Not Past It - A Race for a Better Breakfast


Hello, where do you keep your cereal cereal?


There are a few constants in this world, but I know one thing’s for sure.

If I walk down the cereal aisle and pretty much any grocery store or stumble around the bodega down the block.


Oh, second second row.

I see this way.

The one thing I am bound to find our Corn Flakes.

So crispy Corn Flakes.


Feel like one of those things that have just always been there, but they were invented in 1894 by Two Brothers.

Their names were will and John Kellogg, will was the younger one and a businessman at heart.

The older brother.

John was a doctor with a particular interest.


In what today we might call gut health.

The doctor wanted to create a food.

That was easily digested a grain food.

That’s dr.

Howard Markel.

He wrote a whole book on the Kellogg brothers.

And he says that one fateful night in the Kellogg’s kitchen after working late.


The brothers left, a batch of dough on the counter overnight.

It might have been a mistake, but this happy accident, triggered a chemical process called tempering.

And when you bake that, in a certain way, Way the way, they didn’t it easily flakes off and makes these little golden Flakes and that was the moment.


Boom, baked flakes of cereal, a whole new way to eat grains, a breakfast Revolution, but bestie sister.

Girl, my dear cherished listener, believe me when I tell you the Kellogg’s brought us so much more than that.


From gimlet media.

This is not past it a show about the stories.

We can’t quite leave behind.

Every Wednesday will take an event from that very same week in history and tell you the story of how it shaped our lives today.

Hi, I’m Simone polenin.

I’m your host.


I’m not a historian or a scholar, but I am a writer a filmmaker.

How should I put it?

All-American Girl, Next Door.

Maxim Hometown Hottie type.

I’m also a person with a microphone, an internet connection, and a lot of opinions, and I’m curious about why the world is the way it is, you know, like thousands of years of humanity.


And this is the version of the world, we came up with this one.

Okay, if you say, so on today’s episode a hundred twenty-six years ago, this week on May 31st.


In 95, the Kellogg Brothers filed, the patent for their Corn Flakes, invention.

And while Corn Flakes would eventually launched, one of the biggest brands in cereal, the Legacy.

The Kellogg brothers would leave behind would be much more Sinister than just a wholesome breakfast.

After the break.


We’re talking desire sin righteousness.

Masturbation Eugenics.


We’re going to go there.

Hmm. so, stick around Exercise 1 flying standing with the feet.


One foot apart, raise the arms to the level of the shoulders calm down.



One, two, one, two, one, two, this is a recording of some exercises.

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg would share with his patients.

They traveled from around the country to visit him in Battle Creek, Michigan, where he ran the Battle Creek, sanitarium, that word sanitarium.


It sounds a little Gary, at least, it did to me, but basically it’s like a health and wellness Hospital vacation experience.

People would come to the sanitarium.

Also called the saint to get cutting-edge Wellness, treatments, and a first class setting ready.



Thus, and sat on the sprawling campus with manicured Lawns, where people would gather and do their one, two, one, two, one, two exercises patients dined in a great hall beneath chandeliers and had the option to book lavish Suites during their stay.


A typical day might include a rigorous calisthenics session, a cold bath.

Maybe some light wood chopping.

And more likely than not, you are also getting prescribed a series of daily enemas, including maybe a yogurt enema, and yes, that is exactly what it sounds like.


I’m just saying, if I were at the Saint with my 19th century, money in my 19th century, whole, no, thank you.

The sand definitely catered to a wealthier crowd and dr.

Mark L.

The guy who wrote the book on the Kellogg Brothers.


He says it wasn’t uncommon to spot some real turn of the 20th century celebrities there, Amelia Earhart and Booker T.

Washington’s was a frequent guest and Eddie.

Cantor the radio comedian and all kinds of movie stars that you wouldn’t recognize today.


But from the tens and twenties like, silent movie started, it sucked.

All this work that the Kellogg brothers were doing everything at the San really was designed to support John’s vision of a perfect and healthy life.

He called it biologic.



How did John Kellogg?

Define biologic living primarily through diet, which you avoided flesh.

Meet all kinds.

We only grain and vegetables.

You followed your car.


Carbohydrates, or fats and your proteins very carefully as well, and your calories a controlled diet, a controlled lifestyle, a controlled body.

That really seems like what John was going for fine-tuning the body and to its optimized form and achieving perfect health and John believed that healing the bowels was essential and his Crusade and this brings us back to cornflakes because when he had invented them with his brother, he thought he found his perfect first of And against bowel disease, and improve digestion.


