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GN Book Excerpt - - Stuart Dykstra's Good Earth Lazy Man's Food and Training Regimen

Posted Feb 20 2011 10:58am

Over the next several weeks I will be featuring excerpts from my book, "Gardening Nude", which are stories about real live people who have decided to live greener and healthier lives. Enjoy!!

Stu and Comet.jpg

Stuart Dykstra and his amazing dog, Comet, out for a healthy nature walk.

GN Book Excerpt - - Stu's Good Earth Lazy Man's Food and Training Regimen

It was a cold, rainy, January day when I met with Stuart Dykstra and his dog, Comet. Yet, the gray weather did not hold doom and gloom for Stuart. His good-natured spirit and healthy triumph over poor health is an inspiration.

Dykstra spent twenty years struggling with poor health. His work was stressful, he had poor eating habits, he was out of shape, and he wanted to feel better. As the director of natural resources for a construction company which specializes in environmentally-centered development, Dykstra had trouble keeping up with the extensive travel and field work required by his firm. When Dykstra was asked to go to Haiti to help find water for the citizens of the developing country, it resonated as good timing to achieve better health. Climbing mountains and tramping through jungles in Haiti would be exhausting. To jump start his professional goals of building a healthier world, he needed better physical health; he needed to start with himself.

In the end, the final inspiration for him to lose weight came in the form of an angel. Dykstra's mother was on her death bed and in her last worldly act, showed him that mortality is the legacy of every human. No matter what our life struggles are, we all live and we all die. His fast paced work life suddenly took on a different hue. His love for his family, and the message his special angel communicated abruptly made sense.

(please click on the link to continue reading this story)

Dykstra said, "When my Mom was dying, she only had family left; and, in the end, that is all that was important to her. An illness can devastate the husk of our bodies; but with a family's love, you still have the most meaningful part of your life. Her health and her community meant everything. A billion dollars would not have made a difference to her when she was dying. What becomes important to every human being is your lifestyle. How you live every single day."

These comments made Dykstra think. He began to notice the poor health habits of others in his family. It became clear to him that, although he is still young, he might already be more than halfway through his life span. "The bottom line is really this: my mother's death helped shift my mentality from wanting more "things" and more money to striving for modesty and less materialism--placing more importance on living life the way it should be; the right way."

Animals often inspire people to exercise, and Comet, Dykstra's irrepressible golden retriever, was no exception. Comet enthusiastically agreed to walk three times a day to help Dykstra get into shape. When I walked with Dykstra and Comet on a wet January day, I felt my own mood lighten and my heart fill with smiles at Comet's crazy stick-chasing antics. Comet, brimming with energy, made tongue-lolling mad dashes up and down the length of the park, always turning to be sure his master was paying attention to him and always circling back to place his head lovingly in Dykstra's hand. What a dog! The daily walks became therapy for both Dykstra and Comet, and improved health for both of them.

This daily exercise in nature, combined with better food choices, soon shot Dykstra's weight down nearly sixty pounds. He jokingly began calling his weight loss plan "The Lazy Man's Diet," because it was so easy to do. It follows the principles of my Go Green Health Plan, a fantastic way to find more energy and feel fantastic everyday.

Dykstra's food choices became simpler. He swears it is so easy that anyone can do it: eat less meat, eat less fat and processed sugars, eat more vegetables, then ask this question before eating every meal, "Is this 'good earth' food?"

Dykstra defines "good earth" foods as those that go through the least amount of processing. These foods are fresh and have traveled the quickest route to the table. For example, an apple is less processed, has more fiber, and is fresher than a jar of apple sauce to which high fructose corn-syrup and other chemicals have been added. Fresh baked whole grain bread is processed less than white bread with chemicals added to extend shelf life.

With an "all things in moderation" attitude, Dykstra says he does not eliminate processed foods entirely, but he eats smaller portions of the foods which are more processed, and tries to eat larger portions of fresh vegetables and fruits. He eats several small meals instead of one or two large meals. Reading labels helps increase his understanding of what products are higher in fiber and lower in fat and sugar. He discovered was that foods which are fresher taste better and have a better consistency when eaten. Eating has become a positive experience, and Dykstra looks forward to meals. Eliminating food is not the key to this positive weight-loss experience; Dykstra eats plenty of foods at every meal. It is the type of foods he is focused on--the fresher, the better!

"We feel like we are immortal when we are young," says Dykstra, "but twenty years of poor health practices showed me this is unrealistic. When I lost the first twelve pounds--only twelve pounds--I felt it was incredibly life changing. It proved to me that I had been living an unhealthy life. Getting healthier is not about losing the weight, however, it is about changing your mindset and living a routine which is focused more exclusively on the important things in life.

I became more emotionally self-confident as well as physically confident when I started to see the pounds melt away. The daily walks outdoors improved my mood significantly and gave me more energy. I always thought I felt tired and ill because I was just 'getting old,' and I now know how wrong that attitude was. I was overweight and out of shape--that's why I felt the way I did. Stress and poor lifestyle choices were dragging me down and making me feel worn out all of the time. Now, sixty pounds lighter and a hundred times healthier, I feel energized and fantastic. It's amazing!"

Now Dykstra is setting new goals for his mental and physical health. One goal is to continue to help the people of Haiti find a way out of drought so humankind can have better living conditions. Another goal is to walk across the Midwest with Comet. His physical health and muscle tone has improved so much he knows he can do it. Dykstra is an inspiration to all because his positive health practices have put him in a position to help the global community as well as conquer any challenge that comes his way.

Stu's Good Earth Lazy Man's Food and Training Regimen

Dykstra's diet and training regimen, which helped him lose more than sixty pounds, is amazingly simple. His number one belief is that all things should be done or consumed in moderation. Read labels to understand food content. Remember, the fresher the food, the better it is for you.


• Eat less meat.

• Eat less fat and sugar.

• Eat more fiber and vegetables.

• Ask this question before eating every meal, "Is this good earth food?" If the answer is no, then consume less of it or do not consume it at all.

• Exercise - Walk your dog (or yourself) outside in nature for at least thirty minutes three times a day--once in the morning, once at lunch, and once in the evening. (Many people find it impossible to walk at noon. When you simply cannot work it in, stretch your morning and evening walks or do longer walks on the weekends.)

Do all of the above daily and enjoy!

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