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

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!

911 comments on “Olena’s Story

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  1. Thanks you so much for your wonderful help with recipes and cooking assistance with my instant pot. It has been so much better than struggling thru the manual on my own. I’m 83 yrs. Also, thanks for sharing your family and life info with the public. It really is a personal feeling. Almost like a long distant friend. Keep up the good work you are doing!

  2. Hi Olena…I made your Baked Chicken Breast (Extra Juicy Healthy Recipe) for my family tonight. They’re very fussy about new recipes, but this was a home run. It was easy to make, very tasty and will definitely make again.

    Thank you so much for sharing your recipes.
    Nancy Maria

    1. Thrilled that my baked chicken breast recipe was a hit with your family, Nancy Maria. Thanks for letting me know 🙂

  3. Hello from East Sooke, which I think must be quite close to you! Found you when looking for roast turkey breast ideas. We also “eat healthy”, cooking entirely at home (including bread, granola, etc.) No restaurant or processed foods for us. This way we meet low sodium diet requirements quite easily. Like you, my kids ate what was served. It isn’t that hard to convince them if the food is tasty, nutritious and the kids aren’t aleady full of empty calories.

    Wendy H

    1. Hi Wendy! Yes, Sooke is lovely and quite close to me. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your story and “unpopular” approach with me. I appreciate anything not popular these days a lot lol.

  4. Olena,
    I am VERY pleased to have found your website, I would love to be friends, and we have some things in common.
    I have tried so many diets in my 60 years. I have lost and gained back so much weight, since age 12. I have come to terms with my body shape and that I will never fit in the same sizes that I did, before I had kids, and they were worth it! I have also found that excessive restriction, in foods, or calories, is short term, and not sustainable. My husband i both love to cook, and I also love to bake, and we use real, fresh ingredients. I do not like mixes for cakes, or anything, but that’s how I grew up, with convenience foods, so I am sure that put a lot of weight on me.
    Side note- my husband is 100% Ukrainian! His parents met in a primarily Ukrainian area of Minnesota, and both of their sets of parents came over from Ukraine.
    We have visited Vancouver Island, I have been twice with my husband, and once with a girlfriend. The last time Matthew and I went, in July 2017 we stayed a week, after spending 2 weeks in Alaska. We stayed in a lovely house in Nanaimo, and also in Victoria. We explored and enjoyed parts of your gorgeous island from there. We liked the wild places best.
    Back to the diets, I have several health issues, and will probably be having hip replacement surgery soon. I face each challenge with mostly optimism, as I want to keep exploring and enjoying this Earth, while I can, so I must keep fixing these issues. And someday, I hope to have grandkids to enjoy, too.
    I just made your Almond Flour Banana Muffins, and love them! Thank you so much! I cannot wait to try more recipes.
    Best wishes, Nancy Paine, from Gilbert, Arizona

    1. Hi Nancy! Sorry for delayed reply. We visited Gilbert last year, friends and work. Unfortunately seems like a dream right now. It is beautiful and sunny! We used to see cruise ships to Alaska from our backyard. Like many other things, that is gone too…Thank you for sharing your story, I enjoyed “meeting” you. And good luck with your surgery!!!

  5. Hi!! Just found you on Pinterest then went to your blog. Great recipes, but not a fan of almond flour. Do you have recipes for coconut flour? I just personally think it tastes better. Thank you!

  6. Wow. I just got here, looking for almond flour banana bread, and read about you after reading your remarkably communicated recipe. Brava to you! For what you have survived and for what you offer others in order to thrive. Beautiful site!

  7. I’m so glad I found your blog! My family is Chaldean (Iraqi Christian); we cook at home mostly but it’s been difficult with work demands. I’d like to have healthier and simpler recipes available to my family. I’ve started to make a point to cook more to focus on my family’s optimal health and wellness. Thank you for sharing your recipes!

  8. I have never followed anyone on line but I have to say after I read some of your recipes I decided to start to cook again after being widowed twice I decided no more cooking.
    I have tried a few of your recipes and I’m hooked.
    Thank you so much

    1. I am SO-SO happy to inspire you, Barbara!!! Cooking and walking are my true antidepressants and I am so happy to share it with others to help inspire and enjoy life. xxx

  9. I have been working from home for ayear…so happy I came upon this blog…I have been eating terrible …live alone..work evenings…need to get back on track….looking forward to seeing how this blog will help …..looks great so far!

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