About

Welcome to My Life in a Pyramid!

About Me

My name is Heba (the ‘e’ is pronounced as the ‘i’ in “ribbon”), which if you’re curious, means ‘gift or talent given by God’ in the Arabic language. Right off the bat, I want you to know: I am pretty much obsessed with high-quality real food, healthy living, holistic health, sustainable agriculture, natural treatments for various ailments, and the local food movement. I’ve had an insatiable curiosity to learn as much as I can about these topics over the past couple of years. My Life in a Pyramid was born out of this passion in January 2010, and ever since, my interest in these topics has both matured and increased.

http://mideats.com

One of my biggest passions is in life is self-expression through writing, and food is a close second (and sometimes, it’s tied for first – especially when I’m hungry!). Initially, the blog was focused on sharing mostly traditional Egyptian recipes and other ones I was inspired to make based on my experiments in the kitchen and the wonderful blogs I have come across. After I had been working on My Life in a Pyramid for about a year and half, my friend Brenda Abdelall and I together launched MidEats in August 2011, I decided to take My Life in a Pyramid in a different direction by focusing more on the other aspects of healthy living besides sharing mostly traditional recipes. MidEATS, as the name implies, is a site specifically focused on sharing traditional Middle Eastern food and recipes as well as cultural Middle Eastern traditions. Browse midEATS for information and interesting traditional recipes and cultural tidbits, and check out My Life in a Pyramid for healthy living tips and observations as well as the occasional healthy snack or food recipe that is not specifically Middle Eastern.

After reading Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation, Michael Pollan‘s Omnivore’s Dilemma, and Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed for a Cultural Studies class in graduate school, my interest was immediately piqued; and ever since, I’ve been actively reading and researching these topics in my free time. After graduating with a Master’s in English (and a concentration in Cultural Studies) from the reputable writing program at George Mason University in 2009, I have written for a variety of organizations and startups from the medical industry to the fashion industry and everything in between. While I drafted articles about fashion, beauty and lifestyle for the budding internet startup Xaxii, I was always drawn to fair trade fashion, ethical practices in the workplace and natural beauty fixes. And while researching pediatric speech disorders for a speech therapy company in Chicago, I was drawn to behavior therapy and alternative treatments that didn’t prioritize seeking prescription drugs. In other words, I am always thinking of ways to fix problems that relate to sustainability and well-being in the most natural, least intrusive ways possible; and more importantly, natural ways to prevent them in the first place.

As much as I’m an idealist, I’m also a realist and I realize that these healthy living solutions do not always encounter the path of least resistance. In fact, many powerful industries continue to benefit from the health-destructive status quo (the fast food culture and over-prescribing drugs being the two examples that first come to mind). So changing people’s perspectives about healthy living becomes extra challenging in the face of colorful marketing campaigns for junk foods and money-driven pharmaceutical solutions touted as being highly “scientific” without being sufficiently tested for efficacy and safety, and often-times for conditions that can be adequately addressed without needing any medication whatsoever. Nevertheless, I have accepted the challenge and invite you to do so as well. Together, we can make a real change!

About My Life in a Pyramid

The name of the site, My Life in a Pyramid, is actually inspired by some anecdotal experiences from my childhood. I am an Egyptian-American, and when I first moved to the U.S., I got some funny questions from kids at school: one was “Did you ride a camel to school?” and the other was “Did you live in a pyramid?” Really!? Did these kids not know that pyramids were built as giant tombs for Egyptian kings … about 5,000 years ago, and that they weren’t living quarters for anyone!? And the traffic in Egypt — from cars of course — is unfortunately one of the worst in the world (so come to think of it, maybe it would have made sense to ride a camel… it might have actually gotten me to my destination faster!) Anyway, after taking those questions somewhat personally at first,  I actually started to find them pretty humorous, and I have been joking about living  in a pyramid ever since.

The word ‘pyramid’ in the blog name was also meant as a reference to the newer food pyramid which was changed by the USDA in 2005 to include exercise. At first this association with the government-recommended food pyramid did not bother me, as I was still learning about the healthiest ways to eat, and was – to some extent – still blinded by some of the marketing and ‘conventional’ misinformation propagated by media and the medical and food establishments.

Over the past couple of years, both the government and I have shed our association with that pyramid, which was proven to be futile in its attempt to convince Americans to eat ‘healthier.’ In August 2011, the Obama administration reworked the pyramid into a circle – the food plate – which is perhaps a more appropriate symbol; however, it is still largely misguided in terms of the information present: a large amount of grains in the American diet has been linked to obesity and heart disease, and yet still takes up more than a quarter of the plate. The dairy in the cup to the right of the plate is suggested to be fat-free or 1% fat even though numerous reputable studies have shown that full-fat raw dairy is more nutritious and less damaging than fat-free or low-fat dairy. Additionally, no mention of the source or quality of food is on the plate, and clean water makes no appearance there either.

