Blair A La Carte: A health-obsessed, (mostly) gluten-free rower’s food diary

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Blair Dunbar, Columnist

Mike Jastram is a McCormick senior on the Northwestern club crew team. As a strong advocate of healthy and organic foods, he cooks a lot of his own meals despite living in a dorm. For example, Jastram brought a big Tupperware container of homemade sauerkraut and tins of smoked herring to spring training in South Carolina. While the rest of the team was busy eating mystery meat and biscuits, Jastram enjoyed a huge pile of pickled cabbage and canned fish.

Jastram elaborated on some of the rules he follows when it comes to eating.

“I would prefer to eat all organic, but I really can’t afford to at present,” Jastram said. “I do try to eat as much fermented food as possible, so the sauerkraut is something we fermented, and the cinnamon rolls were made with wild fermented dough as well. I also try to balance my diet between fats, carbs and protein by about thirds. That means I’ve been about 95 percent gluten-free since December, although not perfectly strict.”

Fermented foods are good for several reasons. First, they help the body absorb nutrients. Second, they help the digestive tract function properly by producing beneficial bacteria. Finally, by regulating the digestive tract, these foods makes the immune system function better.

Of course, keep in mind that Jastram is a rower. That means he typically eats more than the average NU student and chooses some foods with more calories. The rest of us can skip the whole milk and buy 2 percent or skim instead. Overall, however, his food choices can be a useful guide for those students trying to eat healthier. Here is a sample of Jastram’s diet:

Thursday

Pre-workout breakfast: one quart whole milk (Blair Dunbar: Practice is every day at 6 a.m. If you are working out early, it is good to have something in your stomach)

Breakfast: Two Tech Express grape and cheese snacks, banana

Lunch: Peanut butter, celery and carrots, trail mix, whole milk (BD: Peanut butter and nuts like almonds are always a great source of protein.)

Dinner: Baked sweet potato, steamed dandelion greens, baked chicken

Friday

Pre-workout breakfast: one quart whole milk

Breakfast: Bacon, eggs, milk

Lunch: Two Frontera Fresco steak tacos, four servings of guacamole

Dinner: Baked chicken, watermelon

Saturday

Pre-workout breakfast: One pint milk

Breakfast: Bacon, eggs, milk

Second Breakfast: One and a half bagels with cream cheese, coffee

Lunch: Trail mix, mango

Second lunch: Chipotle burrito and barbacoa quesadilla

Dinner: Oatmeal with chocolate flakes, raspberries, raisins, milk

Sunday

Breakfast: Bacon, eggs, milk

Lunch: One mango, homemade millet raisin chocolate pancakes (BD: Try cornmeal or wheat flour too.)

Dinner: Baked rosemary chicken thighs, sauerkraut, homemade cinnamon raisin rolls

Monday

Pre-workout breakfast: one quart milk

Breakfast: Bacon, eggs, milk, mango, sauerkraut (BD: Sauerkraut is a good fermented food.)

Lunch: Half a loaf of bread, milk