Have Some Viagra With Your Corn Flakes

Ever wonder about the roots of the whole "Don't eat meat, eat lots of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, caffeine and alcohol are evil" ethos? Take a look at this excerpt from Chapter 11 of Plain Facts for Old and Young by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. Yes, that Kellogg, the guy who invented the corn flake. The title of this chapter, should you not care to click through to the link, is "TREATMENT FOR SELF-ABUSE AND ITS EFFECTS."

The following precautions are necessary to be observed in relation to diet: --

1. Never overeat. If too much food is taken at one meal, fast the next meal to give the system a chance to recover itself, and to serve as a barrier against future transgressions of the same kind. Gluttony is fatal to chastity; and overeating will be certain to cause emissions, with other evils, in one whose organs are weakened by abuse.

2. Eat but twice a day, or, if supper is eaten, let it be very light, and of the most simple food, as fruit, or fruit and bread. Nothing should be eaten within four or five hours of bed-time, and it is much better to eat nothing after three o'clock. The ancients ate but two meals a day; why should moderns eat three or four? If the stomach contains undigested food, the sleep will be disturbed, dreams will be more abundant, and emissions will be frequent. A most imperative rule of life should be, "Never go to bed with a loaded stomach." The violation of this rule is the great cause of dreams and nightmares.

3. Discard all stimulating food. Under this head must be included spices, pepper, ginger, mustard, cinnamon, cloves, essences, all condiments, pickles, etc., together with flesh food in any but moderate quantities. It is hardly to be expected that all who have been accustomed to use these articles all their lives, will discard them wholly at once, nor, perhaps, that many will ever discard them entirely; but it would be better for them to do so, nevertheless.

4. Stimulating drinks should be abstained from with still greater strictness. Wine, beer, tea, and coffee should be taken under no circumstances. The influence of coffee in stimulating the genital organs is notorious. Chocolate should be discarded also. It is recommended by some who suppose it to be harmless, being ignorant of the fact that it contains a poison practically identical with that of tea and coffee.

Hot drinks of all kinds should be avoided.

Tobacco, another stimulant, although not a drink, should be totally abandoned at once.

5. In place of such articles as have been condemned, eat fruits, grains, milk, and vegetables. There is a rich variety of these kinds of food, and they are wholesome and unstimulating. Graham flour, oatmeal, and ripe fruit are the indispensables of a dietary for those who are suffering from sexual excesses.

In other words, the point of a vegetarian diet based on grains was to reduce sex drive, thus helping to prevent that most awful of scourges, masturbation. If you read the chapter linked to, you will discover that this is about the least crazy thing Dr. Kellogg recommends. By the way, Doc Kellogg wasn't just against masturbation; he discouraged married couples from having sex any more often than they absolutely had to, and claimed his own marriage was completely chaste.

Dr. Sylvester Graham, for whom the Graham cracker is named, also recommended a vegetarian diet based on grains specifically to reduce sex drive.

I have no idea if it worked, though I do know that steroid hormones are made from cholesterol -- the body can, of course, make cholesterol itself if we don't eat it, but still, my morning cheese omelet can't have hurt. But it's interesting to know that the shift from breakfasts of eggs and bacon to cold cereal, and advocacy of a vegetarian diet in America, originally had the aim of killing libido.

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Yes, Dr. Kellogg was a flake...

I don't know if he or Dr. Graham were the first to advocate vegetarianism, but I've long known about Dr. Kellogg's hair-brained ideas. LOL...even when I went through a "born again" period in my life, I thought his recommendation of abstinence within marriage to be utterly absurd.

I *do* miss graham crackers. I wish I could make low-carb S'mores...only the graham crackers are holding me back from my dream.

Great

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[Well, gosh, thank you SO MUCH, "John Adams". Golly gee, it's not every day we get a comment from a dead US President! And one that has apparently been resurrected as a SPAMMER, no less! We'll make sure to preserve your kind comments on our "fascinating blog with lots of stuff you can get into" for everyone else to LAUGH THEIR ASSES OFF AT. Cheers!]

Breakfast of Champions

Reducing libido is exactly why Wheaties were developed. This ties in to the old wives tale that athletes performed better if they didn't "indulge".

My grandmother had an old medical book that recommended a diet heavy in "nourishing grains" to control "self abuse" in young children. It's a wonder that more kids didn't grow up fat in the early part of the 20th century!

Who knew this prescription actually worked! You're right, this is a great time for the makers of Viagra.

Graham & Kellogg

Years ago I read an interesting book called Nuts Among the Berries by Ronald M. Deutsch. It detailed many of the same stories as The Road to Wellville. I loved it! Might still be available.

The Road to Wellville

If you haven't seen the film The Road to Wellville, about Dr. Kellogg (starring Matthew Broderick, Nicole Kidman, & Anthony Hopkins), you must. The film is based on the book of the same title, though according to the wikipedia entries, the film follows the book fairly loosely.

Perhaps the puritanical vegetarian theme Dr. Kellogg espoused hit too close to home for modern viewers (who been exposed to a lot of vegetarian propaganda the past few decades) is the reason the film didn't do very well at the box office.

The Road To Wellville

Eh, I figured it did poorly because it kinda sucked. I loved the book, and was excited about the movie -- what with Matthew Broderick, Bridget Fonda (not Nicole Kidman) and Anthony Hopkins, it seemed like a winner. But I found it really fell flat.