Slowly, I started to see what was wrong with conventional wisdom related to dietary and exercise guidelines, and I started formulating my own convictions about healthy living, based on solid research and common sense. In November 2011, I decided to revive My Life in a Pyramid, so I carefully designed the logo as an inverted pyramid that is also the shape of a bunch of green grapes. Let me give you a hint: the design is particularly meaningful for my vision for this site! The inverted pyramid made up of circles makes this statement: I am no longer a believer in the current system — whether the old food pyramid or the newer food plate — with its status-quo-embracing, truth-evading, science-deviating model. I believe in a greener, more sustainable system, focused on sharing the importance of real God-designed food (as opposed to man-made, lab-designed food products), and the viability of natural remedies to fix various health problems. Green grapes, one of my favorite fruits growing up (which also happen to be a great source of antioxidants and vitamins) accurately represent this vision.

I am looking forward to sharing my posts with you! Hopefully you find the information useful and the topics engaging. If you have any questions, suggestions for posts, or just want to say hello, email me at mylifeinapyramid at yahoo dot com. Be well, y’all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

51 thoughts on “About

  1. Nat Roman says:

    I’m impressed :)) can’t wait to explore the rest of your posts, hooba booba

    • Heba says:

      Thanks Nat! :-) I can’t wait to add more recipes and other content too! If you ever have suggestions for recipes that you’d like to see (like the salade russe – which is coming up, by the way), please let me know!

  2. Andrew Girgis says:

    I’m bookmarking this page and can’t wait to be edumacated hahhahaha you have a fan in me!!

  3. babdelal says:

    So great to “meet” you, Heba! I am so glad you found my blog, too. I cant believe that you were living in Northern Virginia too – such a small world! I have a feeling we would have been good friends based on everything we have in common :) I hope we get to meet someday. Also, I love your website, and I will definitely try some of your recipes! I have met so many wonderful foodies through my blog, as well as through facebook (will try to track you there too…)

    happy cooking!
    B

    • Heba says:

      Thanks! :-) I still have family in No VA and we visit often, so it would be nice if we can meet one time when we come into town!

      -Heba

  4. Great to meet you! I love your blog and your story. Will definitely be adding you to my blogroll!

  5. Ana says:

    Hi,
    I invite you to join our top with recipes, home cooking, chefs, restaurants, wines, drinks sites and more: http://www.allcookingsites.com
    Our top has a friendly interface and it offers free web promotion for your site.
    You can find:
    -title and description;
    - screenshot of your website
    -statistics about the number of your visitors(unique/pageviews);
    -comments about your site;
    -the ranking is by sites unique visitors in a week;
    -first 5 sites are scrolling in the right side of the site on all site pages;
    -7 sites are selected random and showed on the header slideshow of the site;
    -statistics with the visitors you got from our top;
    After you join our top take the voting code and put in your site
    to be accepted to our site.

    We’ll be expecting you at http://www.allcookingsites.com to subscribe your
    site. If you have any question don’t hesitate to contact us.

    Thank you for your time.

  6. Naeem Musa says:

    Nice blog. You make me hungry!

  7. Lacey Swartz says:

    Love it! You are an excellent writer, Heba. I am severely culinarily challenged myself but will have to share your recipe tips with my husband. They look amazing, and he does 99% of our cooking. :) Got a kick out of remembering English 4AP senior year of high school with Sherif. Good times. :) Talk soon. Off to bed finally – after I repost your blog to my facebook page. :)

    • Heba says:

      You are too sweet – thanks for the compliment! :-) That’s awesome that your husband does a lot of cooking! Sherif likes to eat more than he likes to cook, I think… :-p He’s tried to cook a few times, and he always does a good job with mixing just the right proportions of ingredients, but he’s not used to being in the kitchen, so I often get the “where’s the peeler?!”-type of questions when he’s in the kitchen. haha. Please let me know if you ever try any of the recipes – I’d love to hear how you like them! :-)

  8. Sara says:

    Hey Heba!
    So glad I found your blog–I’m also originally from Egypt. My parents moved to the U.S. when I was very young, but I still enjoy visiting Alex and Cairo with my parents every summer.

    Can’t wait to keep reading!

  9. Bernadette says:

    I could so relate to your experiences of those silly questions! I experienced the same thing but the other way around…I am American and moved to Egypt when I was 16 (and I’m still here!). Before I left the States, all my friends asked me exactly the same questions. I’m excited to find your blog. My husband (Scottish-Egyptian) and I love food and cooking, although he does more of that than me. ;-) We are also very interested in nutrition so I look forward to your recipes. And your photos – beautiful!
    Bernadette

    • Heba says:

      Hi there, Bernadette! I’m so glad you stopped by! Thanks for your comment. :-) What a cool background you have! I stopped by your blog the other day, and it looks amazing. I love all your pictures and the way you tell the stories of all the interesting personalities you meet. Do you ever visit the U.S.? I would love to chat sometime about your experience! :-)

      • Bernadette says:

        Thanks, Heba! I do get back to the States about once a year to visit my family. And you? Do you visit Egypt? I would definitely love to chat with you, too!

        • Heba says:

          I haven’t been to Egypt since 2005… it’s been too long. I hear a lot changed since then. I really miss my grandparents who still live in Cairo… hopefully will try to visit sometime soon, maybe next summer! Do you live in Cairo?

