SPRING HILL — Dietitian and clinical nutritionist Sheila Dean, known locally for her "Take 5 With Dr. Dean" segment on WTSP-Ch. 10, will speak on the topic of "Food as Medicine: A Baha'i Perspective" tonight (May 9) at Spring Hill United Church of Christ.
Dean will introduce people to the Baha'i faith and share information on the subject of food as a form of healing. She will also talk about how her views can be substantiated with science and religious writings.
"They work together; they're in tandem," Dean said about her faith's teachings on science and religion.
Religious teaching that doesn't agree with science is likely superstition, she said.
"And if science is talking about something where religion or spirituality can't be a part of it, then maybe it's not complete," Dean said. "So Baha'is have a perspective that science and religion can come together and that in some ways they are actually the same."
Dean will also speak about different tools of healing beyond medical treatment.
"Baha'is are taught that we treat the disease through diet by preference and refrain from the use of drugs, but we use them if necessary," she said. "Baha'is are not antimedication or drugs. We just try to treat these things as naturally as possible. Medications are what we would call alternative medicine."
Along with the philosophy behind her beliefs, Dean will share practical advice on foods as medicine and will talk about the state of the health of the United States and health care expenditures here and in other countries. She will explain the benefits of eating whole, organic foods versus genetically altered foods and will make suggestions for wise food choices.
The evening will be fun, Dean said, and will include an entertaining quiz and audience participation.
"Then I will take it full circle, and at the very end I (will) essentially mention some of the quotes from various religious teachings talking about good health and the bounty of good health being the greatest of all gifts."
Along with her regular appearance on WTSP, which she recently ended due to other commitments, Dean has appeared in interviews on other local news stations. She has been a nutrition consultant for the Philadelphia Phillies and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was the media spokeswoman and columnist for the Ironman Institute, has authored a book on sports nutrition and has contributed to numerous texts and publications on the topic of nutrition. She is an adjunct professor at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and at the University of Tampa.
She began her practice in Palm Harbor about 20 years ago.
While Dean is careful to point out that members of her faith do not proselytize, and even the children of those in the Baha'i faith are encouraged to make their own decisions about their beliefs, she is serious about the condition of people's health and wants to share her knowledge.
The decision of what to do about it is then up to them.