7 Day Scarsdale Diet Meal Plan (PDF, Menu & Alternatives)

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The Scarsdale Diet was created in the 1970s by Herman Tarnower, MD. He was a cardiologist  based in Scarscale, NY, which is where the diet got its name from.

It gained popularity due to the promise that someone could lose up to 20 lbs in under 2 weeks. It is essentially a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that you see in many variations today, such as the Atkins diet.

It is considered a fad diet because of it’s outladish promises, ‘quick fix’ methodology and lack of scientific rigour backing its use. However, you may be wondering what the diet entails and how it could work for you.

This article will cover everything you need to know about following the Scarsdale diet and offer a modified 7 day plan that you can follow.

View 7 Day Plan PDF

Scarsdale diet 14 day menu

Overview of the Scarsdale Diet

The founder was the Scarsdale Diet is Herman Tarnower, MD. Working as a cardiologist, he created the diet after many patients complained other diets didn’t work for them.

After haining some initial traction, Dr Tarnower wrote the book, “The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet Plus Dr. Tarnower’s Lifetime Keep-Slim Program.”

It is a high-protein, low-carb diet lasting 14 days. It is a very strict eating plan of 1,000 calories no matter your body size, sex or activity levels. There are no substitutions allowed.

Dr. Tarnower says in his book that you shoudn’t extend the initial restrictive diet past 14 days. After that, he suggests a lifetime ‘keep slim’ plan. This is a similar but more relaxed version of the diet, allowing an alcoholic drink per day for example.

If you gain weight during this phase, he suggests that you go back to following the initial 14 day restrictive phase.

The initial 14-day phase eliminates a variety of foods such as starchy vegetables, grains, most types of nuts and seeds and alcohol.

Despite the book not being in print anymore, there are still some unofficial websites and other vendors that promote the plan. However, many health experts within the community suggest it isn’t a good diet to follow.

This is because it eliminates lots of important foods, over exaggerates the weight loss claims possible and isn’t a sustainable diet to follow over the long-term.  

Foods to Eat on the Scarsdale Diet

Foods allowed include:

  • Non-starchy vegetables: starchy vegetables include foods like aubergine, beets and turnips. Carrots and celery are allowed as snacks.
  • Low fat dairy: such as 2% milk, low-fat cheeses (e.g cottage cheese) and low-fat yogurt
  • Eggs: prepared without oil or other fats
  • Fruits: the diet emphasises grapefruit, but all fruits are allowed
  • Lean meat: chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, steak, fish, shellfish
  • Seasonings: most herbs and spices are allowed
  • Beverages: unsweetened black coffee, tea, zero-calorie diet soda, water

Protein bread is commonly found in the book and was available in grocery stores in the 1970s. It is made of soy flour, whole wheat flour and gluten flour.

You may have seen elsewhere that grapefruit is the only fruit allowed. This is because in the original plans, only grapefruit was allowed. However, updated versions of the plan permit most fruits, but more so as a treat.

Foods to Avoid on the Scarsdale Diet

The Scarsdale diet forbids many food groups, even healthy ones. No reasons are given as to why. The foods includes:

  • Starchy vegetables: eggplant, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, beets, butternut squash, turnips, peas
  • Legumes: black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils
  • Full fat dairy: full fat milk, yogurt and fatty cheeses (cheddar, permesan, swiss)
  • Fats and oils: all oils, butter, ghee, mayonnaise, and salad dressings
  • Wheat and grains: bread, breakfast cereals, pasta, sandwiches, wraps
  • Nuts and seeds: all nuts and seeds except walnuts and pecans (in limited amounts)
  • Processed meat: such as bacon, chorizo, calamari, ham, sausages, corned beef
  • Junk foods: french fries, donuts, cookies, cakes, fast foods
  • Sweets and desserts: all sweets and desserts, including chocolate
  • Processed foods: fast food, frozen food, potato chips, premade dinners, etc.
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages: most fruit juices, soda with sugar, tea and coffee with added sugar, sports drinks
  • Avocados
  • Alcohol

Generally, many of these foods are higher in carbohydrates and fat. However, it is important to remember that just because they are higher in these, that doesn’t necessarily make them unhealthy.

