healingtouch

Classification of foods into yin or yang

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Scrolling on my new phone for apps to install, I noticed an app called Saber Yin Yang (Yin-Yang feeding). What it does is it classifies major foods into whether they are yin or yang and it gives them a score. The app is in Spanish which makes it a bit more difficult to use but I'm thinking this idea has merit. Here are some of the scores, with 10 being the highest, and Im going to post for now only the ones with the highest scores, which the guy recommends to avoid (whether they be yin or yang)

 

Alcohol yin 10

Sugar yin 10

Coffee yin 9

Achiote (?) yin 8

Basil yin 8

Spices (all which doesnt really amke sense to me) yin 8

Eggs yang 9

miso yang 8

honey yin 8

Salt yang 10

 

 

My question is: does anyone know where the author is getting his info from and of anymore resources on this subject?

 

edit: it's actually in English as well

Edited by healingtouch

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Scrolling on my new phone for apps to install, I noticed an app called Saber Yin Yang (Yin-Yang feeding). What it does is it classifies major foods into whether they are yin or yang and it gives them a score. The app is in Spanish which makes it a bit more difficult to use but I'm thinking this idea has merit. Here are some of the scores, with 10 being the highest, and Im going to post for now only the ones with the highest scores, which the guy recommends to avoid (whether they be yin or yang)

 

Alcohol yin 10

Sugar yin 10

Coffee yin 9

Achiote (?) yin 8

Basil yin 8

Spices (all which doesnt really amke sense to me) yin 8

Eggs yang 9

miso yang 8

honey yin 8

Salt yang 10

 

 

My question is: does anyone know where the author is getting his info from and of anymore resources on this subject?

 

edit: it's actually in English as well

 

This is completely wrong -- but where the author is getting it from is probably the macrobiotics paradigm, they have all yin-yang foods reversed there, for reasons best known to them -- mostly they designate foods they like as yang and foods they don't like as yin, that seems to be the only criterion. Here's the real picture:

 

Alcohol extreme yang

Sugar yang

Coffee yang

Achiote (?) no idea what that is, sorry

Basil yin -- he got this one right, the only one

Spices yang

Eggs balanced -- egg white yin, egg yolk yang  

miso yin

honey yang

salt extreme yin

 

The numbers are, obviously, meaningless. 

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I haven't seen this app, as I do not use apps or phones.

 

But I have studied CCM/TCM since the early 70s, and I have also studied Macrobiotics rather extensively.

 

Macrobiotic YinYang is based on physical existence on earth being created and influenced by two forces - Heaven's force and Earth's force.

 

Macrobiotics sees Heaven's Force as that coming into Earth from space, from all sides, going downward to Earth, centrepital, and causing contraction. In this sense, the Earth physically is matter compacted into a ball by Heaven's force. Macrobiotics calls this force Yang force and expects it to produce Yin physically - things contract and slow down.

 

Macrobiotics sees earth's force as that coming out from the Earth from inside, from rotation, upward, centerfugal, and causing expansion and dispersal. Macrobiotics calls this force Yin and expects it to produce Yang physically - things actively disperse.

 

The traditional Chinese way is seeing YinYang as "metaphysical" or energy and not physical structure - so it sees Heaven as very Yang and active, and Earth as Yin and static by comparison.

 

Macrobiotics is using YinYang to describe physical structure - so it sees Heaven as very Yin and expanded and moving, and Earth as very Yang and contracted and still by comparison.

 

Macrobiotic food classification is looking at physical characteristics as resulting from energetics. In a sense, we could say it is a modern adaptation of Taoist YinYang thinking that was developed to be understandable to western materialistic science thinking. But it also has roots in Shinto - for example, where in the Kojiki the first two dieties that appear after the August Lord of the Center are basically the complimentary paired dieties of contraction and expansion.

 

-- I will write a more detailed post about the differences in food classification between these two ways of looking at it, and how to apply them.

