Cereal and Sanitariums

The Battle Creek Sanitarium was a world-renowned health resort in Battle Creek, Michigan, and was founded in 1866 on health principles advocated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and from 1876 to 1943 was managed by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg.

Dr. Kellogg was the medical superintendent, and his brother, W.K. Kellogg, worked as the bookkeeper. As John H. Kellogg put it, they took the word "sanatorium", which was defined as a health resort for invalid soldiers. In his words, "A change in two letters transformed 'sanatorium' to 'sanitarium', and a new word was added to the English language". Kellogg stated the number of patients grew from 106 in 1866, to 7,006 patrons during the year 1906.

Under Dr. Kellogg's direction the sanitarium became one of the "premier wellness destinations" in the United States. During its peaking operating years, the complex of more than 30 buildings situated on 30 acres accommodated not only its guests, but it housed a hospital with research facilities and a nursing school, and the Sanitarium Food Company.


John Harvey Kellogg

Born: February 26, 1852

Died: December 14, 1943


One of Dr. Kellogg's patients at the Sanitarium was C.W. Post, who later started his own cereal company. Kellogg claimed that Post stole his formula for the corn flakes.

The Great Depression forced the institution to downsize and sell assets. In 1942, the signature main building was purchased by the U.S. Army and converted into the Percy Jones Army Hospital.

The hospital was disbanded in the 1950s, and the facility was managed by the General Services Administration. In 2003, it was re-dedicated as the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center.

In 1957, the floundering wellness institution was taken over by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which operated it under a different name until 1993, when it was sold.

At the sanitarium, Kellogg explored various treatments for his patients, including diet reform and frequent enemas. He encouraged a low-fat, low-protein diet with an emphasis on whole grains, fiber-rich foods, and most importantly, nuts. Many of the theories of John Harvey Kellogg were later published in his book The Road to Wellness.

Battle Creek utilized information as known at that time to provide nutritional requirements for health and well-being relative to each person's requirements. Food required careful prescriptive preparations, with care also taken to ensure palatability were recognized. The diet lists included "scores of special dishes and hundreds of special food preparations, each of which has been carefully studied in relation to its nutritive and therapeutic properties", with the diet lists used 'by the physicians in arranging the diet prescriptions of individual patients".

Also, "all the so-called Sanitarium health foods" were "regularly found on the Sanitarium bill of fare, having been originally devised solely for this use".

Corn Flakes was first introduced in 1894 by John Harvey Kellogg as a health food for patients of the Sanitarium.

Kellogg created this breakfast food that was healthy and deliberatly bland with little taste-but-crunchy. The purpose of corn flakes? To suppress passion.

As a Seventh-day Adventist, Kellogg believed in a strict vegetarian diet, no alcohol, caffeine or meat. Within his faith, Kellogg believed that abstinence was important and believed sex and masturbation were unhealthy and abnormal.


To fight off any potential desire, he worked on ways people could curb sexual impulses including creating corn flakes!