The first step in becoming an improved version of oneself.

So, he served cornflakes regularly to his patients at the Saint and they were quite the hit the patient’s, the same.

Love them.

It tasted very good.

They would mix them with yogurt, which was very common product of the sanitarium.


He had all kinds of milk, substitutes, even them like soy milk and people just love them.

But it wasn’t just their popularity that kept Corn Flakes on the menu for John, his commitment to eradicating bowel disease was less about health versus sickness and more about righteousness versus sin because in treating the body, he believed he was treating the soul, you know, a healthy body is a healthy mind is a healthy vessel for God.


See, John’s theory on biologic, living was heavily influenced by his faith with the vegetarian diet and maintaining physical Purity.

The Seventh-Day.

Adventist Church had a significant presence in Battle Creek at the time and John was very involved and he was a very spiritual religious man who was raised in this very strict insular Christian sect.


He was raised with the founders of it.

Part of their faith, had a lot to do with healing and attrition and a vegetarian or grain based diets.

And so on the notion that your body was a temple and things like that.


John’s Medical writings definitely have a religious bent to them.

He writes about Sin and virtue a lot.

He believed that neglect of the colon was one of the major sins of civilization and he describes sex as the sewer drain of a healthy body.


He married, but never consummated.

He kept separate bedrooms with his wife and they never had biological kids.

And this all sparked, an interesting theory that I came across, which is that corn flakes weren’t just invented to improve digestion.


They had a more intimate utility the rumor on the internet that I cracked down for years was it was created to prevent masturbation and young Mademoiselle you thinking or do you have your nose?

We’ve come across that?



Okay, there were foods that both the Seventh day, Adventists, and John Harvey Kellogg thought were excitatory.

Whenever that means, whether it means you’re just nervous or you want to masturbate too much or whatever.


It is.

Those dudes are like Meats, spicy condiments, mustards and Grains were more calming for both the young man and the young one.

That’s the closest I could find.

Okay, so, So Mark, L couldn’t prove that corn flakes were invented to make you stop jerking off.


Sorry to disappoint back at this and the demand for corn flakes was growing patients didn’t just want to eat them in the dining hall.

They wanted to take them home to in the gift.

Shop of the sanitarium is a little shop where you could buy a whole host of sanitarium based foods that you ate at the sand.


But that was the most popular one and that’s when we’ll Kellogg said, hey, we got to go.

Public with this.

Well, the younger brother had a vision for a business, but John wanted to keep his focus on the sand.

So the brothers split will convince John to sell him, the rights to manufacture cornflakes.


And in 1906, with his Newfound, Independence will founded the Battle, Creek toasted corn, flake company.

So well went off and did his cereal business thing and John stuck around the sand to keep treating patients and pump yogurt up their holes, but some of the initial profits from the cereal business.


Went directly to starting a foundation for a cause that was near and dear to John’s heart.

He called it the race betterment Foundation.

I’m going to repeat that dr.

John, Kellogg started the race, betterment, Foundation.


I do not like, where this is going.

He was a player in the National Eugenics movement.

Damn it.

Well, after the break, we’ll get into the Eugenics of it all, including, what?


The heck that means.

And how we’re still not past it.

See what I did there.


Before the break, the Kellogg Brothers had split up.

We’ll want to build a Serial business and John went into Eugenics, cool.

All caught up the questions, which will be discussed.

Here are the greatest problems which face the world today.

This is an excerpt from dr.


John Harvey Kellogg.

Welcome address at the first national conference on race.

Betterment in 1914.

We got an actor to recreate some of his speech.

They’re not really questions of sect or Finance with politics, they are race questions.


Biologic questions whose Roots run back to the very childhood of the race and whose branches cast their Shadow over every phase of human life.

If the race is to generate, it is highly important that the world should know it.


So, okay.

What is he talking about?


Eugenics is the study of human traits, for the purpose of improving the human species.

Basically you Genesis goal is to breed out so-called undesirable traits to produce good stock and eliminate defective stock.


Defective meaning people with physical or mental disabilities people in poverty, criminals, and of course people from certain racial ethnic and religious minority groups.

In the early, nineteen hundreds when Eugenics was becoming popular it was accepted as a real science and it led to some very real policies in America like bans on interracial marriage and immigration restrictions.


