Dr. John Kellogg Invented Cereal. Some of His Other Wellness Ideas Were Much Weirder

Dr. John Kellogg Invented Cereal. Some of His Other Wellness Ideas Were Much Weirder

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Battle Creek Sanitarium, America’s most popular medical spa of the early 20th century, may be best known as the birthplace of the corn flake. But some might say that the biggest flake to come out of Battle Creek was the man in charge: John Harvey Kellogg, the dapper doctor who typically dressed in a white suit and white shoes, often with a white cockatoo perched on his shoulder.

Since his death in 1943, Kellogg has gained a reputation as something of a comical quack—due, in part, to his portrayal in T. Coraghessan Boyle’s 1993 novel The Road to Wellville and the movie of the same name, with Anthony Hopkins as the good doctor. In reality, Kellogg was a more complicated figure: a widely respected physician and popular wellness guru who had many forward-thinking treatment ideas—and many that now appear downright wacky.

As one of the nation's first proponents of integral medicine, he saw himself as a health reformer fighting to improve body, mind and soul through a program he called “biologic living.” His messianic zeal for wellness stemmed largely from his Seventh-day Adventist faith; groomed by the faith’s founders to be a church leader from a young age, Kellogg went on to earn his medical degree with their support. But while he published in respected medical journals, lectured at prestigious universities and kept up with medical research that interested him, his treatments remained largely grounded in his religion’s tenets of dietary and sexual abstinence—much of which had come to the founder in visions and prophesies.

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Under the supervision of Dr. Kellogg and his brother Will, the Battle Creek Sanitarium grew from the church’s small “health reform institute” into a national holistic wellness destination—a combination medical center, spa and grand hotel. Dr. Kellogg also lectured, wrote books and edited a magazine, becoming a celebrity doctor whose admirers and patients included several U.S. presidents, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Amelia Earhart, Sojourner Truth and many others. Also among his patients was Ida Tarbell, the foremost investigative reporter of her day and a woman unlikely to let a charlatan go unexposed, let alone be personally treated by one.

Kellogg practiced much of what he preached—he was an avid vegetarian and reportedly celibate in his own four-decade marriage. And he seemed willing to try anything to cure his patients’ ills, experimenting with countless treatments and inventing dozens of his own. Some of his ideas, particularly on nutrition and exercise, have proved remarkably prescient; others now seem goofy or even barbaric. Here are some of the latter. (Warning: This is going to get pretty gross.)

READ MORE: 7 of the Most Outrageous Medical Treatments in History

1. Chewing, chewing…and more chewing

Kellogg was a disciple of Horace Fletcher, a dubious health expert who advised people to chew each bite of food at least 40 times before swallowing. Kellogg often led diners at his sanitarium in a rousing rendition of the “Chewing Song,” according to medical historian Howard Markel, in his 2017 book The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek. Sample chorus: “Chew, chew, chew, that is the thing to do.”

READ MORE: How an Accidental Invention Changed What Americans Eat for Breakfast

2. Electric light baths

Like other physicians of his day, Kellogg experimented with the therapeutic effects of artificial light. Some of that work, such as using light to treat depression, became an accepted practice. Kellogg, however, promoted light therapy as an almost universal cure-all and built what he called the world’s first “electric light bath”—basically a wooden cabinet lined with light bulbs, in which the patient could either sit or lie down. Kellogg prescribed light treatments for an astonishing range of aliments, including diabetes, insomnia, gangrene, syphilis—and even writer’s cramp.

3. Sinusoidal current

Kellogg’s interest in the therapeutic powers of electricity didn’t end with light baths. With a device he cobbled together from telephone parts, he began to administer mild doses of electrical current directly to his patients’ skin. Kellogg claimed these “sinusoidal current” treatments were painless and wrote that he’d tested them in “many thousands of therapeutic applications.” While electrical stimulation is used to this day for certain medical purposes, the ever-optimistic Kellogg maintained that it could treat lead poisoning, tuberculosis, obesity and, when applied directly to the patient’s eyeballs, a variety of vision disorders.

4. The continuous tub bath

In a 1907 ad in Good Housekeeping magazine, the Battle Creek Sanitarium boasted of offering 46 different kinds of baths. Some, like foot baths and sponge baths, were relatively conventional. But there were also options like the “continuous bath,” which was much like a regular tub bath, except that it could last, Kellogg wrote, “for many hours, days, weeks, or months, as the case may require.” (Apparently, the patient was allowed to get out occasionally to use the toilet.) Kellogg advocated continuous baths as a treatment for skin diseases, chronic diarrhea and a host of mental maladies, including delirium, hysteria and mania.

5. Fifteen-quart enemas

As if the bath-crazed sanitarium’s water bills weren’t already high enough, Kellogg’s patients were constantly taking enemas to cleanse their colons. “More people need washing out than any other remedy,” he wrote. But Kellogg went beyond typical enemas, which might involve a pint or two of liquid; his were administered by special machines that, according to Markel, were capable of pumping 15 quarts of water per minute into the patient’s bowels. He was also an advocate of yogurt enemas.

6. The vibrating chair

Kellogg devised countless contraptions for exercise and other purposes. President Calvin Coolidge had one of the doctor’s mechanical horses in the White House, and by some accounts, there was another in the Titanic’s first-class gym. But Kellogg also had his mechanical misfires, one of which was the vibrating chair. Unlike today’s well-padded vibrating recliners, Kellogg’s version consisted of a plain wooden chair that shook up to 60 times a second, with the apparent goal of stimulating the bowels. Kellogg’s other marvels included both beating and slapping machines, which gave patients the choice of being pounded or flogged, in order to stimulate their circulation.

7. Masturbation cures

A zealous lifelong foe of what he called “the solitary vice” and the “vile practice,” Kellogg wrote that masturbation led to poor digestion, memory loss, impaired vision, heart disease, epilepsy and insanity—to name just a few insidious side effects. To break young boys of the habit, Kellogg suggested procedures that ranged from ridiculous to barbaric, including tying their hands, bandaging the offending organ or putting a cage over it. If that didn’t work, he recommended circumcision without anesthetic—"as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind,” he wrote in his book, Plain Facts for Old and Young. Kellogg had an even more gruesome set of treatments for girls, including the application of pure carbolic acid to the clitoris or, in more extreme cases, surgical removal.

Few of these treatments are practiced today—thankfully, in most cases. As to Dr. Kellogg, he lived to the then-uncommon age of 91, suggesting he knew a thing or two about staying healthy.

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Corn Flakes were Invented to Cure a Certain Type of “Self-Gratification”

The history of Corn Flakes, and breakfast cereal itself, has some truly surprising beginnings. Nowadays the spheres of mainstream medicine and organized religion are viewed as separate. Back in the 19th and early 20th centuries however, they were very much linked. In Battle Creek, Michigan one John Harvey Kellogg combined them with an oddly visionary attitude and pioneering approach to what he considered to be wellness.

He may have been a forward thinker, but not all his ideas caught on… putting it mildly. However he did usher in one thing that’s instantly familiar to people around the world – Kellogg’s Corn Flakes.

John Harvey Kellogg, co-founder of the Kellogg Company

Wholesome, simple and the breakfast of choice for millions, there is another side to the corn flakes legacy. Because physician Kellogg was running a sanitarium when he came up with the idea and his work focused on the battle against primal urges.

Cereal was seen as an ally of abstinence, particularly when it came to “self-gratification”. The tastier the food was, the greater the temptation became, so Kellogg thought. With that in mind he produced plain, bland, cardboard-like flakes that wouldn’t inflame the patient’s desires.

Corn Flakes. Photo by Marco Verch CC by 2.0

Kellogg wasn’t alone in his quest. Rigid, proper society at the time was aghast at the prospect of carnal pleasures. Books were published to steer people along the right path, not just with affairs of the boudoir but in all aspects of human existence. The corn flake king himself wrote Plain Facts for Old and Young: Embracing the Natural History and Hygiene of Organic Life in 1887, when Kellogg was still in his twenties.

Mental Floss outlines his 39 different symptoms of a person plagued by “self-gratification”, including general infirmity, defective development, mood swings, fickleness, bashfulness, boldness, bad posture, stiff joints, fondness for spicy foods, acne, palpitations, and epilepsy.

Put simply, giving into these desires meant a person was sinking into a pit of depravity. Which is where Kellogg came in. Who better to manage the Battle Creek Sanitarium, established by Seventh-day Adventists in 1866?

History.com described his “messianic zeal for wellness”, and how he was “groomed by the faith’s founders to be a church leader”. They helped him get his medical qualifications and while he left the church at middle age, “his treatments remained largely grounded in his religion’s tenets of diet and abstinence—much of which had come to the founder in visions and prophesies.”

Hydrotherapy chair invention by John Harvey Kellogg. Photo by Mike Bramble from the Dr. John Harvey Kellogg Discovery Center. CC by 2.0

Corn flakes were a less dramatic proposition compared to some of Kellogg’s other notions, such as applying carbolic acid to the nether-regions and subjecting guests to a double-ended yogurt enema. The less said about that one the better.

John joined forces with his brother Will, who worked as Battle Creek’s bookkeeper, to get his cereals out of the sanitarium and onto the public’s breakfast tables. Will advised sugaring the flakes, which for John defeated the object. Will needn’t have worried. Corn flakes started in an institution and went on to become an institution of a different sort.

Battle Creek Sanitarium was advertised as a resort for vacationers looking to get back on the straight and narrow. The promotion referred to “a cool and delightful resting place”, with “simple and delicious foods”. Yogurt may not have been too popular during the stay of course.

The Battle Creek Federal Center has lived three different lives. The first was the original Sanitarium (World Health Reform Institute) where Dr. Kellogg invented cereal, then the Percy Jones Army Hospital, and now the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center (after three former patients). Photo by Battle Creek CVB CC by 2.0

This stranger side to Dr. Kellogg was immortalized in The Road To Wellville, a 1993 novel by T. Coraghessan Boyle. It was fictionalized, but gave readers an insight into the good doctor’s regime. A movie was adapted from it the following year by Alan Parker. It wasn’t a success, but featured an all-star cast including Sir Anthony Hopkins as Kellogg with Matthew Broderick, Bridget Fonda and John Cusack.

The “character” of Kellogg made for memorable cinematic viewing. History talks about “the dapper doctor who typically dressed in a white suit and white shoes, often with a white cockatoo perched on his shoulder”. Yet it tempers this with his status as “a widely respected physician… who had many forward-thinking treatment ideas”.

Kellogg passed away in 1943. He may not have stopped people playing with themselves, but his contribution to wellness, and the breakfast table, is undeniable. His reliable, if bland cereal in that simple cardboard box has kept generations of breakfast-eaters nourished and ready to start the day.

How The ➺ttling' Kellogg Brothers Revolutionized American Breakfast

Today, the typical American grocery store might devote an entire aisle to breakfast cereal, but that wasn't always the case. In fact, boxed cereals were an invention of the 20th century, designed and marketed by two brothers from Michigan.

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg had first conceived of a healthy, plant-based breakfast in his capacity as the director of the Seventh-day Adventist sanitarium in Battle Creek, Mich. His younger brother, Will, was the business innovator, who figured out how to market John's creation.

Medical historian Howard Markel describes the mass production of Kellogg's Corn Flakes in 1906 as an event that took the world by storm. "You could simply pour breakfast out of a box," he says. "Even dad could make breakfast now."

But despite their business success, the brothers' relationship was contentious. A series of lawsuits ended with the Will being awarded the rights to the family name.

"Will later made a mint off of bran cereals, even though that was truly John Harvey's creation," Markel says. "There was a lot of bad blood between them, and then after the lawsuit they rarely, if ever, spoke to one another again."

Interview Highlights

On American breakfast before the days of boxed cereal

If you look at what people ate in America in the late 19th century or even the early 20th century, it was very heavy in animal fats, often cured meats. So they're very salty, a lot of sugar. You would have for breakfast, potatoes that were fried in the congealed fat from the night before. A lot of alcohol and caffeine [were] consumed, a lot of carbohydrates.

And making breakfast was an ordeal. Even if you made porridge or mush, these whole grains took hours to melt down and make into a mush or a soft form. So these poor mothers were getting up very early and they're probably taking care of their children all night. They had to start a wood burning fire. And so making breakfast was a great ordeal.

But John Harvey Kellogg invented [cereal] for the [invalid] people who came to his Battle Creek sanitarium. It was his little brother Will who realized there are a lot more people who are healthy and just want a convenient, tasty breakfast, than those who are ill and need an easily digestible breakfast.

On how the flake cereal was born

[The brothers] first started serving double-baked zwieback biscuits out of whole graham grain. . [Dr. Kellogg] decided to grind up the zwieback into little crumbs, and that was their first cereal. He called it granola.

But they weren't happy with that, Dr. Kellogg or his brother. And they thought, there's got to be a better way to make cereal than just grinding up toasted bread, basically. And so they worked and they worked and they worked and Dr. Kellogg tells a story that he had a dream of how to make flake cereal and that's how the whole thing began.

On Dr. John Harvey Kellogg's concept of wellness

[Dr. Kellogg] called it "biologic living," and he was really prescient about this. Don't forget, at the turn of the last century, most doctors were fixated on diseases — not preventing them, but treating them once they occurred. . Dr. Kellogg was all about preventing these diseases before they ever happened, by living a healthy life. That included exercise, a lot of vigorous physical activity, eating a grain and vegetable diet, avoiding animal fats or meats or as he called it, "flesh-eating." . No alcohol, no caffeine of any kind.

He also was very chaste and reminded both his readers and his followers that sex outside of the marriage, of course, was not a good idea, but [that] sex for anything other than procreation really sapped the soul and sapped the spirit. And of course, he was very much opposed to masturbation of any kind, something he wrote about extensively and called "the solitary vice."

On John Harvey's connection to the co-founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church

John Harvey, even as a young boy and a young man, just exuded brilliance and was curious about everything. . The co-founders of the denomination . realized this young man was quite special, so they groomed him and a big part of Seventh-day Adventism.

He later came to edit their magazine called The Health Reformer, which John Harvey later changed the name to Good Health, because he realized that people don't like reform. They like to be healthy, but they don't want somebody telling them to reform. So they realized that John Harvey could be the head of their health avenue, the health section of their denomination.

On Will, the marketing genius

John, the older brother, never missed an opportunity to pick on or humiliate his younger brother, from childhood on. . Will was this business genius who knew how to run a very large organization, not only keep accounts, but come up with new methods to keep accounts in a better way. He was brilliant at human resources, because you had thousands of employees doing all sorts of different tasks, and he just had his hand in every pot, and knew how to do it. . The psychic cost of being made fun of and treated as a lackey was very difficult for Will's psyche.

