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Creationist Diet Summary
by Gary F. Zeolla
Note: This book has been superseded by my new book God-given Foods Eating Plan.
This article is summarized from the book Creationist Diet: Nutrition and God-given Foods According to the Bible.
A popular diet program being promoted today, especially on the Internet, is the "Paleolithic Diet." The idea of the diet is to eat like a "Paleo-man" i.e., a caveman. The theory behind the diet is that the healthiest way to eat is the way our ancestors ate from when we first evolved into Homo sapiens about two million years ago, until our diets changed a few thousand years ago. Such a diet would be how evolution "intended" us to eat.
Such a diet does have plausibility, if one believes in the theory of evolution. I for one do not. But this "Paleolithic Diet" got me thinking as to what a diet based on the theory of creation would look like. In this article, I will be accepting the earlier chapters of Genesis as being literally and historically accurate.
The place to begin in developing a Creationist Diet is with the account of creation and of the Fall, as recorded in Genesis 1-3. There are three main passages to be considered in these three chapters.
The first passage is Genesis 1:29, “And God said, ‘See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.’
The second passage is Genesis 2:16. But verse nine will also be included for background, “And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. ... And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat’ (Gen 2:9, 2:16).
The last pertinent verse in these chapters is the second half of Genesis 3:18, "And you shall eat the herb of the field."
In these verses, God has given us every kind of plant food for food: fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes. So any and all of these would be included in a Creationist Diet.
However, another point relevant to the Creationist Diet principle is when each of these different foods actually began to be consumed by humans, and in what form. The Bible does not give specific answers to these questions, but an attempt will be made to glean from the Scriptures the most likely scenario.
The place to begin is in the Garden of Eden. What did Adam and Eve eat before the Fall? The verses from Genesis two quoted above show that Adam and Eve's initial food would have been that which grew on the trees in the Garden. Now, what kind of food grows on trees? The first thing that comes to mind is fruit. And fruits do have a prominent place in the Bible, with "fruit" or "fruits" being mentioned 230 times, and some specific fruits are mentioned as well.
Now most any nutritionist would agree with the nutritional value of fruits, and our need to eat more of them. Fruits are high in natural carbohydrates and sugar (namely fructose, as opposed to sucrose found in refined sugar), and they are good sources of a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
The next thing that grows on trees that would be noticed would be various nuts. So the second food item that would be a staple in a Creationist Diet would be raw nuts of all kinds: almonds, walnuts, pecans, brazil nuts, filberts, and the like. Nuts aren't mentioned too often otherwise in the Bible, but almonds are mentioned twice (Gen 43:11 and Numbers 18:7). The first reference also mentions pistachio nuts.
Now nuts used to have a "bad rap" because they are high in fat. However, it is now known that the type of fat in nuts is actually beneficial. Nuts contain mainly monounsaturated fat, some polyunsaturated fats, but very little saturated fat. In addition, nuts are a good source of protein, vitamins (especially vitamin E), minerals such magnesium, phosphorus, and iron, along with fiber.
So Adam and Eve in the Garden would definitely have eaten raw fruits and nuts. But what else did they eat? Genesis 1:29 quoted above included "vine-bearing fruits and vegetables" as God-given foods. And such vegetables would be the next most obvious food for Adam and Eve to find and eat, and at least initially they would have been eaten raw.
Then after the Fall, God added "the herb of the field" to Adam and Eve's diet. This decree then would include all kinds of non-seed bearing vegetables like the cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage).
Going back to the Garden, as Adam and Eve investigated all the plants around them, they would have discovered that some contained edible seeds. And seeds would have been included in the Genesis 1:29 decree.
So raw fruits and certain raw vegetables, and raw nuts and seeds would have been staples of the diet of Adam and Eve while they were still in the Garden. But when did humans begin to cook their food?
The Bible does not specially say when food began to be cooked. However, an indication might be found in Genesis 4:22, "And as for Zillah, she also bore Tubal-Cain, an instructor of every craftsman in bronze and iron."
It takes fire and intelligence to make bronze and iron. And if humans learned this early in human history how to use fire to fashion bronze and iron, it is very possible they also learned very early how to cook foods. However, raw foods would definitely be an "earlier" food than cooked foods. And this point is important.
