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Hello. My name is Olena.

I’m a mom, feeding my family delicious Clean Eating recipes.? It is not weird, people. It is real food. The way humans are supposed to eat. I promise my recipes look and taste delicious! Many taste testers have left positive reviews. 

I grew up in Ukraine, immigrated to Canada and am blessed to call Vancouver, BC my new home. What not to like?! 

So, this blog. Where do I begin?! I started iFOODreal in 2012 after being fired from a job I hated. Yep, good girls get fired too. I gained a passion for fitness and clean eating after having my 2nd child in 2011. “Why not turn my passion into business?!” said my husband. At the end of the day this is America, right?! If Mr. Trump can be a president why can’t I be a successful food blogger?!

Fitness

I have never been interested in fitness until after I had my second child. I had to do something as I was devastated with the way my body looked. My body really changed after kids. I’ve always been on a smaller side but carrying a 10 lb child last time was really hard on my body. I have gained 60 lbs with every pregnancy and trust me I wasn’t eating fast food. It’s just the way my body is. Well, fine, I did like cheesecake ice cream a bit too much.

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I want you to know that the belly in black above is 3 days postpartum. There is no baby inside there. Yes, it was that bad!

How long did it take me to lose the “baby weight”? About 2 years by eating healthy and working out with Beachbody’s in-home DVDs Turbofire and Chalean Extreme. These 2 programs are put together by Chalene Johnson. I absolutely love her and she changed my outlook on fitness and health forever.

I have bought gym membership a couple of times and have never been successful at using it. I find it much easier and cheaper to do a 30 minute workout at home, especially with little kids. I just don’t have extra 1-2 hours a day to go to the gym and frankly I do not enjoy it. I’d rather go for a run or work out at home. I used to workout 5 times a week while trying to lose weight. Once I reached my goal, I went down to 2-3 times a week.

Food

OK, look. Here is the deal. Clean eating is not a diet, it is a lifestyle. I don’t believe in any diets as they don’t work. In fact, I eat clean about 80%. Every Monday I post what I ate on a weekend. Hope it helps to see I’m not perfect.

Nobody is perfect! Nobody and nothing! We try to eat organic as much as we can. Our diet is mainly plant-based with meat and fish more as a condiment. Kids enjoy organic treats and we enjoy “grape juice”. We support local organic farmers. We refuse to be a science experiment of Monsanto and their cancer causing pesticide, Round Up (glyphosate).

Family

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Meet Alex. He is the greatest guy on Earth who can’t cook. Marriage is a compromise, isn’t it?! 15 years and counting. And yes, I was 20.

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We have two boys, 10 and 6. They eat 90% of what we eat. Older one is a better eater than a little one.

We are not hippies or rich. We are not weird. We eat normal food, the way humans are supposed to eat. We don’t want to live until 120, we just want to live a happy and healthy life! This year has marked 4 years since we started our Clean Eating journey. And we never looked and felt happier and healthier.

I believe that you can be whatever you want to be in life. Habits are easy to change. Anyone can do it – no excuses! Remember 80% of how you look is your diet, 10% is genes and only 10% is exercise. You can run like a bunny on a treadmill every day but if you don’t eat right you won’t see changes!

If I inspired you even a tiny bit, feel free to leave a comment.:)

Olena

138 Comments

  1. Julia Teepple

    Hi Olena!

    I just made the protein bars, they are delish! I just needed to say hello to a fellow health Momma AND you have the same name as my grandma, Ive never heard or seen any one else with that name 🙂 She is Icelandic, so we are fellow blue eyed blondies. I too workout at home, and live in Northwestern Ontario, very snowy here. anyways, have a great day and I look forward to following you on here, feel free to follow me on Pinterest, @ Julishka30 and im on instagram too take care

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Hi Julia. Glad you liked my protein bars.:) OMG, what a coincidence?! Was your grandmother Ukrainian? My name is a Ukrainian version of a very common slavic name Elena.
      We used to live in Calgary and had super long winters too, so I know what you mean about ON. Hang in there, it’s almost over! Here, in Vancouver, spring is in a full swing and it’s +15 today.
      Koodos to you for being healthy and working out at home. It’s challenging at times. Talk to you later and thanks for taking time to leave a positive comment.:)

      Reply
  2. Cynthia

    Thank you for being here when I needed to find you today! You sound wonderful and I am starting with you and your receips! My boyfriend and I are going to do the 5-2 new fasting plan and all yor receips are exactly what we need!
    Thank you so much!
    Cynthia
    Florida

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Hi Cynthia. I have no idea what your fasting plan means but glad my recipes will help. 🙂 Thanks for your sweet comment. Means a lot to me! Good luck!

      Reply
  3. Debra Glenzer

    I was thinking of buying BioTrustprotein cookies because they sent one with my protein powder. However, looking at the price figured I could do some of my own and while searching stumbled upon your recipes. Needless to say I printed them off and after my TOPS (Take off pounds sensibly) class tomorrow I’m going to bake. Thanks and I love your site!