Problems with the Scarsdale Diet

Cuts Healthy Food Groups

Many health groups that are beneficial for both health and weight loss are cut from the group. These include:

  • Starchy vegetables: despite not being allowed, they still usually contain lots of nutrients and fiber, which may help may reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
  • Beans and legumes: these are an excellent source of plant-based protein while being low in fat and calories. Many studies also show that protein and fiber are two of the most significant nutrients that help with weight loss (12).
  • Whole grains: it is only refined grains that are unhealthy, because all their nutrients and fiber are stripped from them. However, whole grains have many health benefits, with one study finding daily servings of whole grains was linked with less belly fat (3)
  • Olive oil: since all oils are restricted, olive oil isn’t allowed. Olive oil contains lots of healthy monounsaturated fats and many studies find it has lots of anti-inflammation properties.
  • Nuts and seeds: although walnuts and pecans are allowed on the Scarsdale diet, all types of nuts are incredibly healthy. One study found those who ate two or more portions of nuts per week had a 31% lower risk of weight gain compared to the control group that didn’t eat them (4).
  • Avocados: Avocados contain lots of fiber, healthy fats and nutrients such as nuy nutrients vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium, and folate.

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These all can be eaten on a healthy, balanced diet, even if your sole purpose of dieting is to lose weight.

Highly Restrictive

Many food groups need must be eliminated to follow the diet as it was intended to by Herman Tarnower. 

This often causes dieting to become a chore and interferes with everyday life, like celebrating traditions or with friends. It also restricts the amount of recipes and meals you can actually eat.

When a diet is less enjoyable, it is more difficult to follow over the long-term (5).

Excessive restrictions within your eating also harms your ability to control the food you eat and may cause overeating (67).

It is far better to eat all foods in moderation, eat more of the healthy food groups in your diet, whilst also allowing an occasional treat.

Encourages Yo-Yo Dieting

The Scarsdale diet is 14 day die and you’re then meant to follow a lifetime ‘keep slim’ plan, which is less restrictive. However, if you gain weight, it recommends that you should go back on the initial 14 day plan.

The problem with this recommendation is that is encourages weight cycling or yo-yo dieting, which is essentially cycles of weight loss followed by weight gain.

Weight cycling comes with a lot of problems over time, including a slowed metabolism, higher risk of weight gain and disordered eating thoughts (89).

Best Alternative Diet to the Scarsdale Diet

If you’re looking to lose weight sustainably, you’ll want to choose a scientifically proven diet backed by a number of scientific studies that is recommended by health professionals.

The Mediterranean diet has been ranked the number 1 diet according to the U.S. News & World Report for multiple years, primarily because of the health benefits and because of how easy it is to follow.

Because it is easy to follow, it is also a good option to lose weight sustainably, as it isn’t a diet that is too restrictive and difficult to follow.

Many credible organizations suggest following a Mediterranean diet for longevity and health. These include:

Many studies find very positive feedback from people following the Mediterranean diet across a number of different health markers. We’ve listed some studies alongside the health conditions below.

  • Lower risk of cardiovascular events, coronary heart disease,  (10, 11)
  • Lower risk of coronary heart disease (12, 13)
  • Lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes (14)
  • Lower risk of breast cancer (15)
  • Lower risk of obesity (16)
  • Better cognitive function (17)

How to Follow a Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet pyramid below gives a good visual indication of what foods to prioritize.

At the bottom are common staple foods that are to be consumed in large amounts and more frequently. Portion sizes and frequency decline as you go up the pyramid.

The pyramid intentionally does not specify recommended weights of foods or calories. It is only meant to provide an overall look at healthy food choices and their relative proportions.

It does this because good health has been attributed to variation within the overall dietary pattern. The more variety you get within the specified relative allowances per category – the better.

7 Day Alternative Scarsdale Diet Plan

This meal plan will follow a Mediterranean-style diet with lower amounts of carbohydrates like in the Scarsdale Diet. Foods that are higher in carbs will be the healthy choices like vegetables, fruits, legumes and beans.

Protein choices are lean and fat choices are full of healthy, unsaturated fats. 

