by Olena

Olena’s Story

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Hi!

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 ideas 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!), healthy salad recipes and healthy 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

ifoodreal.com 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 ifoodreal.com 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.
  • ifoodreal.com 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.

Namaste.

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. ifoodreal.com 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!

894 comments on “Olena’s Story

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  1. 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.

    1. 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!

  2. 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.

    1. 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?

      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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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 🙂

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

    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!