    Reply
  4. olviya

    Hi Olena,
    I found your blog through NatashasKitchen, and just wanted to stop by and say hello! I too strive to live a healthy lifestyle, so I’m excited to try out some of your recipes and tips. Keep up the great posts! 🙂

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Hi again.:) Thank you very much for your kind words. Nice to meet you too. Stop by more often for a chat, blogging can be lonely sometimes.:) Nice to see fellow Eastern Europeans appreciating healthy cooking. Cheers.:)

      Reply
  5. Sara

    Hi Olena,
    I love your blog, the content and the pictures! I like mostly your energy and candidness in expressing how hard things were for you losing baby weight and taking the pictures (I know for real11).
    My idea of food is just like yours: I am not vegan, vegetarian, etc. I like to eat healthy and now I am moving slowly to gluten free because I need it for some health reasons.
    Wishing you and your family the best!!
    Sara

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Hi Sara. Thank you very much for your kind words and wishes.:) Means a lot to me that women actually read my story and can relate. Means I’m not alone in my struggles. I’m quite blunt and a straight shooter when it comes to weightloss and body. Unless you have a health condition that is not caused by what you put in your body, then you are solely responsible for the way you look and there is no excuses.
      I was always wondering what makes people to switch to gluten free diet?! Just curiosity. Thank you for stopping by and see you soon!

      Reply
  6. Kathy

    Hi Olena,

    Just found you today while searching for some chia seed recipes and so glad I did. I look forward to trying to make your Protein Chia Coconut Macaroons. Any thoughts or suggestions on a substitution for the almonds though? My husband has a severe tree nut allergy so we have to avoid them in our house. But he can have peanuts, so I was thinking maybe that would work? Would love to hear what you think.
    Love the blog and and can’t wait to explore your site even further. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Hi Kathy. Glad you found me.:) I’m looking for friends too.:) Yep, you can easily substitute almond meal with coarsely ground peanuts (do not over process because they will turn into peanut butter) or coconut flour. Anything reasonable would work as long as your dough reaches the consistency in photos. You can even try to substitute almond with equivalent or more of coconut flakes. Let me know and come back please.:) Cheers, Olena.

      Reply
  7. Nicole

    I think I just feel in love with your blog! I love following healthy cooking blogs! I have a blog with some healthy dishes on it but I really enjoy seeing the creativity that people with very healthy lifestyle create. I too feel bad about the cruelty done towards animals and I am leaning toward no meat all. I get more affirmed in that everyday. Slowly but surely my desire, if its there, for meat just keeps going away. I love meatless based companies like Boca and Gardein because they make it easier for me to get away from meat, but I also heard that Whole Foods meat isn’t from animal cruelty and it contains no antibodies or hormones that us humans don’t need. Anyway, I will continue to browse your blog for new recipes. Thanks for all you do!

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Hi Nicole. Thank you very much for your kind words. You are welcome and glad to hear more and more people are trying to maintain a sustainable lifestyle. It’s not easy but possible. Ideally, I would love to eat meat only twice a week. I was always questioning the ingredients in Gardein and alike products because of GMO soy and other additives but never really looked into it. Have you?

      Reply
  8. jakki

    I have just started to get into this kind of cooking – mostly baking so far – I have lost weight (about 20 lbs) and feel great too – now 122lbs and 5′ 3″ – I will definately try some of your recipes for main meals (I have four kids). We are not vegetarian/vegan or anything but I was getting bored with my old recipes and fancied trying new things so I thought it might as well be a healthy change. Your photos are really great, I know how hard/time consuming it is as I have a blog too but mine is less focused and not as slick! – knitting/crochet, travel and baking – are my three loves. I will check in when I need inspiration. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Hi Jakki. Thanks for stopping by and your kind words and I always could use a fellow’s blogger appreciation.:) Your proportions sound great!!! 4 kids, wow!!! You must be busy!!! I can only handle 2!!! I will check out your blog! Cheers and see you soon! Olena.

      Reply
  9. Oksana

    Olena,
    Your blog is godsent- you are Ukrainian like me and are all about clean eating! I am at that point in my life where I feel like I need to make a change and do it now. Like you, with each pregnancy I gain 50+ pounds, and it seems like after this one (my 3rd) it is much harder to drop the weight. Of course it doesn’t help that at most of out Ukrainian functions the food is delicious, but not always health concious 🙂 Thank you for you r recipes and your story!

    Oksana

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Haha. Yeah, Ukrainian food is far away from clean eating although has many tasty dishes. Well, I’m glad I could offer you some dinner ideas.:) I hope you are reading Clean Eating Magazine. They have many great recipes. Or Tosca Reno books are awesome too! Our children are precious, I know.:) It’s harder to lose weight with each kid but totally up to you. I look better now than before kids. More toned and lean. So good luck!

      Reply
  10. Pankaj

    I want to start a Indian Recipe Blog on indeliciousway.com , I’m new and just starting this, may I ask for some of tips from you how can I earn good with this blog ? waiting for your response. Thanks Pankaj Giri

    Reply
  11. Mari

    Hi Olena, Thanks for your simple & delicious
    recipes. I’m currently back in school and trying to eat healthy on
    a budget, so your real food recipes with no crazy ingredients are a
    great help! All the best to you and your family, -Mari

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Hi Mari. That’s awesome. Crazy ingredients drive me crazy. Not for my busy lifestyle.:) Enjoy!

      Reply
  12. Zuzana

    Hi Olena,

    Just wanted to stop by and congratulate you on this website. I first heard about from my co-worker Kellie who met your husband on the West Coast Express and tried some of your granola. I also live in Maple Ridge and am a single mother of two little, wonderful, crazy boys. I work downtown almost full time and but love all the stuff that you are about in my spare time. Just wanted to thank you for this site, wonderful ideas and yummy recipes. I haven’t tried any of them yet but will. Keep up the good work and if I see you anywhere in Maple Ridge I’ll come and say hi!