  10. Maamoun El-Bayed says:

    Hi heba
    your blog is good i cant wait to see your posts and your recipes is good,too.
    do you knew that the molokhia recipe is what made me to discover your blog .
    I was want to knew what the diffrent between the two recipes the egyptian and the palestinian , becouse I’m palestinian and I have an egyptian grandmother.
    thanks for you and i wish if i could be your friend.

    • Heba says:

      Hi Maamoun thank you for the message :) Glad you came by the blog. I’m actually not sure what the difference is between the Egyptian and the Palestinian molokhia. I believe the Palestinians add some flour and use fresh cilantro leaves instead of the dried version of it (coriander) that Egyptians use – but I’m not a 100% sure about this. Would you be able to find out how your mom makes it differently from your grandmother?

  11. [...] AboutCyberactivism and Women in the BlogosphereFitnessRaves & ReviewsWhy Organic?“Green” Food for [...]

  12. Joan Mercantini says:

    I really like your idea for the Raw Apple Pie. Could you suggest a substitute for the dates to suit a diabetic diet.
    Regards
    Joan

    • Heba says:

      Thanks Joan! You can definitely eat some dates even with diabetes. They are a whole food, so they’re much better as a sweetener than other extracted (and sometimes heavily processed) sweeteners. If you wish to use something like dried apricots or figs — which are probably less sweet than dates — they can work well instead of the dates! Also you wouldn’t be eating this pie everyday, so it shouldn’t be a problem to have a slice or two with dates included when the mood strikes. Hope this is helpful!

  13. Heba – I’ve just stumbled accross your blog, midEats, and The Serious Eater blog in rapid succession and am so glad I did! I love your perspective on healthy living and fair trade/ethical and holistic practices. Can’t wait to read more from you. Ps. I also grew up in Bahrain so we have that in common :)
    Nada (One Arab Vegan) recently posted…Ful Mudammas Breakfast BurritoMy Profile

    • Heba says:

      Nada, thanks so much for your comment! How COOL that we have such similar backgrounds :) Would love to chat to you more about your experiences in Bahrain, and would love to feature you on midEATS! Email me at heba saleh at gmail dot com (no spaces), and we can feature a Middle Eastern-themed vegan meal/dish and link to your blog! Can’t wait to hear from you!

  14. hello Heba ;) Nice to meet you ~ First time here! You have a fantastic blog and love how you are always going into the details and explaining the ingredients used and the importance for it to be ‘real’ and not ‘processed’
    Daisy@Nevertoosweet recently posted…Patisserie in Taipei – PaulMy Profile

    • Heba says:

      Hi Daisy! Thanks for stopping by and for your sweet comment! What can I say … I’m really really into good food, haha. Can’t wait to check out your blog too!

  15. I enjoyed your article about raw milk! Dr. Weston Price’s writings on the subject of natural diets and raw milk are some of my favorite and I have begun researching raw milk for my family. I write a blog about organic gardening and living in the country (after moving to rural Virginia from the New York City area) and I’d like to invite you to follow me back, if you’d wish to. The blog is called Seven Oaks and it is here: http://sevenoaks-jeanne.blogspot.com/ I look forward to more posts!
    Jeanne Grunert recently posted…You Know It’s Spring WhenMy Profile

    • Heba says:

      Thanks so much Jeanne! Let me know if you need more info about raw milk around the Northern VA area (I don’t know where you are in VA). I’d love to check out your blog! I am really excited to try organic gardening, and need all the encouragement and guidance I can get ;) Looking forward to reading your tips!

  16. Randa says:

    Heba, so glad to find you! I’m Lebanese-American, moving from Beirut to the DC Metro area as a child (just across the river from you). I’m getting into the “real food” movement myself, and even considering the GAPS diet to heal some gut / skin issues. I’ve loved your pinboards on pinterest, and am looking forward to trying your recipes.

    • Heba says:

      Ahlan Randa! Thanks for your kind comment – it’s so lovely to run into you online. And what a small world – we should meet up if you’re in the DC area! The ‘real food’ movement is where it’s at ;) I hope you find my posts useful in your journey. I do pin everything that I find useful/inspirational, so if you’re following me there, you’ll get a lot in your feed. You can also follow me on Facebook – I share lots on my FB pages for mylifeinapyramid and mideats. There are so many great blogs and resources out there … it takes some time to find your way, but once you know the basics, it just gets easier from there. I have heard wonderful things about the GAPS diet for those trying to heal their gut, though I haven’t personally tried it myself. A blogger I follow closely, Emily of Butter Believer, is currently on the GAPS diet and is blogging about it. Let me know if you need other tips or resources – I’d be happy to help! Salam, Heba

  17. Randa says:

    Shukran Heba! I’ll have to let you know if I’m in the NoVA area and have some free time some day! My family still lives in MD, and I now live with my husband closer to Richmond, VA, but we do find ourselves in NoVA every now & then (trips to Ikea and such :). So funny that you mentioned Emily… I just found “Butter Believer” a little while ago and read Emily’s posts on getting ready for & starting the GAPS diet. Those have been so helpful in my preparations (which are still ongoing). N’shalla, we’ll be ready to start it soon.

    Loved the post about your grandparents on MidEats!

