Reigh Simuzoshya, PhD is the author of the book The Perfect Prescription; here is a link to her website:
Q: What is The Perfect Prescription about?
A: The rising cost of health care is of critical concern for everyone, insured and uninsured alike. This is the reason why public health, with its emphasis on disease prevention, is an important aspect of health care delivery anywhere in the world. The book, The Perfect Prescription, highlights the similarities between the preventive health care guidelines articulated in The Bible, particularly in the Old Testament and those espoused by modern public health professionals. This book attempts to establish that, in Bible times, preventive health care, one of the most cost-effective approaches to individual and community health promotion, was as relevant as it is today. This book does not proselytize. It merely advocates preventive health care principles that can benefit any one regardless of their religious affiliation. Pathogens know no religious boundaries. The book compares modern public health guidelines with preventive health guidelines articulated in Bible times, millennia ago.
Q: What qualifies you to write a book on the subject of wellness?
A: As a public health professional and an epidemiologist, I have come to understand the significant impact disease prevention can play in optimizing people’s health by fending off onset of certain diseases. As I studied the Bible I discovered some amazing teachings that are consistent with the teachings of my profession and I decided to share what I had discovered with whoever might be interested. I have personally experienced some of the benefits of adopting preventive health guidelines advocated by the Bible and by modern public health professionals.
Q: What are some examples of how The Bible can be a guide to health?
A: The Bible is not a public health text book per se. But it has much to say about public health that is of great benefit to mankind. For example, the Bible spoke about quarantining individuals with infectious diseases such as leprosy millennia ago (Leviticus 13: 1-3, 45, 46). Whenever it was confirmed that an individual had leprosy, that person was immediately sent to live away from the community in an isolated place. If they ever ventured to approach uninfected people they were required to cover their mouth and shout “unclean, unclean” as a warning to those who did not have the disease to distance themselves from them. By putting a covering over their mouth they were preventing saliva droplets from spreading through the air. This preventive principle was established long before the Germ Theory.
Furthermore, researchers have written about the severity of infectious diseases such as the Black Plague, which ravaged Europe in the 14th century and how efforts to contain it seemed futile until “the city leaders of Venice decided to adopt the 40-day segregation practices employed by the Jewish ghettos at the time,” according to J.R. Gwilt in his article, Public Health in the Bible, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Health, 1987. This is just one example. There are many more elaborated in the book.
Q: Are there any other similar principals about health in the writings of other religions?
A: I do not claim to be an expert in the writings of other religions about health. As such, I will refrain from speaking for them. I am sure they can speak for themselves. If they teach about health promotion, all the better. The goal is to promote the well-being of the general public by making them aware of practices that are deleterious to their health and those that are of benefit.
Q: Some of the Jewish dietary laws suggest not eating pork or seafood. Both port and seafood have been shown to be bad for people. Why do Christians not follow these laws?
A: I know some Christians who have voluntarily chosen to abstain from consuming pork and other foods that are forbidden in the Bible in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. I also know of other individuals who are neither Jewish not Christian who are practicing the same. Remember that I am writing from a health perspective; as a public health professional and not as a theologian. As such, I would like to add that some scholars who were fascinated by these biblical dietary guidelines conducted experimental research to compare the toxicity levels of the foods that were designated unclean by the Bible with those classified as clean. One such scholar was Dr. David I. Macht who was a pharmacologist, doctor of Hebrew literature, Johns Hopkins medical researcher, and experimental biologist. Macht conducted an experiment in which he compared toxicity in muscle juices and skeletal extracts of species of clean and unclean animals, birds and fish according to Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 4. He added these juices and extracts to the soil solutions of two sets of seedlings of Lupines albus (a legume that is traditionally grown around the Mediterranean). In one soil solution he added juices from unclean species and in the other he added the specimen from clean species. The third set of seedling had no animal specimen added to the soil solution-a control set. The findings of the study indicated that the soil solutions that had muscle juices and skeletal extracts from clean species were neither toxic nor did they hinder the normal growth of the seedlings. Conversely, the extracts from species classified as unclean were found to be significantly toxic for seedling growth when added to soil solutions, and the growth of the seedlings’ roots was significantly hindered. This experiment was replicated later with similar results.
I have spoken to a few Christians who eat the foods classified as unclean. Some of them have based their decision to eat on their interpretation of the Apostle Peter’s vision found in Acts chapter 10. I would also like to add that it is not given to me to judge anyone. I am sure each side of the argument has valid reasons to justify their positions.
Q: What would you recommend to someone if they followed The Bible and they still get sick?
A: We live in a world that is replete with pathogens and cataclysmic occurrences that can easily impact our health, negatively. The new earth has not been created yet. I think it is for this reason that it was necessary to have the biblical guidelines for health. If our world was pristine there would be no need for health guidelines because it would be devoid of health threats. Illness and suffering are not always a consequence of the sin or wrong-doing of the afflicted individual or else the Book of Job would be meaningless. In the Gospel of John chapter 9 we read that upon seeing a man who was blind from birth the disciples asked Jesus who had sinned, the man or his parents because they assumed that the condition of the man was due to retributive judgment. In answer Jesus said that the man’s blindness was for the glory of God to be made manifest. As such, we can conclude that people fall ill for various reasons. There are also times when people might have congenital health conditions probably due to epigenetics (alterations in gene expression that can impact the health of future generations). Other times people who might have adhered to biblical guidelines might become inadvertent victims of some traumatic event, which triggers a health condition.
I would not discourage anyone from observing health guidelines just because they have fallen ill. Rather, I would encourage them to adhere to them because that could help mitigate the progression of their health condition. The guidelines could also help them manage their condition well.
Q: What kind of professional background do you have?
A: I am a public health professional and an author. I manage ResourcefulResearchPro, an organization focused on conducting academic research, and teaching research methods to college and university students, online.
Q: What kind of research did you do for your book?
A: Extensive research was conducted from the books and journal articles of public health professionals, biomedical scholars, researchers, theologians and other published authors in related fields. A list of these valuable sources to whom I am deeply indebted is found in the reference section of the book. A lot of time was also spent combing the Scriptures for information included in the book.
Q: What was the most surprising thing you learned during the course of your research?
A: Probably the most astounding thing for me was the similarity of biblical health guidelines written millennia ago to modern day health guidelines. This underscored the relevance of biblical teachings to life in general for me.
Q: What are some things you have done to promote your book?
A: I have websites: www.reighsimuzoshya.com
I also have a Facebook Fan Page: www.facebook.com/PerfectPrescription?ref=bookmarks
I have a tumbler, twitter and LinkedIn accounts. I also have a blog: www.theperfectprescription2014.wordpress.com
I have a book trailer from my publishers, Tate Publishing and Enterprises, Inc. http://youtu.be/9TOcHIb8N5k
I also have a YouTube video: http://youtu.be/MWkIVDKfh9w
The book is also available at Amazon.com www.wmturls.com/pp
It is also found at Barnes and Noble
I try to use these tools to promote this work. Sometimes I organize book-signing events. I have also contracted with some social media companies to help me build a platform.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)