On the brothers' fight over the brand name Kellogg's

As soon as poor Will became successful and John Harvey sold him the rights and made a mint off of Corn Flake stock, [John Harvey] started making his own cereal and calling it "Kellogg's." And, of course, Will, by this time . was investing millions of dollars a year in ads, and he felt that another Kellogg-named product, that was not nearly as tasty as his product, would harm his company.

So he sued John Harvey, and then John Harvey sued Will. And this lawsuit, even though there were peaks and valleys and agreements and disagreements, it went for almost a decade, going all the way to the Michigan State Supreme Court. The basic question was, "Who was the real Kellogg? Who had the right to use the name Kellogg on a box of cereal?"

Will said, "Everybody who hears the name Kellogg's thinks of Corn Flakes now." By that time — this is early 1920 — they did.

The judges agreed with Will and he won the case, and poor John Harvey had to pay all the legal costs and everything else, and he could only put his name in tiny writing on the bottom of the box for any cereal he created.

Sam Briger and Heidi Saman produced and edited the audio of this interview. Bridget Bentz and Molly Seavy-Nesper adapted it for the Web.

John Harvey Kellogg was a sick creep!

I don't care if he was the inventor of Corn Flakes or not, he was a sick individual. He was a huge advocate for circumcision because he thought it would prevent masturbation since he was a huge prude. I heard that he never had sex with his wife and they slept in separate rooms.

Here's his comment about circumcison: "A remedy which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision, especially when there is any degree of phimosis. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment, as it may well be in some cases. The soreness which continues for several weeks interrupts the practice, and if it had not previously become too firmly fixed, it may be forgotten and not resumed."

Also, Corn flakes was actually invented to prevent masturbation.

This guy is freaking insane! We humans are by sexual beings by nature. The human race and most animal species wouldn't even exist without sex.

Here are some articles and videos about John Harvey Kellogg:

Community Reviews

The story of breakfast cereal could not get weirder. Who knew that corn flakes were invented by two misfits who not only hated each other, but held some pretty outlandish world views? John, the older brother, was the most odd, between his fascination with bodily functions and his horrible racial prejudices. Will is the martyred younger brother who finally escapes John’s clutches with his corn flakes recipe and goes on to build a lonely empire which survives even today.

There are no heroes here, a The story of breakfast cereal could not get weirder. Who knew that corn flakes were invented by two misfits who not only hated each other, but held some pretty outlandish world views? John, the older brother, was the most odd, between his fascination with bodily functions and his horrible racial prejudices. Will is the martyred younger brother who finally escapes John’s clutches with his corn flakes recipe and goes on to build a lonely empire which survives even today.

There are no heroes here, and that impeded my enjoyment of what was otherwise an interesting business history. John is flat-out batcrap crazy, never consummating his marriage with his wife due to “sexual purity”, adopting dozens of kids on which he performs health experiments, and writing down every time he goes to the bathroom. He builds a “sanitarium” devoted to cleanliness and health foods where famous people flock, while he loses investors’ money at every turn. (Think Richard Simmons meets Bernie Madoff.) The brothers work together at the “San” for a while, inventing granola and a few other foods, but then Will can’t take polishing John’s white shoes any more. “Will somehow took John’s abuse with quiet dignity, much to the detriment of his self-esteem. Yet as good as he was at performing his thankless tasks, it was a constant struggle to keep up with his brother, let alone please him.”

Beyond the weirdo brothers, I wanted to know the true history of breakfast foods. At the same time John and Will Kellogg were experimenting with pre-chewed food at the “San”, Charley Post came to stay with them. He was a broke Texas businessman with indigestion, but left with his own corn flakes recipe which became Post Toasties. I had no idea such cereal creativity flourished in Battle Creek, Michigan, of all places. Post killed himself in 1919, but his company too lives on with Grape Nuts and Postum. Another one of their friends invented the Graham Cracker and still another, Quaker Oats.

I was fascinated by the news that America’s breakfast foods were merely the byproduct of an early health food get-rich-quick scheme. “Will’s greatest breakthrough was the realization that there were far more healthy people who would eat and purchase tasty Corn Flakes for their daily breakfast compared to the relatively small number of invalids who bought and consumed only the blandest of ‘health foods’ to aid their digestion. Will made them taste good and the rest was history.” So cereal became a convenience food not a health food, and the next thing you knew, it was Tony the Tiger, Fruit Loops and snap, crackle, pop. Will was also an advertising genius who spent millions per year on ads even during the Great Depression.

The brothers took each other to court the first time in 1910 and pretty much every year after that, until their deaths in the 1950s. Neither could allow the other’s success. John left his small remaining fortune to the disgusting “Race Betterment Foundation” for white supremacy, which promptly went broke, while Will left $66 million to The Kellogg Foundation, a children’s charity. Today, Kellogg’s has worldwide sales of $14 billion with 29,000 employees and Will’s Kellogg Foundation continues to donate millions to worthy causes.
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This book was very interesting not only of the two Kellogg brothers life story, but the history and hard times of them growing up, how brilliant they were in their own ways , how things fell apart between them and the effects their actions and lives had on their families and future generations to come.

Together, they complimented each other, yet one was better at some things than the other. Apart, one was still better at some things than the other and they clashed horribly through the years resu This book was very interesting not only of the two Kellogg brothers life story, but the history and hard times of them growing up, how brilliant they were in their own ways , how things fell apart between them and the effects their actions and lives had on their families and future generations to come.

Together, they complimented each other, yet one was better at some things than the other. Apart, one was still better at some things than the other and they clashed horribly through the years resulting in personal assaults/insults, legal and financial issues. It is such a shame how much time and effort was wasted between these two brothers fighting against each other pretty much to the very end of their lives.

Gosh, they were so very smart they were passionate and driven behind what they were each creating. They were information hungry, perfectionists, eccentric at the end. They were absolutely creative in their marketing strategies with their ideas and products at that time.

As I finished this book, I was amazed thinking of the foods we eat that come from the Kellogg’s brothers and how they were created/formulated/patented. I was also amazed of the Dr. Kellogg and his wellness medical teachings of no smoking, no alcohol, no coffee or tea, no meat, no sugar which has been proven to be medically correct to abstain or do in moderation to this very day.

Dr. John Kellogg was the man behind the idea and creation of many well known healthy products: probiotics,soy milk, possibly peanut/nut butter, bran cereals, fiber bars, psyllium (natural plant laxative), granola. His well known Battle Creek sanitarium promoted cleanliness and wellness which we would equivocate to a high end spa/retreat facility where there would be daily physical exercise, massage, water therapy, nutritional diets, fresh air, etc. (this sanitarium is no longer functioning but was well known in its time and attended by past presidents, celebrities, the wealthy, and those looking for “stress relief” or bodily function adjustments). On the negative side, Dr. Kellogg was also behind eugenics (race betterment) and some of his rather outlandish medical “breakthroughs” have since been discounted.

Brother Will Kellogg always had had a “chip on his shoulder” since growing up that permeated through his personality to the day he died. He was however, just as brilliant as his brother, but in a business sense and also in the way he ran his business and treated other people including his employees - fairly, truthfully, with compassion and understanding - Unfortunately not all of his family members including his wife, were treated well by him, as he was so predominantly focused on his business.

They each left their personal and business/medical legacies which we see and experience around us every day. It is very sad that behind such brilliance and innovation there was not much joy in their lives. . more

There were two Kellogg brothers of Battle Cree, Michigan. John, the oldest in the family, became a famous physician, championing not onlyplant-based diets and probiotics, but also unfortunate racists theories like eugenics.

Will, the younger brother, was neglected as a child and made subservient to his older brother until he was in his thirties, established the cereal company that still provides breakfast for many of us today.

This book tells their unhappy story - how the two brothers fought each There were two Kellogg brothers of Battle Cree, Michigan. John, the oldest in the family, became a famous physician, championing not onlyplant-based diets and probiotics, but also unfortunate racists theories like eugenics.

Will, the younger brother, was neglected as a child and made subservient to his older brother until he was in his thirties, established the cereal company that still provides breakfast for many of us today.

This book tells their unhappy story - how the two brothers fought each other for dominance in the health food industry of the day and ended up suing each other i(in a case reminiscent of Dickens' Jarndyce & Jarndyce lawsuit)over who had teh rights to the marketing of corn flakes.

Today very few people remember the older brother and his Battle Creek Sanitarium is long gone, it's buildings now a VA hospital. But everyone knows about the younger brother's creation of the W. K Kellogg cereal company.

This book, however, is a cautionary tale of how blind ambition can ruin more than one family and, in the end, leave all the players miserable.
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The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek touches on a lot of different topics that interest me: the history of medicine, Michigan’s past, and the creation and sale of convenience foods in 20th-century America. I found the story at the heart of Howard Markel’s book—that of the brothers Kellogg, who could have both been top-notch captains of industry if they’d just stopped fighting with each other—a compelling one.

Unfortunately, there really isn’t enough to that story to justify Markel’s 400-page boo The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek touches on a lot of different topics that interest me: the history of medicine, Michigan’s past, and the creation and sale of convenience foods in 20th-century America. I found the story at the heart of Howard Markel’s book—that of the brothers Kellogg, who could have both been top-notch captains of industry if they’d just stopped fighting with each other—a compelling one.

Unfortunately, there really isn’t enough to that story to justify Markel’s 400-page book. Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and his brother, industrialist Will K. Kellogg, did lead long and relatively interesting lives as they first worked together (though not without conflict) at John’s Battle Creek Sanitarium, then split over Will’s decision to strike out on his own and found Kellogg’s cereal (with, John contended, his recipe for Corn Flakes). The legal battles between the brothers over who could lay claim to the Kellogg’s name when selling cereal stretched over decades and went all the way to the Michigan state Supreme Court before Will emerged victorious. John Harvey, not half the businessman that his brother was, soon drove the Sanitarium into bankruptcy, while Will went on to endow the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which continues its work on behalf of children today.

There’s a saying in journalism that writers have to “kill their darlings”—learn to let go of the quirky details and side stories that might be fun but don’t add anything to the main narrative. Markel seems incapable of killing his darlings, especially when they involve either numbers (long lists of items produced, the costs of various goods) or defecation (a fixation of John Harvey Kellogg’s, and the subject of more than one anecdote in a book that shouldn’t be read over lunch). A better editor would have pushed him to trim these digressions and reduce the bloat in a book that feels far too long.

I did appreciate one of Markel’s objectives, which is to partially redeem the reputation of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. Often dismissed now for his endorsement of eugenics and some medical treatments that have long been discredited, John was nevertheless ahead of his time in promoting the consumption of probiotic-rich foods and reduction of animal products in Americans’ diets. Markel convincingly argues that celebrating John Harvey’s accomplishments doesn’t also mean overlooking his less palatable convictions.

In the end, I finished The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek feeling far more educated in the history of 19th and 20th century wellness culture, Michigan industry, and food manufacturing, though I rather wished that I had watched a one-hour PBS documentary about the Kelloggs instead of committing to a 400-page tome. But I also ended the book with a thought that I’ve never had before: “I could really go for a bowl of Corn Flakes.” . more

This is a pretty remarkable book -- exhaustively researched and vividly written. As Goodreads notes, "John Harvey Kellogg was one of America&aposs most beloved physicians a best-selling author, lecturer, and health-magazine publisher founder of the Battle Creek Sanitarium and patron saint of the pursuit of wellness. His youngest brother, Will, was the founder of the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company, which revolutionized the mass production of food and what we eat for breakfast.

"In &aposThe Kel This is a pretty remarkable book -- exhaustively researched and vividly written. As Goodreads notes, "John Harvey Kellogg was one of America's most beloved physicians a best-selling author, lecturer, and health-magazine publisher founder of the Battle Creek Sanitarium and patron saint of the pursuit of wellness. His youngest brother, Will, was the founder of the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company, which revolutionized the mass production of food and what we eat for breakfast.

"In 'The Kelloggs,' Howard Markel tells the sweeping saga of these two extraordinary men, whose lifelong competition and enmity toward one another changed America's notion of health and wellness from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries, and who helped change the course of American medicine, nutrition, wellness, and diet."

While John Harvey Kellogg was the more famous of the two brothers during their lifetimes, his reputation has been very tarnished by his allegiance to the eugenics movement and his promotion of the racist viewpoints of the Race Betterment Foundation. This institution crusaded again "race degeneracy" and went so far as to advocate the forced sterilization of so-called mental defectives, the blind, deaf, mentally, and "crippled," orphans, unwed mothers, epileptics, Native Americans, African-Americans, foreigners, poor residents in Appalachia, and many other outsider groups. "All these 'inferior races,' eugenic theorists concluded, were a drain on the economic, political, and moral health of American life." Kellogg was so enthralled with the eugenics philosophy that when he died in 1943, his entire estate when to the Race Betterment Foundation. It was a sad end to a rather illustrious career.

Author Markel would prefer that we remember John Harvey Kellogg for his better qualities. He was prescient in his understanding of health, hygiene, diet, and the practice of medicine. As Markel notes, "Those who glibly deride him as a quack have entirely missed the point of his life and work. Although the science, or evidence, underpinning his ideas about 'biologic living' have changed, many of his sounder concepts of wellness remain sage prescriptions written out millions of times each day."

Will Kellogg, who invented the process for making corn flakes, has proven to have more credibility in the public's eyes. "Will Kellogg proved to be as shrewd a philanthropist as he was an industrialist. Laboriously amassing his fortune as the years passed, he meticulously designed the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. That it is dedicated to the welfare of children is as much a testimony to his divining the best possible use for his wealth as it was to his loveless youth" (as the younger brother, Will suffered from neglect by his father as well as constant abuse by his older brother).

This book is a fascinating study of an epic rivalry and competition between these two very different men. "Theirs was a rancorous disequilibrium that impoverished their lives, diminished their peace of mind, and spilled over onto their relations with friends, colleagues, and family. Such dysfunction was a striking contrast to their mutual quest to achieve a balance of health through sound digestion and diet. They could see the other's foibles clearly even if they were incapable of contemplating their own."

I gave this book four stars rather than five solely because there is a very long, confusing, and rather boring chapter about a ten-year legal battle between the brothers over the rights to own and use the names and processes of the ready-to-eat cereals (and other products) for which the two were responsible. But otherwise this is a spellbinding account of a critical time in our nation's history when concepts of medicine, wellness, nutrition, and diet were evolving and changing. . more

The Secret Ingredient in Kellogg’s Corn Flakes Is Seventh-Day Adventism

The popular singer and movie star Bing Crosby once crooned, “What’s more American than corn flakes?” Virtually every American is familiar with this iconic cereal, but few know the story of the two men from Battle Creek, Michigan, who created those famously crispy, golden flakes of corn back in 1895, revolutionizing the way America ate breakfast: John Harvey Kellogg and his younger brother Will Keith Kellogg. 