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Hi, Zuzana. Thank you so much! Oh, Alex, Alex. He is feeding commuters with my food and then tells the whole world about my blog. What if people don’t like my food?!:) Yes, he told me about Kellie. So niiiice you stopped by. How old are your boys? Definitely say “Hi” when you see me. You can usually find me in grocery stores, Langley Farm Market, Value Village and Homesense. LOL.
      And koodos to you, single mom of 2 boys. No idea how amazing women do it?! No idea! Respect.

      Reply
  13. Mom's Dish

    You know what’s funny, my story almost sounds identical to yours. MY hubby proposed t o me only after a month of knowing me. I have two boys and gained over 60lb at pregnancy 🙂 I dont eat as clean as you do but try to stick to portion control. My weakness is bylochki and other carbs 🙂

    Reply
  14. Margarita Mandić

    Hi Olena,
    I discovered your website via Facebook post of another food blogger and i must say i love it! 🙂 Your recipes and complimenting photography is amazing. I am also into healthy lifestyle and always on the look for new cooking ideas. I am a newlywed- my hubby is Serbian and I am Russian so we try to balance cleat eating and occasional splurges from Eastern European cuisines 🙂 Which is not always easy but i can’t give up good ol’ family dishes! Anyways, thanks for sharing your passion and looking forward to new recipes!

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Thank you, Margarita! You must have found me through My Whole Food Life. Occasional splurges are fine. I must say we barely ever eat Eastern European dishes but when we do it’s mostly soups and some treats. No mayo salads though.:) I tried to find out where in Canada you are located. Cool story you got there and congrats on your marriage!

      Reply
      • Ilona

        My husband’s name is Kris… But my younger son’s name is Alex:) I live in Saskatchewan province, just moved here in the beginning of December from Chicago.

        Reply
  15. Terrie

    Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my
    blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates.
    I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite
    some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with
    something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything.
    I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Thank you, Terrie! I honestly don’t know of any. I used one long time ago but don’t remember which one. Have you tried looking in WordPress plugins? Any with good reviews and at least 4 stars?

      Reply
  16. Patricia

    Hi Olena, I finally found the time to post a comment on your blog. I came across your website by accident while searching for healthy recipes online. I’m so glad I did! I love your recipes, ideas, and your positive attitude. I’m already sharing your blog with friends and family. I tried a few of your recipes and they’re great! My life is as hectic as yours and I totally identify with your story. I’m also a stay at home mom of two with a part time job on the side, trying to do it all but most of all live healthy and feed my family as healthy as possible. Congrats on the success of your blog! Can’t wait to try all the recipes.

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Hi, Patricia. Life of a work from home mom is like nothing else.:) It’s fabulous and mind blowing at same time. Right now, I’m sitting on a couch working, with a sick child on iPhone next to me, pot of soup simmering on a stove, and laundry piled up upstairs. And I have to work out some time today.
      Thank you so much for all your sweet words and please come back.:) I used to be in real estate as well.:) All the best to you!

      Reply
  17. David

    Olena, so glad to find your blog or should I say your recipes on Pinterest. I have a lot of interests in Vegatarian & Gluten free meals so you are just what I needed. I am going to purchase your ebook, it looks great. Since I just retired, I plan on making supper for my wife and I, Very Healthy. Thank you for your great recipes and sharing.

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Congratulations on your retirement, David! I’ve been cooking a lot of vegetarian meals lately as well. Enjoy and thank you for your kind words.:)

      Reply
  18. Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut

    So what if I want to copy-paste your photo/recipe disclaimer?? 😉 Kidding but seriously there is such a problem with people thinking that just because it’s on the internet, it’s a free-for-all! Drives me nuts seeing all of the recipes copy-pasted onto Facebook!!

    Found your blog through Lee at Fit Foodie Finds and am adding you to bloglovin’! 🙂

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Hey Amanda. Yeah. I gotta get mean and slap a few hands. Had a few bad experiences.

      Nice to meet you too!:)

      Reply
      • Nancy

        So glad I found you on Pinterest, Olena! I love your recipes and appreciate your outlook towards food, dieting, exercise and life in general. I don’t post recipes to FB, but re-pin on Pinterest, as well as share with friends and family via email. I hope to be compliant about reposting and will gracefully receive correction if necessary. May God bless you with many years of creative, healthy recipes, and wisdom you share with others!

        Reply
        • Olena

          Hi Nancy. I should update my refreshed outlook on life. It changes as I get older LOL. Thank you and I’m sure your sharing is fine and thank you again!!!

          Reply
  19. Lesly

    Hi Olena! I found you through your clean chili recipe on Pinterest. I’m going to make it really soon…just got to hunt down some organic ground turkey. I too live in the mainland, was a realtor and my grandparents immigrated from the Ukraine! I’m a Grandmother in her early 50’s who lost 35 pounds last year using Jenny Craig and working my ass off at the gym. I still want to lose another 20 pounds and am looking to go it alone. You told us what you are “not” but can you specifically tell me what “clean” eating is? Is it basically, not cooking with pre packaged junk, as organic as possible and low fat? I am thinking this might just be the way for me to proceed. Your weight loss and fitness is VERY impressive. I have to battle age, crappy knees, menopause and hypothyroidism but I’m half way there so I look forward to reading more of your recipes and getting more inspired for this next phase of my journey to health!

