Graham Flour is named after Sylvester Graham, the earliest of the 19th century health reformers. Dr. Graham, as he was called, though he had no formal medical training, was born in 1794, the 17th child of Reverend John Graham, Jr. He was very frail all his life - which led him to study anatomy, physiology and health. Dr. Graham was a very gifted orator and his lectures were very popular on what became known as "The Graham System". His lectures and articles advocated health and a vegetarianism lifestyle -ideas that were vastly unheard of at the time.
Dr. Graham and his radical ideas soon had a great following. Observers of the Graham System became known as "Grahamites". Grahamites were so devoted that they established the world's first health food store as well as Graham restaurants, boarding houses, hotels and newspaper. Some of the things Dr. Graham advised against included drug remedies, stimulants including coffee and tea, overworking, meat, alcohol, tobacco, snacking between meals, and salt. Instead, the Grahamites were advised to eat a mainly vegetarian or fruitarian diet (especially raw), get enough sleep and rest on hard mattresses, take cold baths and showers, drink pure water only when thirsty, eat 3 meals a day precisely 6 hours apart, wear loose clothing, and practice cheerfulness at mealtime. The mainstay of Dr. Graham's revolutionary health reform was to eat only home-baked bread made from whole-wheat flour.
Strong opposition also developed almost immediately. Not only were people in the medical field upset, but also bakers, butchers, tobacco growers, brewers, and saloon keepers. All saw their businesses threatened from Graham’s doctrines. In 1837, Graham was scheduled to speak at a hall in Boston, but the owners feared that the hall would be burned down. The Boston butchers and bakers were so angry with Graham that the lecture was cancelled and moved to a nearby hotel. The move did not deter the angry mob, which attacked the hotel. Riots began to be commonplace in the towns in which Sylvester Graham was due to speak.