It led to forced sterilizations like the ones carried out on black women, in the American, South up until the 60s and in the 30s and 40s to the attempted extermination of Jewish people and other minorities by Adolf Hitler and Nazi, Germany.


Their ideas that seem awful to us now, but at the time, you’d be hard-pressed to find an American wasp who didn’t subscribe to eugenic ideals, John Rockefeller Andrew, Carnegie, even Teddy Roosevelt?

They all dip their toe and to the Eugenics pool.


And that race betterment conference, that John Kellogg spoke at in 1914.

It was attended by respected scientists Scholars and Educators from schools like Yale Northwestern Oberlin and the University of Chicago.

And oh, did I mention the Conference was held over five days at where else, but dr.


John Kellogg’s, biologic Haven, the Battle Creek Sanitarium.

When I put dr.

Kellogg’s work at the Saint and the context of his Eugenics beliefs I couldn’t help but be struck by how it seemed like everything he was doing from the diet stuff to the exercise to the colon cleansing treatments.


It was all aimed at race betterment.

The sand shut down operations in 1933, nearly 90 years ago.

The building itself was acquired by the US Army in 1942, and has been used as government offices since 1954.


And the little company will Kellogg founded.

It grew into the Kellogg Company and is now worth over twenty two billion dollars.

And though, John officially cut ties with that company, when he sold his manufacturing rights his influence very much remains those ideas.


He practiced at the Stan around diet around control around Eugenics that stuff has stayed with us.

In ways.

You may not realize If you can pinch an inch, the Kellogg special J.



May help.

You lose weight.

Pinch an inch.

Oh, big, big yikes.

But if you are conscious during the 2000s, you probably heard of the Special K diet, you know Special K there like corn flakes but specialer and the Special K diet was marketed pretty aggressively replace all your meals.


Or two of them.

I think maybe with Special K, and it was a guaranteed way to lose weight.

I asked, Amanda mull about this.

She’s a staff writer for the Atlantic and writes about health consumerism and lifestyle Trends.

I remember, it becoming a thing that was like, very much associated with young, women wanting to fit into a particular pair of jeans.


I’m having this vision of like a woman in a dressing room in one of these commercials and maybe trying on jeans He’s wonderful.

He’s still.

Amanda’s memory has not served her wrong.


And this one commercial, a young woman is lying on her back with her legs.

In the air.

She’s yanking desperately at her sample.

Size, leather pants to fit them over her sample.

Size hips, the Kellogg Special K breakfast can help.

It’s 99% fat-free ill, ill, ill.



I look like a rock star lights cruise, but if I’m I tried the Special K diet at the height of the cra’s.

I did.

I wanted to look a certain way and I bought into the Special K promise.

But man, I have to tell you when dinner time rolls around and you have to ask yourself.


Am I going to eat a hot meal or another cold bowl of cereal?

That’s a sad place.

But that’s the thing about these kinds of diets.

You’re not eating for enjoyment?



No, you’re eating in a way that will fix your body.


And in this case, fixing it by fitting it into specifically smaller jeans, fixing the body as a means to fixing the mind or really the whole self.

The fitness is culturally understood to indicate someone who is Right thinking and in control and smart and it makes good decisions.


So if you finally find the way to to conquer all of your Humanity, basically all of your desire for For pleasure.

And for stress relief than you two, can have this thin body that then demonstrates to everybody else.

How, exactly how in control you are of yourself?


And the pressure to meet these ideals.

It starts young.

I’ve been aware of my body since the age of four, you know, is it too big?

Is it beautiful enough?

I started controlling what I ate at the age of 12.

By the time I was 14, I kept a list of approved foods and their caloric values, and the last few pages of my school notebooks thinking about food, thinking about my body.


It consumed, every thought every day.

It’s shaped how I behaved in other parts of my life.

It made me afraid.

Read of being seen because I couldn’t get the perfect body, no matter how hard I tried.

But today when we talk about getting a perfect body or a better body, whatever that means.


We’ve lost the thread of who these standards come from.

We have sort of entirely like taken the Men in Black zapper to our cultural memory of how dominant eugenic ideas were in culture for like decades for Generations, but we still hold a lot of those ideas.


Ideas, we just don’t acknowledge them as eugenics.

The way John Kellogg talked about the body, you know, eradicating bodily, evils with a diet.

We still kind of talk that way except with today’s trending diets instead of sticking to grains.

