Healthy Body, Healthy Spirit

Joint Task Force Guantanamo Public Affairs
Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Nathaniel Moger

Date: 07.25.2008
Posted: 07.28.2008 13:52
News ID: 21918
Healthy Body, Healthy Spirit

Rooibos, an African red tea, made from a bush.

A survey of modern poetry.

Yerba Mate, a Brazilian earth tea.

Ingestible mud.

A budding aloe garden.

Chinese laundry soap nuts.

These are all things you might find in the college apartment of a natural resources major at a university, but in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba? In a Cuzco Barracks resident's room? No.

Well, yes.

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class William Clark, a Joint Task Force Guantanamo Trooper, has put a premium on his health, both spiritual and physical, and leads a lifestyle most would describe as "organic."

"I try to lead as healthy a lifestyle as I can down here," said Clark. "Really, there are two main reasons. First off, it'll prevent me from having problems later on in life and secondly, it's a spiritual thing. If you have a healthy body you'll have a more positive outlook on life."

Clark, skinny, but wiry and strong from a year of spearfishing, paintball and scuba diving, looks at his health from many different viewpoints, never mistaking success in one aspect of his health as a sign to let his guard down.

"It's completely possible to be physically fit but not have perfect health," said Clark. "Back in high school I wanted to get serious about athletics, so I started reading into being physically fit, and when I joined the Navy it turned into being in shape, but clean on the inside as well."

For Clark, this means limiting his portion sizes, never consuming too much meat, and choosing oil and vinegar for his salads instead of prepackaged salad dressings.

"Any sort of processed food is going to have preservatives, and I like to limit the amount of non-natural foods I consume," said Clark. "As a deployed service member it's impossible to live the way a civilian in the states would, but for the most part I try to just keep things balanced."

This means eschewing sodas and prepared, sweet iced teas for freshly brewed tea and coffee.

"Tea is a great alternative to drinking soda for a caffeine boost," said Clark, who enjoys brewing full-leaf green tea and sweetening it with agave nectar. "I usually order it online, and it's only slightly more expensive."

Clark keeps active by getting in the water and enjoying Guantanamo's coral reefs, running trails, playing paintball and tending a small garden of aloe which he keeps in a plastic tote outside of his trailer.

To feed his spiritual appetite, Clark paints and sculpts during his leave periods back home in Virginia. He also puts a great deal of thought into his religious faith.

"My dad's a command master chief back in Virginia Beach and I had a traditional Protestant upbringing," said Clark. "My religious beliefs have evolved quite a bit, much like my views on health and food."

Clark now celebrates certain Jewish holidays and follows certain dietary guidelines which fall in line with his personal views on health, abstaining from eating pork and shellfish as well as observing certain fast days.

"I spend a lot of time reading and researching every aspect of my health," said Clark. "I think no matter what people believe about their physical, mental and spiritual health, everyone should put thought and attention into it." and attention into it."