August 25, 2011

There Was More to Kellogg Than Cornflakes

 I have fallen in love with a dead guy. His name was Dr. Joseph H. Kellogg and he lived between 1852 and 1943.  You know him from his cereals, no doubt, but did you know he formulated the well known Corn Flake to help prevent masturbation? Yes, our well loved breakfast cereal was originally thought to ward off any impulse toward this "deviant" behaviour (in his paraphrased words). So..ya..some of his practices and beliefs were a little whack. He was focused on the exercising bowl at least 3 times a day and for those lucky enough to attend his wellness center, he supplied 6 enemas a day to his clientele.

Dr. Kellogg was a health promotion visionary. His paper on "Biologic Living" gave me goosebumps.  I have included the link to this site here in case you want to read this paper in it's entirety. If you are a health professional, I strongly recommend it.

Biologic living means health, comfort, efficiency, long life. It means good digestion, sound sleep, a clear head, a placid mind, content and joy to be alive.   - Dr. J. H. Kellogg
His general rules included daily attention to cultivating personal health as you would your home and workplace.  He promoted the recognition of good health as our most valuable assets and treated as such (God, I love him).  I'm most certain that if he were alive today, I would make a pilgrimage to him if only just to touch the hem of his garment (okay...maybe going a bit towards the dramatic, but kinda keeping with the metaphore of health as a religion). Of course, I didn't know the man, but based upon the time he lived I can guess he wasn't driven by selling his book or weight loss product (maybe the odd Corn Flake and health spa membership). He promoted a simple life surrounded by nature. 

Ironically, Dr. K looks kinda like "the Colonel" (as in Sanders).
His paper includes "rules" for eating, exercising, personal hygiene, sleep, and mental health. Some of my favorites include his rule of eating only natural foods, taking care to avoid protein in excess, avoidance of animal fats, and eat when hungry and not because it's mealtime or someone has invited you to.  Kellogg also noted the importance of mindfulness at the table; to avoid thinking about work, worries, and the cares of business. Brilliant.

Some fresh, uncooked food should be eaten at each meal in the form of fresh fruits or fruit juices, lettuce, raw cabbage, cucumber, and other salads.  - Dr. K
Okay, so we have learned a little since Kellogg walked the earth. We know that fruit juice isn't that great an option but he was still on to something. To this day, these messages repeat themselves over and over in many diet and healthy eating programs. New books are written and published all the time that paraphrase what was said a long time ago.

For all the fitness testers out there, interestingly enough, Dr. K patented the Grip Dynamometer used by YMCAs all over the country to test grip strength in the very popular fitness testing services.  To this day, the Grip Dynamometer is still used.  Why? I have no clue.

His notes on exercising for health included doing as much work outside in the open air and sleeping with a window open to breath it in at night. He even went as far to suggest options for the person who is sedentary at work (a desk job)...
One need not degenerate physically because his ocupation is sedentary. Always sit erect, with chest held high and the small of the back supported. Sit as little as possible. Standing and lying ar emore natural and healthful positions than sitting. One may exercise while sitting at work by deep breathing and by stiffening the muscles of first one limb a few seconds, then the other. All the muscles in the body may be exercised in this way. 
- Dr. (Smartypants) Kellogg
Finally, his insights into mental hygiene were also very progressive for his time. From avoiding worry and self-centeredness to cultivating altruistic ideals and optimistic thoughts (sounds like someone else I know...starts with an O; ends with an ah), Dr. K was on fire when it came to mental health practice.  He even suggested to take a vacation from work when all you dream of is work (at night....not in a "I love my job so much" kinda way either).

You know why she's so happy? Her husband
now takes shorter showers!
Anyway, I was so taken back by this guy after stumbling upon his writings that I just had to write something about him. I highly recommend checking out his paper. He has also authored many many books in the medical field and it is my goal to hunt one of these down for my antique book collection. So that's all I got for now....except this final (and equally fabulous) quote from my BDFF (best dead friend forever)...
Do not worry. The Power that made us can and does take care of us. There is no need to worry. The intelligence that controls and energizes heart and lungs can rule our destinies and with our co-operation will lead our lives in ways where "all things work together for good" to us.  Worry kills. Hope inspires,uplifts. Cheer up.  

-Dr. J. H. Kellogg


  1. P.S. For anyone who notices (as I would) please excuse the font changes...this blog program really acted up today. My apologies.


  2. Hi "HGH Review";

    I am a little confused to the nature of your comment, but thank you for taking the time to comment (and hopefully read) my blog.

    All the best!

  3. Kathi,

    This is a good post - I have read it couple of times and have read the link.
    He was brilliant! As I re-read it this morning -I thought of your juice comment....given the time he was writing this - it would have been a fresh pressed juice...not the pasteurized crap that we get now. So it would have been good for you.
    Keep blogging

  4. Hey! Thanks for the post Anon. He was a very
    Progressive guy for sure. Glad you are still reading
    Keep up the great comments. They make my day! K