Fewer still know that among the ingredients in the Kelloggs' secret recipe were the teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist church, a homegrown American faith that linked spiritual and physical health, and which played a major role in the Kellogg family’s life.

For half a century, Battle Creek was the Vatican of the Seventh-day Adventist church. Its founders, the self-proclaimed prophetess Ellen White and her husband, James, made their home in the Michigan town starting in 1854, moving the church’s headquarters in 1904 to Takoma Park, outside of Washington, D.C.  Eventually, Seventh-day Adventism grew into a major Christian denomination with churches, ministries and members all around the world. One key component of the Whites' sect was healthy living and a nutritious, vegetable and grain based-diet. Many of Ellen White’s religious experiences were connected to personal health. During the 1860s, inspired by visions and messages she claimed to receive from God, she developed a doctrine on hygiene, diet and chastity enveloped within the teachings of Christ.

The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek

From the much admired medical historian (“Markel shows just how compelling the medical history can be”—Andrea Barrett) and author of An Anatomy of Addiction (“Absorbing, vivid”—Sherwin Nuland, The New York Times Book Review, front page)—the story of America’s empire builders: John and Will Kellogg.

In May of 1866, “Sister” White formally presented her ideas to the 3,500 Adventists comprising the denomination’s governing body, or General Conference. When it came to diet, White's theology found great import in Genesis 1:29: “And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which  is  upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which  is  the fruit of a tree yielding seed to you it shall be for meat.’” White interpreted this verse strictly, as God’s order to consume a grain and vegetarian diet.

She told her Seventh-day Adventist flock that they must abstain not only from eating meat but also from using tobacco or consuming coffee, tea, and, of course, alcohol. She warned against indulging in the excitatory influences of greasy, fried fare, spicy condiments and pickled foods against overeating against using drugs of any kind and against wearing binding corsets, wigs, and tight dresses. Such evils, she taught, led to the morally and physically destructive “self-vice” of masturbation and the less lonely vice of excessive sexual intercourse.

The Kellogg family moved to Battle Creek in 1856, primarily to be close to Ellen White and the Seventh-day Adventist church. Impressed by young John Harvey Kellogg’s intellect, spirit and drive, Ellen and James White groomed him for a key role in the Church. They hired John, then 12 or 13, as their publishing company’s “printer’s devil,” the now-forgotten name for an apprentice to printers and publishers in the days of typesetting by hand and cumbersome, noisy printing presses. He was swimming in a river of words and took to it with glee, discovering his own talent for composing clear and balanced sentences, filled with rich explanatory metaphors and allusions. By the time he was 16, Kellogg was editing and shaping the church’s monthly health advice magazine, The Health Reformer.

The Whites wanted a first-rate physician to run medical and health programs for their denomination and they found him in John Harvey Kellogg. They sent the young man to the Michigan State Normal College in Ypsilanti, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and the Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York. It was during medical school when a time-crunched John, who prepared his own meals on top of studying round the clock, first began to think about creating a nutritious, ready-to-eat cereal.

Upon returning to Battle Creek in 1876, with the encouragement and leadership of the Whites, the Battle Creek Sanitarium was born and within a few years it became a world famous medical center, grand hotel, and spa run by John and Will, eight years younger, who ran the business and human resources operations of the Sanitarium while the doctor tended to his growing flock of patients. The Kellogg brothers’ “San” was internationally known as a "university of health” that preached the Adventist gospel of disease prevention, sound digestion, and “wellness.” At its peak, it saw more than 12,000 to 15,000 new patients a year, treated the rich and famous, and became a health destination for the worried well and the truly ill.

There were also practical factors, beyond those described in Ellen White’s ministry, that inspired John’s interest in dietary matters. In 1858, Walt Whitman described indigestion as “the great American evil.” A review of mid-19th-century American diet on the “civilized” Eastern seaboard, within the nation’s interior, and on the frontier explains why one of the most common medical complaints of the day was dyspepsia, the 19th-century catchall term for a medley of flatulence, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, and “upset stomach.”

Breakfast was especially problematic. For much of the 19th century, many early morning repasts included filling, starchy potatoes, fried in the congealed fat from last night’s dinner. For protein, cooks fried up cured and heavily salted meats, such as ham or bacon. Some people ate a meatless breakfast, with mugs of cocoa, tea, or coffee, whole milk or heavy cream, and boiled rice, often flavored with syrup, milk, and sugar. Some ate brown bread, milk-toast, and graham crackers to fill their bellies. Conscientious (and frequently exhausted) mothers awoke at the crack of dawn to stand over a hot, wood-burning stove for hours on end, cooking and stirring gruels or mush made of barley, cracked wheat, or oats.

It was no wonder Dr. Kellogg saw a need for a palatable, grain-based “health food” that was “easy on the digestion” and also easy to prepare. He hypothesized that the digestive process would be helped along if grains were pre-cooked—essentially, pre-digested—before they entered the patient’s mouth. Dr. Kellogg baked his dough at extremely high heat to break down starch contained in the grain into the simple sugar dextrose. John Kellogg called this baking process dextrinization. He and Will labored for years in a basement kitchen before coming up with dextrinized flaked cereals—first, wheat flakes, and then the tastier corn flakes. They were easily-digested foods meant for invalids with bad stomachs.

Today most nutritionists, obesity experts, and physicians argue that the easy digestibility the Kelloggs worked so hard to achieve is not such a good thing. Eating processed cereals, it turns out, creates a sudden spike in blood sugar, followed by an increase in insulin, the hormone that enables cells to use glucose. A few hours later, the insulin rush triggers a blood sugar “crash,” loss of energy, and a ravenous hunger for an early lunch. High fiber cereals like oatmeal and other whole grain preparations are digested more slowly. People who eat them report feeling fuller for longer periods of time and, thus, have far better appetite control than those who consume processed breakfast cereals.

By 1906, Will had had enough of working for his domineering brother, who he saw as a tyrant who refused to allow him the opportunity to grow their cereal business into the empire he knew it could become. He quit the San and founded what ultimately became the Kellogg’s Cereal Company based upon the brilliant observation that a nutritious and healthy breakfast would appeal to many more people beyond the San’s walls—provided the cereal tasted good, which by that point it did, thanks to the addition of sugar and salt.

The Kelloggs had the science of corn flakes all wrong, but they still became breakfast heroes. Fueled by 19th-century American reliance on religious authority, they played a critical role in developing the crunchy-good breakfast many of us ate this morning. 

About Howard Markel

Howard Markel is the George E. Wantz Distinguished Professor of the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan and the author of The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek, which will be published in August by Pantheon Books/PenguinRandomHouse.


John Harvey Kellogg was born in Tyrone, Michigan, on February 26, 1852, [11] to John Preston Kellogg (1806–1881) and his second wife Ann Janette Stanley (1824–1893). [5] His father, John Preston Kellogg, was born in Hadley, Massachusetts his ancestry can be traced back to the founding of Hadley, Massachusetts, where a great-grandfather operated a ferry. [12] John Preston Kellogg and his family moved to Michigan in 1834, and after his first wife's death and his remarriage in 1842, to a farm in Tyrone Township. [13] : 9 [14] : 14–18 In addition to six children from his first marriage, John Preston Kellogg had 11 children with his second wife Ann, including John Harvey and his younger brother, Will Keith Kellogg. [15]

John Preston Kellogg became a member of several revivalist movements, including the Baptists, the Congregationalist Church, and finally the Seventh-day Adventist Church. [13] : 9 He was one of four adherents who pledged substantial sums to convince Seventh-day Adventists Ellen G. White and her husband James Springer White to relocate to Battle Creek, Michigan, with their publishing business, in 1855. [13] : 10 In 1856, the Kellogg family moved to Battle Creek to be near other members of the denomination. There John Preston Kellogg established a broom factory. [13] : 9

The Kelloggs believed that the Second Coming of Christ was imminent, and that formal education of their children was therefore unnecessary. Originally a sickly child, John Harvey Kellogg attended Battle Creek public schools only briefly, from ages 9–11. He left school to work sorting brooms in his father's broom factory. Nonetheless, he read voraciously and acquired a broad but largely self-taught education. At age 12, John Harvey Kellogg was offered work by the Whites. He became one of their protégés, [16] : 111–112 rising from errand boy to printer's devil, and eventually doing proofreading and editorial work. [17] He helped to set articles for Health, or how to live and The Health Reformer, becoming familiar with Ellen G. White's theories of health, and beginning to follow recommendations such as a vegetarian diet. [14] : 28 Ellen White described her husband's relationship with John Harvey Kellogg as closer than that with his own children. [16] : 111–112

Kellogg hoped to become a teacher, and at age 16 taught a district school in Hastings, Michigan. [14] : 29–30 By age 20, he had enrolled in a teacher's training course offered by Michigan State Normal School (since 1959, Eastern Michigan University) in Ypsilanti, Michigan. [18] The Kelloggs and the Whites, however, convinced him to join his half-brother Merritt, Edson White, William C. White, and Jennie Trembley, as students in a six-month medical course at Russell Trall's Hygieo-Therapeutic College in Florence Township, New Jersey. Their goal was to develop a group of trained doctors for the Adventist-inspired Western Health Reform Institute in Battle Creek. [14] : 30 Under the Whites' patronage, John Harvey Kellogg went on to attend medical school at the University Medical School in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the New York University Medical College at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. He graduated in 1875 with a medical degree. [18] In October 1876, Kellogg became director of the Western Health Reform Institute. [18] In 1877, he renamed it the Battle Creek Medical Surgical Sanitarium, [6] cleverly coining the term "sanitarium" to suggest both hospital care and the importance of sanitation and personal health. [19] Kellogg would lead the institution until his death in 1943. [6]

John Harvey Kellogg married Ella Ervilla Eaton (1853–1920) of Alfred Center, New York, on February 22, 1879. The couple maintained separate bedrooms and did not have any biological children. However, they were foster parents to 42 children, legally adopting at least seven of them, before Ella died in 1920. [20] The adopted children included Agnes Grace, Elizabeth, John William, Ivaline Maud, Paul Alfred, Robert Mofatt, and Newell Carey. [21]

In 1937, Kellogg received an honorary degree in Doctor of Public Service from Oglethorpe University. [22]

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Will Durant, who had been a vegetarian since the age of 18, called Dr. Kellogg "his old mentor", [23] and said that Dr. Kellogg, more than any other person since his high school days, had influenced his life. [24]

Kellogg died on December 14, 1943, in Battle Creek, Michigan. [5] He was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Battle Creek, Michigan. [25] Among others buried there are his parents, his brother W.K. Kellogg, his brother's wife, James White, Ellen G. White, C. W. Post, Uriah Smith, and Sojourner Truth. [26]

Kellogg was brought up in the Seventh-day Adventist Church from childhood. Selected as a protégé of the Whites and trained as a doctor, Kellogg held a prominent role as a speaker at church meetings. [13] : xiii-xv

Throughout his lifetime, Kellogg experienced pressure from both science and religion regarding his theological views. [13] : xiii-xv At the Seventeenth Annual Session of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, October 4, 1878, the following action was taken:

WHEREAS, The impression has gone out from some unknown cause that J. H. Kellogg, M.D., holds infidel sentiments, which does him great injustice, and also endangers his influence as physician-in-chief of the Sanitarium therefore

RESOLVED, That in our opinion justice to the doctor and the Institute under his medical charge, demand that he should have the privilege of making his sentiments known, and that he be invited to address those assembled on this ground, upon the harmony of science and the Sacred Scriptures.

This resolution was unanimously adopted, after which the Conference adjourned to the call of the chair.

[Note.--In accordance with the foregoing resolution, Dr. Kellogg gave, before a large audience, October 6, an able address on the harmony of science and the Bible, for which the congregation tendered him a vote of thanks.] [27]

Harmony of science and the Bible Edit

Kellogg defended "the harmony of science and the Bible" throughout his career, but he was active at a transitional time, when both science and medicine were becoming increasingly secularized. White and others in the Adventist ministry worried that Kellogg's students and staff were in danger of losing their religious beliefs, while Kellogg felt that many ministers failed to recognize his expertise and the importance of his medical work. There were ongoing tensions between his authority as a doctor, and their authority as ministers. [28] Nonetheless, Kellogg attempted to reconcile science and medicine with religion, rejecting their separation, and emphasizing the presence of God within God's creation of living things. [13] : xiii-xv

The heart is a muscle. The heart beats. My arm will contract and cause the fist to beat but it beats only when my will commands. But here is a muscle in the body that beats when I am asleep. It beats when my will is inactive and I am utterly unconscious. It keeps on beating all the time. What will is it that causes this heart to beat? The heart can not beat once without a command. To me it is a most wonderful thing that a man's heart goes on beating. It does not beat by means of my will for I can not stop the heart's beating, or make it beat faster or slower by commanding it by my will. But there is a will that controls the heart. It is the divine will that causes it to beat, and in the beating of that heart that you can feel, as you put your hand upon the breast, or as you put your finger against the pulse, an evidence of the divine presence that we have within us, that God is within, that there is an intelligence, a power, a will within, that is commanding the functions of our bodies and controlling them… [29]

He further elaborated these ideas in his book The Living Temple (1903):

There is a clear, complete, satisfactory explanation of the most subtle, the most marvelous phenomena of nature,—namely, an infinite Intelligence working out its purposes. God is the explanation of nature,—not a God outside of nature, but in nature, manifesting himself through and in all the objects, movements, and varied phenomena of the universe. . The tree does not create itself a creative power is constantly going forward in it. Buds and leaves come forth from within the tree . So there is present in the tree a power which creates and maintains it, a tree-maker in the tree, a flower-maker in the flower,—a divine architect who understands every law of proportion, an infinite artist who possesses a limitless power of expression in color and form there is, in all the world about us, an infinite, divine, though invisible Presence, to which the unenlightened may be blind, but which is ever declaring itself by its ceaseless, beneficent activity. [30]

At the same time that Kellogg defended the presence of God in nature against secularization, his co-religionists saw his descriptions of the presence of God in nature as evidence of panentheistic tendencies (Everything is in God). [31] Kellogg rejected their religious criticisms, asserting that his views on indwelling divinity were simply a restatement of the omnipresence of God, and not pantheism. [13] : xiii-xv [14] : 189

