Jason Harrison, of Present Tense Fitness. PHOTO / Knack Creative

Jason Harrison of Present Tense Fitness shares his ideal ‘last meal' in Dayton

As I am getting to know new people, I live by the old adage “You are what you eat.” What and where you choose to eat says a lot about you. What you enjoy in food typically reflects what you enjoy in life. Which is why I always ask new friends about their last meal. What would you choose to eat if you had one day left? It says a lot about a person. Do you value comfort, family, atmosphere, flavor? 

>> This Dayton restaurant landed on a local chef’s “last meal” list

Recently, I’ve asked a few restaurant pros about their choice of last meal, but this time around I thought I’d get a new perspective. I asked Jason Harrison, personal trainer and co-owner of Present Tense Fitness in the Oregon District. Jason spends his days coaching and encouraging his clients to think of wellness in broad terms, encompassing fitness, food, and lifestyle.

>> Brian Johnson shares the best dishes he’s had in Dayton

But for Jason, it’s more than just eating right, getting 8 hours of sleep, and spending time in the gym. Wellness for Jason and the rest of the Present Tense family means examining all aspects of their life, what they read, what they watch, and what they eat. He dishes out a daily dose of this wellness perspective with his Present Tense Daily Brief, a daily newsletter. If you aren’t already getting this in your inbox, I suggest you do! 

So what would the Oregon District’s own fitness guru chose to eat for his last Dayton meal? Well, it’s very specific: 

“I'd order a coffee in a mug and a donut from Press, and I'd sit at the rectangular table near the front window. Ideally the barista would be Barry, and she'd be playing Courtney Barnett over the speakers. I associate Press, Barry, Courtney Barnett, and the former manager Anne with moving back to Dayton to be closer to my family.”

Jason and his wife Susan have lived in many metropolitan areas across the country, and coming back to Dayton, Press has been the spot in the Oregon District that makes them feel most at home. Brett and Janelle Barker, owners of Press, have earned Jason’s immense respect with their attention to detail and their focus on their craft. As Jason describes, they are “punching above their weight.”

>> When Brett and Janelle were Daytonians of Week

It’s this quality that Harrison would like to see more of in Dayton. Additionally, he’d like there to be more fast, fresh and healthy options. There are plenty of places where you can sit down to eat in Dayton and get a healthy bite, but not enough convenient, quick meals that offer Harrison’s recommended dose of vegetables. As a personal trainer for the last 10 years, people come to Harrison with lots of questions about food and weight loss.

>> 3 tasty, healthy barbecue-friendly recipes to try

His best piece of advice? Eat vegetables with every meal, including breakfast

“If more Daytonians did that, I think restaurants might follow the demand. We might also begin putting a dent in Ohio’s troubling obesity rate.”

>> 4 new, healthy restaurants to try in Dayton 

But even Harrison isn’t a perfect angel all the time (hence the donut for the last meal!) Even he kicks back with a cocktail now and again, picking Salar as his cocktail destination of choice. He can look to the skilled bartenders there for the perfect chilled Manhattan. He also likes to take a seat at The Century Bar and savor his cocktail now and again. Century Bar is another place on the list of “punching above their weight.”

As for being able to physically punch above your weight? Well, Jason can help you with that. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tess is a restaurant professional, home-baker and downtown Dayton dweller. When she's not mixing drinks for restaurant patrons, she's drinking champagne, buying shoes, or writing her blog, Ciao Vella. You can read about her home recipes, party planning tips, and more at www.CiaoVellaBlog.com.