    • Heba says:

      Yes, please do let me know when and if you’re planning to be in No VA – would love to meet you! Best of luck on your GAPS journey. Another blogger doing the GAPS thing is Starlene from http://gapsdietjourney.com/. Hope these are helpful to you. I can always help you research stuff too if you’d like… I enjoy looking into that sort of thing anyway ;) And so glad you liked the post about my grandparents -they’re so dear to me, and it was a pleasure interviewing them and learning about how it was for them growing up. I’m a sucker for good stories from long ago. Have a lovely weekend, Randa! Salam, Heba

  18. [...] AboutCyberactivism and Women in the BlogosphereDisclaimerFitnessInterviewsMy Pyramid of RecipesRaves [...]

  19. Dr. Arcadi and I would love to be able to communicate with you about something re: the exact same philosophy. We would like to possibly introduce you to our corporation with a certain event in mind.

    We have many sites, one is http://www.HealthyAnswersOnline.com however, we are part of the field of Glycobiology and Real Food Technology on another site and would like to share with you some things that we believe could bring you to the forefront in our company for all our people to learn about you.. It’s a company over 1.5mil.

    Thank you and To Your Health!
    Jackie Padgette-Baird & Dr. Vicky Arcadi

    • Heba says:

      Hi Vicky and Jackie! Thanks for your comment. I’m curious to hear more about the fields of ‘real food technology’ and ‘glycobiology’ – do you have any links that share the details of your field of work? Looking forward to hearing more! Thanks.

  20. Heba,
    Would love to. First go here to see our science, studies and publications. Click on products and study Ambrotose, PhytoMatrix, Ambrotose AO and Plus along with our new Real Food Tech product called Nutriverus. Notice when you click on the “In The News” tab…

    Mannatech Presents Glyconutrient Science at the 10th Jenner Glycobiology and Medicine Symposium
    Mechanisms that might contribute to the cognitive benefits of Mannatech’s Ambrotose® polysaccharides are presented
    April 5, 2012

    Watch video ( click on REAL FOOD TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS) to get a concept of our products & technology. http://www.mymannapages.com/myfuture

    We are always on the look out for those that speak our same language. Your language speaks volumes to Dr. Vicky and myself.
    This is a home based business with a R&D dept. spending over $50 Million in just the last 5 years in our $5 million lab utilizing the latest technology for science/nutrition. It’s a strange thing to see these products in the hands of lay people in a home based business format but understanding that the FDA wouldn’t take our flag ship product to market as a drug, even though the effects on many conditions were outstanding, especially with those conditions that were given no hope, due to the fact that our products and discovery is non toxic at any level and all from foods. But…foods you can no longer find.

    So glad you are showing interest.
    Look forward to hearing back from you!
    Sincerely,
    Dr. Vicky Arcadi & Jackie Baird

  21. Tom Jennings says:

    Hi Heba,
    I was just reading your blog on salt, very good, thanks for posting!

    I got interested in “maximizing my human potential” when I started running 100 mile trail ultra-marathons (or “ultras” for short), and my awareness initially started when I gained 30 pounds from eating glazed donuts. So in June 2004 I decided it was time for a lifestyle change and I started running and eating better. In June 2007 – exactly 3 years after making the lifestyle change – I ran and completed my first 100 mile trail ultra. I am now a race director for a trail ultra in northwest PA and enjoy spreading the word to people about eating healthier (organic whole foods) and exercising.

    Keep up the great work, you are making a difference!
    Tom Jennings, Erie PA

    • Heba says:

      Hi Tom, it’s great to hear from you! What an inspiring story you have :) I would love to feature your transformation story on my site if you’d be interested in something like that — let me know. I would also love to ask you a few things about long-distance running because I have heard conflicting things about how it affects the body, especially if untrained. Let me know if you’re available for a few questions! Thanks!

  22. Sal R. says:

    Greetings Heba -

    I happened to stumble upon your site while looking for a technique to change raw milk to non-fat milk naturally, which is kind of a contradiction in itself. I liked the “vibe/energy” of your “site/objective” & so I thought I would share this with you & your followers:

    I became deathly ill exactly one year ago, after trying every orthodox & alternative medicine/treatment possible, in the end, my saving grace was a nutritional therapy/lifestyle created by a most extraordinary man named – “Max Gerson” in 1928, he discovered that by changing a persons diet that he could influence that persons immune system to function normally again & heal the body. He himself & his life saving therapy have cured more people from Cancer, than anyone else in the world.

    The wonderful is that it not only cures Cancer, the “mother” of all diseases, but it will cure just about any other disease you can think of, such as: Diabetes, Lyme’s, Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure, Liver failure, Auto-Immune Dysfunction, etc,… I highly recommend it to anyone, however, it is not an quick fix or easy by any means. The therapy is arduous, time consuming & very difficult at times due to healing reactions, but if the individual does the therapy whole heartedly & believes in what he or she is doing, then the body does heal & the person is full cured in due time.

    Orthodox medicine heals & cures nothing, they just cover up symptoms by suppressing your immune system with mono-therapies or drugs, nothing in Nature is MONO, everything is POLY.

    Eternal Peace & Blessings!

    Sal
    “We’re All-One”

    “The definition of insanity, is doing the same thing over & over again, while expecting different results.” – A.E.