    Reply
    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Hi Lesly! So you are basically a version of me, just a tiny bit older.:) Good for you! That’s amazing what you are doing! Congrats on New You! Clean eating is eating food as close to it’s natural state as possible. Here you can read more. I love Clean Eating magazine btw! Yes, no processed foods, preferably organic and healthy fats, also lots of water.
      Thank you for your sweet words.:)
      Costco in Bellingham carries affordable organic meat, including ground turkey. I usually stock up. Also once in a while I buy regular ground turkey. It’s life.:) Enjoy the sunshine!xxx

      Reply
  20. Ramona

    Dear Olena,

    I have discovered your blog yesterday and since then I keep reading and reading. 🙂 I found it very inspiring – like you, i love to cook/bake, I am preoccupied with healthy food (even I have a sweet tooth!) and I prefer to workout at home rather then going to a fitness room. Thank you for sharing the info on how to create your own blog – maybe this will give me real bust to start mine as well. By the way, I am writing you from a place close to your home country, Ukraine – I live in the “old Europe”, in Romania. Keep up the good work, you have gained a new follower! 🙂

    Reply
    • Olena

      Awe, thank you! So nice to meet you! You guys make doing what I love possible for me!!! Interesting how did you find me?! Miss Europe!!!

      Reply
  21. Olga

    Hi Olena,
    Wow! I am sooooooooo happy that my sister found you! When she did, she told me that this was a must blog that I should follow. Lol 🙂 and I agree with her. I am so excited to try out your recipes. I am always on the verge of trying out new recipes that are 100%organic, from scratch, healthy and delicious! I love that you are so straight forward about everything. I actually took the time and read “about me” part and I love love love how you said “•I do not believe in diets.
    •I do not count calories.
    •My kids eat the same food as me.”
    I am with you on that. I want to make food for the whole familiy not just myself. So , this is a good resource of ideas . Even though I am a full time working mamma, when I get home…I LOVE LOVE to cook from scratch and something delicious. I will be posting feedbacks on whatever I do try from your list of recipes. Thanks again for taking your time and sharing your passion here with us. Bon Appetite 🙂

    Reply
  22. michael

    Enjoyed all your cooking experience. I am sorry your countrypeople are having such a hard time now. Your husband and kids are luck they have a super mom. You are another attractive woman from Ukraine. Why so many beautiful women? Must be the good food.

    Reply
    • Olena

      Haha, thank you, Michael. Just lucky genes and good food, that’s true. It is really heart breaking what’s going on in my homeland. Heart goes out to all those wonderful Ukrainian people. Truly amazing people. Just unfortunate the situation right now.

      Reply
  23. Vera

    Dear Olena,

    I follow your blog for a while! I really admire the progress you made with your food photography! Can you get me any advice? What equipment and lighting do you use!

    Keep yor fabulous work!

    Vera

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hi Vera. Thank you for your kind words. You can see my equipment on a Blogger Resources page. I use only natural light. Advice? Shoot on manual mode, figure the light in your house, do not shoot in direct sun, use tripod if too dark of a room, white dishes are best for props but main focus is your food – make it tasty and beautiful. And keep shooting. Practice is the only way to learn. Good luck.:)

      Reply
  24. Caroline

    Your writing is a joy to read; your photos, beautiful. Best of all is your positive attitude and determination. Love it! Thank you for introducing me to the cauliflower breadsticks and marinara tried-and-true recipes. You actually changed my mood back to good today! 🙂

    Reply
    • Olena

      Oh, thank you, Caroline! The world and life is beautiful. What not to like, right?! We all make our own. Happy I could put a smile in your face today.:)

      Reply
  25. Ana

    Hi Olena! I’m so glad I found your website 🙂 I have also Ukrainian heritage and just recently started my blog.

    I love your positivity and drive to move forward. And the fact that you share income, traffic and tips is really valuable to the blogging community and I think if more people do this, it would change the secretive nature of this industry 🙂 Keep it uP!!!!!

    Reply
  26. Dee @ The Kitchen Snob

    I just want to say that I am new to your blog and am loving it! I’m mostly reading many of your blogging tips and and income reports. They are the most helpful tips I have come across. I also have recently learned about clean eating and am starting a “no sugar challenge” to jump start myself to being aware what’s in my food. Can’t wait to start digging into your recipes!

    Reply
  27. Rosallyn

    I just want to say THANK YOU for sharing all your recipes!!! It definitely makes clean eating easier and more enjoyable. My family loves it when I make your Turkey Quinoa Spinach recipe. I will definitely be cooking more of your recipes. So glad I found your website!!!!

    Reply
  28. Valya @ valyastasteofhome.com

    Yummy! Looks delicious! Are these zucchinis from your garden?

    Reply
  29. Nadya @ Fit, Not Broke!

    Hi!!!!
    I`m from Belarus, and currently am living in the USA (studying at college in south jersey).
    I`ve just started a fitness blog, where I write about living a healthy lifestyle on a budget. I know exactly what you mean by abundance of food in America. In my first year or so here, I just ate everything processed. How can you not eat a snickers/reeses/nutella sundae?? I grew up in post-soviet Belarus, so tried a lot of American foods… but this…
    So yeah, now that I finally tried just about everything unhealthy, I`m trying to eat as clean as possible. 🙂 As a broke college student sometimes I struggle with staying within my budget when eating healthy, and I know that many people do. So hence my Fit, Not Broke blog 🙂
    I`m so excited to find a Slavic fitness blogger 🙂
    Have a great day!

