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!

907 comments on “Olena’s Story

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  1. 5 stars
    I have enjoyed your recipes that I have tried. You match the goodness with your friendly smile and apparent good nature. thanks.

  2. Hi Olena!
    I made the banana muffins this morning! I added a little coconut flour to make it to 3 cups! (I use a lot of Almond flour!) I added chopped walnuts and oats.
    Delicious!! Very healthy! I will be a faithful follower! I also tried keto and calorie counting.
    Just cutting out sugar and gluten seems to be the answer, plus exercise.
    I want to lose about 15-20 lbs. I am going to stick to your recipes for awhile to see how I do!
    I love your way of life! We always had a big garden, had the 4 kids harvesting. Now, we have a deck garden of herbs and a tomato plant and chives. I usually plant squash and zucchini, but we have a local farmers market, and it’s best to support them at this time.
    Thank you for all you do to get us all healthy here in America!
    Mary from Minnesota

    1. Hi Mary! I’m so happy you enjoyed the muffins! I do shop at my small community farmers market too. I love supporting these people who work so hard and rely on this income.

  3. Thank you for your instant pot chicken instructions. I could follow them very clearly. First time as other people’s recipes but use an older version instantly, not sure but this one worked well with my instantpot. I am very interested in your healthy recipes as I have a husband and 17 year old son who I want to make healthy and yummy food for. Thank you!

  4. Thank you for your interesting story. You have great and simple recipes.

    I understand you can’t help my situation, but hoped someone else would read it and have a suggestion. I am a single senior who loves to cook and eat good food. Most recipes are for families, 4-6 people. If you try to adjust the recipe for 2 servings, the ingredients are weird. I’m unable to make them work….how do you measure .06 tsp or 1.18 tbs????

    So, sadly I am not able to use most of your recipes – or many others on the internet. There are 10’s of 1,000’s of people out there who are single and looking for great recipes.

    It is a lot simpler to have a recipe for 2 people and let people DOUBLE or TRIPLE IT than to try and divide it. Why don’t people realize this??????

    1. Hi Dale. I understand where you are coming from. My suggestion for you is to cut recipe in half and enjoy leftovers, many freeze or keep in the fridge well.
      As to why most recipes serve more than 1 person. Here is why for me. This is my family recipes blog and I cook for 4 people, 3 of them are men. That’s what I share and I assume many other bloggers are moms and do the same. If I start developing and calculating recipes for 1-2 people, it will take me much longer to do everything and it simply is not my realistic life. On the other hand, if you are by yourself, you probably have a lot more spare time than most family cooks and can easily do calculations to half the recipe. Otherwise, I have to do it in the kitchen and then multiply at the computer while 3 hungry men staring at me. Not good. 😉
      And one more thing. In Ukraine, we always cooked everything eye-balled – nothing was measured. So, if you find a recipe you like, all you have to do is calculate just once and I’m sure 0.25 tsp or 0.5 tsp cumin or any other spice won’t ruin the dish. Good luck and have fun! 🙂

    2. 5 stars
      Hi Dale,
      I just made the crispy tofu (great by the way, thanks Olena!). I used a few different spices and cut the ingredients to 1/2. Tofu comes in split portions sometimes, but i cooked 1 whole portion of an organic tofu package and it was a little too much. I just get as close as I can. Usually I would go with 1 tbs plus a few drops in place of 1.18 tablespoons, or a few drops instead .06 teaspoons. Stovetop recipes can tolerate some variances. However, when baking, I cut ingredients in half and freeze half of the final product. The chemistry for that works better when ingredients are a little more precise. Good luck!

    3. Hi Dale,
      I just wanted to let you know what my 95-year-old dad did for the 25 years he lived alone since my mom died. He would make his recipes as published, eat a portion that night, eat another portion a few nights later, then freeze the rest into two more portions in freezer containers marked with the recipe name on masking tape. He would make a fresh meal one or two nights a week, and eat from his homemade “TV Dinners” the rest of the week. It worked great, and like I said, he lived to be 95 years old! Oh, and Olena, he was European too, born in Latvia 🙂

  5. Thank you so much for all you do to promote healthy eating! I love your story and really enjoy the way you write. You are so “real” and it is no surprise 4,000,000 folks have visited your site. Your recipes are fabulous and I like how you make them so easy to follow and to make substitutions. Keep up the good work – you are appreciated!

    1. Isn’t it sad how being “real” has become a rare trait, just like eating healthy folks?! We all need to keep being real and stay true to ourselves, all that matters at the end of the day. Glad you are enjoying the recipes. Cheers.

  6. Hi Olena,

    I accidently typed in my last name under comments.
    Please let me know how to delete it from your comments on the quinoa casserole.
    Thank you.

  7. Thank you so much, I came here for your healthy Costco items and I’m getting so much more!
    I’m on Vancouver Island too, in Victoria!
    Just wanted to ask if you have tried the Vegan Queso dip, It’s AMAZING! I highly recommend…not sure if it’s organic but yummy, clean ingredients.

  8. I found your site as I searched Make Ahead Frozen Dinners and saw the word “Healthy” as one of the site options….the other for the phrase Make Ahead Frozen Dinners wasn’t by any means healthy. In June, I will be having a partial knee replacement-I’m only 67. I used to think that was old until I reached that age. My husband can only “cook” coffee. I truly enjoy cooking/baking and the thought of restaurant or premade grocery food causes near panic (cost/health). I’ve printed your 5 recipes and will be signing up as a member (which I don’t normally do!). Your detail in print is awesome. What you shared on your family and building of your past/present/future enjoyable to read. I can’t help but say in capital letters THANK YOU. Your site is just “what the doctor ordered”. Keep those recipes coming, please. Blessings.

  9. I loved the Pacific North West and feel in love with Vancouver Island when I visited. My great-grandparents lived outside of Kiev before they moved to the United States! When I cook your recipes I feel my Ukrainian ancestors are happy 🙂

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