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 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 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!

894 comments on “Olena’s Story

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  1. 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!!!!!

  2. 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! 🙂

    1. 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.:)

  3. 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!


  4. 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.

    1. 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.

  5. 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 🙂

    1. Btw, I forgot to mention who my awesome sister is. She is a blogger too. Her name is NAdia over at delights of culinaria

    2. You and your sister are so sweet! Thank you for your kind words! I see both of you on Instagram a lot and sometimes we chat. Now I know who is who.:)

  6. 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! 🙂

  7. 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!

    1. 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. 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

  8. 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’! 🙂

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

      Nice to meet you too!:)

      1. 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!

        1. 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!!!

  9. 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.

    1. 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.:)