana, frozen strawberries, frozen mango, kale, and chia seeds. It's so sweet and fruity, it's sure to be a favorite! You can also sneak in carrots, celery, spinach, & any type of veggie your heart desires!

Include your children in meal preparation: Cooking with your children is a great way to teach them valuable life lessons. It also may encourage the child to try something new because they had assisted in making it. 

Try something new every week: Make a list of fruits & vegetables that you have not tried before, or do not have regularly. Integrate one of the ingredients into meals everyday for a week. Try preparing the ingredient differently and changing the seasoning. Your little one may not like steamed carrots but love uncooked, crunchy carrots. 

Create a healthy twist on favorite comfort food: Does your little one love mac and cheese? Try adding peas to it or using whole wheat pasta for a healthy twist on a favorite. Have you raised your child on cow's milk? Try substituting dairy in for almond, coconut, soy, or rice milk. There are so many alternatives to cow's milk now-a-days, be proactive and ditch the dirty dairy! Cow's milk is meant for calves, not humans!

Healthy snacks: Your first step is to clean out the pantry. Get rid of processed snacks and foods that lack in nutritional value. Stock up on fresh produce, raisins, dried fruit, nuts, and seeds. Prepare fresh cut fruit, fruit salad, veggie sticks, or a salad for a snack! Serve veggie sticks with homemade hummus for a delicious treat packed with protein and fiber. You can also dehydrate fruit for a delicious dried fruit snack! Dried fruit is also great to pack in your child's lunch!

I hope these tips are helpful when dealing with picky eaters! Always remember YOU are the example and your child will follow what you do!

Do you have a picky eater? What other helpful, healthy tips do you have for parents with picky eaters?!

Naturally Fresh Deodorant Review & Giveaway {CLOSED}

Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal
Review & GIVEAWAY!

Read my review or scroll down to enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget!

Thank you Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal for providing samples for review, regardless all opinions are 100% my own!
I have been looking for an all natural deodorant for a while now and I was really excited when I found Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal! They offer many different types of deodorant including roll on, spray mist, and twist up sticks. For this review I was provided with unscented varieties of the roll on, spray mist, and twist up stick deodorant. Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal also offers aloe vera infused deodorant, lavender, tropical breeze, papaya fusion, and ocean breeze scents! You can shop all their products here.

How does Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal products work?
Made with mineral salts, which are pure & natural, fragrance free, non-staining, 24-hour effectiveness, hypoallergenic, and kill odor-causing bacteria while permitting the pores to excrete toxins naturally. 
This is vital to maintaining healthy, auxiliary lymph nodes which are located in the underarm area. Naturally Fresh Deodorant is ideal for those with sensitive skin, seeking a healthy alternative to conventional deodorant products, and those undergoing radiation or cancer treatments.

Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal has no harmful aluminums. They explain that, "many people and doctors have concerns in respect to the processed aluminums found in conventional deodorants. These processed aluminums have very small molecules and can penetrate the skin. Alum, on the other hand, is naturally occurring and not processed. It has a large molecule and does not penetrate the surface of the skin
(This information was provided in a pamphlet by Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal)

This picture explains the ingredients in conventional deodorant that is harmful to health:

Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal is not an antiperspirant thus you will still sweat. However, it offers 24-hour odor control. The scented varieties are ideal for athletes and those whom are very active. 

I workout daily and have had great results with the unscented Naturally Fresh Deodorant! I apply it in the morning, pre workout, and after I take a shower. If I am running around and do not have time for a post workout shower then I also apply it after being dripped in sweat. I love using Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal because it is all natural! Breast cancer is prevalent in my family history and I prefer to avoid processed aluminums that may be correlated with breast cancer. I LOVE all three types of Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal, the roll on and spray mist are perfect for busy days or after getting out of the shower and the twist up stick is great for immediate use following a shower or you can wet the twist up stick and use it on dry skin. I have never used a spray mist deodorant before and I was really surprised how much I loved this one! It makes for easy application and is perfect for sensitive underarms! 

