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!!
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
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
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
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
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
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