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hi Nadya. That’s true, there are not many Slavic fit bloggers.:) In fact, I never met any Slavic person interested in fitness or clean eating.;) Anyways, good luck with your studies and blog. I will be checking it out for some tips.:)

      Reply
  30. Lisa

    Hello, just wanted to mention how I am enjoying reading your content. Your recipes look so appetizing and the blogging information is right up my alley as a new blogger. Thanks for sharing the knowledge, Lisa

    Reply
  31. Lauren

    HI Olena,

    I am from Australia, and I have just started Clean Eating, and stumbled upon your website when trying to find recipes. I am very excited to try some of the things you have posted, Can’t wait to start cooking 🙂

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hi Lauren, and welcome to the clean eating world, sometimes scary, especially when you go out, but so amazing most of time LOL.

      Reply
  32. Sinead McShane

    Hi Olena, your website looks perfect for my new journey into clean and lean eating. I saw some on your recipes posted on Pininterest and they looked exactly what I was looking for. Thank you and I look forward to learning from your journey.

    Reply
  33. Valentina

    Absolutely love your site. Especially am appreciative of all the advice for new bloggers. THANK YOU. THANK YOU!!… I too am from Ukraine and starting in the world of blogging..:)

    Reply
  34. Lena

    Olena, I stumbled upon your site looking for a good chia pudding site, and couldn’t believe when I saw your photo! Do you remember me from eva.ru forum? Lena from Colorado :). You look amazing, and I’ll give your recipe a try. Hope everyone is well!

    Reply
  35. Andy

    Hi Olena!
    It’s funny how things work. I’m just about to start on a weight loss plan and I literally stumbled onto your blog through Pinterest! I love your sincerity and your story! I’m sure your recipes will help me (: Thank you!

    Reply
  36. Victoria

    Your site is very inspiring…I am a culinary arts graduate and have been “rewriting” my collection of recipes to use whole grains (that I mill at home) no refined sugar, no unhealthy fats and oil, etc. Looking forward to trying out some of your recipes!

    Reply
  37. Stacey

    Just tried the cauliflower bread sticks. Delicious! Can’t wait to try some of your other recipes!

    Reply
  38. Valentina Vayntraub

    Olena! Oh girl, I feel you about this weight gain post pregnancy. I am a few months short of a year since I gave birth and haven’t made much progress in the weight loss department. But this mean sweet tooth awoke after birth that I’ve never seen the likes of. So I am trying to tackle that issue and get back into the healthy, organic, natural choices that I know and have made in the past.

    I, too, need to loose 20 pounds or so and I start my Walking for Losers on Monday (going to rain next few days and I’ll be walking with the baby) so I am hoping with that and some of your yum recipes I can fit into the bags of clothes that lay around useless at the moment.

    I love your creativity, your meticulous lay out of the site, and the seemingly beautiful ebooks. It truly shows you love what you do here and I look forward (with your permission, of course) to sharing you with my readers. I have a feeling they will love you as much as I do.

    Reply
    • Olena

      Thank you so much! If you are breastfeeding sweet tooth is normal. But overall exercise and more importantly whole foods is the key to weight loss. Sugar is number one enemy!!! I would be honoured if you shared my ️recipes! More healthy people is good for all of us!!!

      Reply
  39. Severine

    Hello!

    I am from Germany. I am interested in Clean Eating, because I love food, I love to cook and after gaining some weight in the last years (because I am an emotional eater when I am stressed) I decided that I want to start over again with good food. In the last days I tried three of your recipies and it was very delicious, easy to cook and my husband was very happy about the good tasting food. I really like your website and I am looking forward to try more of your tipps and recipies! Greetings from Germany 🙂 Severine

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hi Severine. Thank you so much and glad everyone approved.:) All the best to you! Eating real food is delicious and easy!

      Reply
  40. Lisa Jensen

    I’m cracking up, Olena! You are too darn cute. I’m 59, raised two daughters and one daughter has twins in the hopper! I just discovered you through Yummly and your chia pudding. I agree with everything you have to say about eating habits. I already eat pretty much as you suggest but still carry 10lbs more than I’d like, which arrived after menopause as with Shelly above. I look forward to reading your blog and trying your recipes. I love your attitude! I have the same feelings about exercise. I have a gym membership with mold on it. I’m an outdoor gal with a horse and a mule and my husband and golf. I’ll look at your suggested DVDs for home workouts.
    You look absolutely awesome! Thank you for sharing your lovely family as well! Happy cooking!
    Lisa

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hi Lisa! Thank you! Hormones are responsible for so many functions in our body. Your attitude is absolutely spot on. America is so hung up on gyms and exercises, how boring! Just get outdoors, get moving, enjoy it and stop eating crap! The last 10 lbs are the hardest and usually it’s too much sugar and not enough vegetables.:) I’m sure you can do it. I yo-yo sometimes too, even with honey and maple syrup extra lbs can add up fast. I love to work out in my clean home when I feel like it. Good luck with your grand babies, tell your kids to eat like you and raise healthy children! Let me know which recipes you try.:) P.S. You originally left me a comment on my old About Me page I have removed now but you can see the list of DVDs there if you would like.

