John Harvey Kellogg: An Forgotten Pioneer of Wellness and a Pretty Colorful Character


Dr. Halbert L. Dunn was a character, as is legitimate of numerous wellness pioneers. The same is real of this kind of luminaries as John W. (Jack) Travis, Monthly bill Hettler, Robert and Judd Allen and Grant Donovan. Use the phrase wellness broadly plenty of, as practically everyone does, and all health promoters are wellness pioneers. I feel in a watch of wellness improvement wherein everyone who writes a book about human flourishing, or speaks to a class or audience about wellbeing, edits a journal or publication on the topic, encourages a baby or close friend or normally supports undertaking far more than most to cultivate health and contentment is a wellness pioneer. And a character, as perfectly, due to the fact we all have our eccentricities of a person type or a different.

There are, on the other hand, a lot of wellness promotion pioneers, figures and advocates who stand out because they manufactured a significant name for themselves endorsing specific lifestyles, styles of considering and acting that numerous now perceive as wellness in character. A few colorful present-day illustrations who focused on exercise and seem diet programs include Kenneth Cooper, Francois Henri Jack LaLanne, Jane Fonda, Marion Nestle, Michelle Obama and Richard Simmons. Sure, when the conditions colourful and exercise are talked about, there is no way to ignore Richard Simmons.

Most educated Us residents with an interest in healthful existence recognize these names, specially the celebrity styles. Having said that, none comes near to acquiring obtained the fame, or the impact, of arguably the most vibrant and probably most consequential wellness character of all – John Harvey Kellogg (2/26/1852 – 12/14/1943).

Biologic Dwelling

When very acquainted with Dr. Kellogg (I liked T. Coraghessan Boyle’s 1993 novel, The Highway to Wellville and the 1994 movie tailored from it starring Anthony Hopkins, Bridget Fonda and Matthew Broderick), a 2017 e-book about him has reignited my desire. The guide title is, The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Struggle Creek by medical doctor/ historian Howard Markel (391 pages furthermore 87 pages of notes and a 25 website page index).

I remarkably suggest it.

On the inside of jacket of The Kellogg’s, Dr. Markel proclaims John Harvey the patron saint of the pursuit of wellness and a king of wellness. Through the e-book, references to John’s revolutionary position in wellness are extolled, starting with the introductory page declaration: John Harvey Kellogg and his brother Will launched and mass-marketed the concept of wellness and, in carrying out so, they altered how the planet eats breakfast. No much less than 350 million persons devour a bowl of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes just about every day.

The author states yet again and yet again that Dr. Kellogg’s biologic living need to be noticed in the context of modern wellness movement. One more example: With no doubt, his most long lasting contribution to American modern society was encouraging the active pursuit of wellness… the now commonplace thought of remaining wholesome in thoughts, entire body and spirit in get to encourage longevity and even protect against sickness.

Dr. Kellogg campaigned tirelessly versus sedentary existence, obesity, anxiety and anxiety, lead poisoning (from h2o conveyed by means of direct pipes), medicines, meat, tobacco, sugar, caffeine, alcoholic beverages and overeating. He also campaigned just as tirelessly on the optimistic aspect of wellness, for frequent, vigorous exercise, contemporary air, massage, clean drinking water, pressure administration, a lot of rest, soybeans and chopped nuts. He backed social reforms, as nicely, these kinds of as far better disorders for the poor, women’s suffrage and electricity conservation in agricultural tactics.

While Dr. Kellogg possibly in no way made use of or even heard the phrase wellness, he did title the wellness-like life style he promoted at his famed Battle Creek Sanitarium biologic living. Honest ample.

