14 de maio de 2010 | 09h04
“(…) America’s obsession with diet began long ago in New England, in the person of the Rev. Sylvester Graham. In the early 19th century, Graham was on a mission “to save souls from what he deemed the most serious problem of all: the evil torment of gluttony,” a condition that, in his view, led to “sexual excess” and “violence.”
Graham, nicknamed “the Peristaltic Persuader” in the press, felt that purity could be achieved by adhering to a diet free of meat, alcohol, coffee, tea, salt, pepper or spices. He was, we discover, “uncomfortable with the concept of yeast,” which seemed to him alive. So to supplant leavened bread he invented the whole-wheat cracker that still bears his name, though there is not much resemblance between the Graham cracker in its current sugary form and the Spartan original.
In Graham’s wake came John Harvey Kellogg, a Seventh Day Adventist, the director of Michigan’s Battle Creek Sanitarium and the progenitor of the cornflake. Kellogg shared Graham’s horror of sexual desire (and of caffeinated beverages) and, as Ms. Yager slyly notes, “was the first in a long line of physicians to write about nutrition with passion for, and limited knowledge of, the subject.” (…) “