Roll on: combines all natural ingredients to eliminate odor causing bacteria. Providing up to 24 hours of non-staining an hypoallergenic protection with a non-sticky and non-greasy feel! Chamomile is also added to soothe & moisturize shaved underarms
Spray mist: this is the liquid version of the deodorant crystal. It is made from purified water and pharmaceutical grade mineral salts
Twist up stick: offers the same benefits of the roll on with added Aloe Vera for moisture
(This information was provided in a pamphlet by Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal)

Are you ready to make the switch to an all natural deodorant? Don't want to wait to see if you have been selected to win the giveaway? No worries, shop now!
Naturally Fresh Deodorant makes it easy to live a natural life affordably! 

Enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below!

All entries are optional! Winner's entries will be verified
This giveaway will start November 5th and close on November 19th 2013 at 12am EST
Open only to the USA ~ I'm sorry International friends! Must be 18+ 
Winner will have 48 hours to respond to the email or another winner will be selected
I received Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal products for review purposes, regardless all opinions are my own!
I am not responsible for prize fulfillment

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 4, 2013

Cinnamon & Sugar Baked Pumpkin Seedz! {Recipe}

Cinnamon & Sugar Baked Pumpkin Seedz {RECIPE!}

A few days ago I wrote that I was planning to participate in the Mamma Chia pumpkin carving Instagram contest, well life got in the way and that didn't happen. However, I did get in the autumn spirit and baked up some pumpkin seedz! I experimented in the kitchen and created a very easy and delicious recipe for cinnamon & sugar baked pumpkin seedz! Pumpkin seedz have many health benefits, I found this photograph on Instagram and thought I would share:

Image credit: stepintomygreenworld.com

Pumpkin seedz are one of my favorite fall treats and there are so many ways to spice them up! I also attempted on a hot & spicy flavor but they didn't come out too good. Look out for a perfected recipe of those bad boys soon!

I used 4 pumpkins (2 small, sugar varieties and 2 large varieties)
Cut a square around the top of the pumpkin and then scooped all the seedz out, separating the seedz from the pulp and then rinsing the seeds in a strainer
Soak the seedz in warm water for 4-5 hours

Strain the seedz and add ingredients:
2tbsp cinnamon (estimated value ~ I sprinkled a healthy helping onto the seeds)
1/4 cup AlterEco Organic Mascobado Cane Sugar (you may add less or more depending on your personal preference)
1tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mix well and spread the pumpkin seedz evenly on a baking sheet and bake for one hour
Be sure to flip the pumpkin seedz around every 15 minutes, this will ensure the seedz are baked evenly!

These seedz are a perfect snack by themselves, great added to yogurt, on top of smoothies, or in trail mix! The possibilities are endless!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

My Top 5 Reasons to Eat Hemp

                                                  My Top 5 Reasons to Eat Hemp!

Hey there! If you follow me on social media you probably have seen me tweet or post about hemp. Basically, I think hemp is the crop of the future as it is such a sustainable plant with a variety of uses! Hemp can be used as food, fuel, clothing, medicine, in bath and beauty products, building materials, and so much more! With so many amazing benefits of the hemp plant, I decided to write this blog post solely on the benefits to eating hemp! 

Hemp is a nutritious superfood that is filled with good fats, omegas, protein (containing all known 21 amino acids, including the nine essential amino acids that adults cannot produce thus must come from food), and is perfect for all types of dietary requirements! With a unique nutty flavor, they are perfect to include in many of your favorite recipes! Hippie Butter offers a large array of hemp products, including hemp seeds, hemp oil, hemp seed butter, hemp protein, and more! They are definitely worth checking out if you are interested in trying hemp products!

Here are my top five reasons why I eat hemp (and why you should too!)