 

 

-VonKrankenhaus

Edited by vonkrankenhaus
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Yin or Yang with respect to what? It makes no sense.

 

In respect to the yin-yang spectrum of foods consumed by humans.  Of course nothing is yin or yang by itself.   

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Alcohol yin 10

Sugar yin 10

Coffee yin 9

Achiote (?) yin 8

Basil yin 8

Spices (all which doesnt really amke sense to me) yin 8

Eggs yang 9

miso yang 8

honey yin 8

Salt yang 10

 

 

My question is: does anyone know where the author is getting his info from and of anymore resources on this subject?

 

edit: it's actually in English as well

 

As VonKrankenhaus states, this classification comes from Macrobiotics and he gives an excellent overview of the subject. 
 

 

-- I will write a more detailed post about the differences in food classification between these two ways of looking at it, and how to apply them.

 

I'll be interested to read your more detailed post. 

 

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Here is some basic food theory from a Macrobiotic perspective.......

 

Food is a fundamental link between us and our living environment, and hence the cosmos. It not only provides us with gross energy and substances for our structure but also nourishes the more subtle plains of our existence with its Qi. Modern nutrition equates nourishment solely with a food's vitamins, minerals and kilojoules; there is no notion of Qi. For this we pay dearly in terms of our health.

 

We are lead to believe that processed packaged food is of similar nutritional value to fresh wholefoods providing the same quantities of chemicals are present. But food lives and contains life-force. Plant a grain of rice and it will grow, it is a storehouse of life. The more a food is processed and refined the further it is from whole life Qi. The energy of refined food supports only limited aspects of life and skews our behaviour accordingly. Everyone acknowledges that the over consumption of heavily refined substances such as alcohol and drugs lead us out of the stream of life, but few appreciate the more subtle and gradual long term effects of ordinary food stuffs.

 

Natural wholefoods nourish a more whole experience of life because their Qi is a microcosm of universal Qi. In the Orient the use of herbs, acupuncture, homoeopathic preparations, and related techniques was not the first or main way used to treat illness. Daily diet was always considered to be the basis of good health. Zen Shiatsu practitioners understand this and use food as medicine based on what has become known as macrobiotics but perhaps it is best understood as traditional food. Most traditional diets are macrobiotic because they comprise locally grown natural foods centred around whole grains and vegetables.

 

We all have the ability within us to know exactly what to eat. Developing it helps all aspects of our lives by grounding us in our intuition. Here are some macrobiotic guide-lines. Most importantly eat by taste and chew well. Try chewing each mouthful at least 20 times and mix food with saliva. This connects you with what you're eating, and commences and strengthens the digestive process.

 

With diet it is best to proceed gradually by eating what you feel like and experiencing the effects. Instead of thinking about food in terms of vitamins and calories try to feel its life force (Qi). For example, root vegetables mission in life is to develop by growing downward into the earth. They have downward grounding Qi and are hard and compact. Eating root vegetables helps us feel more grounded. Fruits, on the other hand, tend to be soft and fleshy. They grow in the air and expand and ripen in the sun. Thus they have light upwards expansive Qi. They are great to balance the effects of highly contracted foods such as meat and cheese but tend to cause Qi to rise in the body and fuel excessive mental activity. Their expanded Qi can also weaken the digestive system.

 

Diet is about balance. Foods are not "good" or "bad" in themselves but rather appropriate or inappropriate for your condition. There is no such thing as universal miracle foods. The perfect food for you may be like poison for someone else. As your life-style moves more in harmony with the cosmos your diet will probably naturally centre on whole grains or whole grain products (complex carbohydrates in chemical jargon). Note the range and balance in your diet. If one food type or cooking style predominates then your being will reflect its Qi.

 

Now determine whether your current underlying Qi is expanded (yin), or contracted (yang). Over contraction is characterised by tension, and over expansion by fatigue. Our normal foods and cooking styles contribute to this. As a general guide people on meat based diets are prone to becoming overly contracted, and long term vegetarians (especially vegans) tend toward over expanded Qi states.

