True Cellular Formulas Team - December 28, 2023
Unusual Origins and Ancestral Eating
Kellogg's cereal is a name synonymous with breakfast tables worldwide, a staple in many households for its convenience and variety. Yet, few know the peculiar and somewhat controversial history behind its inception, a tale intricately tied to the beliefs and ambitions of its creator, John Harvey Kellogg.
John Harvey Kellogg, a prominent physician, nutritionist, and health activist of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, held strong views on diet and health. More intriguingly, Kellogg harbored an intense aversion to masturbation, which he believed was harmful to physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. In his quest to discourage this practice, which he saw as an epidemic of sorts, Kellogg advocated for a bland diet, theorizing that spicy or flavorful foods increased sexual desire and, consequently, the likelihood of masturbation.
This belief directly influenced the development of Kellogg's cereal. Kellogg, alongside his brother Will Keith Kellogg, experimented with food to create a breakfast option that was not only healthful in their view but also bland enough to discourage what John saw as unhealthy sexual urges. This led to the creation of the now-famous Kellogg's Corn Flakes, a product initially intended as an anti-masturbatory morning meal.
The Kellogg brothers' invention, born out of an eccentric health campaign, unknowingly laid the foundation for what would become a global breakfast phenomenon. However, the origins of Kellogg's cereal reflect a stark contrast to modern dietary trends, especially when considering the growing interest in returning to more traditional eating patterns.
The Shift in Dietary Trends Over Time
Since the era of John Harvey Kellogg, the landscape of our diets has undergone significant transformations. The advent of industrialization brought with it the rise of processed foods, fundamentally altering what and how people ate. This marked a departure from the more natural, whole-food-based diets that our ancestors adhered to.
Processed foods, characterized by their convenience and long shelf-life, gradually dominated the market, leading to a decline in traditional eating habits. These foods often contain high levels of sugars, unhealthy fats, and artificial additives, contributing to a myriad of health issues, including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.[2-4] This shift has been detrimental to public health, sparking a growing concern among health professionals and nutritionists.
Interestingly, this concern has reignited interest in ancestral eating patterns. These diets, often described as Paleo, primal, or hunter-gatherer diets, focus on consuming foods that would have been available to our early ancestors. This means a diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods such as meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds—essentially, foods that are nourishing, natural, and minimally altered from their original form.
The contrast between these ancestral diets and the modern diet is stark. As we delve deeper into the benefits of returning to the ways our ancestors ate, it becomes increasingly clear that there's much to be learned from the past, particularly in terms of achieving optimal health and wellness.
Revisiting Ancestral Eating Patterns
Ancestral diets, often depicted through the Paleo or primal lens, are not just a trend but a return to the eating habits of our early ancestors. These diets emphasize the consumption of high-quality, nutrient-dense foods that are naturally available, mirroring the eating patterns of hunter-gatherer societies.
Central to these diets are high fat and high protein intakes, primarily sourced from animal foods like meat, fish, and eggs. Contrary to the low-fat trends that dominated the late 20th century, ancestral eating patterns embrace healthy fats from sources like nuts, seeds, avocados, and certain oils. This approach stands in stark contrast to the modern diet, which often relies heavily on carbohydrates and processed foods.
The reasoning behind this approach is simple yet profound: Our ancestors thrived on these nutrient-rich diets, which provided them with the necessary energy, strength, and overall health to survive and flourish. By consuming a variety of animal foods, they ensured a balanced intake of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. In modern times, with the prevalence of nutrient-depleted processed foods, revisiting these ancestral eating habits could be key to combating various health issues.
Benefits of Ancestral Eating for Health and Well-being
Adopting an ancestral diet can have numerous health benefits, particularly in the realm of hormonal balance and overall well-being.[5,7] One of the primary advantages of a diet rich in high-quality fats and proteins is its impact on hormonal health. Healthy fats play a crucial role in hormone production, including sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen, which are vital for overall health and well-being.
Libido and sexual health, often indicators of overall health, can also benefit from this shift in diet. Ancestral eating provides the body with all the necessary nutrients it needs to function optimally, potentially leading to an enhanced libido and better sexual health.
Another significant benefit is satiety and nourishment. High-fat and high-protein diets are known for their ability to provide lasting fullness, reducing the need for frequent snacking and overeating. This aspect of ancestral diets can be particularly beneficial in managing weight and preventing obesity, a growing concern in many modern societies.