An Eccentric Genius with Boundless Electrical power and Ambition

Nobody’s ideal and that certainly contains the amazing Dr. Kellogg. Before an eventual falling out in excess of command of the Fight Creek Sanitarian and other issues, he was a protege of Ellen and James White. Ellen was a self-styled prophetess, conjuring self-serving visions of assorted sorts to elevate dollars and control her followers.The Seventh Working day Adventists of the time ended up anti-science, as is accurate of religious fundamentalism currently, mixing religious fervor with vegetarianism and other abstentions for more healthy living. The Adventist leaders designed a practice of predicting the imminent close of the planet, alongside with the Second Coming of Jesus, enlivened by hell fires for approximately all. In the beginning Dr. Kellogg went a action or two even further, railing from the evils of masturbation although insisting upon sexual abstinence, save for purposes of procreation – and only then if married partners so engaged took pains not to appreciate the procedure much too significantly. (This could have been an component of the doctor’s biologic living philosophy, but I’m not aware of any modern-day period wellness promoters having this situation. As the co-writer of Wellness Orgasms with Grant Donovan, I can assure you it surely is not discouraged in a True wellness orientation.)

Later in his job, soon after a split with Ellen White and the Adventists, Dr. Kellogg’s religious fervor abated, and his new scriptures had been generally associated to the marketing of biologic living in textbooks and lectures, exploration, philanthropy, interactions with globe leaders and nationwide stars from various walks of lifetime and, of program, his beloved Battle Creek Sanitarium.

Wellness Views of Certain Be aware

* Dr. Kellogg’s practical experience in the environment led him to believe that that people today don’t like to be reformed but they welcome being informed, taught and inspired to seem on the vibrant facet of lifetime, this a single and (in his intellect) the subsequent.

* Food items served up at the San (the Sanitarium) was to be organized and viewed not only as a preventative in opposition to indigestion and ailment but as nutritious pleasures that enabled diners to partake of a excellent share of life’s joys.

* As opposed to the development currently, Dr. Kellogg promoted gluten, which he regarded a person of the most hugely valued aspects of the grain that enriches brain, bone, nerves, muscle groups and blood.

* Immediately after the cessation of ties with Ellen White and the Adventists, Dr. Kellogg’s religious fervor diminished radically, and faith in general gave way to a devotion to biologic dwelling, mainly from a secular orientation.

* His beloved Corn Flakes were being the end result of a quest to develop the perfect food stuff. Writer Markel notes that Kellogg would be appalled to study that the multinational organization that carries the Kellogg identify these days derives its riches in great evaluate from possessing fortified its products and solutions with tons of sugar and artificial flavorings, including such abominations as Frosted Flakes.

* The physician experienced a aptitude for the dramatic. Markel describes his later on a long time becoming marked by liberty from inhibitions and the onset of entertaining eccentricities. Two routines stand out. A single was day-to-day exercising and sunbathing in a skimpy loincloth that hardly included his genitals the other peculiar pattern derived from taking specific pleasure in his bowel actions. To Dr. Kellogg, these specimens testified to the merits of biologic dietary patterns. He bragged to whomever would pay attention that his poop didn’t stink. He stated his stools smelled as sweet as individuals of a nursing little one – and insisted on proving it. The creator describes a regular come upon:

In the center of discussions, John would excuse himself to go to the rest room and arise with a container of his most recent fecal specimen. He then proudly put it less than the noses of his companions to show its odorless features.

The pity is that Monty Python did not make the The Road to Wellville motion picture. If John Cleese and company had filmed their interpretation of Dr. Kellogg’s fecal demonstrations, we could not be haunted so a great deal currently by the memory of Mr. Creosote’s denouement in The Which means of Existence. (Nevertheless we could possibly rather be unable to get the scene of Dr. Kellogg’s demonstration out of minds, either.)