 

Expansive foods feed mental, emotional and spiritual activity by promoting relaxation and openness. Typical examples of are sugar, honey, spices, butter, oil, fruit, tofu, upward growing vegetables like leafy greens, and raw foods. However extremely expansive foods such as sugar, chocolate, alcohol, and tropical fruit weaken the digestion and can result in symptoms such as bloating, candida, depression, emotional over-dependence and fatigue. (Over-eating also creates expansion.)

 

Contracted foods fuel physical activity and purposefulness by supporting focus and healthy tension. Examples are meat, whole grains, sourdough bread, vegetables that grow downwards, miso and sea salt. But too much salt, meat, cheese or eggs result in a stiff, tense mind and body, with limited flexibility in both movement and temperament.

 

Cooking styles are also very relevant. Baked and slow simmered food is more contracted, steamed is more expanded, and stir fried is in between. (Microwave, frozen and juiced are the most expansive.)

 

The body has a natural urge for balance so foods of one extreme will create craving for the opposite extreme. For example, if you eat lots of meat you will probably crave sugar and alcohol. (If not your lifestyle may be very aggressive.) However a steady diet of extreme foods is stressful and can lead to serious illness. Healthy balanced diets, on the other hand, are based on more centred foods, namely whole grains with some vegetables and smaller amounts of legumes. If you eat no animal products then cooking with sea salt is essential to maintain balance because it creates contraction and provides essential minerals.

 

To practice perceiving the world in terms of its Qi, there's no better way to start than with your food. Touch it, feel its energy, and cook it with love because it becomes a part of you and you become a bit like it. With food and all life experience, have what you feel like without guilt and note the results, but allow time for chewing and digestion. When experience is digested intuition grows to wisdom and life becomes a pleasure. Enjoy it!

 

Summer Cooking Styles.

 

Summer is a time of joy, creativity and lightness so use more expansive cooking methods to help harmonise with the season. Centre your meals on whole grains such as long grain brown rice, hulled millet, corn, or good quality whole grain noodles. Steam, stir-fry or quick boil vegetables and leafy greens, or make salads. Enhance your cooking with fresh ginger, vinegar, lemon, fresh herbs, and use less sea salt. Serve food warm or at room temperature.

 

Winter Cooking Styles.

 

During winter try more contractive cooking methods for warmth, comfort and strength. Bake, pressure-cook, or slow simmer foods and serve them hot. Eat lots of genuine sour-dough bread and short grain brown rice. Choose more hearty compact vegetables and downward growing roots. Eat more beans, especially chick peas, adzuki beans, black soy beans and buckwheat. Add more sea salt, miso or tamari, and use less herbs and spices.

 

If you are a person with more contracted Qi (tension) tend towards more expansive cooking methods all year round, but more so in summer. Conversely for people with more expanded Qi (fatigue).

Edited by Darkstar
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I heard there is a subdivision of foods into the five phases also, but little more.

 

I was talking to an old time Feng Shui master about it and his take was that yin and yang in his training regarding foodstuffs was that yang was determined primarily if it came from an animal with blood and yin was generally vegetables, he went on to say that the five phase aspect was more important to look after to mend or increase ones energy, but he said we didnt have time to get into the classification properly (because he was hungry and late) and would only say that it pertained both to tastes (according to 5ph theory) and the actual energy the food contained, so he said it was easier overall to learn to cook with high quality ingredients and eat as varied and balanced as possible, especially if you practice martial arts or exercise a lot wich he knows i do so it felt like friendly advice and maybe a hope to be invited for dinner sometime :)

 

When i catch him next time i'll try to raise the subject again, might be a while though.

Edited by Rocky Lionmouth
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The deeper taoist approach to analyzing food energetics starts with what the food "has" and proceeds to what it "does" in the given body at a given time, when consumed in a particular shape or form or combination.  For this, the entire food item is analyzed as a "being," with everything it entails, and then its interactions with the human being, the relationship, is assessed. 