      Reply
  41. shelly broeckx

    I just discovered your blog and have already added a couple recipes to my files to make very soon. I am a mature woman of 60, have raised 4 children and never carried extra weight until I hit menopause. Now I am looking for ways to shed pounds and I have already removed all while products from my pantry, cook all my own foods and desserts, use only coconut sugar but not all my purchases are organic. We live on a very small budget so I buy the best I can with my what I have. I need more exercise, but you have given me hope that more effort on my part will help me rid the muffin top I carry around now. Thanks

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hi Shelly! Koodos to you for raising 4 kids! But organic as much as you can. Or Non GMO Project verified at least. Also buy organic produce on Dirty Dozen list and save money on Clean Fifteen. Just do your best. Google those lists, I’m on my phone so hard to insert links. Also limited sugar, clean eating and moderate exercise will keep you in shape. I feel extra sugar right away lol. Good luck and let me know recipes you try!!!

      Reply
  42. Oree

    Dear Oleana, You might be a minority as you said, yet I truly think that lots of people would prefer to consume organic foods only if only the cost of both basic ingredients like veggies and fruits and condiments etc’ would be lower or cheaper and if other ingredients from around the world, like whole fat coconut milk or young coonut etc’ would be available everywhere around the world all year round (for a reasonable price). The reality is not like that and people who consume organic food whether in the U.S where I used to live or in Israel where I live now and I am sure it is mostly the same every where around the world, are people who make a very good living and they can certainly afford those high cost foods.
    Indeed many people would suffice with ready made foods, but many others could only dream to consume some organic items and integrate them in their daily diet as I have been trying doing.

    Anyway, thank you for your recipes, I will look into them and I will also appreciate if you could develop some that do not include sugars like honey, maple syrop and similar ingredients only, but maybe you could also give sweetener alternatives like stevia powder, coconut sugar, Agave syrop, etc’.

    Thank you for your time and for sharing your experience and flavors. Oree.

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hi Oree. Yes, I mean people who can afford food. In fact, once you stop buying processed food and stick only to real food eating organic IS NOT much more expensive in North America for sure. That is such a huge misconception that drives me crazy in conversations with friends. I do not mean to buy frozen organic pizza that costs an arm and a leg. Instead, I mean have boiled potatoes with kale salad and avocado for dinner. Takes 30 minutes to make. Majority of people just don’t care, could care less to find out more about food they eat or what harm to the environment they do by buying GMOS and processed food. That is until they get sick and if they are smart enough not to jump onto unnecessary pills and find excuses. Our society is so screwed up these days mostly thankfully to huge money making corporations and human nature – laziness. Life is too easy and comfortable, don’t have to hunt and fish for fish with a stick. Plus GMOs make food so cheap. Blunt but it is true.
      Agave used to be known good for you until recently it has been declared as bad as high fructose corn syrup. 100% pure maple syrup and raw honey are MUCH healthier and better for us. Coconut sugar is OK too but still honey rules. So, I recommend to stick to those.

      Reply
      • Lana

        Hi, Olena, I am so happy to have found your website. I love the Overnight Mango Chia seeds Pudding! I try to eat mostly vegetarian foods and I try to avoid dairy products from cow’s milk, I also try to avoid sugary foods, so this makes it very difficult for me to find any good deserts! This one is perfect for me, as I always have a big jar of chia seeds at home and I love mango and coconut milk. By the way, I was born in Russia but lived in the US for almost 25 years, and I have a 14 year old daughter who I adopted from Ukraine back in 2011 (she was 10 years old then).
        It is funny because my daughter used to be “meat and potato” person and used to love sugary foods and she thought that my food was weird and won’t even touch it, but now she has changed her eating habits and she is cooking delicious foods for me sometimes. She just recently made the best vegetarian Ukrainian borsh (борщ) I have ever tasted. Thank you again for your blog and your recipes! Lana

        Reply
        • Olena

          Hi Lana. Oh, then you eat like me.:) I bake with honey and maple syrup but mostly for my boys.
          Ukrainian girls are amazing in the kitchen, I know LOL. That is so wonderful what you did! I have seen Ukrainian foster homes and it is so sad…You gave her a big chance in life! I was lucky to immigrate as a teenager and feel like I have won a lottery and a second chance in life. Blessings to you and your family!!!

          Reply
  43. Celeste

    Hi Olena! I just wanted to say that reading your “about” page really touched me! Thanks for being so real! I just found your site but am thankful that you have nutrition info on your recipe so please keep that up! I have tried one and will try more and possibly buy your book. Thanks for your hard work!
    Blessed in all you do!
    ~Celeste

    Reply
    • Olena

      Awe, thank you very much, Celeste!!! Made my Monday considering it is my first day back to work after a lovely California vacation. 🙂

      Reply
  44. Randi

    Olena, thank you for your great recipes! I just made the cauliflower pizza crust today and I immediately had to make another one because my boys finished it and demanded more! My younger son is gluten free, so this was great! Also, both my grandparents are from Odessa and immigrated as children to Brooklyn.

    Reply
    • Olena

      Awesome, Randi! Yes I make two at a time otherwise it is not enough. I wonder if you grandparents were Jewish?! There was a lot of Russian speaking Jews in Odessa back then. Not many Ukrainians, more Russians and Jews. My husband is Jewish with a Russian last name.

      Reply
  45. Elizabeth

    I just want you to know how much I appreciate and love your blog and recipes. I found your blog and delicious recipes on pinterest over the summer and have been hooked ever since. I too started my kids early eating healthy and am proud to say that there are not many vegetables that they won’t eat. My family loves your recipes. Keep up the good work and I will continue to scour your blog for new and exciting recipes to try on my willing family.

    Reply
    • Olena

      Awe, thank you! Merry Christmas, Elizabeth!!! Now I’m pumped to keep producing.:) Definitely starting kids early in veggies is a huge advantage. I honestly do not know how to switch them later. I mean I do not have advice in that since my kids pretty much anything. Lately even stuffed eggplant was a hit!!!

      Reply
  46. Oksana

    Hi, Olena! I’m Oksana, and I’m from Ukraine as well, so I just couldn’t walk by without saying hi, found out we’re fellow countrywomen 😉
    I’ve just cooked cauliflower based pizza following your recipe, and it tasted amazing! Thanks for that. I’m also into clean and healthy eating and can’t understand HOW I haven’t come across your blog earlier… Anyway, now I’ll be your frequent visitor.
    Have a nice day 🙂

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hi Oksana. Awe, you are welcome. Well there are so many blogs right now, it is easy to get lost. I checked out your blog and it looks lovely.:) I admire your writing ,especially in Russian.;)

      Reply
  47. Georgia

    Hi Olena, just came to your blog today from a link from BudgetBytes for your Thai Sweet Chili Sauce. Maple syrup is my sweetener of choice, so was thrilled to see your recipe and will be making it soon! Was reading through the comments to this post and noticed that you asked why someone would choose a gluten-free diet. I eat gluten-free, not because I have an intolerance to gluten, but because my doctor suggested that going to a gluten-free diet might alleviate some of the inflammation/pain I was experiencing due to an orthopedic issue. I’ve since had surgery and no longer have any pain associated with that condition; however I have chosen to continue eating gluten-free because it just makes my digestive system feel better. And I feel good too, because I know that I’m eating healthier, even though not totally organic or clean-eating, because most of my food is fresh and not refined or processed. I have absolutely no desire or cravings to return to a diet that includes gluten. Hope this makes sense! And now I’ll be checking out other posts on your blog!

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hi Georgia! Congratulations on your recovery and choosing to eat clean. That is awesome!:) You will love this sauce!
      Over the years I have learnt that everybody has their own understanding of eating healthy. For me gluten is not a culprit but rather conventionally raised and processed food is a big NO. So you can eat gluten and not eat gluten, it also matters what else you eat that makes you healthy or unhealthy. The bottom line is it is not gluten, meat, dairy etc. that are absolute evils. It is a combination of various factors. I question why would someone eat gluten free without medical condition. I am not from here, I am from Europe where food is taken by people absolutely differently than in North America. And Europe is much healthier. That is why you won’t see me going gluten free, paleo, vegan etc.

      Reply
      • Georgia

        I completely agree with you. I also do not understand how people can think that just eating gluten-free is healthier. When I started on my new “diet”, I compared a lot of the processed foods that are “gluten-free” and found that actually they can contain more calories and fat plus unhealthy chemical ingredients. That is why I concentrate on eating fresh and clean whenever possible and even though I have no medical reasons to continue on a gluten-free diet, I’m used to eating that way and so that’s my personal choice. Avoiding gluten doesn’t automatically make my diet healthy, it’s avoiding foods (with out without gluten) that are unhealthy that make me feel my diet is healthy. By the way – I worked at a university with a graduate student named Olena – but she went by the name of Helen. She was from Ukraine. You are not her, are you???

        Reply
        • Olena

          That is correct. A few generations of North Americans are SO confused what to eat as a result of marketing. It is all about money here and everyone is trying to make a few bucks anywhere they can. So, if people go for fads why not throw more of them at them and make more $$$?! And people go for it because human nature is lazy! Sad truth. I’m not sure it will get better to be honest. I do feel terrified who my healthy children will marry and how healthy their kids will be. Sometimes I question whether living in America is better health wise to be honest. But where to go??? Yes we have more than we need but look how many people are sick and dying?!
          I used to go by Helen when I first moved here. I went to university but was undergrad.

          Reply
          • Georgia

            Olena, I just made your Thai Sweet Chili Sauce and licked the pan! It’s delicious! I will be making a simple stir fry of chicken, cabbage, carrots and onion and serving rice on the side. Will drizzle the sauce on top. Kind of like an unstuffed eggroll 🙂 Thanks for the recipe!

          • Olena

            See, awesome!!! I like your dinner. This is how we eat too. It is a balance of lots of veggies, healthy fats and a bit of meat and seafood. If you eat like that naturally you do not eat much gluten. The gluten problem comes from processed crap mostly. So, eating whole wheat pizza or wrap I wouldn’t say no. My men eat way more bread than me because they are men and still there are no issues. However, I have to say if we eat out and I eat for example non organic wrap or pasta I DO feel a bit of bloating. But at home with organic stuff I don’t. I just thought to add to our conversation.:)

  48. Jenn

    Hi Olena, I love your food philosophy, and I agree – we could totally be friends 🙂 Let’s stay in touch! xo

    Reply
  49. Trish Ryan-Hofmann

    Hello Olena, my niece’s name was Elena but she was Irish and Greek mostly. I’m trying to get healthier, but it’s challenging at my age of fifty eight and living with chronic pain for over ten years . But hoping if I lose weight maybe it might help my pain. So I’m going to try some of your recipes hoping my husband will like them, he’s a diabetic, and so will I. I’m a creator of habit with my cooking so it will be a challenge for me, but it’s time for my husband and I both. Looking forward to trying you recipes. Thanks for giving me a ray of hope!

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hi Trish. Elena is Greek goddess’s name I believe. In Russian, my full name is Elena, short Lena and in Ukrainian it is Olena.:)
      I won’t lie that any habits are harder to break as we get older. BUT it is a habit that still can be changed at any age, especially if you are in pain.
      One of my readers, Kit, has done just that. She is in her 60s. Look around my posts for her comments (she writes a lot which makes me love her even more) where she shares her experience. She was very sick. Now she eats very healthy.
      Good luck!

      Reply
  50. Amanda Macias

    I am just starting on the quest of “clean eating.” I’ve been doing cross fit for a while, but have not lost a lot. I like you am not eating fast food, but I got plantar fasciitis last year and it caused me to gain 25 pounds. I was not active and all i did was eat. I’m looking forward to making the garlic chicken and corn. I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hi Amanda. Sorry to hear that.:( I learnt it is mostly about food. You can work out like crazy but food gotta be right to see results. I used to eat way more protein and was leaner. Now with more healthy but carbs I have gained weight but still look proportionate. Just more meat on me. And I work out but can’t get to super lean because of food. But I don’t want to eat too much protein because it is unhealthy.

      Reply
  51. Maude

    Bonjour,

    I have been looking your blog for about a week now and I have to tell you that I LOVE IT! Recipes are easy and don’t require stuff that I never heard of! I too gained 55 lbs during pregnancy and working hard to loose that! Have to say love that you live in Canada, that simplifes ingredients/measurements and all! And you use sirop d’érable!!!!!!!! Finally I can mix flavor, good sugar and fun at the same time! Never stop doing what you do because you really make a difference in many home kitchen! Trust me, I recommend your website to EVERYONE! Thank you, thank you and a thousand times thank you!

    Maude, Robert et Constance!

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hi Maude. Awe, thank you so much! You are very welcome!!! I won’t stop.:) Life is too short to eat crap and yet too short to diet. People ought to know that so we will keep fighting Skippy PB and Fruit Loops.

      Reply
  52. Lena

    Shout out from a fellow Ukrainian with a same name and a same life situation 😀 I live in Copenhagen, Denmark now and blog about traveling. Enjoyed your website with Ukrainian – North American recipes. Good job, Olenka!

    Reply
    • Olena

      Thank you very much! Beautiful pictures you post. I will follow your blog now. Travel is my 2nd passion. Just need kids to grow up a bit.:)

      Reply
  53. Christy

    I read your about and “my home workout space”. They are both very good reads! Nicely said. And you look awesome. Embrace the mama pouch! You earned it. I also eat pretty clean and im trying to get my boyfriend on board. It is very difficult for him to stay on course when he is away from me. When i feed him, he eats well tho. How did you get Alex to be pro-whole foods with you?? I need that advice!!

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hi Christy. Thank you so much! Yep, since I wrote those 2 posts I have kinda embraced my mama pouch. Almost there. I mean I realized that it ain’t going anywhere unless I remove it surgically which is not an option for me. Most women have a mama pouch, no matter how skinny they are. The skinnier, the bigger the mama pouch haha. It blends in with more belly fat. Mine does. At the end of the day I realized if taking into consideration average population and not Hollywood stars I look good. I can feel my biceps and barely have cellulite. Thank you for the reminder! And I have 2 kids which were worth any pouch.
      With Alex embracing eating what I eat was a simple process. We came back from a 2 week all inclusive trip to Jamaica and he happened to have pre-scheduled general exam at GP. His cholesterol was so high his doctor put him on Crestor. He took 3 pills and said “F*** it” and started running. Then joined me eating clean. Plus Alex can’t cook so he kinda has to eat what I eat LOL. Now Alex eats healthier than me LOL. He just kinda got scared and his personality is a go getter. He won’t be looking for excuses for sure. Plus he is competitive so he wants to be as healthy as me. He even orders food in a restaurant what I order haha. Then once you eat healthy for a while it is hard to eat junk when eating out. That is what we find. I hope you get him on board. Usually wisdom comes with age too for many men. How old is he? I found kids made us really change ourselves.
      Good luck to you both! He will come around.:)

      Reply
  54. Rebecca

    Hi,

    Just wanted to let you know that I absolutely love your recipes and have made the zucchini lasagna and I’m going to be making a few others this weekend and they’re just great!! I was wondering for the 2 ingredient crackers with rolled oats and mashed bananas could steel cut oats be a substitute for the rolled oats? I have a ton of them and figured it’d be convenient to just use those.

    I can’t wait to continue to try out your recipes:) i have recommended your site to family and friends because it encompasses the healthy eating we are striving for.

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hi Rebecca. Thank you so much for everything!!!
      No, steel cut oats wouldn’t work as they haven’t been pre-cooked. Use the search bar on my blog and look what other recipes you can use them for. Or they make the best breakfast oatmeal.:)

      Reply
  55. Tracy

    Olena, I’ve stumbled on your blog a few times over the years and even pinned some recipes. But this January, I have (finally!) committed to a cleaner lifestyle and rediscovered your blog. Today, I’ve already spent a few hours going through your recipes and posts. I love your honestly in your new weekend series (I am also an unapologetic wine drinker) and your posts on your immigration are inspiring. I have a very good friend in Ohio who is also from Ukraine. You and she are “good people.” I will be making a few or your recipes this week. – Tracy

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hi Tracy. Oh haha, I have learnt a few new things about myself – “an apologetic wine drinker” and “good people”. Interesting to hear an outside view on yourself. Good for you! You can do it! Let me know if you need any help and WIAW series will resume next Monday. In the meanwhile, you might find a post about balance and how not being afraid to eat useful.

      Reply

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