John Harvey Kellogg: An Overlooked Pioneer of Wellness and a Very Colorful Character


Dr. Halbert L. Dunn was a character, as is accurate of abounding wellness pioneers. The aforementioned is accurate of such luminaries as John W. (Jack) Travis, Bill Hettler, Robert and Judd Allen and Grant Donovan. Apply the appellation wellness broadly enough, as about anybody does, and all bloom promoters are wellness pioneers. I accept in a appearance of wellness advance wherein anyone who writes a book about animal flourishing, or speaks to a chic or admirers about wellbeing, edits a annual or newsletter on the subject, encourages a adolescent or acquaintance or contrarily supports accomplishing added than a lot of to breed bloom and beatitude is a wellness pioneer. And a character, as well, aback we all accept our eccentricities of one affectionate or another.

There are, however, abounding bloom advance pioneers, characters and advocates who angle out because they fabricated a big name for themselves announcement appropriate lifestyles, patterns of cerebration and acting that abounding now apperceive as wellness in nature. A few ablaze abreast examples who focused on exercise and complete diets cover Kenneth Cooper, Francois Henri Jack LaLanne, Jane Fonda, Marion Nestle, Michelle Obama and Richard Simmons. Yes, if the agreement ablaze and exercise are mentioned, there’s no way to avoid Richard Simmons.

Most abreast Americans with an absorption in advantageous lifestyles admit these names, abnormally the celebrity types. However, none comes abutting to accepting accomplished the fame, or the influence, of arguably the a lot of ablaze and conceivably a lot of consequential wellness appearance of all – John Harvey Kellogg (2/26/1852 – 12/14/1943).

Biologic Living

While absolutely accustomed with Dr. Kellogg (I admired T. Coraghessan Boyle’s 1993 novel, The Road to Wellville and the 1994 cine acclimatized from it starring Anthony Hopkins, Bridget Fonda and Matthew Broderick), a 2017 book about him has reignited my interest. The book appellation is, The Kelloggs: The Battling Brothers of Battle Creek by physician/ historian Howard Markel (391 pages additional 87 pages of addendum and a 25 page index).

I awful acclaim it.

On the central anorak of The Kellogg’s, Dr. Markel proclaims John Harvey the angel saint of the following of wellness and a baron of wellness. Throughout the book, references to John’s beat role in wellness are extolled, alpha with the anterior page declaration: John Harvey Kellogg and his brother Will alien and mass-marketed the abstraction of wellness and, in accomplishing so, they afflicted how the apple eats breakfast. No beneath than 350 actor humans absorb a basin of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes every day.

The columnist states afresh and afresh that Dr. Kellogg’s biologic alive should be apparent in the ambience of today’s wellness movement. Accession example: Without doubt, his a lot of abiding accession to American association was auspicious the alive following of wellness… the now commonplace abstraction of getting advantageous in mind, physique and spirit in adjustment to advance constancy and even anticipate illness.

Dr. Kellogg campaigned endlessly adjoin desk lifestyles, obesity, accent and anxiety, advance contagion (from baptize conveyed through advance pipes), medications, meat, tobacco, sugar, caffeine, booze and overeating. He aswell campaigned just as endlessly on the absolute ancillary of wellness, for regular, active exercise, beginning air, massage, apple-pie water, accent management, lots of sleep, soybeans and chopped nuts. He backed amusing reforms, as well, such as bigger altitude for the poor, women’s capitalism and activity attention in agronomical practices.

While Dr. Kellogg apparently never acclimated or even heard the appellation wellness, he did name the wellness-like affairs he answer at his acclaimed Battle Creek Sanitarium biologic living. Fair enough.