 

One starts with simple (for those who have thoroughly mastered the concepts first) yin-yang assessment, then the wuxing (Five Phases) affiliations which manifest at the first simple step as taste (e.g. salty is associated with Water -- kidneys, bitter with Fire -- heart, etc.), warming or cooling (or neutral) nature, and which meridians the qi of the food enters upon being ingested, and whether it will ascend or descend there, and whether it's drying or moisturizing, reducing or producing to certain organs or the overall body, fast or slow in its action (a spectrum -- yin to Slow yin, yang to Fast yang), and which organs it will nourish and which it will deplete if overnourishing its target (e.g. Sweet taste nourishes the Spleen-Stomach but at the expense of the Heart if you overdo it), and which energies affect which aspect of the "affiliated" organ(s) -- e.g. asparagus acts on Kidney yin but cinnamon acts on Kidney yang. 

 

Then the person who is going to eat is matched to the foods she's going to eat based on her unique needs: age, male or female, which wuxing affiliation the person is, which imbalances are manifesting, what her lifestyle requirements are (do we want a healing diet right now to recover from an illness, a supporting one to counteract the stress of a challenging job, a difficult emotional situation, or physical performance in demanding conditions, e.g.); also climate, season, and even time of the day.  And then interactions between different items that go into a particular dish -- a "literate" taoist dish is like an herbal formula, it is thought through and understood in its enegetics and effects completely.  

 

All of it is fascinating.  I've studied pretty much every nutritional paradigm in existence, and no one-diet-fits-all comes close -- and of the individualizing ones, perhaps classical pre-Buddhist Ayurveda is a second, but IMO not even a close second.  Taoist food analysis is the richest and most complex science under the sun -- but every one of the many consecutive steps toward mastery is simple, and congruent with the overall scope of taoist arts, sciences and practices.  You study nutrition, you simultaneously study Heaven and Earth in all their manifestations.  This is great fun.   :)  

Edited by Taomeow
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I heard there is a subdivision of foods into the five phases also, but little more.

 

 

The Five-Element Theory

 

The five stages of transformation of energy also reflect the energy functions related 

to two major cycles & twelve meridians as well as our senses, environment, food, organs and so on.

The Five Elements:
 

 

‚Äʬ†
Fire corresponds
 with expansive energy, sadness and joy, the heart and small intestine, and bitter foods such as green kale.

 

‚Äʬ†
Earth corresponds
 with downward energy, worry and fulfillment, the spleen and stomach, and sweet foods such as squash.

 

‚Äʬ†
Metal corresponds
 with contracted energy, grief and hope, the lungs and large intestine, and pungent foods such as garlic.

 

‚Äʬ†
Water corresponds
 with floating energy, fear and will, the kidney and bladder, and salty foods such as seaweed.

 

‚Äʬ†
Tree corresponds
 with upward energy, anger and kindness, the liver and gall bladder, and sour foods such as lemons.

 

Because each element nourishes a specific part of the body, if you experience problems in a particular area (e.g., the stomach), you must consume more foods of the corresponding element (in this case, earth foods) in order to restore balance and health.

 

Example of Five Macrobiotic Food Tastes and Flavours

 
Sour:
 sauerkraut, pickles, brown rice vinegar, umeboshi plums, shiso leaves, lemon rinds, or lime rinds.

 
Bitter:
 gomashio, tekka, green nori, parsley, wakame powder, dandelion, or walnuts; 

 
Sweet:
 miso, applesauce, barley malt, brown rice syrup, mirin, or raisins.

 
Pungent:
 scallions, watercress, onions, chives, grated daikon, gingerroot, garlic, mustard, or horseradish.