Pantheism Crisis Edit

What came to be referred to as the "Pantheism Crisis" of 1903 was a pivotal moment in the church's history. Kellogg's theological views were only one of the issues involved: operation of the sanitarium was equally if not more important. [13] : xiii-xv Control of the sanitarium and its finances had been a source of contention for some time, especially as the institution expanded and attracted more affluent patients. [32] Tensions came to a head when the Battle Creek Sanitarium, originally owned by the Seventh-day Adventist Church but run by Kellogg, was destroyed by fire on February 18, 1902. Although almost all of the guests escaped safely, property loss was estimated at $300,000 to $400,000, about twice the insured value. [33]

Ellen G. White, who had proclaimed that a cleansing sword of fire was poised over the increasingly "worldly" and business-oriented Battle Creek, was against rebuilding the large institution. [34] [35] Although she apparently wrote a manuscript testifying against the rebuilding in 1902, it was not sent to Kellogg at that time, [34] and Kellogg did not directly consult her about his plans. [28] : 38 With support of the board of directors, he not only rebuilt the institution, but doubled its size. The new building was designed by architect Frank Mills Andrews of Ohio [36] and opened on May 31, 1903. [13] : xiii-xv [31] : 189 Designed to be fireproof, the new brick building was six stories high, with an elegant frontage extending 550 feet along Washington Avenue, and three wings opening out behind. It included, among other things, a solarium and palm court, and it cost more than $700,000. [37]

Disfellowship Edit

Kellogg used proceeds from his book The Living Temple to help pay the costs of reconstruction. The book's printing was opposed by a commission of the General Council of the Adventists after W. W. Prescott, one of the four members of the commission, argued that it was heretical. When Kellogg arranged to print it privately, the book went through its own trial by fire: on December 30, 1902, fire struck the Herald where the book was typeset and ready to print. [31] When it finally appeared in 1903, the book was sharply criticized by White for what she considered its many statements of pantheism. [13] : 84–89 Over the next few years, there was increasing conflict between Kellogg, General Conference President A. G. Daniells and others. [34] In 1907, Kellogg was "disfellowshipped", as part of a schism that split the church. Kellogg retained control of the Battle Creek Sanitarium and the American Medical Missionary College, and continued to promote Adventist ideas of health and well-being at those institutions. [28] [38]

In later life, Kellogg spoke positively of Seventh-day Adventists and Ellen G. White's prophetic ministry, despite their struggles. In 1941, in response to critic E. S. Ballenger, Kellogg admonished Ballenger for his critical attitude to Mrs. White. [39]

Mrs. White was unquestionably an inspired woman. In spite of this fact, she was human and made many mistakes and probably suffered more from those mistakes than any person ever did. Nevertheless, I knew the woman was sincere and honest and that the influence of her life was immensely helpful to a vast multitude of people, and I have not the slightest desire in any way to weaken in the smallest degree the good influence of her life and work. [39]

Kellogg was a Seventh-day Adventist until mid-life, and gained fame while being the chief medical officer of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, which was owned and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The sanitarium was operated based on the church's health principles. Adventists believe in promoting a vegetarian diet, abstinence from alcohol and tobacco, and a regimen of exercise, all of which Kellogg followed. He is remembered as an advocate of vegetarianism [40] and wrote in favor of it, even after leaving the Adventist Church. [41] His dietary advice in the late 19th century discouraged meat-eating, but not emphatically so. His development of a bland diet was driven in part by the Adventist goal of reducing sexual stimulation. [42]

Kellogg was an especially strong proponent of nuts, which he believed would save mankind in the face of decreasing food supplies. [43] Though mainly renowned nowadays for his development of corn flakes, Kellogg also invented a process for making peanut butter [44] [45] and developed healthy "granose biscuits" which became popular as far away as Australia [46] and England. [47]

The Battle Creek Sanitarium had its own experimental kitchen. There, Ella Eaton Kellogg helped to develop vegetarian foods, and supervised a "school of cookery" which taught classes in food preparation for homemakers. [48] She published a cookbook, Science in the Kitchen, containing hundreds of recipes along with discussions of nutrition and household and diet management. Some of its inventive vegetarian recipes use food products created at the sanitarium, such as Nuttolene (a meat pâté made from peanuts), [47] Protose (a combination of nuts and grains), [6] and various types of nut butters. [45] [49]

Kellogg believed that most disease is alleviated by a change in intestinal flora. He posited that bacteria in the intestines can either help or hinder the body that pathogenic bacteria produce toxins during the digestion of protein which poison the blood that a poor diet favors harmful bacteria that can then infect other tissues in the body that the intestinal flora is changed by diet and is generally changed for the better by a well-balanced vegetarian diet favoring low-protein, laxative, and high-fiber foods. He recommended various regimens of specific foods designed to heal particular ailments.

Kellogg further believed that natural changes in intestinal flora could be sped by enemas seeded with favorable bacteria. He advocated the frequent use of an enema machine to cleanse the bowel with several gallons of water. Water enemas were followed by the administration of a pint of yogurt—half was eaten, the other half was administered by enema, "thus planting the protective germs where they are most needed and may render most effective service." The yogurt served to replace the intestinal flora of the bowel, creating what Kellogg claimed was a squeaky-clean intestine. [50]

Sanitarium visitors also engaged in breathing exercises and mealtime marches, to promote proper digestion of food throughout the day. Because Kellogg was a staunch supporter of phototherapy, the sanitarium made use of artificial sunbaths. [6]

Kellogg was a skilled surgeon, who often donated his services to indigent patients at his clinic. [51] Although generally against unnecessary surgery to treat diseases, [52] [53] in his Plain Facts for Old And Young he advocated circumcision as a remedy for "local uncleanliness" (which he thought could lead to "unchastity"), [54] phimosis, [55] and "in small boys", masturbation. [56]

He had many notable patients, such as former president William Howard Taft, composer and pianist Percy Grainger, arctic explorers Vilhjalmur Stefansson and Roald Amundsen, world travellers Richard Halliburton and Lowell Thomas, aviator Amelia Earhart, economist Irving Fisher, Nobel prize winning playwright George Bernard Shaw, actor and athlete Johnny Weissmuller, founder of the Ford Motor Company Henry Ford, inventor Thomas Edison, [57] African-American activist Sojourner Truth, and actress Sarah Bernhardt. [58] [59] [60]

Foods Edit

John Harvey Kellogg developed and marketed a wide variety of vegetarian foods. Many of them were meant to be suitable for an invalid diet, and were intentionally made easy to chew and to digest. Starchy foods such as grains were ground and baked, to promote the conversion of starch into dextrin. Nuts were ground and boiled or steamed. [14] : 114–115, 119

The foods Kellogg developed also tended to be bland. In this, Kellogg followed the teachings of Ellen G. White and Sylvester Graham who recommended a diet of bland foods to minimize excitement, sexual arousal, and masturbation. [61]

Breakfast cereals Edit

Around 1877, John H. Kellogg began experimenting to produce a softer breakfast food, something easy to chew. He developed a dough that was a mixture of wheat, oats, and corn. It was baked at high temperatures for a long period of time, to break down or "dextrinize" starch molecules in the grain. After it cooled, Kellogg broke the bread into crumbs. The cereal was originally marketed under the name "Granula" but this led to legal problems with James Caleb Jackson who already sold a wheat cereal under that name. In 1881, under threat of a lawsuit by Jackson, Kellogg changed the sanitarium cereal's name to "Granola". [62] It was used initially by patients at the sanitarium, but slowly began to build up a following among former patients. [14] : 115 In 1890, John formed the Sanitas Food Company to develop and market food products. [2] : 53

The Kelloggs are best known for the invention of the famous breakfast cereal corn flakes. The development of the flaked cereal in 1894 has been variously described by those involved: Ella Eaton Kellogg, John Harvey Kellogg, his younger brother Will Keith Kellogg, and other family members. There is considerable disagreement over who was involved in the discovery, and the role that they played. According to some accounts, Ella suggested rolling out the dough into thin sheets, and John developed a set of rollers for the purpose. According to others, John had the idea in a dream, and used equipment in his wife's kitchen to do the rolling. It is generally agreed that upon being called out one night, John Kellogg left a batch of wheat-berry dough behind. Rather than throwing it out the next morning, he sent it through the rollers and was surprised to obtain delicate flakes, which could then be baked. Will Kellogg was tasked with figuring out what had happened, and recreating the process reliably. Ella and Will were often at odds, and their versions of the story tend to minimize or deny each other's involvement, while emphasizing their own part in the discovery. [62] The process that Kellogg had discovered, tempering, was to be a fundamental technique of the flaked cereal industry. [14] : 116

A patent for "Flaked Cereals and Process of Preparing Same" was filed on May 31, 1895, and issued on April 14, 1896 to John Harvey Kellogg as Patent No. 558,393. Significantly, the patent applied to a variety of types of grains, not just to wheat. John Harvey Kellogg was the only person named on the patent. [63] Will later insisted that he, not Ella, had worked with John, and repeatedly asserted that he should have received more credit than he was given for the discovery of the flaked cereal. [62]

During their first year of production, the Kelloggs sold tens of thousands of pounds of flaked cereal, marketing it as "Granose". They continued to experiment using rice and corn as well as wheat, and in 1898 released the first batch of Sanitas Toasted Corn Flakes. A modified version with a longer shelf life was released in 1902. [6] By that time, both "Granose Biscuits" and "Granose Flakes" were available. [64]

Will Kellogg continued to develop and market flaked cereal. When he proposed adding sugar to the flakes, John would not agree to the change. So, in 1906, Will started his own company, the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company. This marked the start of a decades-long feud between the brothers. Will's Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company eventually became the Kellogg Company, while John was denied the right to use the Kellogg name for his cereals. [6] [2] : 53 [65]

They had other competitors as well, including C. W. Post. Post was treated at the Battle Creek Sanitarium between February 6 and November 9, 1891, and later by Christian Scientists whom he credited with his successful treatment. He settled in Battle Creek, opened his own sanitarium, the LaVita Inn, in March 1892, and founded his own dry foods company, Post Holdings. [66] Post started selling Postum coffee substitute in 1895. [67] He issued Grape-Nuts breakfast cereal, a mixture of yeast, barley and wheat, in January 1898. [66] In January 1906, Post introduced "Elijah's Manna", later renaming it Post Toasties Double-Crisp Corn Flakes, and marketing it as a direct competitor to Kellogg's Corn Flakes. [65] [68]

John Harvey Kellogg was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2006 for the discovery of tempering and the invention of the first dry flaked breakfast cereal, which "transformed the typical American breakfast". [69]

Peanut butter Edit

John H. Kellogg is one of several people who have been credited with the invention of peanut butter. [70] [44] Rose Davis of Alligerville, New York has been reported to have made a peanut spread as early as 1840, after her son described Cuban women grinding peanuts and eating the paste on bread. [44] : 30 In 1884, Marcellus Gilmore Edson (1849–1940) of Montreal, Canada obtained a patent for the "Manufacture of peanut-candy", combining 1 part of a "flavoring paste" made from roasted peanuts with 7 parts of sugar. [71] By 1894, George A. Bayle of St. Louis was selling a "Cheese Nut" snack food containing peanuts and cheese a peanut-only version was apparently more successful. [70] [72] George Washington Carver is often credited because of his scientific work with peanuts and promotion of their use. [73] : 357 Carver and Kellogg corresponded in the 1920s and 30s about the use of both peanuts and sweet potatoes. [74]

Some form of nut butter, likely made with peanuts, was served to patients at the Battle Creek Sanitarium before October 1895, when Kellogg wrote to Ellen White that "some very excellent preparations from nuts" had entirely replaced butter. [73] : 357 Kellogg did not patent peanut butter explicitly, and later stated that this was intentional: "Let everybody that wants it have it, and make the best use of it". [44] : 32 Kellogg did, however, apply for two patents relating to "nut butters" in 1895, before anyone else did so. [73]

On November 4, 1895, John H. Kellogg applied for two patents that are relevant to the production of peanut butter. [73] Patent No. 567901, granted September 15, 1896, was for a "Food Compound" which produced "an improved article of manufacture, the alimentary product composed of completely digested starch, completely-emulsified vegetable oil such as described, and thoroughly cooked and finely-divided vegetable proteins derived from nuts, as specified." The process described involved taking raw edible nuts, preferably peanuts or almonds, blanching them to remove their skins, and then boiling them for several hours. The nuts were then crushed and passed through rollers to separate out "a fine and comparatively dry and nearly white nutmeal" and a "moist, pasty, adhesive, and brown" butter or paste. [75]

The second patent, No. 604493, granted on May 24, 1898, was for a "Process of Producing Alimentary Products" from "edible nuts, preferably peanuts". The process for making the paste again involved boiling the peanuts, but noted that roasting was a possible alternative. The final substance was heated in sealed cans to obtain "a product differing in many ways from the original paste" with a consistency resembling cheese. [76]

By 1898, the Kelloggs were marketing a wide variety of nut-based foods through the Sanitas Nut Food Company. [77] Kellogg marketed nut butters as a nutritious protein substitute for people who had difficulty chewing on solid food. Because peanuts were the least expensive nut available, they rapidly dominated the nut butter market. [73] [44] [45]

Joseph Lambert, who had worked for Kellogg at the sanitarium, began selling a hand-operated peanut butter grinder in 1896. [78] In 1899, his wife Almeida Lambert published a Guide for Nut Cookery. [44] : 33

Meat substitutes Edit

Kellogg credited his interest in meat substitutes to Charles William Dabney, an agricultural chemist and the Assistant Secretary of Agriculture. Dabney wrote to Kellogg on the subject around 1895. [14] : 119

In 1896, Kellogg introduced but did not patent "Nuttose", the first commercially produced alternative to meat. Nuttose was made primarily from peanuts and resembled "cold roast mutton". [47] : 6 By seasoning or marinating, Nuttose could be made to taste like fried chicken or barbeque. Served with mashed potatoes and vegetables, it could mimic a traditional American meal. [79]

On March 19, 1901, Kellogg was granted the first United States Patent for a "vegetable substitute for meat", for a blend of nuts and grain cereals called "Protose". In applying for U.S. Patent No.r "Vegetable-food Compound", Kellogg described Protose as a product "which shall possess equal or greater nutritive value in equal or more available form. By proper regulation of the temperature and proportions of the ingredients, various meat-like flavors are developed, which give the finished product very characteristic properties." [47] : 6 [80] Nuttose and Protose were the first of many meat alternatives. [79]

Other foods Edit

In addition to developing imitation meats variously made from nuts, grains, and soy, Kellogg also developed the first acidophilus soy milk, [81] which was patented in 1934. [82] Kellogg advocated that it be administered to bottle-fed babies, to improve their intestinal fauna and combat bowel infections. Perhaps his most famous patients were the Dionne quintuplets. When he learned that Marie had a bowel infection, Kellogg sent a case of his soy acidophilus to their doctor, Allan Roy Dafoe. When Marie's infection cleared up, Dafoe requested that Kellogg send an ongoing supply for the quintuplets. By 1937, each one consumed at least a pint per day. Another famous patient who benefited from soy acidophilus was polar explorer Richard E. Byrd. [62] : 330–333 Kellogg also sold yogurt, soy flour, and soy bread. [81]