An Eccentric Genius with Boundless Activity and Ambition

Nobody’s absolute and that absolutely includes the amazing Dr. Kellogg. Afore an closing falling out over ascendancy of the Battle Creek Sanitarian and added issues, he was a protege of Ellen and James White. Ellen was a self-styled prophetess, abracadabra egoistic visions of assorted kinds to accession money and ascendancy her followers.The Seventh Day Adventists of the time were anti-science, as is accurate of religious fundamentalism today, bond religious animation with vegetarianism and added abstentions for convalescent living. The Adventist leaders fabricated a addiction of admiration the approaching end of the world, forth with the Second Coming of Jesus, aggressive by hell fires for about all. Initially Dr. Kellogg went a footfall or two further, balustrade adjoin the evils of masturbation while insisting aloft animal abstinence, save for purposes of coition – and alone again if affiliated couples so affianced took pains not to adore the action too much. (This may accept been an aspect of the doctor’s biologic alive philosophy, but I’m not acquainted of any avant-garde era wellness promoters demography this position. As the co-author of Wellness Orgasms with Grant Donovan, I can assure you it absolutely is not beat in a REAL wellness orientation.)

Later in his career, afterwards a breach with Ellen White and the Adventists, Dr. Kellogg’s religious animation abated, and his new scriptures were mainly accompanying to the advance of biologic alive in books and lectures, research, philanthropy, interactions with apple leaders and civic celebrities from assorted walks of activity and, of course, his admired Battle Creek Sanitarium.

Wellness Perspectives of Particular Note

* Dr. Kellogg’s acquaintance in the apple led him to accept that humans don’t like to be reformed; but they acceptable getting informed, accomplished and encouraged to accessory on the ablaze ancillary of life, this one and (in his mind) the next.

* Aliment served up at the San (the Sanitarium) was to be able and beheld not alone as a bactericide adjoin indigestion and affliction but as advantageous pleasures that enabled diners to partake of a acceptable allotment of life’s joys.

* Unlike the trend today, Dr. Kellogg answer gluten, which he advised one of the a lot of awful admired elements of the atom that enriches brain, bone, nerves, anatomy and blood.

* Afterwards the abeyance of ties with Ellen White and the Adventists, Dr. Kellogg’s religious animation beneath dramatically, and adoration in accepted gave way to a adherence to biologic living, mostly from a civil orientation.

* His admired Corn Flakes were the acme of a adventure to actualize the absolute food. Columnist Markel addendum that Kellogg would be afraid to apprentice that the bunch abutting that carries the Kellogg name today derives its abundance in acceptable admeasurement from accepting adherent its articles with bags of amoroso and bogus flavorings, including such abominations as Arctic Flakes.

* The doctor had a ability for the dramatic. Markel describes his afterwards years getting apparent by abandon from inhibitions and the access of absorbing eccentricities. Two habits angle out. One was circadian exercise and sunbathing in a deficient loincloth that almost covered his genitals; the added appropriate addiction acquired from demography appropriate pride in his bowel movements. To Dr. Kellogg, these specimens testified to the claim of biologic comestible habits. He bragged to whomever would accept that his annual didn’t stink. He said his stools smelled as candied as those of a nursing babyish – and insisted on proving it. The columnist describes a archetypal encounter:

In the average of conversations, John would alibi himself to go to the bath and appear with a alembic of his a lot of contempo begrimed specimen. He again proudly placed it beneath the noses of his assembly to authenticate its odorless qualities.

The benevolence is that Monty Python did not aftermath the The Road to Wellville movie. If John Cleese and aggregation had filmed their estimation of Dr. Kellogg’s begrimed demonstrations, we ability not be apparitional so abundant today by the anamnesis of Mr. Creosote’s accident in The Meaning of Life. (Though we ability instead be clumsy to get the arena of Dr. Kellogg’s affirmation out of minds, either.)

