Olena’s Story Olena’s Story
December 30, 2019
by Olena

Olena’s Story


And welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I’m a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog.

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 recipes are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

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

olena osipov in her studio

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 2019, I never could have imagined iFOODreal would grow into a business it is today! More on that below.

My food philosophy in short is – I don’t believe in diets (including Whole30 and Paleo – yes, those are diets!). That’s me, yay, and I’m brave enough to say it because that’s how I feel and because I tried them.

Diets ruin healthy relationship with food because they are unsustainable in long-term and short-term is not the solution. But you decide for yourself.

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.

healthy turkey burger

What You Will Find Here

  • Easy healthy recipes with simple ingredients.
  • I share mostly dinners because “What’s for Dinner?” is never going away.
  • I recently got obsessed with zero pre-cooking healthy freezer meals.
  • I do quite like my Instant Pot. Honestly – obsessed! See next bullet point…
  • Instant Pot video recipes on our Youtube channel – Thanks to my husband, Alex. And me. 🙂
  • Nutritional information with every recipe as a guideline – I don’t count calories.

More importantly, I want to be upfront about my understanding of “family friendly” recipes. My kids eat almost 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

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’m so passionate about reducing food waste and eliminating food snobbism as a whole.

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 chicken soup bones. 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.

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.

It is a true diamond in the rough and needs about 2 years of “polishing” a.k.a patience and money. But it’s OK. My over an acre backyard backs onto Pacific ocean.

It is a dream!

ifoodreal studio

Above the garage we just finished iFOODreal studio. It is my office and that’s where I test and cook recipes for the blog. From here we will be giving a breath of fresh air into our Youtube channel => Subscribe. You can read all about our renovation process and virtually visit the studio here.

Studio was one of the main reasons why we moved from mainland to the island. To be able to have a separate space for our business. 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.

Featured In:

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

Thank you so much for sharing!

Comments and Stay in Touch

I reply to every single comment on the blog. Or send me an email. You gotta be nice though. 🙂

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 welcome constructive criticism. Before you leave a comment, please re-read it and if it sounds like something you would be OK to hear, then hit “Post Comment”. I am a human just like you.

Also, I currently don’t work with brands but thank you for thinking of me.:)


Olena Osipov

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463 comments on “Olena’s Story

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      1. 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.

  1. 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!

    1. 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!

  2. 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 🙂

  3. 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!

    1. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

      1. Hi Olena, Thank you so much for your lovely support, And I will do follow the mentioned things… also I want your favour when I will setup these all things….. Hope you will help mine…. 🙂 Thanks again

  6. 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!


    1. 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!

  7. 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!

    1. 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.

  8. 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?

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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.:)

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

  14. 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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