1 ~ Plant based protein! Protein helps build and repair tissue and also helps build lean muscle mass. Hemp seeds provide all the essential amino acids and are a complete source of plant based protein! Perfect for vegans, vegetarians, and those trying to eat more plant based products!
2 ~ Hemp protein is easily digestible and unlike soy, does not contain the enzyme inhibitors and phytates thus the nutrients in hemp can easily be absorbed by the body 
3 ~ Meets a variety of dietary needs! Hemp can be consumed by most everyone as it vegan, gluten free, kosher, raw, and perfect for those with soy, dairy, or nuts allergies 
4 ~ Good fats! Good fats are necessary for radiant skin, optimal health, energy, brain development, nervous system function, heart health, and immune system function. Our bodies do not make Omega-3 or Omega-6 thus it is necessary to get these good fatty acids from one's diet! Hemp provides a 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3, the perfect amount needed for optimal health! I will write a blog post explaining fatty acids in near future so stay tuned!
5 ~ Variety! There are endless possibilities when using hemp seeds, and hemp products in general! Some of my favorite ways to use include mixing them in my smoothies, juices, salads, oatmeal, puddings, and baked goods. I also love hemp powder as it mixes well in smoothies and pudding! 

Here are some of my favorite hemp products:
(I love adding hemp seeds to smoothies, oatmeal, and salads. The hemp seed oil is great to cook with or use while baking and hemp seed protein powder is delicious mixed with a frozen banana, organic berries, and cacao nibs!)

Hippie Butter Hulled Hemp Seeds Hippie Butter Hemp Seed Oil Hippie Butter Hemp Seed Protein Powder

Do you include hemp in your diet? What are some of your favorite ways to eat it?

Hippie Butter Hemp Seeds
This post contains affiliate links,  thank you for supporting my blog!

Friday, November 1, 2013

I Heart Keenwah Review

I Heart Keenwah

I Heart Keenwah are delicious, satisfying quinoa clusters. For this review I was provided chocolate sea salt and cranberry cashew flavors. I really enjoyed both flavors. I'm not a big fan of quinoa (I have yet to play around very much in the kitchen) however these clusters are a perfect crunchy snack with a unique, nutty flavor! 

I Heart Keenwah explains, "meet quinoa (pronouned keen-wah). It's known by the andean peoples of South America as the 'mother of all grains,' and touted by health experts as the only whole grain that's a complete source of protein - containing all nine essential amino acids. It makes for a delicious and fulfilling snack when we mix it up with other all natural ingredients"

While these products are not certified organic (bummer) they are certified gluten free and made with all natural ingredients, organic quinoa and dark chocolate
The ingredients of cranberry cashew are organic quinoa, cashews, tapioca syrup, raw sugar, dried cranberries, honey, almond oil, baking soda, salt. 
The ingredients for the chocolate sea salt are organic quinoa, almonds, tapioca syrup, dried cane syrup, honey, organic dark chocolate (organic dried cane syrup, organic chocolate liquor, organic cocoa butter, organic soy lecithin (emulsifier) , organic vanilla), almond oil, baking soda, salt

I really enjoyed both the flavors, however, as a self declared chocoholic I will have to choose the chocolate sea salt as my favorite. They are drizzled in chocolate and have a perfect nutty crunch!
Yum! A treat you can feel good about! Just be careful not to eat the entire bag at once :)
Nutrition facts for chocolate sea salt: (1oz/7pieces ~ 4 servings per container) 130 calories, 5g fat, 1g saturated fat, 190mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 8g sugar, 3g protein
Obviously these are high in sugar and should be enjoyed in moderation. However, they are a healthy, natural alternative to some of the artificial treats! Who says you can't feel good about indulging?!

I Heart Keenwah is the perfect snack and great for traveling or bringing on the go! It is really important for me to know what I am putting in my body so I love how I can actually read, and understand, all of the ingredients!
These natural quinoa clusters are a yummy, new snack that you will fall in love with. They are a fantastic healthy alternative to junk food and will satisfy your need for crunch!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
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