Alternative 7 Day Scarsdale Diet Menu

In the meal plan are recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

BreakfastLunchDinner
MondayBasil & Spinach ScrambleMixed Bean SaladSalmon Harrisa Yogurt
TuesdaySardines on ToastPanzanella SaladGreek Salad Omelette
WednesdayBerry SmoothieTomato & Watermelon SaladGrilled Aubergine Slices with Hummus
ThursdayBasil & Spinach ScrambleGreek SaladChicken & Peach Fusion
FridaySardines on ToastCarrot, Orange & Avocado SaladSpicy Tomato Baked Eggs
SaturdayBerry SmoothieTomato & Feta OmeletteMoussaka
SundayBasil & Spinach ScrambleMoussaka (leftovers)Chicken & Avocado Salad

Snacks are recommended between meal times. Some great snacks include:

  • A handful of nuts or seeds
  • A piece of fruit
  • Carrots or baby carrots
  • Berries or grapes

Each day contains less than 100g of carbs.

View 7 Day Plan PDF

Alternative Scarsdale Diet Recipes

Day 1: Monday

Breakfast: Basil & Spinach ScrambleScarsdale diet 14 day menu

Nutrition

  • Calories – 294
  • Protein – 16g
  • Carbs – 8g
  • Fat – 24g

Prep & cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g cherry tomatoes
  • 4 eggs
  • 60ml milk
  • handful basil, chopped
  • 200g baby spinach
  • black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and add the tomatoes. While they are cooking, beat the eggs in a jug and add the milk, black pepper, and basil.
  2. Remove the tomatoes from the pan and place on the plates. Add the oil, spinach and egg mixture to the pan, stirring occasionally until the eggs scramble. Once set, add to the plates and serve.

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Lunch: Mixed Bean SaladScarsdale diet 14 day menu

Nutrition

  • Calories – 240
  • Protein – 11g
  • Carbs – 22g
  • Fat – 12g

Prep time + cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 145g jar artichoke heart in oil
  • ½ tbsp sundried tomato paste
  • ½ tsp red wine vinegar
  • 200g can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 150g pack tomatoes, quartered
  • Handful Kalamata black olives
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 100g feta cheese, crumbled

Instructions

  1. Drain the jar of artichokes, reserving 1-2 tbsp of oil. Add the oil, sun-dried tomato paste and vinegar and stir until smooth. Season to taste.
  2. Chop the artichokes and tip into a bowl. Add the cannellini beans, tomatoes, olives, spring onions and half of the feta cheese. Stir in the artichoke oil mixture and tip into a serving bowl. Crumble over the remaining feta cheese, then serve.

Dinner: Salmon Harissa YogurtScarsdale diet 14 day menu

Nutrition

  • Calories – 485
  • Protein – 48g
  • Carbs – 34g
  • Fat – 12g

Prep & cook time: 25 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 50g couscous
  • 2 tbsp sultanas
  • small bunch coriander, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon, plus a pinch
  • 200ml hot vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 tbsp harissa paste
  • 170g Greek yogurt

Instructions

  1. Heat the grill. Put the couscous, sultanas, most of the coriander, 1 tsp cinnamon & seasoning into a bowl. Pour over hot vegetable stock and set aside for 5 minutes.
  2. Mix together cinnamon, honey & oil. Put salmon on a baking tray, spread over the honey mixture and season. Cook under grill for 8 minutes until the fish is cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile, swirl together the harissa and yogurt. Fluff up the couscous with a fork and serve with the fish and yogurt. Sprinkle with the remaining coriander.

View 7 Day Plan PDF

Day 2: Tuesday

Breakfast: Sardines on ToastScarsdale diet 14 day menu

Nutrition

  • Calories – 269
  • Protein – 15g
  • Carbs – 22g
  • Fat – 13g

Prep & cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 red chilli, chopped and deseeded
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1 x 120g cans of sardines in olive oil
  • 2 slices of brown bread
  • small bunch of parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan, cook onions for a few minutes before adding the garlic, red chilli and lemon zest.
  2. Add sardines and heat for a few minutes until warm.
  3. Toast the bread. Add parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice to the sardines. Divide between toast before serving.

Lunch: Panzanella SaladScarsdale diet 14 day menu

Nutrition

  • Calories – 452
  • Protein – 6g
  • Carbs – 37g
  • Fat – 25g

Prep time + cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 400g tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 ripe avocado, stoned, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 2 slices of brown bread
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • small handful basil leaves

Instructions

  1. Chop the tomatoes and put them in a bowl. Season well and add the garlic, capers, avocado and onion. Mix well and set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, tear the bread into chunks and place in a bowl. Drizzle over half of the olive oil and half of the vinegar. When ready to serve, scatter tomatoes and basil leaves and drizzle with remaining oil and vinegar. Stir before serving.

