Breakfast cereals were created by doctors

Flax Plus

The first breakfast cereal was created Dr. James Caleb Jackson in 1863; it was called Granula. Granula was made from heavy grains of Graham flour rolled into sheets, baked, dried, then broken into bits. This early version of today’s granola was dense and difficult to chew. Not exactly breakfast friendly.

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg ran a sanitarium for health and diet reform called Battle Creek. In 1895, he created a cereal called Granose (flakes made from wheat) as an easily chewable breakfast for his patients. Granose was a flop , because JH was not exactly business savvy.

But one of his patients – Charles William Post – was, and stole his idea. The first successfully marketed cereal was created by Post, a patient at the sanitarium who left to found his own cereal company. Post created the cereal beverage Postum (now sold by Kraft) in 1895 as a coffee substitute. Two years later he created the cereal Grape Nuts (which contains neither grapes or nuts. Grape sugar is the sweetener.)

John Harvey’s younger brother, Willie Keith Kellogg, was a book keeper at the sanitarium. He was the business savvy one who couldn’t stand by and watch his brother’s creation be stolen by Post. And so Willie Keith goes off and created his own cereal company in 1906, which eventually became the Kellogg’s Company as we know it today.

I love flaked cereal – it is a staple. It is a breakfast thing, and it is a snacky thing. But I am no fan of Kellogg’s stuff. Unfortunately, the world of marketing had WK turning the wholesome, healthy cereal that his brother created into something so frosted that kids are bouncing off walls after their morning dose. I’m sure that’s not the idea that John Harvey had in mind. And that is definitely not what I like in my bowl. Luckily, there are those who like to stick to the basic principles.

One of my favorite cereals is Nature’s Path Flax Plus. It’s a crunchy, thickish, flaked cereal – organic, very high in fibre (like, very), with 500mg of Omega-3 per serving. Like most bran flakes, it is only very slightly sweet (but it is sweeter and toastier than, say, very bland All Bran), so it goes well with dried fruits and stuff. I buy them in the giant jumbo 1kg version and go through it in a few days. But – if you have eaten this cereal quite religiously over the past while, you will no doubt know that they changed something in it a couple of months back (I’d say around the Fall of 2007): The flakes are now crunchier, a bit harder, and maybe a tad sweeter. There are more dark flecks on it. I also remember seeing one less ingredient (something like rice flour). And for those of you who are counting, you’ll notice that the calories per 3/4 cup serving has increased by — *gasp* — 10! Yikes! Better get off that couch to change the channel! Hahaha.

Anyway, it is a very minor change, and Flax Plus still has the same “personality”. But the difference to me is noticeable, it just tastes a little different. It’s as if your morning coffee was just a little over-roasted or something. I just wonder if anybody out there noticed the change, and likes it (or dislikes it). It’s still a great cereal, and if you’re looking for upping your fibre it’s better than stuff like All Bran, since this also has Flax in it. You can also get Flax Plus with raisins. 🙂

# 3 on my best cereal list (1 and 2 being Nature’s Path Spelt and Kamut.)

Nature’s Path Flax Plus

One Response

  1. Dear Cooking Nerd,

    I love this cereal post! (Hmmm, ceraeal post… Post cereal, how appropriate.)

    Anyway, this is a great historical overview. And I’m loving your blog!

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