American Health: a history of insanity pt 2

Posted on April 18, 2011. Filed under: Nutrition | Tags: , , , , |

As I mentioned before, a lot of things we take for granted in relation to health and nutrition tends to be hung up on the idea of method, not principle.

It gets even harder when those method are guided by personal ideas of morality.

In the 1830’s, Reverend Sylvester Graham believed that deadly sin gluttony was a gateway to lust and depravity. In fact any person who would deal in such sinful excess, was basically evil.  Graham thought men should remain virgins until age 30, and then should only have sex once a month after marriage. This included self satisfaction as well, it would only lead to “a body full of disease” and mental illness.

To get rid of hunger, both sexual and nutritional, Graham prescribed a vegetarian diet that included a biscuit he’d created which later became known as the Graham Cracker.

Who wants Smores 🙂

As we get into the 1860’s we get a bit more “scientific”  Dr. James Salisbury proposed a high protein diet of ground meat patties and hot water. He believed that “starches” were not only bad for you but would turn into poisonous substances during digestion.  His solution, eat ground meat three times per day with limited amounts of vegetables, fruits and starchy foods.  Hmmm, that philosophy ounds familiar 😉

Today you can still order Salisbury steaks in certain restaurants.  And in my opinion, having suffered through this culinary delight for many a year in school cafeterias, never ever order one.  😛

As we get into the early 1920’s, we hear about food combining.  Pavlov, the guy who experimented with bells and dogs, had a theory that combining protein rich foods and carbohydrate rich foods together was the greatest problem in digestion.

Then we have my all time favorite early 1900’s health nut, Dr. john Harvey Kellog.

If there was ever a guy you did not want to treat you, it was him.

Kellogg invented Corn Flakes and an early version of granola to reduce sexual desire and curb the “epidemic” of masturbation.  He also recommended that small boys be circumcised without anesthetic so they would forever associate the penis with pain. Women should have their clitorises treated with carbolic acid to prevent what he called “abnormal excitement.”

He was also a huge enema enthusiast to cleanse the body, mind and soul.

Kellogg’s regimen of vegetarianism and colon cleansing were comically depicted in the 1994 filmThe Road to Wellsville with Anthony Hopkins portraying the good doctor.

I can’t recommend this movie enough, classic scene:

Kellogg: Nurse Graves?

Graves: Yes Doctor?

Kellogg: Take Mister Lightbody immediately to the yogurt room and give him fifteen gallons.

Lightbody: Oh no, no. I can’t eat fifteen gallons of yogurt.

Kellogg: Oh it’s not going in that end, Mr. Lightbody.

Too be fair, it’s Dr. Kellog’s brother who takes the cereal and builds the cereal company.

But even then, the idea that the foundation of the breakfast cereal industry is built on the idea of killing your sexual urges, is just too funny.

Part of a balanced breakfast indeed.

These men and others contributed to the “confusion” that many people have today. And I have no doubt they were well intentioned, but again these were men with methods, trying to build them as if they are principles.

I believe Jack LaLanne’s career spanned so long, simply because he was not afraid to be wrong about his methods, while he stuck to the principles.

Now eventually the exercise culture starts to crossover into the general conscience. And that’s where the real fun begins.

Because you can’t really talk about the insanity of nutrition nowadays without talking about supplements.

Best Health,

Coach W


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One Response to “American Health: a history of insanity pt 2”

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I believe this is the most I have ever seen you write about sex (or sexual desire). Coincidentally, I enjoyed reading this. 😛

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