Dinner: Greek Salad OmeletteScarsdale diet 14 day menu

Nutrition

  • Calories – 369
  • Protein – 15g
  • Carbs – 10g
  • Fat – 21g

Prep time + cook time: 25 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 4 eggs
  • handful of parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 100g cherry tomato,
  • handful black olives
  • 50g feta cheese, crumbled

Instructions

  1. Heat the grill to high. Whisk the eggs in a bowl with the chopped parsley, pepper and salt. Heat the oil in a frying pan, then fry the onion over a high heat for about 4 minutes until they start to brown. Add the tomatoes and olives and cook for about 2 minutes.
  2. Turn the heat to medium & add the eggs, cooking them for about 2 minutes, stirring until they begin to set. Add feta, then place the pan under the grill for 5-6 minutes until the omelette is golden. Cut into wedges and serve.

View 7 Day Plan PDF

Day 3: Wednesday

Breakfast: Berry SmoothieScarsdale diet 14 day menu

Nutrition

  • Calories – 207
  • Protein – 15g
  • Carbs – 27g
  • Fat – 4g

Prep & cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 250g frozen berries
  • 250g Greek yogurt
  • 50ml milk
  • 15g porridge oats
  • 2 tsp honey (optional)

Instructions

  1. Whizz berries, yogurt and milk together until smooth. Stir through porridge oats and pour into glasses. Serve with a drizzle of honey.

Lunch: Tomato and Watermelon SaladScarsdale diet 14 day menu

Nutrition

  • Calories – 177
  • Protein – 5g
  • Carbs – 13g
  • Fat – 13g

Prep time + cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp chopped mint
  • 120g tomatoes, chopped
  • 250g watermelon, cut into chunks
  • 50g feta cheese, crumbled

Instructions

  1. For the dressing, Mix the oil, vinegar, chilli flakes and mint and then season.
  2. Put the tomatoes and watermelon into a bowl. Pour over the dressing, add the feta, then serve.

Dinner: Grilled Aubergine Slices with HummusScarsdale diet 14 day menu

Nutrition

  • Calories – 552
  • Protein – 17g
  • Carbs – 49g
  • Fat – 37g

Prep & cook time: 25 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 1 aubergine, sliced lengthways
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 slices brown bread
  • 150g hummus
  • 50g walnuts, toasted
  • 40g parsley, leaves chopped
  • 100g cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • juice ½ lemon

Instructions

  1. Lay aubergine on baking sheet. Add olive oil, then season. Grill for 15 minutes, turning twice until cooked through. Whiz bread into crumbs.
  2. Spread hummus on aubergine slices. Tip breadcrumbs onto a plate, then press the hummus side of the aubergine into the crumbs to coat. Grill again, crumbside up, for 3 minutes. until golden.
  3. Add walnuts, parsley & tomatoes in a bowl, season, then add lemon juice. Serve with salad.

View 7 Day Plan PDF

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Day 4: Thursday

Breakfast: Basil and Spinach Scramble

Lunch: Greek SaladScarsdale diet 14 day menu

Nutrition

  • Calories – 273
  • Protein – 6g
  • Carbs – 14g
  • Fat – 24g

Prep & cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 120g tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, deseeded, then roughly chopped
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 16 Kalamata olives
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 50g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and lightly season.
  2. Serve with wholemeal bread (optional)

Dinner: Chicken & Peach FusionScarsdale diet 14 day menu

Nutrition

  • Calories – 384
  • Protein – 26g
  • Carbs – 20g
  • Fat – 22g

Prep time + cook time: 25 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 200g chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 ripe peaches, stoned and cut into quarters
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ tbsp clear honey
  • ½ red chilli, finely chopped
  • 55g bag herb salad
  • 50g feta cheese, crumbled
  • Broccoli/green beans to serve (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat a frying pan. Place the chicken in ½ tbsp of oil, and season. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until cooked through. Add to a plate.
  2. Place peach slices in ½ tbsp oil with black pepper. Grill for 1-2 minutes each side.
  3. Mix the remaining olive oil, vinegar, honey and chilli. Toss with the salad leaves. Arrange the chicken with the peach slices on top and scatter with feta before serving.

