Eating Ethically: Religion and Science for a Better Diet


eating ethically cover

We are eating ourselves to death in many ways, both bodily and societally. Few activities are as essential to human flourishing as eating, and fewer still are as ethically intricate. Eating well is particularly confusing. Conflicting recommendations, contradictory scientific studies, and the confounding environmental and economic factors that surround us make choices difficult. Eating “just right” is complex for the contemporary American, living amid excess and faced with moral, medical, and environmental consequences that influence our eating choices. A different eating strategy is needed, one grounded in our biology but also philosophically sound, theologically cogent, and personally achievable.

Eating Ethically provides evidence and arguments for more adaptive eating practices. Drawing on religion, medicine, philosophy, cognitive science, art, ethics, and more, Jonathan K. Crane distinguishes among the eater, the eaten, and eating to promote a radical reorientation away from external cues and toward internal ones. From classic philosophy on appetite to contemporary studies of satiation, from the science of metabolism to metaphysics and theology, Crane intertwines ancient wisdom and cutting-edge scholarship to show that eating well is not only a biological necessity but also an integral facet of spiritual and social health. He draws on insights from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam that promote personal health and social cohesion. Eating Ethically, grounded in science, tradition, and our internal necessities, points us toward eating well.

In Eating Ethically, Crane masterfully demonstrates that eating well is both a good thing to do and personally achievable. It complements what many of us are calling for―a better, smarter, and more sustainable way of eating. (John Mackey, CEO, Whole Foods Market, coauthor of The Whole Foods Diet: The Lifesaving Plan for Health and Longevity)

This entertaining and provocative book draws on biblical and philosophical sources to argue that eating is an act of ethics, and that we would all be happier and healthier if we adhered to the Bible’s dietary advice―eat enough, but not too much. Anyone interested in food will be fascinated by the stories Jonathan Crane tells here. (Marion Nestle, author of What to Eat)

In our modern world, eating can be a conundrum. We have so many choices but often the thought of making one about food is burdensome. Jonathan Crane looks to some conventional wisdom mixed with contemporary perspective to ask some provocative questions about food and our relationship with it. He explores the notions of what it means to eat well, to eat poorly, and everything in between. Yes, humans rely on food for survival and nourishment, but we also grow relationships, community, and reflect our cultural and geographical context through food. Eating Ethically is a compelling look into the complex network of food, religion, science, and culture in a unique way that will leave you with plenty of ‘food for thought.’ (Steven Satterfield, James Beard Award-winning executive chef, co-owner, Miller Union, author of Root to Leaf: A Southern Chef Cooks Through the Seasons)

Eating Ethically provides both compelling and novel insight regarding the modern global obesity epidemic. Crane brilliantly and creatively integrates evidence from science, philosophy, culture, and religion to support that eating “just right” is important for personal, spiritual, and societal health. (Laurence Sperling, MD, director of the Emory University Heart Disease Prevention Center)

An accomplished ethicist and philosopher, Crane crafts a careful argument for what it means to eat well. Following a trajectory set by Michael Pollan and others, Eating Ethically is set apart by its interdisciplinarity, using biblical scholarship, nutritional science, biochemistry, and medicine to effectively buttress the idea that eating is an activity that resonates in both personal and social contexts. (Benjamin Zeller, coeditor of Religion, Food, and Eating in North America)

Crane’s accessible prose and principled approach to eating make this a worthy addition to the ongoing discussion of how humans should consume food. (Publishers Weekly – starred review)

Reviews and Conversations

American Academy of Religion

Emory News Center

Jewish Book Council

Times of Israel

Publishers Weekly

Atlanta Jewish Times (May 2018)

Atlanta Jewish Times (October 2018)

Atlanta Jewish Times (November 2019)






%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close