Medical patents Edit

  • US patent 558394, John Harvey Kellogg, "Radiant-heat bath", issued April 14, 1896
  • US patent 835622, John Harvey Kellogg, "Movement-cure apparatus", issued April 13, 1906
  • US patent 850938, John Harvey Kellogg, "Exercising apparatus", issued April 23, 1907
  • US patent 881321, John Harvey Kellogg, "Massage apparatus", issued March 10, 1908

Medical inventions Edit

Although they are less discussed than his food creations, Kellogg designed and improved upon a number of medical devices that were regularly used at the Battle Creek Sanitarium in surgical operations and in treatment modalities falling under the term "physiotherapy". Many of the machines invented by Kellogg were manufactured by the Battle Creek Sanitarium Equipment Company, which was established in 1890. [37] Dr. Kellogg attempted to popularize these treatment methods, including electrotherapy, hydrotherapy, and motor therapy, in his work The Home Handbook of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, first published in 1881. [83]

As he specialized in certain gynecological surgeries (particularly hemorrhoidectomies and ovariotomies) and gastrointestinal surgeries, he developed various instruments for these operations. These included specialized hooks and retractors, a heated operating table, and an aseptic drainage tube used in abdominal surgery. [14] : 116–127

Additionally, Kellogg took keen interest in devising instruments for light therapy, mechanical exercising, proper breathing, and hydrotherapy. His medical inventions spanned a wide range of applications and included a hot air bath, vibrating chair, oscillomanipulator, window tent for fresh air, pneumograph to graphically represent respiratory habits, [14] loofah mitt, and an apparatus for home sterilization of milk. [14] Some of his inventions were fashionable enough to be included in the first class gymnasium of the RMS Titanic. [84]

Kellogg did not make concerted efforts to profit from his medical inventions. Kellogg's statement in 1916 about his food company sheds light on his general motivations: "I desire to make clear. that the food business I have been carrying on is a part of my general scheme to propagate the ideas of health and biological living. Otherwise, I should not have engaged in it as a commercial enterprise, but I have carried it on as a part of the general philanthropic work in which I was engaged." [14]

Phototherapeutic inventions Edit

Partly motivated by the overcast skies of Michigan winters, Kellogg experimented with and worked to develop light therapies, as he believed in the value of the electric light bulb to provide heat penetration for treating bodily disorders. [14]

He constructed his first incandescent light bath in 1891, claiming to treat thousands of patients at the Battle Creek Sanitarium before exhibiting the bath at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. [85] The invention reportedly aroused little attention there but was brought back to Germany, where it began to be manufactured and sold. [85] It was spread to Vienna by Kellogg's friend Dr. Wilhelm Winternitz installed in royal palaces across Europe and popularly replaced old Turkish steam baths at athletic clubs. [14] Only after cabinet baths became popular in Europe did demand within the United States develop. It was imported from Berlin to New York "as a therapeutic novelty". [85] In 1896, Kellogg patented the radiant-heat bath in the United States (US558394).

In order "to make a record of his work and experience as a pioneer in this branch of physiotherapeutics", Kellogg published his book Light Therapeutics: a practical manual of phototherapy for the student and the practitioner, with special reference to the incandescent electric-light bath in 1910. [86] In the short work, Kellogg describes the application of the arc light to the spine, chest, abdominal region, loins, shoulders, hip and thigh, knees and other joints. He also goes into detail about combining electrotherapies with hydrotherapies, e.g. the electric light bath with shower and shampoo. [87]

Electrotherapeutic inventions Edit

Though Kellogg stated that "electricity is not capable of accomplishing half the marvels that are claimed for it by many enthusiastic electrotherapists," he still believed electric currents to be "an extremely valuable therapeutic agent, especially when utilized in connection with hydrotherapy, thermotherapy, and other physiologic methods." [88] As a result, electrotherapy coils were used in the Static Electrical Department of the Battle Creek Sanitarium especially for cases of paresthesias of neurasthenia, insomnia, and certain forms of neuralgia. [88] Devices were also utilized to administer electric shocks to various parts of a patient's body.

Vibrational therapy by way of sinusoidal (high-frequency oscillating) electric current was discovered by Kellogg in 1884 to have medical use for increasing blood circulation and passive exercise. [14] In particular, Kellogg invented a vibrating chair used to stimulate vital organs in the lower abdomen. [14] Even today one can visit the Kellogg Discovery Center in Battle Creek, Michigan, and sit on Kellogg's vibrating chair, which is equipped to mechanically oscillate 20 times per second. [89] Furthermore, Kellogg devised an electrotherapy exercise bed in which a sinusoidal current that produced muscular contraction could be delivered without pain for twenty minutes and reportedly achieve the stimulation of a brisk four-mile walk. [14]

Mechanical massage devices Edit

Massage devices included two- or four-person foot vibrators, a mechanical slapping massage device, and a kneading apparatus that was advertised in 1909 to sell for $150.00 (equivalent to about $4,300 in 2020). [90] Kellogg advocated mechanical massage, a branch of mechanotherapy, for cases of anemia, general debility, and muscular or nervous weakness. [91]

Irrigator Edit

In 1936, Kellogg filed a petition for his invention of improvements to an "irrigating apparatus particularly adaptable for colonic irrigating, but susceptible of use for other irrigation treatments." [92] The improved irrigator included features such as measuring the amount of liquid entering and exiting the colon as well as indicating and regulating the positive pressure of the pumped liquid. [92]

At the Battle Creek Sanitarium, these colonic irrigators were often used to shoot gallons of water up patients' rectums into their colons, sometimes followed by a half-pint yogurt enema to aid in further cleaning. It has been suggested that multiple people would get this treatment at one time. [84]

Biologic living Edit

Synthesizing his Adventist beliefs with his scientific and medical knowledge, Kellogg created his idea of "biologic living". [13] This was the idea that appropriate diet, exercise, and recreation was required in order to maintain a healthy body, mind, and soul. As such, the policies and therapies at the Battle Creek Sanitarium were very much in line with these principles of biologic living, such as the focus on vegetarianism or drinking 8–10 glasses of water a day. [93] In fact, his belief that biologic living would protect his health was so strong that he did not even feel it necessary to get vaccinated against smallpox. [14] : 59

Kellogg's philosophy was presented in seven textbooks that were prepared for Adventist schools and colleges. In these, Kellogg put his main emphasis on the value of fresh air, exercise, and sunshine, and the dangers of alcohol and tobacco. [14] : 91 In terms of practice, Kellogg's biologic living was very similar to the methods of Christian physiologists, requiring sexual restraint, total abstinence from drugs, and a vegetarian diet. [14] : 44

Views on tobacco Edit

Kellogg was a prominent member of the anti-tobacco consumption campaign, speaking out often on the issue. [94] He believed that consumption of tobacco not only caused physiological damage, but also pathological, nutritional, moral, and economic devastation onto society. His belief was that "tobacco has not a single redeeming feature… and is one of the most deadly of all the many poisonous plants known to the botanist." [95] His beliefs were very much in line with the prevailing view of the Adventists, who had become some of the most important supporters of the anti-tobacco movement.

In his 1922 book Tobaccoism, or How Tobacco Kills, Kellogg cited many studies on the negative impacts of smoking, and went so far as to attribute the longer lifespan of women to the observation that they partook in tobacco less than their male counterparts. [95]

Kellogg also served as the president of the Michigan Anti-Cigarette Society, and after the First World War, he served as a member of the Committee of Fifty to Study the Tobacco Problem. This latter group included Henry Ford, George Peabody, and John Burroughs, and ended with the production of one of the first educational motion pictures against smoking. [14] : 107 Kellogg's work on several committees against smoking culminated in Utah Senator Reed Smoot introducing a bill to Congress in 1929 that aimed to put tobacco under the purview of the Pure Food and Drug Act. In the end, however, this measure failed to pass. [96]

Views on alcohol and other beverages Edit

Though alcoholic beverages were commonly used as a stimulant by the medical community during the time that Kellogg began his medical practice, he was firm in his opposition to the practice. [14] The usage of alcohol as a remedy to anything was "an evil of stupendous proportions." [97]

Kellogg went against the prevailing notion of the time that alcohol was a stimulant. Citing contemporary research, Kellogg believed that alcohol could not be a stimulant because it lessened vital activity and depressed vital forces. [97] Seeing its effects on plants, animals, and humans, he felt that alcohol was a poison. [97] Kellogg noticed deleterious effects that alcohol had on both the brain, the digestive system, and the liver, among other organs.

In addition to the idea that alcohol was an unsuitable therapeutic tool, Kellogg also considered it to lead to mental and moral bankruptcy. [97] Alcohol was "one of the devil's most efficient agents for destroying the happiness of man, both for the present and the hereafter." [97] Even moderate drinkers were subject to these effects, as Kellogg felt that a poison was a poison in all doses.

Kellogg also opposed tea and coffee due to the caffeine content of those beverages. His view was that caffeine was a poison. [98] Not only did he detail numerous physiological and developmental problems caused by caffeine, but he also suggested that caffeine usage could lead to moral deficiencies. He blamed the prevalence of these beverages not only on the prohibition of alcoholic beverages at the time, but also on the extensive marketing efforts organized by the producers of these products. Kellogg's view was that "nature has supplied us with pure water, with a great variety of fruit juices and wholesome and harmless flavors quite sufficient to meet all our needs." [99]

As early as the 1880s, Kellogg had prepared charts and lectures on the dangers of tobacco and alcohol, which were used widely by lecturers who encouraged temperance in their students. [14] : 106 In 1878, John Harvey Kellogg, along with Ellen G. White, the founder of the Seventh-day Adventists, and several others, had organized the American Health and Temperance Association. [14] : 107 The goal of this organization was to expose the far-reaching dangers of tobacco, alcohol, tea, and coffee. For the 15 years that the organization persisted, Kellogg remained as its president. [14] : 107

Properties of water Edit

Kellogg has labeled the various uses of hydropathy as being byproducts of the many properties of water. In his 1876 book, The Uses of Water in Health & Disease, he acknowledges both the chemical composition and physical properties of water. Hydrogen and oxygen, when separate, are two "colorless, transparent, and tasteless" gases, which are explosive when mixed. [100] More importantly, water, he says, has the highest specific heat of any compound (although in actuality it does not). As such, the amount of heat and energy needed to elevate the temperature of water is significantly higher than that of other compounds like mercury. Kellogg addressed water's ability to absorb massive amounts of energies when shifting phases. He also highlighted water's most useful property, its ability to dissolve many other substances. [101]

Remedial properties of water Edit

According to Kellogg, water provides remedial properties partly because of vital resistance and partly because of its physical properties. For Kellogg, the medical uses of water begin with its function as a refrigerant, a way to lower body heat by way of dissipating its production as well as by conduction. "There is not a drug in the whole materia medica that will diminish the temperature of the body so readily and so efficiently as water." [102] Water can also serve as a sedative. While other substances serve as sedatives by exerting their poisonous influences on the heart and nerves, water is a gentler and more efficient sedative without any of the negative side-effects seen in these other substances. Kellogg states that a cold bath can often reduce one's pulse by 20 to 40 beats per minute quickly, in a matter of a few minutes. Additionally, water can function as a tonic, increasing both the speed of circulation and the overall temperature of the body. A hot bath accelerates one's pulse from 70 to 150 beats per minute in 15 minutes. Water is also useful as an anodyne since it can lower nervous sensibility and reduce pain when applied in the form of hot fomentation. Kellogg argues that this procedure will often give one relief where every other drug has failed to do so. He also believed that no other treatment could function as well as an antispasmodic, reducing infantile convulsions and cramps, as water. Water can be an effective astringent as, when applied cold, it can arrest hemorrhages. Moreover, it can be very effective in producing bowel movements. Whereas purgatives would introduce "violent and unpleasant symptoms", water would not. Although it would not have much competition as an emetic at the time, Kellogg believed that no other substance could induce vomiting as well as water did. Returning to one of Kellogg's most admired qualities of water, it can function as a "most perfect eliminative". Water can dissolve waste and foreign matter from the blood. These many uses of water led Kellogg to belief that "the aim of the faithful physician should be to accomplish for his patient the greatest amount of good at the least expence of vitality and it is an indisputable fact that in a large number of cases water is just the agent with which this desirable end can be obtained." [103]

Incorrect uses of the water cure Edit

Although Kellogg praised hydropathy for its many uses, he did acknowledge its limits. "In nearly all cases, sunlight, pure air, rest, exercise, proper food, and other hygienic agencies are quite as important as water. Electricity, too, is a remedy which should not be ignored and skillful surgery is absolutely indispensable in not a small number of cases." [104] With this belief, he went on to criticize many medical figures who misused or overestimated hydropathy in the treating of disease. Among these, he criticized what he referred to as "Cold-Water Doctors" who would recommend the same remedy regardless of the type of ailment or temperament of the patient. [105] These doctors would prescribe ice-cold baths in unwarmed rooms even during the harshest winters. In his opinion, this prejudicial approach to illness resulted in converting hydropathy to a more heroic type of treatment where many became obsessed with taking baths in ice-cold water. He addresses the negative consequences that resulted from this "infatuation", among them tuberculosis and other diseases. [106] This dangerous habit was only exacerbated by physicians who used hydropathy in excess. Kellogg recounts an instance where a patient with a low typhus fever was treated with 35 cold packs while in a feeble state and, not to the surprise of Kellogg, died. Kellogg posits this excessive and dangerous use of hydropathy as a return to the "violent processes" of bloodletting, antimony, mercury and purgatives. [107] Kellogg also criticizes the ignorance in "Hydropathic Quacks" as well as in Preissnitz, the founder of modern hydropathy, himself. Kellogg states that the "Quacks" as well as Preissnitz are ignorant for overestimating the hydropathy as a "cure-all" remedy without understanding the true nature of disease. [108]

Both as a doctor and an Adventist, Kellogg was an advocate of sexual abstinence. As a physician, Kellogg was well aware of the damaging impact of sexually transmissible diseases such as syphilis, which was incurable before the 1910s. [109] Kellogg devoted large amounts of his educational and medical work to discouraging sexual activity on the basis of dangers both scientifically understood at the time—as in sexually transmissible diseases—and those taught by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. [110] [111] [112]