    • Heba says:

      Hi Sal, great to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story. I am so glad to hear that you were able to use alternative medicine and proper nutrition to heal yourself. I looked a bit into the Gerson method, and though I wouldn’t try it myself because of the severe limitations on different foods and the elimination of vital animal foods and nourishing fats, I have no doubt that it works for some people who need to heal a compromised immunity. I am totally with you about conventional medicine – it is often narrow-sighted and symptom-oriented, not really addressing the cause of the ailment at its root. I wish you well and hope your health continues to thrive! All the best, Heba

      • Sal R. says:

        Dear Heba -

        You are correct, the Gerson therapy is very restrictive & for good reason, people have lived their entire lives without good sense and it is ultimately this lack of common sense that has led them to be ill in the first place.

        We are all being poisoned on a daily basis with environmental pollution, it is in our air, food & water, it is all around us. If there is any doubt to this just Google, Yahoo or Bing “environmental pollution.” Aside from this problem that we can do do nothing about, since it is our government who is poisoning us.

        People are also ill, because they are not following nature’s laws, such as natural circadian rhythms, which correlate to the rising & falling of the sun, they are not getting at least 30 minutes of full body sun exposure, they are not grounding themselves to the mother earth.
        People are not getting the right types of physical exercise, the body does not like monotony, it likes variety, walking an hour or two on a treadmill is monotonous.

        These are just a few examples of things that most people are not doing correctly, they are disconnected to the world. Mother Nature & Father Sky together produce all life on this planet, we cannot expect to disrespect either & live healthy. I am sorry to say, that we are no longer in touch with our TRUEselves.

        You mentioned meat & fatty acids being essential. First of all, animal protein such as meat is proven to aid in Cancer, check out T. Colin Campbell’s the “China Study.” If you have cancer or any degenerative disease, what led you there? Among the things that I listed above, excess consumption of animal protein, sugars, starches & cooked EFA’s did. Food is best in its raw form, not all foods though. Such as some beans, grains & vegetables, they should be boiled or steamed, but aside from that all foods should be eaten as raw as possible. Processed or cooked foods have no bio-compatible life force, enzymes, vitamins/minerals, etc,.. Those kind of foods are just filing space in your stomach without providing any nutritional benefit.

        The Gerson therapy works because over time it strips the body of all pollution/toxins & replenishes nutrition simultaneously, which can only be done by eating/drinking raw foods in mass quantities & detoxifying via Coffee enemas. A person can cure themselves from any disease on the Gerson therapy or any other therapy that is similar, if they replenish nutrition while detoxifying, that is the KEY.

        A person cannot cure themselves of anything by eating cooked/processed meat, sugar, starches or EFA’s. Protein & Essential Fatty Acids can be found in all plant based foods, just like animal meats. After all, where do you think the animals got the protein & EFA’s from? They got it by eating the grass. Most don’t know this, but just grass has enough nutrition to sustain human life by itself, provided they ate enough grass to live of course, albeit cereal grasses, which provide cereal grains are probably better for humans over Bermuda or St. Augustine. Perfect example, “Wheatgrass” people have cured themselves from Cancer & many other diseases with Wheatgrass alone & detoxification protocols.

        I am not saying that the Gerson therapy is for everyone & that everyone should do it, but I think that everyone should read/watch & understand their message, as it holds the keys to “TRUE” healing.

        Food for thought: Doctors are “PRACTICING” medicine on naive & uneducated patients, they don’t know exactly what they are doing, they are just “PRACTICING” by prescribing medicines, that may or may not help & which ultimately suppress the immune system to the point where it is no longer functioning. Most people are walking around fatigued, in pain, confused, anxious/nervous with a suppressed immune system & don’t even know it.

        Albert Schweitzer tells the story of a Witch Doctor, who instills the knowledge into the sick patient, that each persons doctor is within them & therefore they can heal thyself. If only we just fed our bodies the wright medicine, such as pure living foods with all of the enzymes, minerals, vitamins, raw uncooked EFA’s, protein & life force in tact. Then the body heals itself, it is that simple! I know, because I am doing it as we speak.

        God Bless This World, For It Surely Needs It!

        Sal

        “If Any Human, Can Catch, Hold, Kill & Eat Any Living Creature Worth Eating With His Bare Hands & Teeth, Then We As Humans, Surely Must Not Be Vegetarians.” – S.R. (1974 – ?)

        • Heba says:

          Hi Sal, you bring up some great points, and I agree that we have to work with nature, not against it, to promote healing and normalcy. I also agree that our environment is currently full of pollutants and that we need to build up our bodies’ detox mechanisms in order to protect our health. However, I don’t agree that meat is cancer-causing. Sure, antibiotic-and-grain-fed meat from unhealthy animals could increase the chance of developing cancer, just like genetically modified crops that have been sprayed with chemical pesticides and fertilizers can also promote cancer. But there have been NO reliable studies that show that pastured, grass-finished beef or pastured eggs from chickens eating a natural diet of bugs, weeds and non-GMO grain promote any type of cancer. The nuance is important: just as not all vegetables are equal in nutrient-value, same goes for farm animals. While I would never promote eating meats or milk from animals raised in confinement and pumped with drugs, I believe an important distinction needs to be made between those and meats and dairy from animals raised in harmony with the environment, given a natural diet and free to roam around under the sun. I’ve researched the China Study, and have found several inconsistencies and holes in the arguments presented. Denise Minger, who is much more talented than I, wrote a super thorough review of the China Study, debunking many of the myths and inaccuracies propagated within the text. You can take a look at it here: http://rawfoodsos.com/the-china-study/ Also, it’s important to note that the Gerson diet is anti-fat, which makes it very difficult to absorb vital fat-soluble vitamins in the diet. Other than that, I would try it if I needed to for health reasons, though I would definitely still try to include raw milk and yogurt because I love the stuff! Anyway, thanks for your message once again!