You’re asked to cut out an entire category of food, like all carbs, or all dairy foods are labeled as good or bad, which changes depending on the diet.


You’re following.

You ate a banana and your paleo.

Wow, you’re doing amazing sweetie.

You ate a banana and your key do send her to the the dungeon and throw away the key.

These types of diets are often referred to as clean eating.


And these words, clean Foods, pure ingredients.

They come up in the diet and wellness industry all the time.

It’s all about ridding, the body of undesirable dirtiness, so you can become your best self.

Not going to lie.

That sounds a little eugenic see to me and best is subjective and it’s homogenizing and its exclusive to anyone who can’t fit the standard, but it’s an idea that’s alive.


Well and wellness today on your 35, it’s like you either starve yourself or you eat and you do serious cardio, but there’s no free ride.

You know what I mean?

That’s going to Paltrow actress and founder of goop, a popular Wellness brand.


They get a lot of flak for pushing harmful, diet pseudoscience, Gwyneth, recently, described eating bread and pasta as an off the rails moment, but group is as part of an even larger, four trillion dollar Wellness industry made up of Brands and influencers, who populate, the internet with dubious advice if you have good quality fruit, it is so satisfying to have a monomial.


And that’s how animals can insert after each meal, every ingredients.

And this way, the app tracks, if your meals are balanced out, go to really big appetite.

Let me start your day with this and I think you’ll see a difference.

And like I said before digestion, is everything, flowing and lubricate, all your organs.


The wellness industry sells a promise very similar to Kellogg’s biologic.

Living your body is bad and I’m going to make it good.

In the case of Kellogg, a bad body is a sinful one, and the case of modern Wellness, a bad body is undisciplined with food and exercise, but in both cases, a good body is righteous, whether from conquering sin or conquering all purpose flour and Amanda Mall says it’s about time.


Time we start to uproot these ideas from our lives.

If we just dispensed with the idea that the default that everyone should be able to attain, is this sort of idealized white body?

All we would have to do is is really jettison that idea from, for medicine, and our understanding of health and our understanding of beauty and thinness and whiteness as goodness, and as an indicator of good behavior.


And and of righteousness, I don’t know about you.

But when I started making the connection between our diet, & Wellness culture, and, you know, Eugenics, I started to think back and go, huh.

So those two weeks.

I stopped eating carbs, leading up to a Miami trip, only to show up more bloated than ever, or the high school birthday party.


I skipped, because I was so afraid of accidentally caving and eating a slice of cake or that one time.

I promised myself from the real depths of food disorder, brain that I’d, you know, This series called life, if I ever topped a hundred and thirty pounds, all of that, all of that guilt that anguish that stress, that was all for.



Because I’m so desperate to be good stock.

I don’t like that.

I don’t like that at all.

I’m officially opting out.

I’m not going to twist my body into shapes and damaged my mind in the process.

So that some eugenicist gets to make the World In His Image.


I’m done.

But wait.

What am I supposed to do with all these Corn Flakes?



Not passed it as a Spotify original produced by gimlet and zsp media.

There’s another episode in your feeder right now.

It’s all about the AIDS vaccine Trials of the 1990s.


They’re almost was an AIDS vaccine.


Listen, this episode was Produced by Jake Maya are low, Kinsey Clark, and Sarah, Craig Julie, Carly is our associate producer.


The supervising producer is Erica Morrison.

Been Britain played, dr.

Kellogg and re-creations editing by Andrea, be Scott.

Zach Stewart Ponte and Lydia, Pole Green sound design and mixing by Bobby, Lord, original music by Sachs kicks, Ave.


Willie, Green and Bobby Lord, the theme song as Toko Liana by Coco, with music supervision by Liz Fulton technical Direction by Zach Schmidt show art by Elysee Harvin and Talia Rahman, the executive producer at CSP media is Zach Stewart Ponte.


The executive producer from gimlet is Abbie.

Ruzicka a whole lot of people helped Usher this series into the world.

Special, thanks to Lydia.

Pull green, Dan Behar and Clara Sankey list Styles.

Nabil trolling pot Sam, Walters Amanda long, Rosie Guerin Rehan her man, see Jesse ha.


Renita jablonski, Brendan klingenberg.

Matt Nelson any roast roster.

Matt schulze gymnasia Thomas, nazanin rafsanjani, Courtney, Holt and Angelic.


I’m Simone polenin and I’ll be back next week with more not past it.


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