For the first 150 years of American history, American citizens were plagued by gastrointestinal issues. Diarrhea, gastritis and dysentery were pretty much a way of life. Indigestion was such an immense problem, the poet Walt Whitman called it “the Great American Evil.”
All these stomach issues were thanks, in part, to breakfast—which looked very different than it does today. Roast pork, pickled vegetables and thick gruel were common staples on the American breakfast table. That is, until two brothers — John Harvey and Will Keith Kellogg — invented a ready-to-eat dry cereal that changed American commerce, medicine, and the way we eat even as it locked the brothers in a vitriolic battle that would last their entire lives.
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