 
Salty:
 gomashio, shio kombu, wakame powder, umeboshi plums or paste, miso, or shoyu
 
 
 

Edited by Darkstar
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_/\_ I hate to argue, but...  actually, Fire ascends and Wood expands and Water descends, and Earth rotates -- they did get 1/5 of it right, Metal doth contract.  I wouldn't go to macrobiotics for the Wuxing theory.  Or for anything else, but I'm not touching that poor dead horse with a 6-foot daikon...  since members of its family are either dead of cancer, or of alcoholism, or indulge in wife-beating, or are gone to jail for nearly murdering an infant of the family with a diet-induced B-12 deficiency -- I've no business adding to their comeuppance.

 

My very inquisitive friend was immediately kicked out of a macrobiotics class after she asked an innocent question:

"If it's all about eating local seasonal foods, what are we doing with gomashio, tekka, umeboshi and shiso in North Carolina?.."

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_/\_ I hate to argue, but...  actually, Fire ascends and Wood expands and Water descends, and Earth rotates -- they did get 1/5 of it right, Metal doth contract.  I wouldn't go to macrobiotics for the Wuxing theory.  Or for anything else, but I'm not touching that poor dead horse with a 6-foot daikon...  since members of its family are either dead of cancer, or of alcoholism, or indulge in wife-beating, or are gone to jail for nearly murdering an infant of the family with a diet-induced B-12 deficiency -- I've no business adding to their comeuppance.

 

My very inquisitive friend was immediately kicked out of a macrobiotics class after she asked an innocent question:

"If it's all about eating local seasonal foods, what are we doing with gomashio, tekka, umeboshi and shiso in North Carolina?.."

 

This response seems a tad extreme to me, but everyone has their own truth. Personally, I don't ascribe to any particular dietary system. I eat what suits me. However, I have studied in the past under a teacher versed in Macrobiotics and seen first hand the excellent results he achieved in helping people overcome chronic illness. But yes, people do become obsessive about diet.  

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One of the reasons macrobiotics has nelped people has to do with

what they have eliminated from their diet. It's what you don't eat that keeps you healthy,

The extremes of macrobiotics as in anything is what causes the damage.

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One of the reasons macrobiotics has nelped people has to do with

what they have eliminated from their diet. It's what you don't eat that keeps you healthy,

 

Agreed.  If a person goes from eating Snickers bars and Dorritos (and lots of people do) to pretty much any hardcore dietary program -- Taoist, Ayurvedic or Macrobiotic, raw vegan or paleo -- health improvement will likely ensue.

 

Yak butter and carrot sticks have little in common nutritionally except for this: they¬īre both way better for you than a McDonalds happy meal.

 

Liminal 

Edited by liminal_luke
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One of the reasons macrobiotics has nelped people has to do with

what they have eliminated from their diet. It's what you don't eat that keeps you healthy,

 

Yes, that's a good observation.

 

The extremes of macrobiotics as in anything is what causes the damage.

 

Macrobiotics has gained a bad reputation due to extreme adherents. What tends to happen is that people are so impressed by the health results of a specific (sometimes extreme) diet designed to redress chronic imbalance that they're reluctant to drop it once the imbalance has been rectified. Hence they create a new imbalance in the opposite direction.  For everyone, over the longer term a suitable balanced diet must be found that suits the individual constitution, lifestyle etc..   

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Thank you everyone for your wonderful and indepth replies.

 

Taomeow, sounds like you are ready to write a book about taoist nutrition :)

 

And, after all its said and done, I am reminded time and time again that the best way to decide whether a food is suitable or not for me is by the hand scanning method I learned in pranic healing, rather than opting for the lazy way of going by numbers and lists which are written with everyone in mind.

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I would rate food as yin/yang based on the organs they interact with during the digestion process. Heart = fire, Stomach = earth, liver = wood, kidneys = water, etc.

 

 

alcohol extremely yang.! It attacks the liver/kidneys which is wood and water

 

sugar is yin. it helps the liver/kidneys

 

Milk/meat is very yang

 

orange juice is very yang

 

water is yin.

 

bread is yang

 

green fruit/vegetables are mostly yin. kiwi, celery, lettuce, 

 

Apples are a little yang though because they can be hard on the stomach which is yin/earth.

