Monday, March 2, 2009

From the Postum’s Cereal package in 1901:

“A toothsome and healthful beverage. Coffee sick people seldom charge their ill feelings to the true cause. Analytical chemistry shows the poisonous alkaloids of coffee, as in tobacco, whisky, and morphine. A perfectly healthy man or woman can stand these for a time, but ‘constant dripping wears a stone’ and finally headache, torpid liver, sick stomach or heart, and that ‘weak all over’ feeling show that a poisoned nervous system is calling for help and relief”… “This natural food drink has a fragrance of its own. It is not tea or coffee, but is made from healthful grains. Those who care to conserve their health and bodily vigor will find that the unnatural taste for tea and coffee will leave them in a few days, and a natural taste for a healthful drink will take its place.”

Yes, caffeine is bad for you. I’ve danced with the brown demon since my father started giving me coffee as a toddler, and that stuff will mess you up, man. That said, I struggle with coffee substitutes as a concept the same way I do with non-alcoholic beer. If you can’t have alcohol or caffeine, have a nice glass of grape juice or something. Do you need something that tastes terrible (or in the case of non-alcoholic beer, doesn’t have any particular taste at all) but bears a physical resemblance to what your friends are happily poisoning themselves with? Are you really that ashamed of your life choices? You’re on the moral high ground, buddy. Revel in it!

Speaking of the moral high ground…the early days of cereal. Ah, what a wacky, anally fixated time.

The late 1800s and early 1900s were an interesting time for western medicine. Medical science was moving forward at a rapid rate, while increasing global travel, emigration, population concentration, and the side effects of industry were leading to outbreaks of serious illnesses like TB, Polio, Typhoid…illnesses seen in the U.S. before but now in much larger numbers. The middle and upper classes were touched by these diseases along side their servants and laborers, and set about doing what the wealthy have done for thousands of years…spa!

Many Americans who could afford to do so flocked to hot springs and sanitariums in hopes of adopting a life style that would cure their diseases or prevent them. Methods ranged from simply sitting around in warm water to more bizarre extremes of diet and lifestyle.

One of the largest and most famous of these spas was off course the Battle Creek Sanitarium owned by the Kellogg brothers. The Kelloggs encouraged a diet low in proteins and high in fibers and carbohydrates (hence the cereal), and a lifestyle of frequent exercise and enemas.

Sojourner Truth visited the spa. So it’s likely that the employees of the people who invented Corn Flakes were giving Sojourner Truth enemas.

The source above also claims that John Harvey Kellogg may have grafted some of his own skin onto Sojourner’s leg.

John Harvey was famously something of an extremist when it came to health, favoring yogurt enemas, abstinence even from masturbation and marital intercourse, and strict vegetarianism.
From the museum of quackery:

See Dr. Kelloggs explanation of his superiority to god.

The Kelloggs employed several kinds of machinotherapy, using devices often invented by the pair to, say, stimulate the bowels:

These things always remind me of an old piece of exercise equiptment my grandmother had...

Maybe exercize equiptment tomorrow...maybe more on the 7th day adventists. Not much trivia today.

No comments:

Post a Comment