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Building Nature's MarketThe Business and Politics of Natural Foods$
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Laura J. Miller

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226501239

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226501406.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 28 June 2022

Escaping Asceticism

Escaping Asceticism

The Birth of the Health Food Industry

(p.22) Chapter Two Escaping Asceticism
Building Nature's Market

Laura J. Miller

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines the transition of natural foods advocacy from a religiously inspired commitment to vegetarianism, asceticism, and a rejection of a commodified food system to a movement that made the acquisition of consumer goods central to its purpose and identity. It discusses early nineteenth century proponents of natural foods, including Sylvester Graham and prominent transcendentalists, and explains how efforts to adopt a natural foods way of life paved the way for commercial endeavors. Following small-scale activities by various entrepreneurs, truly systematic efforts to commercialize natural foods, now named health food, took place in the late nineteenth century at a Seventh-day Adventist sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan run by John Harvey Kellogg. The Battle Creek enterprises were important both for developing engineered health food products and for innovating marketing techniques. These efforts also shifted the center of the natural foods movement away from commercially disinterested groups and towards for-profit enterprises.

Keywords:   asceticism, engineered food, health food, John Harvey Kellogg, Seventh-day Adventists, Sylvester Graham, transcendentalists, vegetarianism

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