Did You Know?
Seventh-day Adventists are known for living long, healthy lives. One famous follower of Adventism was Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. In the late 1800s the doctor took over operations at the Battle Creek, Michigan, sanitarium, a Seventh-day Adventist holistic healing center. (Kellogg eventually left the Adventist Church due to doctrinal and administrative differences.)
At the sanitarium Kellogg promoted a vegetarian diet, claiming that since humans and primates had similar digestive tracts, people should follow a natural diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains. Kellogg concocted healthy alternatives to vary the menu for patients. Kellogg found that by steaming—rather than grinding—wheat and putting it through rollers, he could make wheat flakes. He
served these flakes to patients as a ready-to-eat breakfast cereal. Another favorite among the patients was Kellogg's mixture of oatmeal and cornmeal together, which he baked into a biscuit and then ground into bits. He called it granola.
The popularity of these breakfast foods soon transformed Battle Creek. Copycat cereal manufacturers popped up overnight, and the town became the birthplace of the cereal industry. Kellogg's more business-minded brother, W. K. Kellogg, had assisted John Harvey with odd jobs at the sanitarium. W. K. wanted to mass market the flaked foods, but his older brother preferred to keep production on a smaller scale. W. K. went on to create the Kellogg company, which today markets corn flakes and many other brands of cereals (with sugar added).
Even patients profited from John Harvey Kellogg's nutritional advice. C. W. Post, an inventor, had been admitted for an upset stomach. Post liked the cereal-based coffee substitute served at the sanitarium so much that after he left, he tried to convince Kellogg to partner with him and sell a coffee substitute to the public. Kellogg declined. Post moved ahead on his project, sold the coffee alternative, and became a multimillionaire. Today his Post cereal company is also known for its Grape Nuts and Post Toasties, among other products.
Get a taste of what awaits you in print from this compelling excerpt.
According to the CDC, each year in the United States 76 million people suffer from foodborne disease; 325,000 of them are hospitalized and 5,000 die. In the developing world contaminated food and water kill almost two million children a year. The epidemiologists in this room are keenly aware that behind the numbing, cold-potato statistics are real people, particularly the very young and the very old, who have suffered debilitating, even lethal, disease from what most of us consider one of life’s less risky activities: eating.
On the face of it, it seems that “risk” should not be in the same sentence with “food”—that essential and
wholesome component of life, so mixed and mingled with comfort, security, even love. But often it is. In recent years we’ve heard about the dangerous adulterants contaminating our food: pesticides on our grapes, carcinogens on our strawberries, chemicals on our apples, poisonous metals in our fish. We’ve
heard dire warnings of the long-term effects of taking in too much fat or salt or cholesterol. In fact, in the past 30 years or so, there have been so many findings about the possible ill effects of our meals—some
of them refuted shortly after being announced—that many of us have become inured to the red flags
raised over food dangers.
I consider myself knowledgeable about safe eating. I thought I knew how to buy safe foods; how to clean, cook, and eat them properly; which dishes to order in restaurants and which to avoid. But the stories I have heard from food safety experts and the tales swapped among the epidemiologists at the CDC have swept away my assumptions. I’m starting to rethink the way I shop, cook, eat, feed my children, even the
way I define food and see its place in the world.