by Olena

Olena’s Story

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And welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I’m a mom to 2 boys, a wife to Alex, and soon-to-be Certified Nutrition Coach and Cornell University Healthy Living program graduate. Welcome to our easy healthy recipes blog.

Olena osipov sitting on a stool in ifoodreal kitchen.

I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. Many healthy dinner recipes are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

I now live on magical Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. On that below.

You can also find me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Youtube.

In 2012, I ended up at home with 2 small kids, unemployed and a wee bit chubby. I started this blog thanks to Alex’s mad web design skills and in hopes to be able to work from home. Fast forward to 2022, I could have never imagined iFOODreal would grow into a business it is today! More on that below.

My food philosophy in short is – eat real food, move daily and enjoy all good things in life in moderation. I don’t believe in diets (including Whole30 and Keto – yes, those are diets!). I tried them. Diets ruin healthy relationship with food because they are unsustainable in a long-term and short-term is not the solution.

Nor do I think we were born to eat. This website reflects my healthy relationship with food to which took a while to arrive via diets.

Chicken burrito skillet garnished with grape tomatoes, cilantro and green onion.

Nutrition and Education

I just have successfully completed Nutrition and Healthy Living certificate program with Cornell University and got my certificate! Yay!!!

It was so interesting and rewarding to learn about human body, what nourishes and damages it, and generally to answer all the questions I have been asking myself all my life.

But more importantly to understand what is a myth and what is true in today’s world when we are bombarded with so much info daily. And seems like we don’t know what to eat anymore!

But at same time it was hard to study at my age. Now I will be sharing my knowledge with all of you in a form of healthy cupcakes.

Nutrition and healthy living certificate for Olena Osipov from Cornell University.

Next is Certified Nutrition Coach course with national Academy of Sports Medicine. Oh, boy!

What You Will Find Here

  • Easy healthy recipes with simple ingredients.
  • I share mostly healthy dinner recipes because “What’s for Dinner?” is never going away.
  • We are absolutely obsessed with Instant Pot – it makes weeknight dinner situation so much more bearable!
  • Like to prep ahead? Check out our zero pre-cooking healthy freezer meals.
  • Nutritional information with every recipe as a guideline – I don’t count calories.
  • Love to meal plan? We recently launched iFOODreal meal plans.
  • Also healthy desserts (of course!), salads and breakfast ideas.
  • More importantly, I want to be upfront about my understanding of “family friendly” recipes. My kids eat “everything” thanks to my authority as a parent. Raised in Europe, I do believe that North American diet is out of control, especially kids’. Mainly thanks to adults. What every kid eats is completely up to his/her parent – 5 ways to make kids eat healthy.

So, there is that. Can we be friends?

Olena osipov and her family in the mountains.

A Little More About Us

In my “previous life” I received a Business Degree, had a short career in accounting, and then a bit longer career in real estate.

In “a life even before that” I was raised by a single mom and grandma in Kiev, Ukraine until I came to Canada at the age of 19. We had little (very little) but we ate way healthier than majority of North America eats now with access to real food.

That’s why I believe anyone can eat healthy! I believe anyone can find money for a bag of potatoes, a head of cabbage and soup bones (and make borscht 🙂 ). I believe anyone can learn to cook, even the ones who don’t like it. Cooking is a life skill, not a choice. Eating healthy is all about choices. Anyone makes that decision every day with every $ they spent.

Sunset over pacific ocean and people watching birds fly.

Our Home and Business

In 2018, we took a leap of faith, sold our Vancouver suburban home and purchased an oceanfront fixer-upper on Vancouver Island.

We spent 2 years completely gutting and rebuilding the house. Which was a very painful experience and I say I would never do it again. But it was worth it because our over an acre backyard backs onto Pacific ocean. It is a dream!

ifoodreal kitchen studio.

Above the garage we have iFOODreal studio. It is my office and that’s where I test and cook recipes for the blog.

Studio was one of the main reasons why we moved from mainland to the island. To be able to have that line between life and work. Balance. And it has been one of the best decisions ever!

Tearful, sweaty and painful but it is worth 100% to follow your dreams. Life is truly short and I know I’m too young to say that. But remember, I’m from Ukraine.:)

You can listen to my full interview on Dreaming Big with Bjork Ostrom of Food Blogger Pro.

Life on Vancouver Island

We are asked all the time “How is it to live on the island?”. Magical!

I had my reservations when moving but now 2 years later I am absolutely in awe of this nature’s paradise. Of course, island consists of 800,000 residents and has a few major cities like Victoria and Nanaimo. However, we live in a small rural community with Costco and Home Depot within a 15 minute drive.