  23. Sal R. says:

    Dear Heba -

    I reviewed Ms. Minger’s reporting & find holes in her analysis, as she is not analyzing the whole picture & it would seem that the data is being intentionally skewed, which is easy enough to do, when you have a bias. Dr. Campbell provided a fitting response on VegSource that anyone interested in such a subject should read. I believe Ms. Minger has some affiliation with the Weston-Price foundation, so that would explain some it.

    I have eaten as much animal protein/flesh & processed/dead food as anyone else, the one thing that I rarely ate in my 37 years of life, was pure whole plant based food. All natural health institutes such as the Gerson Institute, Hippocrates Institute, etc,.. Provide plant based whole foods to heal an ill person. I am not aware of any clinics in the world that are serving raw milk, cheese, yogurt or meat or any animal protein of any kind, other than maybe Colostrum to treat or cure disease, just my observation & some food for thought. If you are perfectly healthy & consume a small percentage of animal protein, then you are probably going to be fine, as long as you are consuming primarily whole plant based foods.

    In the end, Ms. Minger says that she herself is/was Vegetarian/Vegan, but was just bored & looking to debunk a scientist who is obviously way out of her league in terms of education & his knowledge of statistical & nutritional research. Did she really think that she was going to debunk the life’s work of a well educated & respected scientist/doctor? As someone who knows both sides of the story, I can see that she has proven nothing & instead wasted a lot of her time. On a good note, she has helped re-enforce the fact that Dr. Campbell was/is wright by instigating people to revisit the issue.

    If Ms. Minger could only spend as much time trying to figure out a solution to the global economic crisis or how to stop GMO’s & environmental pollution, then we might actually get somewhere. Her talents seemed largely wasted on her debunking attempts.

    Proven fact: Animal proteins among other things contribute to Acidity & acidity leads to Cancer, among other degenerative diseases. Whole plant based foods promote Alkalinity, which leads to vibrant health. In the end, if a person likes to eat meat/dairy they are gonna eat meat/dairy & find every reason possible to justify their actions, though they should not be surprised when they find themselves dealing with some degenerative disease, that is all. I would like to eat the way I ate, but I know that it led me to a very poor state of health, so I choose whole plant based foods & vibrant health!

    Kindly -

    Sal

    • Heba says:

      Hi Sal, thanks for your response. I am glad you found a diet protocol that is fitting with your health needs, and I have no doubt that the Gerson method works for some people. However, I will have to disagree with you that ALL animal proteins promote cancer growth. This is not at all a proven fact when we are talking about non-processed, grass-finished meats from animals that had access to fresh air, fresh forage, and the sun. I would be happy to take a look at any credible studies that show that consumption of solely pastured animal protein leads to poor health. I don’t think such studies exist. I have been eating animal protein my entire life, but have also observed vegan fasts for religious reasons a few times a year. When I am on a vegan diet, I am constantly hungry unless I am able to get a substantial amount of plant fat in the form of coconut oil and manna, avocado, nuts and olive oil. Without these, I’m starving and gain weight. The brain is close to 70% fat and the rest is protein. I cannot go without feeding my brain and muscles adequately for long periods of time. If you are able to maintain good health and a normal weight on a vegan diet like Gerson’s, I commend you but I don’t think I want to do it for myself because I truly believe that humans have evolved to eat animal products (provided they’re from healthy sources), and that the cause of cancer is multi-factorial, likely due to chronic inflammation resulting from a SAD diet, stress and sadness, and other environmental pollutants and toxins. I respect your opinion, but for the moment, I am confident that my decision to eat animal products is better for my health. Thanks again for the engaging dialogue! Take care, Heba

  24. Sal R. says:

    If what you are saying is TRUE, then how can the well documented people of “Hunza” live to be well over 100 years of age without any degenerative diseases? They do not have electricity, so therefore no refrigeration & consume animal proteins, rarely, they do consume dairy in very small quantities on a daily basis in the form of butter or yogurt, but that is it. Their diet is 95% whole plant based food, I wonder how they make it to 150 years of age without that animal protein? They & their diet have been well documented & studied, if you are curious. Please don’t mistake the dialogue for anything further than that, I am in no way advocating that you change what you are doing or lifestyle in any way, shape or form, but I like dealing with well rounded facts. Can you show me with any proven studies that eating meat or dairy products does not produce Cancer?