The Dim Aspect Dr. Kellogg

Dr. Kellogg is rightly faulted for his attachment to and advertising of fifty percent-baked theories, which included chemically-created feminine castration therapies, immersing clients in chilled, irradiated h2o, subjecting company at the Sanitarium to what amounted to compelled marches before and immediately after meager meals and electric shock therapy. And then there was his infatuation with eugenics. This was a well-known pseudoscience in his day and thereafter, for a whilst. It was marked by an orientation to culling the gene pool of degenerates with unwell-fated, predestined dysfunctional natures or, worse, unwanted racial qualities. However, the physician had a take on eugenics not shared by its principal advocates, particularly that with biologic dwelling, a committed specific, or full segments of the populace could, around time, receive and transmit exceptional traits. In addition to biologic residing, this would transpire in live performance with the finest hygiene practices and much better living disorders. And, no doubt, getting master of their domains – Dr. Kellogg by no means gave up on his war from self-abuse.

(An aside right here. As a lecturer, I endeavor to interact with an viewers. So I am wondering – it may be enjoyable to consider a web site from John Harvey Kellogg now and then. I imagine most folks would take pleasure in a Kellogg-deserving rant about ghastly routines major to destroy (e.g., using tobacco, demon rum, overeating, sugar, and so on.), supplied they understood it was all theater. Further more, they also enjoy his upbeat aim on training, vegetables, human flourishing, even breakfast cereal (ahead of his company successors took about and frosted the flakes). All this would, of training course, be a setup for a climactic end when all oratorical guns were being pointed at the horrors of masturbation. Having a site from Billy Graham, Benny Hinn, Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart and that ilk, I’ll phase an altar connect with, with history new music of George Beverly Shea singing Just As I Am. I am going to invite viewers customers to occur ahead, confess to shaking palms with the Devil, pounding the flounder, pumping the python, yanking the crank – an abomination by any name, and to repent, reform and rejoice in the purity of Real wellness.

All this will be adopted by a massive near, one they would not shortly fail to remember. Just when they’re recovering from repenting, I’ll segue into a prideful account extolling the gains of the Kellogg diet regime. Taking nevertheless one more web site from wellness pioneer John Harvey, I’ll describe the benefits of the Kellogg diet that manifest at both of those finishes of the digestive process. Ought to everyone seem doubtful about my (Kellogg’s promises), I am going to do a John Harvey – I’ll say: Keep on just a minute: I’m going to go into the backroom but I’ll be proper again.

30 seconds later, when I arise with a specimen jar, the group will go wild – with anxiety. And then I’ll theatrically stalk a couple individuals, asking for volunteer noses keen to exam and testify to the deserves of my promises.

I hope it truly is not vital to mention that I would not truly be holding the real McCoy in the specimen container – just a glance-alike glob of mud rolled to perfection for the objective.)

A Real wellness speak should really by no means be uninteresting, or common. As I’ve mentioned several moments above the yrs, wellness is also significant to be offered, or lived, grimly.


The W. K. Kellogg charitable foundation designed by and named for his estranged brother Will is nowadays 1 of the greatest in the entire world, at this time valued at $9.5 billion. It is centered on advancing the wellbeing of youngsters and their family members in Michigan and during the U.S. and all-around the globe.

John Harvey Kellogg’s vitality amount and breath of achievements are gorgeous. He not only conceived of, produced and ran the planet popular Fight Creek Sanitarium, a globe university and spa but also performed exploration primary to new food items creations, proven healthcare,

nursing and cooking faculties, printed all over the world finest-providing books, pamphlets and stories, ran charitable missions, patented and successfully promoted a wide variety of mechanical inventions (like physical exercise equipment), funded community wellbeing tasks, task teaching courses, soup kitchens and significantly much more. He did all this whilst attending to the clinical wants and anxieties of the prosperous, the well known and the effective, as well as tens of hundreds of health and fitness seekers not in any these 3 categories.

As much as just about anything else, for improved or sometimes for even worse (as in the eugenics misadventure), he devoted himself to what he considered, the right way more generally than not, to the gain of all mankind.

Be effectively and irrespective of whether you connect with it biologic residing, wellness, Real wellness or some thing, choose properly and love existence as significantly as you can.

Recommended Articles