Moreover, these diets often lead to improved energy levels, mental clarity, and a strengthened immune system, all of which contribute to a better quality of life. The emphasis on whole, unprocessed foods means a reduction in the consumption of sugars and additives, which are often linked to health issues like inflammation, mood swings, and chronic diseases.
As we continue to face various health challenges in the modern world, the ancestral approach to eating offers a promising path back to health and vitality, grounded in the wisdom of our past.
Implementing Ancestral Eating Habits in Modern Life
Transitioning to an ancestral diet in today's fast-paced world may seem daunting, but it is entirely feasible with some guidance and planning. Here are practical tips to help integrate these eating habits into modern lifestyles:
- Start with Whole Foods: Focus on unprocessed, whole foods. This means choosing fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, fish, eggs, nuts, and seeds. Avoid packaged and processed foods as much as possible.
- Plan Your Meals: Meal planning can be a game-changer. Set aside time each week to plan your meals, ensuring you have the necessary ingredients for nutritious, ancestral diet-friendly meals.
- Cook at Home: Cooking at home allows you to control what goes into your food. Experiment with simple, wholesome recipes that emphasize the quality of ingredients.
- Mindful Shopping: When shopping, stick to the perimeter of the grocery store where fresh foods are typically located. Be cautious of food labels and avoid items with a long list of unrecognizable ingredients.
- Gradual Transition: If you're new to this way of eating, start slowly. Gradually replace processed foods with whole food alternatives. This gradual shift can make the transition more sustainable.
- Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how your body responds to these dietary changes. Everyone is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another.
By integrating these habits, we can bridge the gap between ancestral dietary principles and our modern-day lifestyle, reaping the benefits of nourishment and health that our ancestors enjoyed.
The story of Kellogg's cereal is more than a tale of a breakfast staple; it's a reflection of how far we've strayed from our dietary roots. John Harvey Kellogg's intentions, though questionable by today's standards, highlight a time when the connection between diet and health was viewed through a very different lens.
Today, as we grapple with a host of diet-related health issues, there's a growing recognition of the wisdom inherent in ancestral eating patterns. Embracing a diet rich in natural, unprocessed foods, akin to what our ancestors thrived on, offers a promising path towards improved health, hormonal balance, and overall well-being.
As we close this discussion, we encourage readers to explore and consider these dietary changes. Whether it's for improved health, better hormonal balance, or simply a desire to connect with the dietary practices of our past, the journey back to ancestral eating is one worth embarking on.
- “The Strange Story behind Your Breakfast Cereal.” JSTOR, daily.jstor.org/the-strange-backstory-behind-your-breakfast-cereal/. Accessed 27 Dec. 2023.
- Juul, Filippa et al. “Ultra-processed Foods and Cardiovascular Diseases: Potential Mechanisms of Action.” Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.) vol. 12,5 (2021): 1673-1680. doi:10.1093/advances/nmab049
- Poti, Jennifer M et al. “Ultra-processed Food Intake and Obesity: What Really Matters for Health-Processing or Nutrient Content?.” Current obesity reports vol. 6,4 (2017): 420-431. doi:10.1007/s13679-017-0285-4
- Chen, Zhangling et al. “Ultra-Processed Food Consumption and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Three Large Prospective U.S. Cohort Studies.” Diabetes care vol. 46,7 (2023): 1335-1344. doi:10.2337/dc22-1993
- Kresser, Chris. What Is an Ancestral Diet and How Does It Help You?, 13 Dec. 2022, chriskresser.com/what-is-an-ancestral-diet-and-how-does-it-help-you/. Accessed 26 Dec. 2023.
- Grotto, David, and Elisa Zied. “The Standard American Diet and its relationship to the health status of Americans.” Nutrition in clinical practice : official publication of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition vol. 25,6 (2010): 603-12. doi:10.1177/0884533610386234
- “Ways to Support Female’s Hormones through Nutrition.” Recreational Services, 28 Sept. 2023, recreation.gsu.edu/2023/09/28/ways-to-support-females-hormones-through-nutrition/.
- Mumford, Sunni L et al. “Dietary fat intake and reproductive hormone concentrations and ovulation in regularly menstruating women.” The American journal of clinical nutrition vol. 103,3 (2016): 868-77. doi:10.3945/ajcn.115.119321
- Leidy, Heather J. “Increased dietary protein as a dietary strategy to prevent and/or treat obesity.” Missouri medicine vol. 111,1 (2014): 54-8.
- Firth, Joseph et al. “Food and mood: how do diet and nutrition affect mental wellbeing?.” BMJ (Clinical research ed.) vol. 369 m2382. 29 Jun. 2020, doi:10.1136/bmj.m2382