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Letter From America: Before You Eat That Cracker!

...He believed that eating meat and fats resulted in sexual excesses, and thus were sinful, and advocated strict vegetarianism to combat these propensities. Graham also campaigned against alcohol, tobacco, stuffy houses, and sedentary life styles...

Ronnie Bray introduces us to Sylvester Graham, inventor of the famous cracker which bears his name.

You might not know this, but the world famous Graham Cracker was invented by Sylvester Graham, an American minister of the Presbyterian Church, a vegetarian, and an enthusiastic crusader for temperance. Oddly enough, he invented his eponymous cracker as a cure for the intemperate that suffered from the fiery cravings of fleshly lusts.

The Reverend Graham turned vegetarian after meeting with William Metcalfe, the founder of the Philadelphia’s first vegetarian church having earlier been a member of England’s first vegetarian church, the Bible Christian Church run by William Cowherd in Manchester.

Graham's attracted disciples, including Doctor William Alcott, MD, the first of the Alcott family to become vegetarian; a cousin of the pioneering newspaper publisher Horace "Go West young man and grow up with the country" Greeley.

Other followers of Graham were Seventh Day Adventist Church founders Ellen and James White, while the Brothers Kellogg, John Harvey and WK, also Graham fans, invented and marketed peanut butter, corn flakes, granola, and soy milk.

However, there was more to Graham than his crackers. He advocated healthy living but was slave to the psycho-sexual-physiological concepts of his days and believed that increased fibre reduced carnal lust, and that an unhealthy sexual appetite would produce pulmonary tuberculosis, spinal diseases, epilepsy, headaches, and would also result in the conception of children with physical and other developmental deficiencies.

He believed that eating meat and fats resulted in sexual excesses, and thus were sinful, and advocated strict vegetarianism to combat these propensities. Graham also campaigned against alcohol, tobacco, stuffy houses, and sedentary life styles. Considered something of a ‘nut,’ Graham did significantly contribute to the debate about healthy living.

However, if he were to visit the Graham Cracker factory today, Graham himself would have an apoplectic fit. Apoplexy is a condition that can, apparently, be induced by seeing today’s cracker makers use enriched white flower in the biscuits that bear his name. Such a sight is, it is rumoured, enough to send a nut nuts!

Copyright © 2010
Ronnie Bray

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