View 7 Day Plan PDF

Day 5: Friday

Breakfast: Sardines on Toast

Lunch: Carrot, Orange & AvocadoScarsdale diet 14 day menu

Nutrition

  • Calories – 177
  • Protein – 5g
  • Carbs – 13g
  • Fat – 13g

Prep time + cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 1 orange, plus zest and juice of 1
  • 2 carrots, halved lengthways and sliced with a peeler
  • 35g bag rocket (arugula)
  • 1 avocado, stoned, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  1. Cut the segments from 1 of the oranges and put in a bowl with the carrots, rocket and avocado. Whisk together the orange juice, zest and oil. Toss through the salad, and season.

Dinner: Spicy Tomato Baked EggsScarsdale diet 14 day menu

Nutrition

  • Calories – 417
  • Protein – 19g
  • Carbs – 45g
  • Fat – 17g

Prep time + cook time: 25 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded & chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • small bunch coriander, stalks and leaves chopped separately
  • 800g can cherry tomatoes
  • 4 eggs
  • brown bread, to serve

View 7 Day Plan PDF

Day 6: Saturday

Breakfast: Berry Smoothie

Lunch: Tomato & Feta OmeletteScarsdale diet 14 day menu

Nutrition

  • Calories – 320
  • Protein – 19g
  • Carbs – 21g
  • Fat – 20g

Prep & cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 50g feta cheese, crumbled
  • mixed salad leaves, to serve (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the eggs and cook, swirling them occasionally. After a few minutes, scatter the feta and tomatoes. Cook for another minute before serving.

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan with a lid, then cook the onions, chili, garlic and coriander stalks for 5 minutes until soft. Stir in the tomatoes, then simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  2. Using the back of a large spoon, make 4 dips in the sauce, then crack an egg into each one. Put a lid on the pan, then cook over a low heat for 6-8 mins, until the eggs are done to your liking. Scatter with the coriander leaves and serve with bread.

Dinner: MoussakaScarsdale diet 14 day menu

Nutrition

  • Calories – 457
  • Protein – 36g
  • Carbs – 18g
  • Fat – 24g

Prep time + cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 1 aubergine
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 200g pack feta cheese, crumbled
  • Fresh mint
  • Brown bread, to serve (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the onion and garlic and fry until soft. Add the mince and fry for 3-4 minutes until browned.
  2. Tip the tomatoes into the pan and stir in the tomato purée and cinnamon, then season. Leave the mince to simmer for 20 minutes. Add the aubergine half way through.
  3. Sprinkle the feta and dried mint over the mince. Serve with toasted bread.

View 7 Day Plan PDF

Day 7: Sunday

Breakfast: Basil and Spinach Scramble

Lunch: Moussaka (leftovers)

Dinner: Chicken & Avocado SaladScarsdale diet 14 day menu

Nutrition

  • Calories -396
  • Protein – 31g
  • Carbs – 15g
  • Fat – 26g

Prep time + cook time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

  • 2 skinless chicken breast
  • 2 tsp olive oil (1 for the salad)
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • ½ tsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 120g tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. Heat grill to medium. Rub the chicken with 1 tsp of the olive oil and the paprika. Cook for 4-5 minutes each side until lightly charred and cooked through.
  2. Mix the salad ingredients together, season and add the rest of the oil. Thickly slice the chicken and serve with the salad.

Mediterranean-Style South Beach Diet Shopping List

This shopping list corresponds exactly to the 7-day diet plan, serving 2 people. No snacks are included.

Scarsdale diet 14 day menu

Get the full PDF of the meal plan and shopping list here.

View 7 Day Plan PDF

Life After the Meal Plan

Find more recipes on our site

Your journey doesn’t end after 7 days of healthy Mediterranean-style recipes. It’s about finding recipes that can become staples in your household and creating eating habits that actually last.

We’ve got plenty of recipes online already. Just use the search function on our home page if you’re looking for a specific ingredient or check out our recipe page.

Disclosure

We would like to take a moment to note that this post is for information purposes only. It does not claim to provide medical advice or to be able to treat any medical condition. It makes no claims in respect to weight loss, either in terms of the amount or rate at which weight loss could be achieved. If you have any concerns regarding your health please contact your medical practitioner before making changes.

References

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About the Author: Tung Chi