Kellogg was an adherent of the teachings of Ellen G. White and Sylvester Graham. Graham, who inspired the creation of the graham cracker, advocated keeping the diet plain to prevent sexual arousal. [113] Kellogg's work on diet was influenced by the belief that a plain and healthy diet, with only two meals a day, would reduce sexual feelings. Those experiencing temptation were to avoid stimulating food and drinks, and eat very little meat, if any. [114] [115]

Kellogg set out his views on such matters in one of his larger books, published in increasingly longer editions around the start of the 20th century. He was unmarried when he published the first edition of Plain Facts about Sexual Life (1877, 1st, 356 pages). He and his bride apparently wrote an additional 156 pages during his honeymoon, releasing the new edition as Plain Facts for Old and Young (1879, 2nd, 512 pages). By 1886 it was 644 pages by 1901, 720 pages by 1903, 798 and in 1917 Kellogg published a four-volume edition of 900 pages. An estimated half-million copies were sold, many by discreet door-to-door canvassers. [116]

"Warfare with passion" Edit

Kellogg warned that many types of sexual activity, including "excesses" that couples could be guilty of within marriage, were against nature, and therefore, extremely unhealthy. He drew on the warnings of William Acton [117] and expressed support for the work of his contemporary Anthony Comstock. [118] He appears to have followed his own advice it is believed that his own marriage was never consummated. [62] : 168

Kellogg was an especially zealous campaigner against masturbation. This was an orthodox view at the time, especially during the earlier part of his lifetime. Kellogg was able to draw upon many medical sources' claims such as "neither the plague, nor war, nor small-pox, nor similar diseases, have produced results so disastrous to humanity as the pernicious habit of onanism", credited to one Dr. Adam Clarke. Kellogg strongly warned against the habit in his own words, claiming of masturbation-related deaths "such a victim literally dies by his own hand", among other condemnations. He felt that masturbation destroyed not only physical and mental health, but moral health as well. Kellogg also believed the practice of this "solitary-vice" caused cancer of the womb, urinary diseases, nocturnal emissions, impotence, epilepsy, insanity, and mental and physical debility "dimness of vision" was only briefly mentioned. Kellogg thought that masturbation was the worst evil one could commit he often referred to it as "self-abuse". [119] [120] Kellogg considered sexual climax to be a serious exhaustion of nervous energy, writing "..[sex] is accompanied by a peculiar nervous spasm, . one more exhausting to the system than any other. " [121]

Masturbation prevention Edit

As a leader of the anti-masturbation movement, Kellogg promoted extreme measures to prevent masturbation. He circumcised himself at age 37. His methods for the "rehabilitation" of masturbators included measures up to the point of mutilation without anesthetic, on both sexes. He was an advocate of circumcising young boys to curb masturbation and applying carbolic acid to a young woman's clitoris. In his Plain Facts for Old and Young, [42] he wrote:

A remedy which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision, especially when there is any degree of phimosis. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment, as it may well be in some cases. The soreness which continues for several weeks interrupts the practice, and if it had not previously become too firmly fixed, it may be forgotten and not resumed. [56]

a method of treatment [to prevent masturbation] . and we have employed it with entire satisfaction. It consists in the application of one or more silver sutures in such a way as to prevent erection. The prepuce, or foreskin, is drawn forward over the glans, and the needle to which the wire is attached is passed through from one side to the other. After drawing the wire through, the ends are twisted together, and cut off close. It is now impossible for an erection to occur, and the slight irritation thus produced acts as a most powerful means of overcoming the disposition to resort to the practice

In females, the author has found the application of pure carbolic acid (phenol) to the clitoris an excellent means of allaying the abnormal excitement.

He also recommended, to prevent children from this "solitary vice", bandaging or tying their hands, covering their genitals with patented cages and electrical shock. [42]

In his Ladies' Guide in Health and Disease, for nymphomania, he recommended

Cool sitz baths the cool enema a spare diet the application of blisters and other irritants to the sensitive parts of the sexual organs, the removal of the clitoris and nymphae.

Kellogg would live for over 60 years after writing Plain Facts. He continued to work on healthy eating advice and run the sanitarium, although this was hit by the Great Depression and had to be sold. He ran another institute in Florida, which was popular throughout the rest of his life, [122] although it was a distinct step down from his Battle Creek institute. [123] [124]

Good Health journal Edit

Kellogg became editor of the Health Reformer journal in 1874. The journal changed its name to Good Health in 1879 and Kellogg held his editorial position for many years until his death. [125] The Good Health journal had more than 20,000 subscribers and was published until 1955. [126]

Race Betterment Foundation Edit

Kellogg was outspoken about his views on race and his belief in racial segregation, regardless of the fact that he himself raised several black foster children. In 1906, together with Irving Fisher and Charles Davenport, Kellogg founded the Race Betterment Foundation, which became a major center of the new eugenics movement in America. Kellogg was in favor of racial segregation in the United States and he also believed that immigrants and non-whites would damage the white American population's gene pool. [127]

How The 'Battling' Kellogg Brothers Revolutionized American Breakfast

This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli, editor of the website TV Worth Watching, sitting in for Terry Gross. Some of America's today's most popular breakfast cereals, such as Corn Flakes and Rice Krispies, have a history that intersects with the Seventh-day Adventists, the early wellness movement, eugenics, sexual abstinence and some innovative, as well as some horrifying medical interventions - not something you'd suspect from the popular TV ad jingles.

Today's guest, Dr. Howard Markel, is the author of a book called "The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers Of Battle Creek." It comes out next week in paperback. It's about Dr. John Kellogg and his younger brother, Will Kellogg. John, the doctor, was groomed to be a leader of the Seventh-day Adventists. In 1876, he became the director of their sanitarium in Battle Creek, Mich., which he turned into a world-famous medical center, spa and grand hotel that attracted many celebrities.

In 1921, his research on diet and digestion was nominated for a Nobel Prize. As part of his dietary research, Dr. Kellogg and his brother created a new idea - ready-to-eat cereals such as Corn Flakes. Will, who was the business innovator, turned those breakfast cereals into good-tasting mass-produced popular breakfasts marketed under the Kellogg brand. He founded the company in 1906.

Although the two brothers worked together for a long time, they never got along. And their relationship ended with a series of lawsuits. Howard Markel directs the Center for the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan, where he's also professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases. Terry Gross spoke with him last year.


TERRY GROSS, BYLINE: Dr. Howard Markel, welcome to FRESH AIR. It's funny, you know, breakfast cereals now are often considered basically sugar-coated vitamin pills because the fortification of vitamins is the nutrition, and the sugar is what gets kids to eat it, but it's not very good for them. But breakfast cereals were originally part of a health craze that Dr. Kellogg created. Why was breakfast such a problem? Like, if you were into health like Dr. John Kellogg was, what were the problems with breakfast as he saw it?

HOWARD MARKEL: Well, there were a number of issues. And yes, Corn Flakes, Wheat Flakes, flake cereal in general were invented to be easily digested by those with upset stomachs or what was then called dyspepsia, the great American stomach ache. And if you look at what people ate in America in the late 19th century or even the early 20th century, it was very heavy in animal fats, often cured meat. So they're very salty, a lot of sugar. You would have for breakfast potatoes that were fried in the congealed fat from the night before. A lot of alcohol and caffeine was consumed, a lot of carbohydrates.

And making breakfast was an ordeal. So even if you made porridge or mush, these whole grains took hours to melt down and make into a mush or a soft form. And so these poor mothers were getting up very early. And they were probably taking care of all their children all night. They had to start a wood-burning fire. And so making breakfast was a great ordeal.

But John Harvey Kellogg invented them for the involuted people who came to his Battle Creek Sanitarium. It was his little brother Will who realized, you know, there are a lot more people who are healthy and just want a convenient tasty breakfast than those who are ill and need an easily digestible breakfast. So he had a little sugar, a little salt to Corn Flakes. And it just took the world by storm in 1906 because you could simply pour breakfast out of a box. Even dad could make breakfast now.

GROSS: (Laughter) So it originally didn't have the title of, like, Corn Flakes or Wheat Flakes. What was the original flaked cereal that the Kelloggs invented called?

MARKEL: Well, their first cereal - basically, Dr. Kellogg thought that if you dextrinize starch - what that meant is if you bake a grain for a long period of time at a high temperature, the starch molecules would break down into a simple sugar, dextrose - and that would be easily digested as soon as you start chewing because the salivary glands help break that down even further. And then, of course, as you go through the gastrointestinal tract, it easily breaks it down. So they first started serving double-baked zwieback biscuits out of whole graham grain, which was whole-wheat grain. And that's where the term graham cracker comes from, named for Sylvester Graham, who touted this in the 1860s.

And one of his patients - supposedly, the story goes - broke her dentures on one of these hard zwieback biscuits. And Dr. Kellogg did not want to have to pay for patients' dentures or dental artifices, so he decided to grind up the zwieback into little crumbs. And that was their first cereal. He called it granola. It was nothing like granola today. And there was another product by a doctor in New York who was making granola. His name was Jackson.

And he sued them, so they changed the name to granose, which sounds very metabolic, that you're breaking down grain. But they weren't happy with that, Dr. Kellogg or his brother. And they felt there's got to be a better way to make cereal than just grinding up toasted bread, basically. And so they worked and they worked and they worked. And Dr. Kellogg tells a story that he had a dream of how to make flake cereal. And that's where the whole thing began. Will tells a different story, that they just decided to roll it out very flat. And one day, both Dr. Kellogg was called.

GROSS: Roll out like a dough?

MARKEL: Like a dough, yes. Roll it flat out like a dough because it was basically a boiled - at first wheat dough and then later a corn dough. But Dr. Kellogg was pulled away for surgery or something and Will just put it aside. He didn't want to throw it out. He was very frugal. He put it in a container. And what that led to is something called tempering the dough. It gets a little moldy - not too moldy that it tastes bad - but the air and the water content evens out across the entire dough. And when they did that and baked it, they came out with these perfect flakes. And so that's where it all began.

GROSS: So these cereals started off as part of a larger health regimen that Dr. Kellog prescribed. You credit him with coming up with the concept of wellness. He ran a sanitarium. So give us an overview of some of the beliefs that he had about wellness that actually became popular.

MARKEL: Well, Dr. Kellogg called - well, we call it wellness - he called it biologic living. And he was really prescient about this. And don't forget, at the turn of the last century, most doctors were fixated on diseases - not preventing them but treating them once they occurred. And back then, it was often once they occurred and were around for a long period of time, so they did their damage.

Dr. Kellogg was all about preventing these diseases before they ever happened by living a healthy life. And that included exercise, a lot of vigorous physical activity, eating a grain-and-vegetable diet, avoiding animal fats or meats - or as he called it, flesh-eating, avoiding that - no alcohol, no caffeine of any kind.

He also was very chaste and reminded his - both his readers and his followers that sex outside the marriage, of course, was not a good idea. But sex for anything other than procreation really sapped the soul and sapped the spirit. And, of course, he was very much opposed to masturbation of any kind, something he wrote about extensively and called the solitary vice.

GROSS: You say he was very chaste. He was totally abstinent. The way you describe it, he and his wife never even consummated their marriage. They had children, but that was through adoption. They slept in separate bedrooms. It sounds like he never had sex.

MARKEL: It sounds that way. Now, when John was in medical school at the Bellevue Hospital Medical College in 1874, he saw and treated a great many playboys and rakes who had syphilis and gonorrhea. And he wrote about it in his student notes. And these were not fun cases. I can tell you as an old sexually-transmitted disease doctor, when you see these cases in full bloom, they are truly disgusting.

I had the benefit in my practice of having antibiotics so they could be treated. But back in the 1870s, they were not only terrible infections, they often were deadly. And, of course, they were contagious. So, often, these men who had other lives - frequented prostitutes or what have you - brought these infections home to their wives. So Kellogg might may have been really freaked out (laughter) by the perils of sex.

MARKEL: I'm getting freaked out just telling you about it (laughter).

GROSS: Well, let me reintroduce you here. If you're just joining us, my guest is Dr. Howard Markel. He's the author of the new book "The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers Of Battle Creek." He's the director of the Center of the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan, where he's also a professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases. We'll be right back after we take a short break. This is FRESH AIR.


GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. And if you're just joining us, my guest is Dr. Howard Markel. He's the author of the new book "The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers Of Battle Creek." And it's about the Kellogg brothers, one of whom was deep into health. He was a doctor and created a sanitarium where wellness was the thing. And his other brother was basically the marketing genius who popularized the flaked cereals that the brothers co-created like Corn Flakes. And, of course, the other brother, Will Kellogg, created Kellogg's cereals. So another thing that he was in the forefront of was probiotics. He believed that acidophilus.

GROSS: . Which is one of the most common probiotics now, would help you maintain a healthy digestive system. And you describe his, like, basement laboratory in which he studied fecal specimens under the microscope, comparing the fecal specimens of people who took acidophilus with those who didn't. I mean, who else was doing that back in the turn of the century - in the turn of the 20th century?

MARKEL: There was a man named Henri Tissier at the Pasteur laboratory in Paris. And Dr. Kellogg often traveled to Europe to learn new techniques and new ideas. You know, it's really funny. He started as a passionate believer in Seventh-day Adventism health reform. And he kept a lot of those ideas throughout his career. But as science and medicine progressed, he would read up on these. He would speak to the people who were making these discoveries. And he would shoehorn and shape these discoveries to his own world view.

So he worked with Dr. Tissier at the Pasteur lab to study acidophilus. And he found that people whose guts were populated with acidophilus did far better in not having digestive diseases than those who did not. He also found that soy milk was a much better medium for the propagation of acidophilus and that babies who were fed soy milk acidophilus did far better than those who were treated cow's milk, but not nearly as good as those who were treated breast milk - human breast milk.

GROSS: Regularity was an obsession for Dr. Kellogg. And he had a lot of intestinal problems when he was a child.

MARKEL: He did. He did. As a child, he ate very badly. His favorite meal he lectured about was braised oxtail in a greasy, fatty brown gravy. And even in his 70s or 80s, he would talk about those meals lovingly. And, you know, fried potatoes and flapjacks and bacon and things like that. So he ate a lot of not only fatty foods but constipating foods. He also ate a lot of candy. And he developed constipation. He developed hemorrhoids. He also developed a colitis that scarred his intestine. And so he knew what happened when you ate badly and you were constipated and not regular.

He also, like many doctors at that time, believed in a theory called autointoxication, where putrefying meat just stayed in your gut and gave off poisons that caused all sorts of problems from flatulence and dyspepsia to depression. So he was very aware of that. And he studied gorillas in zoos and realized that those gorillas had anywhere from four to five bowel movements a day and they seemed to be quite happy. And so he prescribed his patients to do the same. And if you ate the diet that he recommended, as well as the frequent enemas and the yogurt and the soy milk and so on, you would indeed have frequent bowel movements.