Sky is loaded with stars and you can see a Milky Way. Ocean is breathtaking and swimmable May through September. Eagles, orcas, owls, sea lions, seals, humpback whales and a lot-a lot of deer, like a lot! 🙂 Mountains, lakes, beaches, woods, more islands, storm watching… it never ends!

Vancouver island beach.

But more importantly life is simple! It feels like a time machine – living in the 80s. Outdoor lifestyle prevails among majority of residents year round – mountain biking, hiking, skiing, fishing, water sports etc. Unlike in Vancouver where we lived, majority of people are not in a rush and cook their own food at home. We now completely understand the term “island time”.

We are more mindful. We devote time to our inner spirit, happiness and health. We are less stressed and calm. We are more happy and grateful for what we have!


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Comments in 2022 is receiving around 4 million visitors a month. 4 million people are interested in cooking and eating healthy – that’s amazing!!! I am so proud of every single one of you! And thank you for visiting and sharing my recipes!

It literally “takes a village” to run this website and offer it to you for free. We are a team of 5 people working full-time and part-time on grocery shopping, recipe development, clean up, photography, video, promoting recipes on social media and in a newsletter, replying to hundreds of comments a day and troubleshooting. It is a lot of work, not to mention expenses, and I know it is appreciated by most!

I try to reply to every comment and but please keep 2022 comment policy rules in mind:

  • My ultimate goal is to help you cook healthy, tasty and quick meals. That’s why we are here.
  • I am a home cook and am sharing my creations and recipes I enjoy. Not a professional chef but I kind of grew up around my grandma cooking in Ukraine from scratch. Anyone can be a chef of their own family.
  • Ads might be annoying sometimes but they make recipes possible free of charge to you. Like you, I can’t work for free and have kids to feed. If ads bother you, I think buying cookbooks would be the best solution.
  • I delete without reading and do not engage with negative, rude and inappropriate comments. We have a software installed that automatically detects and deletes negativity. You will be wasting your time if you are planning to unload your bad day or life on me. Life is too short and that is why I live on the island. 🙂
  • I do not engage in arguments of any kind because I can’t possibly make all 4 million people happy. It’s OK to keep having different opinions.
  • I can’t fulfill requests for any recipe changes due to cultural beliefs, diet or preferences because they are my recipes.
  • Timeframe. We reserve the right to reply to comments within 48 hours.
  • Ingredient substitutions. Please refer to extensive recipe post and recipe card notes. Most recipes are written with answers, variations and tips for any possible scenario. If you don’t see an answer, you are welcome to try your substitution and let us know how it went as recipes are posted only as tested.
  • is a happy cooking place without judgement. If you feel like this place is not for you for whatever reason, please respect us by moving on just like we respect you for doing so.
  • We live in an age when anyone can be easily offended. Please see point above.
  • It takes a lot to put yourself out there. Please see point above.
  • My ultimate goal is to help you cook healthy, tasty and quick meals. That’s what matters!

Do you need more help with quick and healthy dinner?
We just launched iFOODreal healthy meal plans for as little as $7/month.

It is always exciting to see my recipes featured by other publications.

  • MSN featuring my Korean Ground Beef Rice Bowls.
  • Fox News featuring my Boneless Turkey Breast Roast.
  • BuzzFeed featuring my Thai salmon.
  • The Guardian featuring my Avocado Salad.
  • The EveryGirl featuring my Zucchini Noodles with Cilantro Lime Chicken.
  • Huffington Post featuring my Quinoa Bake.
  • Glamour featuring my Crustless Zucchini Quiche.
  • Forbes featuring my Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash.
  • Delish featuring my Balsamic Grilled Vegetables.
  • Insider featuring my Healthy Blueberry Muffins.
  • Daily Burn featuring my Coconut Protein Balls.
  • BuzzFeed featuring my Chicken Wild Rice Soup.
  • Women’s Health featuring my Protein Pancakes.

Thank you so much for sharing!

I hope you stay truly kind to each other, healthy and appreciate small things in life.


Olena Osipov

The information on this website is for educational purposes only. It has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease. You assume full responsibility and liability for your own actions.

This page may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy. is a participant of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. If you make a purchase, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. It helps keep iFOODreal recipes free. Thanks for your support!

879 comments on “Olena’s Story

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  1. 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!

    1. 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?

  2. 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.

    1. 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.

  3. 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!!

    1. 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!

  4. 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! 🙂

    1. 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.:)

  5. 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!

  6. 5 stars
    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

    1. 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.:)

      1. Duje dyakyu for the awesome site, Olena! Just made your blueberry muffins! My mom and I are looking forward to more of your recipes!

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