    • Heba says:

      Hi Sal, if the diet of the Hunza people is so well-documented, then why am I having such a hard time finding any credible sources? The sources that I have found so far list it as an example of a longevity myth: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longevity_myths Some sources even state that there is much misunderstanding surrounding the type of food that they did eat. For example, this link shares that the Hunza’s winter diet was actually fat-heavy, focused on all full-fat dairy products, and even included meats (they ate all the organs and bone marrow, not so much the muscle meats and skin).

      Here’s a snippet debunking the myth that the Hunza people are vegetarian: “The Hunza people were never vegetarians or even close to it. They refrained from eating many of their animals in summer because animals were the main source of food in the remaining 10 months of the year. They ate a high-fat diet all year long, especially in winter when the consumption of animal fats increased. The butter, yogurt, and cheese made from the goat, sheep, and Yak milk was very high in fat, especially saturated fats. The Hunza people were somewhat vegetarian for two or three months during the summer.”

      Anyway, I have no reason to prove that animal products are healthy, simply because I have enough evidence from observing history, where humans have subsisted on animal products for a very long time. There aren’t any studies that show that eating animal products does NOT cause cancer, because that doesn’t even make sense. That’s like asking you to provide me with studies that prove that a restricted vegetarian or vegan diet does NOT cause cancer/nutritional deficiencies, etc. It’s an impossible thing to study! Additionally, when something is the norm [eating animals], the burden of proof lies on the side of the suggested innovation to demonstrate that it is preferable. In other words, you would have to prove that eating high-quality pastured meats causes cancer (apart from other confounding habits, dietary and otherwise, such as eating fast food), and that eating a vegan diet reduces that risk (apart from other confounding factors like general health consciousness, physical and mental activity, etc).

      In any case, I trust history more than “modern science” and history has shown me that humans have been thriving on animal products for many thousands of years; and that cancer, a fairly recent disease, has increased in parallel to increasing levels of toxicity in our environment and lives as well as increased caloric intake and increased intake of refined carbohydrates and sugars. I am not telling you or anyone else how to eat; just prodding those interested to do their own rigorous research before forming solid opinions of what does or does not constitute a healthy diet.

  25. Sal R. says:

    Dear Heba -

    I am actually from the region, so I know what the Hunza’s have access to & what they don’t in terms of food & how they live. Eating meat regularly requires refrigeration, which they do not have. Common sense would lead to the assumption that they are not sacrificing animals in the dead of winter for meat, they are instead largely eating dried fruits/vegetables, nuts/seeds & grains through the winter months, along with some dairy in the form of yogurt & butter, possibly milk.

    It is normal for people who have consumed an excess of animal protein/fat for most of their lives to feel ill, when they try & go vegan or vegetarian. Dr. Jameth Sheridan, as superfit, 24 year Vegetarian/Vegan talks in detail about the pitfalls that most Vegans/Vegetarians make when they try & adopt such a diet & leave their SAD diet, along with animal proteins/fats. I would highly recommend to anyone to look into the Dr. Sheridan’s research.

    I personally, believe that the Hunza diet is ideal for all man-kind & we can easily survive on two well rounded meals a day. Plant based superfoods, along with legumes, lentils, grains, nuts & seeds can provide an adequate supply of protein/fats that equal animal protein/fats. The key is to know how to combine food groups & proportions, which can easily be figured out by assessing your Metabolic Type.

    In response to your research on the Hunza, first of all, Wikipedia is not a good source of information on much of anything. You are not going to find any credible info on wikipedia & you will find some conflicting stories out there, but the majority of research/stories will show that what I am now posting below, with references, is the basis of their food/diet choices:

    ” The energy and endurance of the Hunzas can probably be credited as much to what they don’t eat as what they do eat. First of all, they don’t eat a great deal of anything. The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that the average daily food intake for Americans of all ages amounts to 3,300 calories, with 100 grams of protein, 157 grams of fat and 380 grams of carbohydrates, In contrast, studies by Pakistani doctors show that adult males of Hunza consume a little more than 1.900 calories daily, with only 50 grams of protein, 36 grams of fat, and 354 grams of carbohydrates. Both the protein and fat are largely of vegetable origin (Dr. Alexander Leaf, National Geographic, January, 1973).

    That amounts to just half the protein, one-third the fat, but about the same amount of carbohydrates that westerners eat. Of course, the carbohydrate that the Hunzas eat is undefined or complex carbohydrate found in fruits, vegetables and grains, while westerners largely eat our carbohydrates in the form of nutritionless white sugar and refined flour.

    So what do the Hunzas eat?

    Well, the basis of the Hunza diet, which to a large extent is dictated by the rather harsh climatic and geographical conditions of their home country, can be summed up in one word: frugality.

    Hunzas eat only two meals a day. The first meal is served at twelve noon, although the Hunzas are up every morning at five a.m. This may sound surprising, since most nutrition experts here in the west stress the importance of a hearty breakfast, even though our life-style is relatively sedentary compared to that of the Hunzas, who engage in demanding physical labor all morning long on an empty stomach.

    Unlike most Westerners, Hunzas eat primarily for the establishment and maintenance of health rather than for pleasure, although they are very meticulous when preparing their food, which, by the way, happens to be delicious.

