The Breakfast Cereal — an Antidote to Lust

Did you have cereal for breakfast this morning? Better have something different tomorrow

Maria Cross
4 min readSep 18



The breakfast cereal (made from wheat, rice and corn) is a relatively modern feature of the human diet. It’s quick and convenient, but that’s not why it was created.

It was to stop your impure thoughts.

It all began with one woman — Ellen G. White, the co-founder of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in the 1840s. She claimed to have had over 2000 divine visions that decreed the abstinence of alcohol, tobacco, spices, tea, coffee, and meat.

These new commandments for a puritanical vegetarian diet had nothing to do with animal welfare, or indeed human health. It was all about sex, especially masturbation, that most heinous of sexual activities. This was the diet that would help control those “baser passions” that were so offensive to God.

White set up schools and medical centres across the US and beyond, including the Loma Linda University and Medical Center in California. She also established her famous “sanitariums”, the equivalent of a health resort today.

Naturally, products were required. The path to purification doesn’t come without a business opportunity, and in stepped fellow Adventist Dr John Harvey Kellogg. Kellogg became director of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, and knew just what people needed to dampen down their impure thoughts. Cornflakes.

In 1898, he and his brother William Keith produced the first cornflake. It was William who founded the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company in 1906, later renamed the Kellogg Company.

Kellogg’s was a hugely successful enterprise so naturally had its imitators. Before you knew it, a slew of companies and their cereals crowded the industry. Many of these cereals were wheat-based, refined, and supplemented with copious amounts of sugar.

All this coincided with industrialisation. Industrialisation meant urbanisation and therefore many mouths to feed, mouths of people who were too busy working in factories or being captains of industry to grow their own food. In dietary terms, nothing epitomises the transition from a rural to urban way of life as much as the…



Maria Cross

MSc. Registered nutritionist, specialising in gut and mental health. OUT NOW! My new book, How to Feed Your Brain. mariacrossnutrition @mariacross