Change your diet, find optimum wellness

Field experiencing ‘huge changes and improvements’ in her life

  • Jennifer Field of Peterborough chops up chard. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

Monadnock Ledger-Transcipt
Monday, June 06, 2016 7:36PM

“In the beginning, my doctors told my mother, ‘Don’t you understand? Your daughter has a brain injury. She’ll never get any better than this.’”

As Jennifer Field recounts her story, she speaks slightly slower than average. Sometimes she has to pause to think of the word she wants. But she speaks with eloquence and intelligence that 24 years ago, her doctors told her mother would be impossible.

When she was 17, Field was driving home from Dublin School when her car hit a patch of black ice, sending her skidding into a tractor trailer, which left her with a traumatic brain injury.

“I was told I would make all my improvement in one year,” said Field, who, now at 41, is a graduate of Wheaton College, a public speaker, president of the J. Field Foundation, and about to be a published author. “I’m still experiencing huge changes and improvements.”

Field contributes her success partly to a healthy diet. While not the only piece of her still-ongoing routine of therapies and treatment, Field considers diet the foundation that the rest is built upon.

“Having a good diet gives you a platform to live more fully,” she said. “It’s not the only thing. But diet is the first thing that needs to change.

“If you try exercise or treatments or yoga and you’re not at your optimum health, you don’t see the optimum benefit.”

And while nutrition has been part of her wellness plan for many years, five years ago Field decided to cut out sugar. She said she has seen a tremendous effect on not only her mood, which was overall lifted, but also because she was able to make mental connections more easily, which helped improve her speech.

“It’s just made a world of difference,” said Field. “When you’re eating sugar and bad food, you’re starting at a lower level. You’re not giving yourself a true test of your abilities.”

Field has so strongly felt the effects of her no-sugar diet that she and her foundation are sponsoring a free showing of the documentary “Fed Up” at the Peterborough Community Theatre on June 21. The documentary, produced by Laurie David and narrated by journalist Katie Couric, is about the affect of sugar on the body and the increasing epidemic of obesity in America. 

The theater will show the educational screening, which is about 50 minutes long – a cut version of the full 90-minute film – followed by a talk by Field on the effects she’s seen after cutting sugar from her own diet. 

In addition, Field has 15 copies of the educational cut of the film that she will be distributing to local libraries, teachers or educational entities upon request. One copy has already been gifted to the Peterborough Public Library and is available for check-out now.

“I thought it was fantastic, some great facts that I did not know,” said Peterborough Librarian Corinne Chronopoulos. “I always thought a calorie is a calorie, for example. I’m a naturally healthy eater – so I think I personally take for granted how easy it is to make healthy choices and eat real food. Seeing the film helped me to see how difficult it is to actually understand what is healthy in this country.”

The film is also associated with the “Fed Up” challenge where groups challenge each other to give up sugar for 10 days and record their results.

For more information, visit fedupmovie.com.

“Fed Up” will be screened at the Peterborough Community Theatre on June 21 at 7 p.m., sponsored by the J. Field Foundation. There is no charge for the screening. Field’s book, “From Blue Ribbons to Code Blue: A girl's courage, her mother's love, a miracle recovery” co-written with her mother Joanne Field, will be published this summer and available at the Toadstool Bookshops.