Eat This, Kellog

Best known today for his inadvertent invention of corn flakes cereal–occurring when a pan of baking grain was left unattended during a medical emergency–Dr. John Harvey Kellogg was 43 years old when he wrote the above lines. He had never partaken of the connubial pleasures of his wife’s bed, believed masturbation to be a sin best cured through copious enema treatments, and sought to cure his patient’s ills through daily applications of yogurt–introduced at the body’s two ends–aided by colon-wracking machines that could ably pump 15 gallons of water into a hapless behind in just a few seconds.

A strict vegetarian and devotee of what he called the pure plainness of “biologic living,” Kellogg also briefly promoted “fletcherizing”–in which one’s food is chewed to a ghastly liquid before swallowing–the use of electric tools to aid digestion, and quick intestinal surgery should all else fail to render the bowel, as he liked to phrase it, “squeaky clean.”

Meats, dairy, and bad habits all conspire, Kellogg believed, to rid one of perfect health and a slim figure. The yeasty, odor-free bowel movement, he assured, was the key to health and happiness. Fruit and grains, he nodded, were the answer. While Kellogg was a celebrity of his day, even prompting lively bowel-movement discussions in middle-class drawing rooms, his name is now filed under “quack.”