In 1876 John Harvey Kellogg (1852 – 1943) became the superintendent of the Western Health Reform Institute. He renamed it the Battle Creek Sanitarium, a word he coined to infer a health-inducing institution.
He promoted the Adventist principles of a low-fat, low-protein diet with an emphasis on whole grains, fiber-rich foods, and, most importantly, nuts. Kellogg also recommended a daily intake of fresh air, exercise, and the importance of hygiene. He offered classes on food preparation for homemakers.
At its heighth, in 1906, w
ith over 7,000 guests, including 1800 staff members, the Sanitarium became a destination for both wealthy and middle-class American citizens. It drew prominent people like Amelia Earhart, Johnny Weismuller, John D. Rockefeller and Warren Harding. Influential visitors like Mary Todd Lincoln and Sojourner Truth promoted Kellogg’s enthusiasm for health and wellness among the general population. It was nicknamed "The San" by its clients.
John Harvey, along with his brother Will, founded Sanitas Food Company in 1897. When Will wanted to add sugar to the Corn Flakes recipe, the brothers argued and fell out. In 1906 Will started his own company, the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company, which eventually became the Kellogg Company.
In 1900 John Harvey Kellogg wrote The Living Temple, his attempt to correlate physiology and health care with St. Paul’s admonission, “Know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?” Several Adventist leaders, including Ellen White, disapproved of the book’s theology. There were also disagreements concerning the health mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Kellogg advocated one large, world-famous center while Ellen White urged several smaller centers to spread the health message farther. By 1907, after much arguing and negotiation, Kellogg removed the Battle Creek property from Seventh-day Adventist ownership and was cut off from the church.
The Sanitarium continued to grow in fame until the Great Depression, when economic hardtimes forced Kellogg to sell it. He eventually opened another Sanitarium in Florida, but it never achieved the fame of the Battle Creek Sanitarium.