GROSS: He also believed in some things that seem pretty quacky to us now. Now, what are a couple of examples of those?

MARKEL: Well, let's begin with flake cereal. So they are more easily digested. But we now know that Corn Flakes or any flake cereal has something called a high glycemic index, which means you start digesting it as soon as you're chewing it. You start breaking it down. And so that will bounce your blood sugar all the way up, which then bounces your blood insulin level all the way up. And then both go down precipitously, and you're hungry two hours later, so - you know, long before lunch. So it's far better to eat a low glycemic index type of cereal like oatmeal because that keeps you full or feeling full for much longer.

GROSS: So again, you know, Dr. Kellogg had some really wonderful, advanced thinking when it comes to health. He also had some really, you know, backwards, bad beliefs. And one of those beliefs was in eugenics. Do you want to describe his position on eugenics?

MARKEL: Yeah. That's the bloody stain on his white suit. He always wore white suits, by the way, so that you could see dirt very instantly and you could change. But that stain never really can be cleaned. So, you know, a great many Americans, particularly white Anglo-Saxon Protestant Americans in the turn of the last century, were obsessed with the purity of the so-called white race. And eugenics was this pseudoscience, this pre-genetics where certain traits - personality traits, behavioral traits - would be passed down in a manner similar to blue eyes or brown eyes.

Now, we know that's completely hogwash today, but a great many people believed that - famous people like Teddy Roosevelt and John Harvey Kellogg and famous scientists at various universities and so on because this pseudoscience fed their racist beliefs. It was also an era when a great many immigrants are coming to the United States, and they are extremely foreign to the people who are there, who are already living there - so East European Jews and Southern Italians and people from the Balkans and Greece and so on.

And many white Americans felt that these people would never - could never assimilate into mainstream America and, in fact, would pollute what they called the protoplasm or the germplasm, the American gene pool. And so this was going on at all the best medical schools of the day. And there was research going on. And John Harvey got into this quite early.

Now, he espoused more than eugenics, something that was called euthenics, which is a type of Lamarckism, if you will, that if you live a good, healthy life and you do the various things he prescribed, you could rid yourself of these negative traits - you know, being cheap or being shifty or being a criminal or what have you. And you could pass that on to your children. Now, very few eugenicists believed in this and used to make fun of John Harvey Kellogg behind his back. But they always took his phone calls because John Harvey Kellogg had a great deal of money, primarily from his corn flake dividends.

And he funded a foundation for race betterment. And he founded three huge national conferences on race betterment. Two were in Battle Creek, and one was at the San Francisco World's Fair of 1915, where hundreds of stars in the eugenic firmament - even Booker T. Washington came (laughter) - to lecture and have symposia on eugenics and euthenics. So it was a negative aspect of John Harvey Kellogg's life and ideology that is truly, truly problematic and disturbing.

GROSS: So Battle Creek is famous for Kellogg's and for Post, another big breakfast cereal company. But it's also famous as, at the time, the home center, like, the home base for the Seventh-day Adventists. And Dr. Kellogg - John Kellogg - was very close to co-founders of Seventh-day Adventism, Ellen and James White. And they saw him when he was a child as being a possible leader of the church in the future. So what was his relationship with the church?

MARKEL: Well, you're right. Battle Creek was basically the Vatican of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. And John Harvey, even as a young boy and a young man, just exuded brilliance and was curious about everything. And so the Whites, who were the co-founders of the denomination - Ellen White was a prophetess, a self-proclaimed prophetess. And they realized this young man was quite special, so they groomed him.

And a big part of Seventh-day Adventism and many Christian denominations in the mid-19th century was about health reform, about keeping your body clean and chaste and free of vice and also dietary issues as prescribed in the Old Testament. And he later came to edit their magazine called the Health Reformer, which John Harvey later changed the name to Good Health because he realized that people don't like reform (laughter). They like to be healthy, but they don't want somebody telling them to reform. And so they realized that John Harvey could be the head of their health avenue, their health section of the denomination.

Now, the Whites founded what became the Battle Creek Sanitarium, which was a world-famous medical spa, grand hotel and medical center, but they called it the Western Health Reform Institute. It was basically a house where quacky doctors lectured about things and served bad food and people didn't come back. But they realized that John Harvey could be the new leader, but he had to get a good medical education.

And when he came back to Battle Creek, he was tapped to take over the Western Health Reform Institute. And he said, I'll do so on one condition - that I get to run it and I get to run it not only on religious principles but on scientific principles because he wanted desperately not only to be a good Seventh-day Adventist but to be well-regarded in the medical profession. People from all around the world came to Battle Creek to heal.

GROSS: Some famous people, too. Who were some of the famous people who came?

MARKEL: Well, he treated many presidents, including Warren Harding and William Taft. He treated William Jennings Bryan, the Democratic hopeful. He treated Eddie Cantor, the comedian. He treated Johnny Weissmuller, Tarzan, who would go into the dining room and do a Tarzan yell to begin the meal. He treated Amelia Earhart and Sojourner Truth he treated and on and on and on.

GROSS: So it's really interesting that Corn Flakes and all of the Kellogg's cereals have a direct connection with the Seventh-day Adventists.

MARKEL: Yeah. It's really - because that grain diet was very important to the Adventists. And, of course, Dr. Kellogg found in his study of gastroenterology, which, you know - when you think - if anybody thinks about science at the turn of the last century, you think about germ theory and bacteriology and infectious diseases, sort of the cleaning of the cities and water supply. But how we eat and digest our food was probably the second most important field in medicine. And so he studied this quite a bit.

GROSS: What were some of the beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists?

MARKEL: Well, they're very similar to what I just described about John Harvey's wellness or biological living program. You were to have a chaste and spiritual life. You were to avoid worry. You were to avoid animal fat, flesh, meat at all costs - no drinking of alcohol, no caffeine, no smoking. And the grain and vegetable diet was the way to go. And of course, this personal hygiene and keeping yourself clean externally and internally were some of their pronouncements.

GROSS: And I think they also believe in this constant and ongoing battle between Satan and God and that.

GROSS: . You really had to be careful to stay on the right side.

MARKEL: Yes. And so I'm skipping over the most important - Adventism - so they believed in the imminent end of the world and the second coming of Jesus Christ. And that was taught very strictly. And young children were not often educated because - you know, in school and such - because the belief was, why put all that time and effort into educating children if the world's going to end anyway? And so there was a lot of fear and the concepts of the devil and terrible monsters that would take over the world at the second coming and how only a very few, the most pious, would be elevated to heaven.

GROSS: But it seems like Dr. Kellogg's work in trying to keep people more healthy and discover new things went against the idea that any day now the whole world can end and is likely to end. So what's the point?

MARKEL: That's a very good point 'cause he was all about life. There was a rupture between John Harvey Kellogg and the Whites that began probably.

GROSS: The Whites being the co-founders of the church.

MARKEL: Yes, Ellen and James White, the co-founders of the church. And the rupture probably began as soon as John took over the sanitarium. He was a very headstrong guy. He always knew he was right, even when he wasn't. Because he was so charismatic and brilliant, he often was right. But he did not want people who are were medically trained telling him how to run his hospital or his medical center. And he certainly didn't want people who were trying to run it from afar.

You know, the Whites were often wintering in California. And, of course, there were other elders of the Adventist Church who looked at the profits that the sanitarium was making. Now, it all went back into the sanitarium, but they wanted some of that money for other Adventist projects and programs.

And so John was very tight-fisted with the money he brought in and the ideas he was propagating. And eventually, there was a deep rupture and a whispering campaign that John was taken over by the devil that became a shouting campaign. And in 1905, he was excommunicated from the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the very church he grew up in and was raised to become a leader in.

GROSS: OK. So let's get back to cereal. Will was the marketing genius behind Kellogg's cereals. He was also in on the early recipes of them. And he had worked with his brother at the sanitarium as the business guy there figuring out, you know, I guess all the accounting stuff and, you know, making the business end work. And he was very innovative on that front, but he was considered the dim brother when they were kids. He was eight years younger than Dr. Kellogg.

MARKEL: Yes. And John, as the older brother, never missed an opportunity to pick on or humiliate his younger brother from childhood on. In his old age, Will said, what I remember most about my childhood is that I shared a bed with John. And he would warm his cold feet on my back during the winter. And he would push him and make fun of him.

And, of course, when Will worked for him for almost 25 years as his administrative aide, John did all sorts of mean things. He had him run beside him as John rode his bike across the campus, and Will had to take notes or dictation. When John went to the bathroom to have a bowel movement, he made Will come in and take notes so he wouldn't waste a moment long before LBJ was doing that to his White House aides.

And he didn't pay him well, and he didn't treat him well. Yet, Will was this business genius who knew how to run a very large organization. You couldn't find a better tutorial for running an international corporation like the Kellogg's cereal company than by running the Battle Creek Sanitarium for so many years. It's just that the psychic costs of being made fun of and treated as a lackey was very difficult for Will's psyche.

GROSS: These two brothers, John and Will, fought to the end. And one of the things they fought about was the brand name of Kellogg.

MARKEL: Yeah. So as soon as poor Will became successful and John Harvey sold him the rights and made a mint off of Corn Flakes stock, he started making his own cereal and calling it Kellogg's. And, of course, Will, by this time, had advertised to a fare-thee-well. This was beginning around 1909. And he was investing, you know, millions of dollars a year in ads. And he felt that another Kellogg-named product that was not nearly as tasty as his product would harm his company. And to some extent - to a large extent, he was right. So he sued John Harvey, and then John Harvey sued Will.

And this lawsuit - it went for almost a decade, going all the way to the Michigan State Supreme Court. And the basic question was, who had the right to use the name Kellogg on a box of cereal? Now, going for John Harvey's case, you know, he was more famous. He was a world-famous doctor. He wrote books. He was a best-selling author. People came to see him for his digestive advice. He thought he was the guy. And Will said, well, no, wait a minute. Everybody who hears the name Kellogg's thinks of Corn Flakes now. And by that time, this is, you know, early 1920 - they did. And the judges agreed with Will, and he won the case. And poor John Harvey had to pay all the legal costs and everything else. And he could only put his name in tiny writing on the bottom of the box for any cereal he created.

And, of course, it was very easy to steal a patent for cereals, the Kellogg's learned. All you have to do is change one little step, and then you can't really be sued by the person who holds the patent. So Will later made a mint off of bran cereals even though that was truly John Harvey's creation. But the two - you know, there was a lot of bad blood between them. And then after the lawsuit, they rarely, if ever, spoke to one another again. Will made sure there was always a witness when they did speak to each other because he never knew what John Harvey would say about him.

GROSS: So I have to tell you, when I was growing up, Battle Creek was this kind of mythic place for me because, you know, I'd have breakfast cereals for breakfast. And whether it was Post or Kellogg's, the address would be Battle Creek. And I would, like, stare at the cereal boxes when I had breakfast. And there wasn't much to read on them, so you're always seeing the name Battle Creek.

GROSS: And there was always, like, a come on on the boxes were, like, if you wrote to the address in Battle Creek, you'd get a free something or another, you know.

GROSS: . A souvenir of the cereal. And so it would all lead back to Battle Creek. And I had no idea what that was or what it meant, though it sounded like a really interesting name - Battle Creek.

GROSS: Like, who knew what kind of battles went on there (laughter) that helped produce these cereals?

GROSS: Since you live close to Battle Creek and actually took school trips there, was it a mythical place in your mind? You saw the reality of it.

MARKEL: Well, in 1966, it was because Cereal City was in full operation. So.

GROSS: Cereal City - is that what it was called?

MARKEL: Yeah, that's what they called it, Cereal City. And, you know, if you were a Michigan boy, as I was, you took two big field trips. One was to the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Mich., which also had a mythical sensibility to many children. But you took a trip to Battle Creek.

So you went into this factory which was pristine, and everyone was wearing white. And there was stainless steel devices all chugging and moving and doing stuff. And there were these conveyor belts. Literally, there were 5 miles of conveyor belts in the factory that went all the way from the granary where they took raw corn or wheat or what have you. And you followed this path with a tour guide all the way to the boxing room where you had fresh boxes of Corn Flakes or Sugar Frosted Flakes or what have you.

And the smell was overpowering. I still remember that smell of toasted corn. And then they gave you a fresh box, and that fresh box was the best box of cereal I've ever had. And to some extent, I'm still searching for that wonderful fresh box of cereal.

GROSS: Well, Howard Markel, thank you so much for talking with us.

MARKEL: Well, thanks so much, Terry. It's just been thrilling to have the opportunity to speak with you today.

BIANCULLI: Dr. Howard Markel speaking to Terry Gross last year. His book, "The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers Of Battle Creek," comes out in paperback next week. Coming up, I'll review "Sharp Objects," the new HBO miniseries premiering Sunday, starring Amy Adams as a newspaper reporter who returns to her hometown to investigate the case of missing teen girls. This is FRESH AIR.


Who Invented Peanut Butter?

Contrary to popular belief, George Washington Carver did not invent peanut butter. He was one of the greatest inventors in American history, discovering over 300 hundred uses for peanuts including chili sauce, shampoo, shaving cream and glue. He was a pioneer in the agricultural world and many refer to him as father of the peanut industry. His innovations also increased the legume&rsquos popularity and made peanuts a staple in the American diet.

The earliest reference to peanut butter can be traced back to the Ancient Incas and the Aztecs who ground roasted peanuts into a paste. However, modern peanut butter, its process of production and the equipment used to make it, can be credited to at least three inventors.

In 1884 Marcellus Gilmore Edson of Canada patented peanut paste, the finished product from milling roasted peanuts between two heated surfaces. In 1895 Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (the creator of Kellogg&rsquos cereal) patented a process for creating peanut butter from raw peanuts. He marketed it as a nutritious protein substitute for people who could hardly chew on solid food. In 1903, Dr. Ambrose Straub of St. Louis, Missouri, patented a peanut-butter-making machine.

The rest, as they say, is history, and there are a variety of peanut butter flavors to choose from and you can use it in recipes from savory to sweet, like Nutty Thai Chicken Slow Cooker Dinner, Peanut Powered Breakfast Cookies and Peanut and Chocolate Cherry Smoothies.

While George Washington Carver didn&rsquot invent peanut butter, his work&mdashalong with that of peanut butter innovators Edson, Kellogg and Straub&mdashhelped establish peanut butter as the nutritious staple ingredient found in 94 percent of American households today. For more about peanut butter, visit our History section.