 

eggs yang....hard on liver/stomach..

 

Salt is yang 

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a lot of people in the USA think Milk/Meat is really healthy.

 

But they are heavily yang. and acidic.  so the result is a lot of people with digestion problems and liver/kidney problems. and cancer 

Edited by MooNiNite
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Thank you everyone for your wonderful and indepth replies.

 

Taomeow, sounds like you are ready to write a book about taoist nutrition :)

 

And, after all its said and done, I am reminded time and time again that the best way to decide whether a food is suitable or not for me is by the hand scanning method I learned in pranic healing, rather than opting for the lazy way of going by numbers and lists which are written with everyone in mind.

 

Pranic scanning sounds interesting.  I've extensively used another method, applied kinesiology, which I learned years ago from a dissident MD in New York.  I even designed a double blind placebo controlled study of this method at one point, aiming to convince a scientist/skeptic friend.  Went to town preparing the kit -- having access to his funky stash of stuff, I managed to have him sample everything, from food and drink of his usual choice to trick objects like birth control pills, chemo drugs, arsenic, cat food, and pot.  (the worst performer of them all was diet Pepsi, which he drinks a lot of every day.)  The accuracy is extremely high -- in other cases I verified it by testing food items on people with known and documented allergies and intolerances.  However, this method offers only a very generalized picture of what to seek and what to avoid.  But I'm pretty sure it could blow a mind or two in people who have an idea in the head of what they "should" eat which their body doesn't buy -- it could give them a chance to find out what the body really thinks about their choices.

 

As for the book -- make me write it and I will, 'tis the only way! :D

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To the OP:

 

Have you tried these two online sources?

 

http://www.universal-tao.com/5elements/5ElementsCDmenu.htm

 

http://www.shen-nong.com/eng/lifestyles/index.html

 

First link doesn't work but the second is a very good resource. Thank you!

 

Pranic scanning sounds interesting.  I've extensively used another method, applied kinesiology, which I learned years ago from a dissident MD in New York.  I even designed a double blind placebo controlled study of this method at one point, aiming to convince a scientist/skeptic friend.  Went to town preparing the kit -- having access to his funky stash of stuff, I managed to have him sample everything, from food and drink of his usual choice to trick objects like birth control pills, chemo drugs, arsenic, cat food, and pot.  (the worst performer of them all was diet Pepsi, which he drinks a lot of every day.)  The accuracy is extremely high -- in other cases I verified it by testing food items on people with known and documented allergies and intolerances.  However, this method offers only a very generalized picture of what to seek and what to avoid.  But I'm pretty sure it could blow a mind or two in people who have an idea in the head of what they "should" eat which their body doesn't buy -- it could give them a chance to find out what the body really thinks about their choices.

 

As for the book -- make me write it and I will, 'tis the only way! :D

 

Pranic scanning is taught in the first pranic healing level 1 course. It's very easy to learn, but hard to master, as it requires constant practice. Since your hand energy channels are open, you have a huge advantage .. I can probably explain in here as well how it's done if you are interested and would like to practice it ...

 

And when it comes to the book, your wish is my command :D

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As a taoist i don't confuse my mind with theory's,even with yin yang theory.food should be natural(organic),and from my experience, the more food is cooked, the more sleepy you get

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Pranic scanning is taught in the first pranic healing level 1 course. It's very easy to learn, but hard to master, as it requires constant practice. Since your hand energy channels are open, you have a huge advantage .. I can probably explain in here as well how it's done if you are interested and would like to practice it ...

 

And when it comes to the book, your wish is my command :D

 

Sure, do share if you're up to it. :)

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As a taoist i don't confuse my mind with theory's,even with yin yang theory.food should be natural(organic),and from my experience, the more food is cooked, the more sleepy you get

 

Shh...  don't tell the Big Pharma -- or they will lobby to illegalize cooked food if they find out that it can interfere with their multi-trillion-dollar profits from insomnia drugs... :ph34r: 

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