Thoughtful Eating Resources

Welcome to our Thoughtful Eating research homepage: here we have gathered together a variety of resources connected to our research, including blogs, recommended resources, and recipes. If you want to know more, or have any questions, let us know by emailing sage@jubilee-centre.org.

Contents on this page

  • ‘Thoughtful Eating’ Book
  • Executive summary
  • Podcast Series: ‘Eating Thoughtfully’
  • Blogs
  • Annual Lecture
  • Resources
  • Recipes

Purchase the book

Thoughtful Eating: a biblical perspective on food, relationships and the environment

Eating is never a solitary act; each meal connects us to a food chain, precious resources, human labour and a global ecology. Given the growing environmental impacts and social consequences of today’s agricultural practices, urgent action is needed. Our new book (available to purchase here) outlines biblical principles regarding food and proposes a framework for thoughtful eating – so that we can learn to eat joyfully, relationally and sustainably.

‘If you are someone who farms, preaches, shops or even just eats, you need to read this!’ – Dave Bookless, Director of Theology, A Rocha International

Executive summary 

This executive summary highlights the key points from our research on food, relationships and the environment.

Download PDF

Podcast Series: Eating Thoughtfully

This four-part podcast series explores the intersection between food, the Bible, relationships and the environment. It features interviews with some of the leading Christian thinkers and activists on food and the environment, including Ruth Valerio (Director of Global Advocacy, Tearfund), Professor Norman Wirzba (author of ‘Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating’) and Caroline Pomeroy (Director, Climate Stewards). Available to listen here.

Blogs

A collection of shorter pieces, which borrow ideas from our research, or are on similar topics.


Annual Lecture

This year’s Social Reformers Summer School had the theme, ‘Food, relationships and the environment’ and it ended with our first annual lecture by David Nussbaum on ‘Eating and the common good.’ David is CEO of The Elders (an independent group of global leaders working together for peace, justice and human rights founded by Nelson Mandela) and formerly CEO at WWF-UK and at Transparency International. His lecture addressed the question, is there a way to eat that is good for me, good for others and good for the planet? You can read, watch or listen to the lecture using the links below.

Download PDF Transcript

Resources

This is a list of recommended resources for thinking about food, relationships and the environment. (Their inclusion here does not indicate an endorsement.)

Cambridge Papers

Cambridge Papers is a quarterly publication from Jubilee Centre which aims to contribute to debate on a wide range of issues from a Christian perspective. The following papers are helpful for thinking about the environment. (Paper copies are also available to order.)

‘Thinking Biblically About…’ Booklets

The Thinking Biblically About… booklets from Jubilee Centre are designed and written as an introduction to issues for Christians in public leadership, for use by small groups in church, and for students wanting to consider hot topics from a biblical viewpoint. Below are a couple of booklets relevant to our topic. (Paper copies are also available to order.)

Audio and video

Books

These books are recommended for those who want to learn more about some of the ideas discussed in Thoughtful Eating.

  • A Meal with Jesus by Tim Chester, 2011. Reflections on food and relationships based on key passages from the Gospel of Luke.
  • Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible by Ellen Davis, 2009. Davis explores the biblical authors’ attitude to caring for the land, and what this has to teach us in our own time.
  • Food for Life: The Spirituality and Ethics of Eating by L. Shannon Jung, 2004. Wide-ranging book including theological reflections on food and eating, as well as discussion of eating disorders, food systems, and personal and communal responses.
  • In Defence of Food by Michael Pollan, 2008. Pollan assesses eating and nutrition, arguing for a simple food philosophy: ‘Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.’
  • Creation in Crisis: Christian perspectives on sustainability by Robert S. White (ed.), 2009. Essays covering a variety of topics, including theological, scientific and practical material.
  • The Way We Eat Now by Bee Wilson, 2019. (Read our review here.) Thoroughly researched, this book examines modern eating habits, setting them in historical context, and suggests ways we can eat more healthily as individuals and societies.
  • Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating by Norman Wirzba, 2019 (2nd ed.). Wide-ranging theological reflections on food and eating, including the sacramental character of eating, the deep significance of hospitality, and the importance of receiving food as a gift from God.

Recipes

A few of our favourite recipes – mainly plant-based for the reasons set out in our research.

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Category: Reports and Articles

June, 2019

Comments (2)

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  1. Ray Tostevin says:

    Hi, I’ve enjoyed listening to the podcasts. Great to hear Christians engaging in this vitally important area.

    To what extent would you agree that to live sustainably and begin to halt the climate crisis, we must radically reduce (or stop) our meat consumption, and turn to a plant-based diet? Many international experts are saying it’s simply not enough to “eat a bit less meat.” We have to be far more intentional. As it is, current intensive farming and growing crops to feed animals, rather than growing food to feed humans, is unstainable. Perhaps Christians and other people of faith should lead the way in being vegetarian as a stewardship goal. Not just eating a bit less meat..

    George Monbiot, writing in The Guardian this week, says some very pertinent and challenging things on eating thoughtfully..

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/08/ipcc-land-climate-report-carbon-cost-meat-dairy

    • JubileeCentre says:

      Hi Ray,
      Thanks for your comment, and glad to hear you enjoyed the podcasts. We broadly agree that, from an environmental perspective, we should adopt mostly plant-based diets. In our book, we recommend a ‘flexitarian’ diet with a principle of ‘meat for celebrations’. This deliberately leaves room for flexibility, but speaking personally we’ve found that it translates into eating meat once or twice a week. This could be roughly in line with the recommended 300g of meat per week in the EAT-Lancet Commission’s ‘planetary health diet’. (See p. 5 of their report here: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)31788-4/fulltext) Obviously, well balanced vegetarian and vegan diets are great options too! You can find more detailed discussion in our book.
      Monbiot’s article includes some of the same statistics as in ‘Thoughtful Eating’ (e.g. the amount of arable land used to grow crops for animal feed). We would suggest that he is being a bit unfair to the new IPCC report, however. To quote the summary of the report (p. 26): ‘Balanced diets, featuring plant-based foods, such as those based on coarse grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and animal-sourced food produced in resilient, sustainable and low-GHG emission systems, present major opportunities for adaptation and mitigation while generating significant co-benefits in terms of human health (high confidence). By 2050, dietary changes could free several Mkm2 (medium confidence) of land and provide a technical mitigation potential of 0.7 to 8.0 GtCO2e yr-1, relative to business as usual projections (high confidence).’ This shows the authors of the IPCC report are aware of what Monbiot calls the ‘carbon opportunity costs’ of our diets.
      See also the first letter here responding to Monbiot’s column: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/aug/13/meat-dairy-and-nurturing-the-soil
      Andrew.

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