    In addition, Hunza food is completely natural, containing no chemical additives whatsoever. Unfortunately, that is not the case as far as most of our food is concerned. Everything is as fresh as it can possibly be, and in its original unsalted state. The only “processing” consists of drying some fresh fruits in the the sun, and making butter and cheese out of milk. No chemicals or artificial fertilizers are used in their gardens. In fact, it is against the law of Hunza to spray gardens with pesticides. Renee Taylor, in her book Hunza health secrets ( Prentice-Hall 1964) says that the Mir,or ruler of Hunza, was recently instructed by Pakistani authorities to spray the orchards of Hunza with pesticide, to protect them from an expected invasion of insects. But the Hunzas would have none of it. They refused to use the toxic pesticide, and instead sprayed their trees with a mixture of water and ashes, which adequately protected the trees without poisoning the fruit and the entire environment. In a word, the Hunzas eat as they live – organically.

    The Hunzas, then, eat very little. But what exactly do they eat?

    Well, a large part of their diet is composed of grains: barley, millet, buckwheat and wheat.

    They also eat fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. For the most part, these are consumed fresh and raw, although some vegetables are cooked for a short time. Their preferred fruits and vegetables include potatoes, string beans, peas, carrots, turnip, squash, spinach, lettuce, apples, pears, peaches, apricots, cherries and blackberries. They also have a particular fondness for apricot pits. (You can get apricot seeds in your health food store, get only the dried ones which don’t have all the important enzymes killed off). Almonds are eaten whole, or used to make oil through a process that has been transmitted from generation to generation.

    Milk and cheese are important sources of animal protein. Meat, although not completely eliminated, is consumed only very rarely, reserved for special occasions like marriages or festivals. This fact is no doubt one of the reasons why the Hunzas have such healthy digestive systems. Even when meat is served, portions are very small: meat is cut into small pieces and stewed for a long time. Beef and mutton are rarely used – chicken is their most common source of animal protein.

    The important thing to remember is that although the Hunzas are not wholly vegetarian, meat forms a minimal part of their daily diet.

    They generally eat meat only once a week, if that often, and live longer and stay healthier than we do.

    Like grains, fruits and vegetables, yogurt is also a staple of the Hunza diet. Yogurt, which replenishes intestinal flora, is extremely beneficial for the human organism. Bulgarians, who also eat a lot of yogurt, are another people who live to a ripe old age. Bulgaria boasts 1,666 centenarians per million inhabitants, while here in the west the number is only 9 per million inhabitants.

    Walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, beechnuts, etc. also comprise an important part of the Hunza diet. Along with fruit, or mixed into salads, nuts often constitute an entire meal.”

    I would like everyone to understand that I am promoting “TRUE” health, that means finding the Truth about your nutritional requirements, whatever that might be & not falling into the convenience/if it ain’t really broke don’t fix it trap. In order to heal you must cleanse, in order to cleanse, you must lose weight, their is no other weigh around it. It took me a year of cleansing & tremendous weight loss to finally get to a point where my body is clean enough to actually start repairing/healing itself again. I believe that after 37 years of improper diet & lifestyle choices, I still have a long way to go, but I am getting there day by day, most cannot do what I have done because they are afraid to find out just how polluted/sick they are. And lack the desire/will power to perform the necessary changes in their life in order to bring about TRUE healing/health. To that I say, you can keep band-aiding symptoms all you want, but one day you will run out of band-aids & in this day/age it is gonna be sooner, then later. That is why in a previous post, I asked the ?, to which I never got an answer by the way. How many clinics/institutes are serving any type of animal protein for healing any kind of disease, none that I know of. Another ? are any traditional drugs/medicines, which are just I-solates of nature’s chemicals to begin with derived from animal sources, NOPE, they are from PLANT sources. So “common sense” would lend itself to the thought that animal proteins while nutritional to a certain extent, have no significant importance to human health. If anyone is familiar with Upton Sinclair’s book “The Jungle,” then you will know that Man’s lust/greed for animal flesh has caused nothing but problems! Most of the problems we have today stem from the overproduction of animal products & in my humble opinion, their is no better way to fix the problem, then to go the opposite direction, towards a more balance whole food plant based diet.

    Being vegetarian, I do agree that animal proteins such as butter, cheese, yogurt & occasionally milk in small quantities can be a useful source of nutrition/energy. But I don’t find any benefit in eating flesh, as cooking it kills any nutrition it may have possessed, plus our digestive tracts are not designed to digest flesh. It just sits in our stomachs for days, weeks, months & even years & rots, while we rot along with it. If I were to eat flesh, I would prepare it in the same fashion as the Hunza’s by cutting the meat into tiny pieces & then stewing it for hours to break down the fibers in order to make it somewhat digestible.

    That’s All Folks!!! That’s the last of my 2 cents… Live life to the fullest, each & every day, for who knows which will be our last! And in the words of my man, A.E. – “The definition of insanity, is constantly doing the same thing over & over again, all the while expecting different results”

    PEACE OUT!

    Sal
    Dallas, TX

  26. Hi Heba,

    I found you on the VGN site and wondered if you might like to join our new FB group Real Food Bloggers in Europe? Here is the url: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1425124031035794/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


5 − = three

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge