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Disclaimer: I’m not a certified nutritionist, personal trainer or a chef. All opinions are my own. Consult your doctor or a specialist regarding your diet. I do not take any responsibility for what you put in your body and the outcomes.


Hi, it’s me on June 5, 2013. I’m finally happy where I am physically. I reached my goal: to wear a bikini this summer. Finally, I feel happy at the beach and not guilty for last night! Stay tuned for the next week beach update…

Besides those perks, I’m not on any kind of medication, I quit smoking 2 years ago, I cut down on alcohol consumption, I do not have cellulite, I have glowing hair, leaner body, almost perfect skin and tons of energy. I’M HAPPY! How did I get here? A lot of hard work and not overnight.

2.5 years ago I looked like this: on the way to the hospital almost 200 lbs. Crazy! I never ever want to be there again and definitely no more kids. Ever! I even had to reduce the photo in size, so embarrassing and horrifying but I wanted you to see it.


If you want to lose weight, you need to eat a lot! Sounds crazy? But it’s true! You just have to eat the right food and don’t be afraid of food!

I get asked a lot what I eat and how I workout. I already covered my exercise, home gym & equipment part. IMHO, if you are a mom with little kids, simple home gym is a sure way to weight loss. You can also read my full story here.

Now FOOD… Addiction.:) Your diet should consist primarily of lean proteins, complex carbs and greens.

So, here is what I eat in a day considering different circumstances.


Lemon Water

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I try to start every morning with freshly squeezed half of lemon mixed with warm water. You have to drink it first thing in the morning or before bedtime. I saw it on Dr. Oz show and Alex heard it on the radio – it simply cleans your body inside and your gut. I drink higher concentrated juice than he recommends, just because I rush.

Start with your insides: Lemons are an amazing way to keep bad bacteria at bay. When you make my LemonAID – 8 ounces filtered water (heated), juice from half an organic lemon and 2-4 drops of natural sweetener – and consume it upon waking or before bed, you get the bacteria-fighting benefits of lemon juice that improve digestion and support your immune system.

Dr. Oz

I also take any vitamins if I have to. In winter it’s vitamin D (Vancouver gets barely any sun in winter months), vitamin A for my skin ( I had a terrible acne from whey protein powder, it’s much better after I switched to hemp protein powder – my “weed”:)), and valerian root for keeping me calm (it’s harmless herb I highly recommend:)).

Green Smoothie

I workout 3-4 times a week, first thing in the morning. It’s either Turbofire or Chalean Extreme. I mix them up and do not follow the schedule.

I try to drink green smoothie every morning. I just make a full Oster blender of it the day before and have leftovers for the morning. If I worked out that morning, I add pea or hemp protein to my green smoothie.

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I adapt my Greena Colada & magic bullet green smoothie depending on what I have on hand that day. Quite often I use frozen bananas instead of mangoes. Then I do not add coconut milk.

I buy 3 bunches of bananas at a time for eating, freezing for smoothies and baking like banana bread and protein pancakes. I always get looks at the store like I’m a zookeeper.

To freeze bananas, just peel them, break with your hands and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Once frozen transfer to a ziploc bag and store in the freezer for months.

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Breakfast, Coffee & Water

Right away: I drink 3 of 750 ml those red bottles of filtered water a day. A must for weight loss! Don’t even try to add any crappy artificial flavourful drops to it besides real fruit. Don’t turn something so pure into crap. Period.

I have 1 big cup of organic ground at home coffee with any fat % organic milk most mornings. About a month ago I stopped adding any kind of sugar to my coffee. Milk is sweet enough. I believe it’s important to drink organic coffee for health reasons and freshly ground for taste reasons. I’m from Europe where coffee is highly respected as a food. No Folgers or Maxwell there or here, sorry.

I tried coffee with almond milk and can’t get myself to like it at all. Sorry, it’s my little cheat. I try not to eat dairy a lot for many reasons but here it’s not an option.

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For breakfast I usually have sprouted (Costco), Ezekiel (Trader Joe’s) or dark rye bread (Costco) toast with organic or natural peanut butter. It’s unsalted and unsweetened. Forget about Kraft and Skippy. It’s crap!

I love chia pudding for breakfast. It requires a bit of planning and be prepared the night before. Sometimes I forget.

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If I had a green smoothie with protein powder that morning, I save the toast for a morning snack. If not, then I drink green smoothie, with or without the protein. Depends how hungry I am.

I also would have banana, or 15 almonds, or an apple with low fat mozzarella cheese. Simple.


I wake up at 6:30AM so by 11:30 AM I’m ready for lunch.

It usually consists of leftovers from dinner – complex carbs like brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, barley or lentils with lean protein – chicken, turkey, fish, scrambled egg whites. Hearty soups or casseroles are great too! The rule is to have complex carbs and lean proteins at every meal. Then you are not hungry and don’t eat junk food. No point to eat less than your body needs, you won’t lose weight this way.

Sometimes I will eat whole wheat pasta and deli meat like lean turkey breast. It’s better than grabbing chips. I use what I have on hand that day. No fuss.

This was my “good” lunch – spinach and lentil soup with hummus and whole wheat pita.

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This is my emergency with leftovers lunch – brown rice from last night, canned wild salmon and green smoothie.

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When I absolutely have nothing at home I eat this – toasted organic sprouted bread with 1 sliced avocado and drops of chipotle tabasco sauce.

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It’s snack time.

It’s either Greek yogurt with granola and fruit/berries.

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Or green smoothie with brown rice/pea or hemp protein powder.

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Kids love making smoothies!

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Or a piece of no bake chocolate protein fudge. I go by how hungry I feel.

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That’s around 6PM. For dinner I eat what you see on my blog. It consists of a main dish either meat or vegetarian, a side of complex carbs and a salad. Again if I’m too tired to make a salad then we all drink green smoothie.

Here is an example of a vegetarian dinner: tofu with egg whites scramble, lentils, veggies and sautéed brown mushrooms with onions.

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Here is an emergency dinner – store bought BBQ chicken, toast with avocado and green smoothie.

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Treats in the Evening

I try to eat a full dinner so I don’t feel like eating any treats later on in the evening. But sometimes I have a sweet tooth. Then I reach out to my freezer where I keep all my protein powder desserts in airtight containers.

And chocolate…dark, at least 70% chocolate. I will do anything for it…

If I’m not lazy I will make vegan ice cream.

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Grocery Shopping

I shop once a month at Costco. My bill is around $400-500. Costco offers many organic foods at reasonable price. Like meats, coconut oil, milk, eggs, nuts, dried fruits, cheese, cereals, agave, coffee, olive oil, grains etc.

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I buy frozen foods for kids and Alex for emergencies. It’s life and sometimes I have no time to cook. I do not eat frozen pizza, potstickers or pirogies. Instead I would grab some healthier leftovers from the fridge, where kids and Alex need something more substantial.

Kids also like treats like popcorn and healthier chips.

Then I shop for fruits and veggies once a week at my local farm market. I spend about $60 a week.

Eating Out

Below are my favourite places to eat/drink out.


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Don’t get your hopes high up just yet! I eat all of the above only with my eyes! You should not be eating any of these high calorie full of refined sugar and white flour treats if you want to be healthy and skinny! But at same time do not avoid Starbucks by any means.

Do I feel deprived? No. I love to look at beautiful food but I don’t feel like I want to eat it. I love to make my own healthy desserts and my dream is to create copycat versions of Starbucks baked goods.

I’m pretty good at self-control. I just know any piece of dessert above runs around 400-500 calories. How many calories did I burn this morning? Around 400. No thank you, I work too hard to give up so easily! And you shouldn’t either!

I do not order any fancy sugary drinks either. They run at around 500 calories each too. And forget about sugar free syrups! It’s crap full of aspartame that causes cancer.

Instead, I order Americano misto with skim milk – shots of espresso with hot water and skim milk. Again I can’t drink it with almond milk although I love almond milk. Alex does it.


We do not go out for dinner often, once every month and mostly for sushi. Yep, I know it’s weird for America. Well, it’s one of the reasons of my success.

I hate spending hundreds of $ on food I can make at home and babysitter. I like my healthy food.

But when we go out I have a glass or two of wine. Love white wine on hot days.

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And I would eat real pizza. This is the best pizza I ever had at Via Tevere pizzeria in Vancouver.

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Good wine, good food, good friends…Live healthy & occasionally reward yourself. Life is short!

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Nutrition + Weight Loss Tips

Lets face it.

