Alumni Profile: Jen Udashkin '07
Much can be said about a person who lives with an illness throughout her school years, forges ahead, pursues a successful career and looks back upon those school days with great love. And much can be said about the school.
Jen Udashkin has a doctorate of education from McGill University and tutors elementary school children. But Jen has another passion - good food and good health. Little did she know that her health problems would lead to these newfound interests and a career in writing! Her years at school were difficult because she suffered from continuous digestive ailments and, after much trial and error, she discovered that what she was eating was a major part of her problem. She delved into finding foods that would help make her feel better, because after going to many doctors and trying many different medications, she felt sicker than ever. She helped herself by changing her diet. She got rid of dairy first, then gluten, and felt much better. When she slipped up and went back to eating the old way, she felt ill. Giving up on the traditional medicines prescribed by doctors, ones that didn’t work for her, changed her life. She is now in control of her well-being and she firmly believes that "you are what you eat.”
Jen is a food blogger: she blogs about good, healthy, clean recipes that are all free of gluten, dairy and refined sugar. Her approach is not about losing weight but simply about eating well and making meals with quality ingredients that promote good health. She admits that good eating has always been an important part of her life, socially and emotionally.
“Making your own food, rather than buying processed food from the supermarket, and knowing what goes into every morsel you eat, can make a huge difference to your feeling good,” says Jen. She is also studying holistic nutrition to go hand-in-hand with her present philosophy, so she has more information on the food she is cooking up. Moving forward, Jen wants to help others who are in the same situation as she was. So she creates recipes that are nutritious, make you feel good and lead to a healthy lifestyle, and then posts them on her blog. And they are easy to follow and make!
Her years studying at LCC left a tremendous impact on her. In school she excelled in volleyball for five years. “Oh, I remember Ms. G.! I have so many memories from LCC,” she says. “The teachers were amazing. My time there prepared me well for McGill. The teachers were so inspiring and put in that extra effort for you. They believed in you and I always felt that I had someone to speak to, if needed. They influenced my work ethic, my professionalism, and made me pay attention to detail, like not handing in something with spelling mistakes. They encouraged me to present myself in the best possible way I could.”
Jen has carried all of these attributes into her everyday life, working with companies and her students, too. It is also because of those teachers, that she sought a degree in education.
For new students passing through the doors of the school this coming year, she offers some words of wisdom. "I would encourage them to take advantage of every opportunity that LCC offers them. Everything! Get involved in everything that you can: sports, academia, leadership, and especially the out of school experiences. Get involved, be involved.”
Jen’s persistence and positive spirit have served her well. When she left LCC, she entered an exchange program and lived in Leeds, England, for six months, giving her the opportunity to expand her horizons and travel through Europe. Her three-day school week and four-day weekends allowed her frequent travel adventures to Italy, Switzerland, France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Scotland. Such wonderful memories!
But it is the memories of her school days at LCC that really stand out. Those schoolgirl days followed her into a big event. She made solid friendships while at school and they are stronger than ever. “I am overjoyed that these friends were my bridesmaids at my wedding. For these forever friendships, I am truly grateful for my time at LCC.”