Trends increasing nationally and globally

While the trends in the Waterloo region are increasing, it's a problem that exists across the country, according to Nathan Lachowsky, assistant professor at the School of Public Health and Social Policy at the University of Victoria, who spoke to CBC Kitchener-Waterloo's The Morning Edition on Friday. 

"We've seen these trends for a number of years here in Canada, but its also part of a global trend," he said. 

CBC News reported an "alarming" increase of STIs across the country. In Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, officials are particularly concerned about rising rates of syphilis.

According to the World Health Organization, one million new cases of STIs are contracted every single day globally, Lachowsky says. 

He says stigma plays a major role in these statistics as it's an important barrier to talking about STIs and how to access health services. 

He says most STIs don't have symptoms, so that's why it's important to get tested if you are sexually active. 

"We can't self diagnose ourselves when it comes to STIs," he said.

Lachowsky says for those with syphilis, when left untreated, can cause severe complications, including baby loss for women. He says as a society, people need to be more supportive of young people and sexual health more broadly in Canada. 

The increase in syphilis has been quite dramatic in some parts of the country, he noted, and may be the result of a variety of factors including stigma, lack of sexual health education, and not using condoms as much. 

"When we don't have these conversations about STIs, then people don't get the knowledge they need and they don't get the testing they need and then they aren't cured and they can pass these on to other partners unknowingly," Lachowsky said. 

Posted: 30 Jul 2019 07:50 AM PDT

Among the top stories in infectious disease last week were two reports: one from the European CDC that said syphilis cases have increased 70% in the last decade and one from the World Health Organization that indicated pretreatment HIV drug resistance exceeds 10% in many places and is particularly high in women.

Other highlights included research that determined ways that electronic health records can identify candidates for HIV prevention medication, a study that found almost half of patients with HIV who are on long-term antiretroviral therapy have HIV-infected cells present in their cerebrospinal fluid and these cells are associated with poorer neurocognitive performance and a study that found bacterial species in vaginal microbiota may increase risk for Trichomonas vaginalis.

Syphilis cases reach all-time high in Europe, up 70% in 7 years

Syphilis rates in Europe have steadily increased over the past decade, reaching an all-time recorded high in 2017 with more than 33,000 cases, according to data reported by the European CDC. Read more.

World Health Organization: Pretreatment HIV drug resistance exceeds 10% in many places

Among adults initiating antiretroviral therapy, levels of pretreatment HIV drug resistance to two non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors exceeded 10% in 12 of 18 countries reporting data to WHO between 2014 and 2018, and resistance was particularly high in women, according to a new report. Read more.

EHRs can help identify potential pre-exposure prophylaxis candidates

Researchers determined ways that clinicians may be able to use electronic health records to identify candidates for HIV prevention medication. Read more.

HIV persists in cerebrospinal fluid of patients on antiretroviral therapy linked to cognitive impairment

Almost half of patients with HIV who are on long-term antiretroviral therapy have HIV-infected cells present in their cerebrospinal fluid and these cells are associated with poorer neurocognitive performance, according to findings published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation. Read more.

Bacterial species in vaginal microbiota may increase risk for T. vaginalis

The presence of Prevotella amnii and Sneathia sanguinegens in the vaginal microbiota is significantly associated with the acquisition of Trichomonas vaginalis, according to findings published in Clinical Infectious Diseases. Read more.

Posted: 02 Aug 2019 12:03 PM PDT

#5: One Year of Ebola in DRC: What Makes the North Kivu Province Outbreak Distinct?

Krutika Kuppalli, MD, is no stranger to Ebola. Kuppalli, the incoming vice chair of the Infectious Diseases Society of America's Global Health Committee, served as medical director of the Ebola Treatment Unit of the Port Loko Government Hospital in Sierra Leone from 2014 to 2015.

As the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been ongoing for 1 year, Contagion® spoke to Kuppalli, also an affiliated assistant clinical professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, about the outbreak and what makes is distinct from the West African Ebola outbreak.

#4:Empathetic Health Care Providers Drive Successful HIV Treatment

Want to make a difference when it comes to encouraging patients with HIV to start and stay in treatment? Show compassion and a lack of judgment, a new studyfinds. 

A team of investigators at the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center at Rutgers School of Nursing in Newark, New Jersey, conducted a systematic review of 41 studies encompassing 1597 adults with HIV that were published in the US between 1997 and 2017. They discovered that a "confirming relationship" is paramount, with respondents wanting respect, compassion, and to be seen as a whole person. Patients who were treated paternalistically, or who experienced bumpy transitions, such as being released from prison without adequate coordination of health care services, were less likely to seek treatment and more likely to discontinue once started.

Often, a patient's success or failure when it came to HIV treatment was influenced by a provider's conversational style. One common complaint: "Patients felt like they were being grilled about their medications," Andrea Norberg, DNP, MS, RN, executive director of the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center and lead author of the study, told Contagion®

#3: European Syphilis Cases Up 70% Since 2010

After dipping slightly a decade ago, the number of reported syphilis cases in Europe reached the highest case count yet in 2017, according to a new reportfrom the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Recent studies have noted increases in the incidence of certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. The trend is particularly concerning among men who have sex with men (MSM) taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV infection and who engage in risky sexual behavior such has having sex without condoms. The troubling report released by the ECDC on syphilis and congenital syphilis in Europe reviews epidemiological trends from 2007 to 2018 and notes that syphilis notifications in Europe have increased by 70% since 2010.

Following a period of decline in reported syphilis cases in Europe from 2007 to 2010, which saw as few as 19,000 cases documented in a year, the new report notes that notification rates in European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) countries reached an all-time high in 2017 with more than 33,000 reported syphilis cases. "Since 2010, syphilis notification rates in the EU/EEA have been on the increase, but in recent years this trend seems to accelerate, predominantly among men having sex with men (MSM)," notes that report. "Similar trends have been observed in high-income countries outside the EU/EEA."

#2: Breaking Down Resistant Rumors and C diff Disinfectants

Clostridioides difficile (C diff) is one of the infections that stops people in their tracks, from infection preventionists to providers and nurses alike. Roughly half a million Americans will contract this bacterial infection every year, and 20% will relapse after treatment. Moreover, 1 in 11 people with health care-associated C diff who are over 65 years of age will die within 1 month of their diagnosis. Studies have shown that the cost of managing and treating C diff infections are quite significant at around $18,000.

On top of these startling statistics, C diff also poses a challenge because the bacterium is particularly environmentally hardy. When it's in its spore form, it's quite resistant to disinfectants and ultimately requires bleach-based products (Clorox has become the strongest tool in our arsenal to combatting C diff). Moreover, even alcohol-based hand sanitizers aren't enough to get rid of the bug, which requires health care workers and patients to use soap and water as a way to get the spores off through friction. 

One recent study in the United Kingdom, though, sought to test the hardiness of C diff on hospital gowns and stainless steel, while also assessing the efficacy of disinfectants. Investigators first wanted to evaluate the role of gowns as fomites in C diff transmission, as there has been suspicion that they could play an active role. Studying this first relationship, the research team found that when they applied spores in sterilized water at various concentrations to the surgical gown, the number of recovered spores did not increase over time, which means that any transmission would occur within the first 10 seconds of contact. Since the gowns are capable of trapping these spores though, it is a critical reminder to only use them once and discard immediately after use. 

#1: Basil From Mexico Likely Source of Cyclospora Outbreak

As of July 24, 2019, 132 individuals have been diagnosed with Cyclospora infection as part of a multistate outbreak linked to consumption of fresh basil.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all of the cases in this outbreak have been traced back to exposures in restaurants in Florida, Minnesota, New York, and Ohio, but confirmed cases have been documented in 11 states.

Early epidemiological evidence suggests that the outbreak source is fresh basil from Siga Logistics de RL de CV of Morelos, Mexico.

The onset of illness ranges from June 14 to July 9, 2019, with ill individuals ranging from 19 to 98 years with a median age of 54 years. No deaths have been reported at this time, but 4 hospitalizations have occurred.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that the agency has requested a voluntary recall of the basil and is working alongside Siga Logistics de RL de CV to coordinate the recall. The agency has also ramped up screening of basil imported into the United States.

At this time, the FDA advises importers, distributors, restaurants, and food service providers to refrain from selling, serving, or distributing basil imported from Siga Logistics de RL de CV. If information about the source of fresh basil from Mexico is unavailable, the product should not be sold or served.

Posted: 02 Aug 2019 05:35 AM PDT

Rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have increased dramatically in the United States in recent years, with record highs reported for syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 1 In addition, CDC data reveal that half of all new infections are acquired by individuals aged 15 to 24 years, and females in this age group comprised 45% of new chlamydia cases in 2017. 1,2

Despite these soaring rates, sexual behavior and STD risk are not common topics of discussion between patients and clinicians, according to research conducted by Quest Diagnostics, and 51% of women aged 18 to 24 years stated that they do not wish to discuss these topics with their healthcare providers. 3 The results further indicated that clinicians did not offer STD testing to 49% of women surveyed.

As one of many potential solutions to these problems, several studies have shown promise for direct-to-consumer testing. Much of the research on this topic has focused on self-testing for HIV, which has been found to improve testing rates and early diagnosis in a range of studies, although not all findings have been consistent with those observations. 4 However, results have been sufficiently compelling that the World Health Organization now recommends self-testing as an option for HIV testing.

In a 2017 meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials comparing self-testing with standard testing for HIV (with a combined total of 4145 male participants), self-testing was found to roughly double the rate of testing among men in general, as well as among men who have sex with men. A similar increase was demonstrated in the likelihood of an HIV-positive diagnosis. Importantly, there was no evidence of harm associated with self-testing. 5  

As noted in a 2019 paper published in the Journal of the International AIDS Society, the number of undiagnosed HIV infections is one of the major remaining challenges in reaching the UNAIDS 95-95-95 goals for 2030. 6 "Many of the remaining undiagnosed individuals are presumably not engaging with HIV services, and novel avenues to HIV testing services that overcome both stigma and structural barriers are needed… to reach these remaining undiagnosed individuals and effectively link them to treatment," wrote the authors. HIV self-testing "has developed substantially in recent years and is now considered a new and critical HIV response strategy in controlling the epidemic."

Other findings support the reliability of self-testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea. One study demonstrated similar or superior detection rates compared with provider-administered testing, while other research showed the effectiveness of self-testing among college students. 7,8

Several self-testing kits for STDs are currently available for consumer purchase, and Quest joined the market in April 2019 with the launch of direct-to-consumer testing options for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV, hepatitis B and C, and trichomonas. In all states except Alaska, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Indiana, patients can order a test online through QuestDirect and then schedule an appointment for bloodwork directly at a Quest patient service center.

To learn more about these products and related implications for clinicians, Infectious Disease Advisor interviewed Damian Alagia, III, MD, FACOG, FACS, medical director of women's health at Quest Diagnostics.

Infectious Disease Advisor: What are believed to be the reasons why STD rates are increasing?

Dr Alagia: There are multiple reasons, including behavioral factors that reduce screening, diagnosis, and treatment. We've conducted research that provides some important insights regarding STDs and the interface between patients and clinicians. For one thing, STDs are often asymptomatic, so individuals may not know they are infected and may unknowingly pass disease on to their partners. The only way to know with certainty if an individual has an STD is to screen for the presence of infection. Yet, our research with primary care physicians found that many healthcare practitioners feel they "can tell" when a patient has an infection. That suggests patients may not be getting screened based on risk and according to medical guidelines.

We also learned that patient-physician communication about STDs is seriously lacking. For example, we found that obtaining a correct patient history is the largest challenge to assessing STD risk, based on both patient reluctance to share and clinician discomfort and limited time to ask, and that clinicians are most likely to assess STI risk in females age 25 to 65 years when the patient brings up new sexual behaviors or symptoms. In light of these epidemic rates, clinicians need to operate under the assumption that all patients are at risk, and that their role is critical to overcome barriers, such as stigma and communication discomfort.

Infectious Disease Advisor: What are the benefits and potential drawbacks of direct-to-consumer STD testing?

Dr Alagia: In a public health emergency like that of STDs, one important strategy is to provide options to patients through all possible means, and wherever they are — but that doesn't mean that clinicians should be taken out of the process. Our research shows that consumers believe that the ability to purchase certain tests and receive results would facilitate better communication with their physicians and improve their health. Luckily, medications can often quickly cure many common STDs, and in more complex diseases like HIV, physician guidance can facilitate access to medications that can be lifesaving.

A positive test result doesn't necessarily lead to action. Clinicians are critical to provide linkage between results and diagnosis and treatment. The risk for some other direct-to-consumer offerings that don't provide linkage to care is that infected individuals won't get treated and could spread infection to others.

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Infectious Disease Advisor: What happens if a patient tests positive with direct-to-consumer testing?

Dr Alagia: Results are available through MyQuest, our secure online patient portal. With our consumer-initiated STD tests and panels, a physician with our oversight provider network will contact the patient if his or her results are out of range to offer an immediate consult. These physicians may provide treatment for certain conditions in some states and recommend further medical follow-up. We also strongly encourage patients to share their results with their personal clinicians, which can also be done through MyQuest's MyCircle feature.

Infectious Disease Advisor: What are the relevant implications for clinicians?

Dr Alagia: It is our hope that this consumer-initiated testing complements and promotes dialogue between clinicians and their patients, and subsequently improves the rate of STD screening. We believe that providing consumers with additional options for testing will lead to improved communication going forward, and will help clinicians provide appropriate treatment to potentially eliminate long-term negative outcomes and further transmission of disease.  

Infectious Disease Advisor: What are remaining needs in this area, in terms of research, education, or otherwise?

Dr Alagia: The key is education. Patients — and especially young women ages 15 to 24 years — need to understand that STDs are highly prevalent, that they are often asymptomatic and can have serious health consequences if not treated, that protecting themselves from infection is critical, and that screening and treatment are available to them. They need to hear that in doctors' offices, at home, in school, and from other trusted individuals. We have to remove the stigma of shame that prevents people from being screened and treated.

Clinicians must also acknowledge the importance of better communicating with their patients and having open conversations about their patients' sexual behavior so that they may obtain a more thorough patient history and accurately identify patients who may be at high risk for STD infection.

The final piece of this puzzle is using proper coding in the electronic medical record to flag patients at risk and to prompt screening at future visits. Our research demonstrated that only 4 in 10 health care providers were aware of STI-related International Classification of Diseases-10 codes, including codes such as Z72.51, Z72.52, and Z72.53 to flag high-risk behavior. Health systems should help clinicians to understand and utilize the most accurate diagnosis information, and also to document it in the patient's medical record on all laboratory orders for STI testing. That will also help promote screening to reduce STD rates, improve health outcomes, and reduce costs in the healthcare system.