  1. Drink lots of water, at least 2 L a day – speeds up your metabolism and helps weight loss besides the fact it hydrates your body. Tea and coffee do not replace water but rather dehydrate your body. Yes, mom. Soft drinks make you gain weight and eventually will cause you an illness and/or death.
  2. Don’t put artificial man made crap in your body: aspartame, sucralose, corn syrup, sugar, thickeners, stabilizers, colours. Read the labels. As soon as you can’t pronounce the ingredients or see red#30, blue#40, aspartame, corn syrup etc. put it back, run away and never come back to that place.
  3. Have lean proteins along with complex carbs at every meal.
  4. If you have to eat out, find Subway and order grilled chicken breast sandwich on whole wheat with veggies of your choice and mustard. No sauce. Sometimes I will eat footlong if I worked out that day.
  5. Eat every 2-3 hours. I eat all the time, people say.
  6. Cut down on alcohol. I drink approximately every 10 days, 2-3 glasses of wine or clear hard liquor with ice, club soda and lime/lemon. Chose clear hard liquor-less calories and sugar.
  7. have no time to make a salad – make a full blender of greena colada and store in the fridge.
  8. Keep emergency healthier ready-to-eat foods always on hand: low sodium turkey breast deli meat, canned wild salmon, canned tuna packed in water, canned chicken, organic lentil canned soup, low fat mozzarella cheese. It’s better than reaching out for mac’n’cheese or pizza.
  9. Always pack snacks with you: almonds, apples, bananas, granola bars, protein bars, protein balls, cheese sticks, green smoothie.
  10. Eat at home before going out to a gathering with limited healthy foods.
  11. For a late couch snack consider fresh or frozen berries – strawberries and blueberries are affordable and widely available. Berries are the lowest in sugar out of all fruits and satisfy the craving without adding calories. Avoid high in sugar bananas, grapes, mangoes and watermelon.
  12. Sip on a 0 calorie cup of herb/fruit tea or plain hot water late at night. Water will fill up your stomach. Have 2 or 3 cups if you want, it’s guilt free. I drink lots of tea at nighttime.
  13. If you feel really hungry and it’s late make yourself a chocolate protein shake, blueberry protein shake or a greena colada.
  14. Chew your food slowly and wait 20 minutes after the meal. That’s how long it takes for your brain to get the signal from your stomach that it is full. Alex always jokes with me about this one. 🙂
  15. Add flavour to your meals without adding many calories with these flavour rich condiments: fresh ground black pepper, various vinegars, mustard, lemon/lime juice, Tabasco and Chili hot sauce.
  16. Consume your carbs in the first half of the day while you still need them for energy. As the day ends stick to lean proteins and vegetables.
  17. Stop adding sugar to your coffee or tea. As the time passes your taste buds will get cleaned and you will be enjoying the taste without sugar the same way you did before when adding one.
  18. If you smoke consider starting HIIT training as your lungs won’t be able to keep up. That’s how me and Alex quit smoking and I haven’t met any single person yet who took sport seriously and was able to enjoy smoking at the same time.
  19. Don’t find excuses. Majority of people who fail to be who they want to be just didn’t give it 100% due to…laziness. It’s super easy to be a lazy complaining person but it’s much more rewarding to be healthy!
This post may contain affiliate links. When you buy a product I make a small commission without any extra cost to you. In return, you can enjoy free recipes as well as savings on your favourite products. I also shared Clean Eating Ingredients I Buy and Kitchen Appliances +Tools I Use. Please buy local, organic and fair trade whenever feasible.


  1. olga Rivera

    HI Olena, THANK YOU!!! for being such a huge inspiration and such a beautiful soul i love your amazing blog and keep up the great work! xoxoxo

    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Hi Olga. Thank you so so so much! I’m so glad I could help you in any way to become happier YOU!

  2. Anastasia Safonov

    Thanks for these tips Olena! These are similar principles I base my lifestyle on.
    By the way I love the pregnant picture, your tummy looks like a basketball or two! It’s cute!
    I run an Adult Foster Home, so lots of unhealthy foods still make it into our house, but we just don’t eat them, my clients do (it’s what they like).

    • Olena (iFOODreal)

      Oh my goodness.:) Me and pregnancy do not mix and look well.:) But thank you, I’ll take that as it will never happen again.:) I know, older generation have their own habits that are hard to break.:)

      • Anastasia Safonov

        Lol! After one baby, I feel like I’m done for a while (traumatic birth experience). But I’m still young, and will probably want another one in the future. We’ll see!

  3. jennifer

    the link to your protein powder dessert recipe doesn’t work; can you look into that and repost it?

  4. Chris

    This is an excellent site! I see that it is mainly for women so I apologize for the intrusion, however, its hard to resist with all of these great recipies. Keep up the good work!
    Btw, your turkey and spinach quinoa was great! Ive never used an oven in my life before I stumbled across your recipe, and it turned out to be easy and delicious.

    • Olena

      You are welcome, Chris. Thank you so much! No apologies necessary. I do have male audience, it is just so small I find it awkward to address my posts to women and 20% men.


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