Since humans ate raw foods earlier than cooked foods, then raw foods should constitute a significant portion of a Creationist Diet. And most of the foods mentioned above can be eaten raw, namely fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. So these foods would be the most basic, God-given foods.
But these same foods can also be eaten cooked. And since humans did learn to control fire probably sometime shortly after the Fall, then cooked versions could have a place in a Creationist Diet, but in lesser amounts than the raw versions.
Moreover, there are vegetables that need to be cooked before eating, such as "starchy vegetables." So foods like white and sweet potatoes would have a place in a Creationist Diet, but again, in lesser amounts than raw vegetables.
In addition to starchy vegetables, there are other classes of plant foods that have to be cooked, or at least, are generally eaten cooked rather than raw. Such foods will be looked at in next.
Grains and Legumes
Grains are the next class of plant foods to be considered. Grains would have been included among the "every herb that yields seed" decree of Genesis 1:29. The first possible reference to a grain food is in Genesis 3, as part of the curse God pronounced upon Adam. In part, God told Adam, "In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return" (Gen 3:19).
Note the word "bread" in the first part of the verse. However, the word translated "bread" here can also more generally mean "food" and is so translated elsewhere in Scripture. So it is questionable if a grain food is being referred to or not in this verse.
As indicated above, there is some indication that humans did learn how to control fire shortly after the Fall. But there is no indication that Adam and Eve did while still in the Garden. So it is unlikely they were making bread or cooking rice in the Garden.
However, it is possible to eat some kinds of grains raw. An example of this is seen in Luke 6:1, "Now it happened on the second Sabbath after the first that He went through the grainfields. And His disciples plucked the heads of grain and ate them, rubbing them in their hands."
But whatever the case in the Garden, it is likely that sometime after the Fall humans did figure out ways to make cooked grain foods. Moreover, bread does have an important place in the Bible, being mentioned 320 times. An indication of its importance can be seen in Jesus calling Himself "the bread of life" (John 6:35, 48).
An important point needs to be noted here: all of the grains consumed in the antediluvian age, and for that matter throughout most of history since then, would have been whole grains. It has only been in the last century or so that refined grains have become popular.
There is a significant distinction between whole and refined grains. Whole grains, which contain the outer bran and inner germ of the wheat kernel, are a storehouse of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The refining process eliminates the most nutritious parts of the grains, and most of the nutrients.
As such, whole grains, but not refined grains, would be included in a Creationist Diet. But since they entered the human diet later, at least in their cooked forms, than fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, they would have less of an importance than these more "original" foods.
The last main class of plant foods would be legumes. These are unique plant foods in that generally speaking they cannot be eaten raw. So it is unlikely Adam and Eve ate legumes in the Garden.
However, as with grains, eventually humans in the antediluvian age probably did figure out how to prepare legumes for food. So they would have a place in a Creationist Diet, but after whole grains.
Beans are mentioned twice in the Bible (2Sam 17:29 and Ezek 4:9). These verses also mention lentils. Lentils are also mentioned in Gen 25:34 and 2Sam 23:11.
A couple of legumes besides beans require special mention. The first is peanuts. Although called a “nut,” peanuts are technically legumes. But nutritionally, they have more in common with nuts than legumes. They are high in monounsaturated fats, and have vitamin, mineral, fiber, and protein contents similar to most nuts.
The second legume deserving special mention is the soybean. Like peanuts, soybeans are best eaten cooked. Soybeans consumption is associated with health benefits, like reduced risk of cancer and heart disease.
So legumes, including peanuts and soybeans, would have a place in a Creationist Diet. But since they are a later food than all of the previously mentioned foods, the proportion of them in the diet would be less than fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and even whole grains.
Problems with Restrictive Diets
The most likely interpretation of the evidence is that Adam and Eve, while in the Garden, ate a 100% raw foods diet, consisting of raw fruits and vegetables, and raw nuts and seeds, and possibly raw grains.
