Welcome to My Life in a Pyramid!
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 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.
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 other blogs I have been reading and continue to read. 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 on the internet and in print material. 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 health 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 quite 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 subtle 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 two 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 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!