The Dark Ancillary Dr. Kellogg

Dr. Kellogg is accurately faulted for his adapter to and advance of backward theories, which included chemically-produced changeable castration treatments, immersing patients in chilled, ablaze water, subjecting guests at the Sanitarium to what amounted to affected marches afore and afterwards bare commons and electric shock therapy. And again there was his admiration with eugenics. This was a accepted pseudoscience in his day and thereafter, for a while. It was apparent by an acclimatization to alternative the gene basin of degenerates with ill-fated, absolute abortive natures or, worse, abominable ancestral qualities. However, the doctor had a yield on ancestry not aggregate by its capital advocates, namely that with biologic living, a committed individual, or accomplished segments of the citizenry could, over time, access and address above traits. In accession to biologic living, this would arise in concert with the best hygiene practices and bigger alive conditions. And, no doubt, getting adept of their domains – Dr. Kellogg never gave up on his war adjoin self-abuse.

(An abreast here. As a lecturer, I attack to collaborate with an audience. So I’m cerebration – it ability be fun to yield a page from John Harvey Kellogg now and then. I anticipate a lot of association would adore a Kellogg-worthy bluster about abhorrent habits arch to ruin (e.g., smoking, demon rum, overeating, sugar, etc.), provided they accomplished it was all theater. Further, they aswell acknowledge his upbeat focus on exercise, vegetables, animal flourishing, even breakfast atom (before his accumulated breed took over and arctic the flakes). All this would, of course, be a bureaucracy for a acute accomplishment if all bombastic accoutrements were acicular at the horrors of masturbation. Demography a page from Billy Graham, Benny Hinn, Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart and that ilk, I’ll date an chantry call, with accomplishments music of George Beverly Shea singing Just As I Am. I’ll allure admirers associates to appear forward, acknowledge to afraid easily with the Devil, anguish the flounder, pumping the python, yanking the crank – an abhorrence by any name, and to repent, ameliorate and rejoice in the abstention of REAL wellness.

All this will be followed by a big close, one they will not anon forget. Just if they’re convalescent from repenting, I’ll segue into a affected annual extolling the allowances of the Kellogg diet. Demography yet accession page from wellness avant-garde John Harvey, I’ll alarm the rewards of the Kellogg diet that apparent at both ends of the digestive process. Should anyone accessory arguable about my (Kellogg’s claims), I’ll do a John Harvey – I’ll say: Hold on just a minute: I’m traveling to go into the backroom but I’ll be appropriate back.

Thirty abnormal later, if I appear with a case jar, the army will go agrarian – with fear. And again I’ll theatrically axis a few folks, allurement for advance noses accommodating to analysis and affirm to the claim of my claims.

I achievement it’s not all-important to acknowledgment that I would not in fact be captivation the absolute McCoy in the case alembic – just a look-alike block of mud formed to accomplishment for the purpose.)

A REAL wellness allocution should never be boring, or conventional. As I’ve said abounding times over the years, wellness is too important to be presented, or lived, grimly.


The W. K. Kellogg accommodating foundation created by and called for his conflicting brother Will is today one of the bigger in the world, currently admired at $9.5 billion. It is focused on advancing the bloom of accouchement and their families in Michigan and throughout the U.S. and about the globe.

John Harvey Kellogg’s activity akin and animation of accomplishments are stunning. He not alone conceived of, developed and ran the apple acclaimed Battle Creek Sanitarium, a apple university and spa but aswell conducted analysis arch to new aliment creations, accustomed medical,

nursing and affable schools, appear common acknowledged books, pamphlets and reports, ran accommodating missions, patented and auspiciously answer a array of automated inventions (including exercise machines), adjourned accessible bloom projects, job training programs, soup kitchens and abundant more. He did all this while accessory to the medical needs and worries of the rich, the acclaimed and the powerful, as able-bodied as tens of bags of bloom seekers not in any these three categories.

As abundant as annihilation else, for bigger or occasionally for worse (as in the ancestry misadventure), he adherent himself to what he believed, accurately added generally than not, to the account of all mankind.

Be able-bodied and whether you alarm it biologic living, wellness, REAL wellness or something, accept wisely and adore activity as abundant as you can.