Would such a diet be healthy today? It sustained Adam and Eve during the time they were in the Garden. Moreover, such a diet would consist solely of God-given foods in the raw form in which God most originally gave them to be eaten. So yes, such a diet could be healthy.
However, there are potential problems with a raw foods diet. Many of these problems are related to the issue of inability to consume enough food. Raw fruits and vegetables are great! They are highly nutritious. However, they are not very high in calories. So eating only raw fruits and vegetables can make it very difficult to consume enough calories.
Now for those who are trying to lose weight, this might sound great. And in fact, many of the health improvements reported by some while following a raw foods diet can be attributed to the loss of excess weight. However, such restrictive diets are not the best way to lose weight, as they can be deficient in various nutrients and can be quite monotonous. So a less restrictive diet would be better for the long-term.
Benefits of a Vegan Diet
As might be surmised, what is being described so far in this book is a vegetarian diet, or more correctly, a vegan diet. A vegan diet is one that includes no animal foods of any sort, but all kinds of plant foods, both raw and cooked. A similar diet would be an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet. This diet includes eggs and milk, along with all plant foods. In most cases, such a diet is simply called a vegetarian diet, and will be so in this article. So a vegan diet excludes all animal foods, while a vegetarian diet includes milk and eggs. But are vegan and vegetarian diets healthy?
Well, a vegan diet is what all people throughout the entire antediluvian age ate. And that covers a period of about 2,000 years or more. Further, the recorded age of people at that time was over 900 years! So it would seem a vegan diet supported the antediluvians very well.
Moreover, scientific studies show that vegans and vegetarians tend to have lower rates of cancer, heart disease, and other degenerative diseases as compared to meat-eaters.
Also, a vegetarian diet can be more than nutritionally adequate, provided it is varied and well planned. But a very restrictive diet could be detrimental, especially in the long-term.
Summary of Edenic and Antediluvian Diets
So the Creationist Diet at this point presents two options. First, one could follow the diet of Adam and Eve while they were in the Garden and eat nothing but raw fruits and vegetables, and raw nuts and seeds. Since this was the diet they ate in the Garden of Eden, a good name for this type of diet would be the "Edenic Diet."
Such a diet could be beneficial for someone trying to overcome specific health problems, such as heart problems or cancer. But it should be looked at as more of a short-term diet, as it was for Adam and Eve, not as a long-term diet.
The second option would be to follow the diet of the antediluvians (who lived between the time of the Fall and the Flood) and eat the above foods, along with cooked versions thereof, especially whole grains, plus legumes. This later version would avoid some of the possible long-term problems of the former and thus can be looked upon as a life-long dietary strategy. Since this was the diet eaten in the antediluvian era, then it could be called the "Antediluvian Diet."
So that covers the major plant foods. But when did animal foods enter the picture?
Pros and Cons of Flesh Foods
God initially only gave permission to human beings to eat plant foods. It was not until after the Flood that permission was given to eat flesh foods (i.e. red meat, poultry, and fish). God told Noah and his family, "Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs" (Gen 9:3).
So after the Flood, God definitely gives permission to humans to eat "every moving thing that lives." This would include flesh foods. And note, God says He gives these foods "even as the green herbs." So eating flesh foods is appropriate just as eating plant foods is. As such, it cannot be said it is intrinsically "wrong" on ethical, spiritual, moral, or health reasons to eat flesh foods.
So there is no cause for vegetarians to think they are "better" than non-vegetarians. However, all of that said, a case could be made for avoiding flesh foods based on differences between how animals are treated and how flesh foods are produced today versus in Biblical times.
Health-wise, animals are fattened today in ways that would exceed even the "fatted calf" of Biblical times. Another potential problem are the toxic residues found in animal foods today. These are much more concentrated than what would be found in plant foods.
Ethically, the treatment of animals in today's large-scale meat processing operations is far different from the small scale-farms known in Biblical times. Animals are mistreated in various ways to increase the “yield” of meat.
Then there are the environmental problems associated with large-scale animal farms. Of particular concern is the pollution created by the large amount of waste produced by farm animals and the fishing various species of fish to extinction.
And finally, there is the complicated issue of world hunger. It won't be suggested here that people reducing or eliminating their intake of animal foods could solve this problem. However, growing grains and feeding them to animals and then eating the animals is a much less efficient method of food production that eating the grains directly. For instance, it takes 16 pounds of plant foods to produce one pound of beef.
So there are good reasons to avoid flesh foods. However, these types of issues are not intrinsic to the eating of meat per se. They would not apply to personal hunting and fishing (as long as the waters where one is fishing are not polluted). And the type of meat that would have been eaten in Biblical times would have been lean, not the more fatty meat generally consumed today.
But all this information does make a strong case for following a vegan diet, or at least, a mostly vegan diet. However, since God specifically gave "moving things that live" to people to eat after the Flood, is it possible that such foods would now be necessary for a diet to be truly healthy in the now changed post-flood environment?
As stated previously, if a vegetarian diet is "varied and well-planned" it can meet nutrient needs. However, there is one nutrient that can be of particular concern to those following a vegan diet: vitamin B12. The problem is, generally speaking, vitamin B12 only occurs in animal foods. However, vitamin B12 can be attained from supplements, fortified foods, and even certain kinds of seaweed do have vitamin B12.
Also, a problem that is sometimes seen in long-time vegetarians and vegans is a condition known as "failure to thrive." There are many reported cases of long-time vegans who simply began not feeling good. But the re-inclusion of animal foods into their diets improved their health.
To conclude, eating limited amounts of animal foods would solve both the vitamin B12 and possibly the failure to thrive problems. And as for the ethical and environmental problems, these could be significantly alleviated if everyone would simply reduce their intake of animal foods. It would not be necessary for everyone on the planet to become vegans.
Putting all of this information together, can flesh foods be included in a Creationist Diet? Answer: yes. Flesh foods are God-given foods. And there are some sound nutritional reasons for including limited amounts of flesh foods in the diet. But only the reader can consider the pros and cons of meat eating and decide for yourself if you wish to consume flesh foods or not. "Let each be fully convinced in his own mind" (Romans 14:5).
But since God gave flesh foods to humans considerably later than plant foods, then if flesh foods are consumed, they should have a minor place in a Creationist Diet as compared to plant foods. And since it was to Noah that the decree about eating flesh foods was given, then a good name for mostly plant-based diet but one that includes some flesh foods would be the "Noahic Diet."
However, if one does decide to include flesh foods in ones diet, the Bible gives some limitations that need to be considered. These will be discussed next.
Flesh Foods Restrictions
The first flesh foods restriction is in regards to clean vs. unclean animals. Now most Christians believe that adhering to the dietary laws of the Old Testament is not necessary. This is true, if by "necessary" one means "necessary for salvation." Salvation comes by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not by keeping the Law (Rom 3:28).
However, if by "necessary" one would mean "necessary for good health" then that is another issue altogether. Generally speaking, animals listed as "clean" in the Bible are herbivores, whereas most of the "unclean" animals are carnivores and scavengers. An herbivorous animal would have fewer toxins in its body than a carnivorous one. And it would only stand to reason that animals eating garbage would have more toxins in their flesh than ones eating greens.
The next restrictions concern blood and fat. In the next verse after God's decree about giving "every moving thing that lives" for food, God says, "But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood" (Gen 9:4). So while it is okay to eat flesh foods, it is not okay to eat it with the blood still in it.
Then later in the Mosaic Law, God combines the restriction about blood with another one, "This shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings: you shall eat neither fat nor blood" (Lev 3:17; see also Lev 7:23,24). So just as humans are not to eat the blood of animals, we are also not to eat the fat.
So it would be prudent for Christians today when eating flesh foods to be sure the blood is either drained or cooked from the meat and any outer fat is trimmed from it. Note also, the skin of chicken would probably also qualify as a "fat" that should not be eaten.
Additional Animal Foods
Besides flesh foods, there are various other kinds of animal foods. The first to be looked at is eggs. Eggs are living things, but they are not "moving things." However, they do come from living and moving things, so it’s possible they would have been included in the Noahic decree.
But whatever the case, eggs are mentioned three times in regards to food in the in the Bible. But the first reference (Job 6:6) is rather late in time as compared to other foods, and only one of these references even remotely puts eggs in a good light (Luke 11:12,13). So the conclusion of the Biblical evidence is that eggs should have little place in a Creationist Diet.
Honey is the next animal food to look at as it is made by bees. However, honey itself is not a "moving thing that lives." So again, it is debatable if it was included in the Noahic decree.
But honey does have a prominent place in the Bible. This is mainly because of the phrase "milk and honey," as in God saying the Promised Land would be "flowing with milk and honey." This phrase occurs twenty times in the Bible. Honey is mentioned 37 additional times as well. But again, the first reference is rather late in time (Exodus 3:8). And the Bible even warns against eating too much honey (Proverbs 25:16).
So the conclusion of the Biblical evidence is that honey is a God-given food, but it should only be eaten in limited amounts.
Another point to note is honey is the only sweetener mentioned in Scripture. So all other sweeteners, natural (such as table sugar) and artificial (such as aspartame) would not be considered to be God-given foods. As such, if one is going to use a sweetener, honey is the one to use on a Creationist Diet.
Gelatin is the next animal food to be considered. It is made from the connective tissue of animals. As such, gelatin could have been included in the Noahic decree. However, it is a highly processed food, far from the original God-given food.
Moreover, the main problem with gelatin is the way it is most commonly used, as an important ingredient in gelatin desert. But what is in this desert-sugar, gelatin, and various artificial colorings and flavorings. Sugar has already been mentioned. As for artificial flavorings and colorings, by definition they are human-created ingredients, and thus in no sense God-given foods. No such artificial ingredients would have a place in a Creationist Diet.
Milk and Milk Products
The last animal food to be looked at is milk and other dairy products. Milk and milk products in themselves are not "moving things that live." However, they do come from living and moving animals. So it would be debatable if they were included in the Noahic decree or not. But whatever the case, milk is mentioned quite often in the Bible.
But again, the first reference is somewhat late (Genesis 18:8). And most of the references appear to be to milk from animals other than cows, such as sheep. It doesn’t appear cow’s milk was used much in Biblical times. This is important as many people are allergic to cow’s milk.
However, as with honey, milk does have a prominent place in the Bible. It is, of course, included in God's statement about the Promised Land flowing with "milk and honey." This phrase, as mentioned previously, occurs twenty times in Scripture. Milk is also mentioned thirty additional times, and various other milk products are also mentioned with varying frequency.
Being included in the phrase "milk and honey," probably meant milk was a "delicacy." It was a prized food that was difficult to have around. Before refrigeration, milk simply couldn't have been that plentiful of an item in most people's diets.
Overall, there is sufficient Biblical evidence to classify milk and milk products as God-given foods. But since milk and milk products entered the human diet relatively late, if they are consumed it should not be in large amounts.
However, there are many today who believe that milk is not the healthy food it is generally made out to be. The reasons given for this position are: widespread lactose intolerance, widespread milk allergies, difficulty for many digesting the casein (protein) in milk, and milk’s association with various intestinal and other health problems, along with the environmental problems caused by milk production, the mistreatment of dairy cows, and the dangers of hormones given to dairy cows.
Such problems reinforce the previous statement that if dairy products are consumed they should only be done so in limited amounts.
However, the USDA is recommending the exact opposite-that people increase their consumption of milk products. There is one main reason for this-the calcium content of milk, along with the role of calcium in preventing osteoporosis.
However, the main reason for the development of osteoporosis is generally not an inadequate intake but an excessive loss of calcium. Calcium loss is caused by diets high in animal protein, sodium, phosphorus, and caffeine. And, unfortunately, all four of these substances are consumed in excessive amounts in the American diet. Moreover, lack of weight-bearing exercise contributes to calcium loss.
But if one’s diet is not high in such substances, and if one exercises regularly, then ones need for calcium would be lower than is generally recommended. And this lower amount is easily consumed without the intake of dairy products.
Summary of Diets and God-given Foods
The preceding sections of this article have described four different variations of the Creationist Diet. Each is summarized below: Foods in square brackets are not actually mentioned in the Bible but would fit in the places indicated.
Raw fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, and possibly raw grains.
The above foods, plus: cooked fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, whole grains, legumes [including soybeans and peanuts], vegetables oils (especially olive oil, [canola, walnut, almond, and flax seed oils]).
The above foods, plus: lean, trimmed, "clean" meats, skinless chicken/ turkey, "clean" fish.
Promised Land Diet:
The above foods, plus: milk and milk products, and honey.
Any of these diets could be healthy, although most would probably find the first to be too restrictive. Another way to view things would be to look at what has been described as God-given foods vs. non God-given foods. They would be as follows:
Not God-given foods:
Fatty red meats
Chicken/ turkey with the skin, or if deep fried
[Butter], margarine, lard
By eating primarily God-given foods one could design a very healthy diet for yourself.
The above summarizes the first half of the book Creationist Diet. The sections headings were for the most part were taken from the titles of chapters. The book provides much more detail on each of the points covered. It presents more Biblical evidence for each of the foods discussed. It also summarizes numerous scientific studies supporting the Biblical evidence in regards to foods.
Since the consumption of milk products is rather controversial, three chapters discuss in detail the Biblical evidence, the potential problems with milk consumption, and osteoporosis.
The second half of the book looks in more detail at what scientific studies show about the relationship of various foods to the development of various degenerative diseases like cancer and heart disease. And not surprisingly, science is finding that Biblical God-given foods are in fact healthy foods to eat.
The second half also looks at the debate between low-carb diets vs. low fat diets and the importance that Syndrome X has in regards to this debate. The caloric proportions athletes should consume is discussed, and the Creationist Diet is compared to other proposed diets plans.
The second half also provides tips on body-fat loss and gives suggestions on starting and developing an exercise program. Practical tips for following the Creationist Diet are given, and the question of the use of supplements is discussed in depth. The second half then closes with a look at the author’s own diet, exercise, and supplement program.
Shortly after my Creationist Diet book was published, I began to experience various various health problems. Eventually I was diagnosed with first fibromyalgia and then stiff person syndrome. I am now mostly recovered from these problems. NAET, careful attention to my diet, supplements, and a sound exercise program all contributed to my recovery.
What led to my problems was mainly allergies. I first began to be allergic to many items in the environment and then to most foods. But along with allergies, my doctor determined that what was contributing to my problems were numerous nutritional deficiencies.
So for a long time I was reacting to just about everything I ate; I was barely eating and lost a considerable amount of weight. As a result I became deficient in various nutrients.
In addition, I had been following a vegetarian or near vegetarian diet for most of the preceding 20 years, and this probably also contributed to these deficiencies. Some of the nutrients I was deficient in, such as zinc, are ones that are commonly low in vegetarian diets. In fact, my problems really began back in the summer of 2000 when I was following a full vegan diet as mentioned in my book.
So what I believed happened is that my nutrient levels were rather low from the years of following a vegetarian or near vegetarian diet. Then when I tried the vegan diet, this further depleted my nutritional stores. Meanwhile, I was slowly developing allergies to various foods and nutrients. And all these factors together contributed to my developing the deficiencies.
So what this means is, I no longer following nor particularly recommend a vegetarian diet. I especially would not follow nor recommend a vegan diet. Such diets might be good for some people, but many others will run into problems as I did.
Yes, there can be benefits from a vegan diet. But such benefits can be attained from eating a healthy diet that includes animal products, without the risks of a vegan diet. So if I ever publish a new edition of my book I will probably re-title the chapter on “Benefits of a Vegan diet” to “The Potential Benefits and Drawbacks of a Vegan Diet.” Let me make it clear, I still stand by and follow most of what I wrote in my book. But I would definitely like to tone any recommendations for vegetarian and vegan diets.
As evidence that following a omnivore diet, but one which follows the principles in my book, I am now mostly recovered from the above health problems, despite the fact that they are considered "incurable." And I'm recovered to such a degree that I was able to start powerlifting again, breaking six International Powerlifting Association world records in my first contest in 21 years.
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The above book summary was posted on this site June 25, 2001.
The Update was added July 12, 2003.
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