Olena’s Story Olena’s Story
June 17, 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!
  • Nutritional information with every recipe as a guideline – I don’t count calories.
  • Many video recipes on our Youtube channel – Thanks to my husband, Alex.

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!

Stay in Touch

I reply to every single comment on the blog. Or send me an email. You gotta be nice though. I delete and do not engage with negative comments. Namaste.

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

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.

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340 comments on “Olena’s Story

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  1. Hi Olena, I just found your site while looking for a recipe for chicken and zucchini. I’ll be adding garlic and corn for our lunch today and already know it will be a weekly regular. I read your story and agree totally with your philosophy on food. My question: Do you garden for your own fresh, organic vegetables?

    1. Hi Ruth. Welcome, I’m so glad you found me.:) I didn’t because we didn’t have space. But we just sold our house and moving into new property and there I will for sure next spring.

  2. I made you chicken and rice last night and it was very delicious. Are used in brown and wild rice mixture from the the local food coop and Increased your herbs by about a half more. The increase was because I was lazy about measuring but it turned out really well because you could really taste them in the finish dish. Thanks so much for posting this delicious meal. Pam

  3. I work for an insurance firm that sends a monthly newsletter to our clients. In that newsletter, we like to include a healthy real-food recipe each month. I ran across your Chicken Zuccini Casserole recipe on the myFitnessPal website, and wondered if you would allow your recipe, with reference back to your website, to be used in such a way.

  4. Hi,Olena.Hope you and family are fine.I was searching for food recipe for fat burning.I clicked on link provided by google ,so, i visited your website.It’s a great website.Apart from fat burning,It provides many delicious recipes i ever have.I am pleased to visit your website.Please,keep uploading more delicious recipies.

    Olena,you have cute kids.You have lovely family.May God bless you and your family.Stay bless,happy and updated.


    Zohaib Khan Babar


  5. Hi Olena, I came across your blog via clean eating recipes in Pinterest and I’m hooked! I’m from Finland but we live in the Amazon basin in Brazil. I work as a teacher and have three kids so it gets busy most of the time. I really appreciate your recipes – my meal planning includes several of them for next week! Thanks!

  6. Olena, I ran across your website when I search for lemon water recipe. I really love what you said. I am a mom of two sons work as architect. I am constantly struggle between work and cooking for kids. My younger one has allergy to a lot of food especially processed food, so I have to cook at home mostly, which takes a lot of time. But it should be healthy for everyone. The older one eats a lot and love processed food. I am working on how to cook healthy with limited time and still make something they like to eat. I am glad to see your web site. I will learn a lot from it I believe. We live in Seattle. We go to Whistler to ski every year, we love Vancouver. It’s beautiful place.

    1. Hi Geng, my neighbour.:) I totally get it. We are working hard now on new website redesign which main focus will be “feeding your family healthy”. I think it will help you!
      From personal experience of a mom of two boys, I can tell you they eat a lot, they are two different human beings, so it’s a juggling act for sure (not to mention husband who eats like 3 boys). But isn’t life a juggling act overall?! Just the way boys are built – they eat, so it’s never ending flow of food, processed or home cooked. Our lives revolve around food, I wish we had to eat once a day, I know. Hopefully you find what you like here, look for slow cooker meals, soups and one pot meals. And some nights it is whole wheat spaghetti with organic ketchup, or organic cereal lower in sugar with organic milk – it’s possible to do our best to eat healthy by using common sense, there is really no diet or bible for it out there. Main reason why I do not follow diets and bash single real food ingredients – it’s unrealistic and unnecessary, confuses already confused people, and wastes money.
      And about junk food, I hear from my 6 year old all the time, how all his friends eat it, how it’s tasty, but he knows it’s unhealthy, but he says he loves it. Oh well, he is still eating what I give him, he can talk all he wants but he is not leaving the table until plate is empty. And he is fine, he listens while still complaining but eats my food (most of which he likes), he just loves to talk about his junk food he gets to taste sometimes LOL. So you know, let it affect you less. Here, in America, kids’ wishes are considered way too much, they don’t know what they need in many instances, and our job as parents is to guide them. xoxo

  7. Wow!! I am a recipe junkie. Most afternoons I troll for great recipes to make for dinner. Well the other day I had a craving for salmon and your recipe for honey garlic salmon. It was seriously. My husband and daughter devoured it. Perhaps the best we have had. And we make a lot of salmon. So today I went back in search of another dinner idea. I made the mango curry. Holy cow!! Another spectacular dish. You are my new go to. Thank you, thanks you!!

  8. Hi Olena, So, aside from a quick trip advisor rating I have never commented on a website. It’s Saturday morning, overslept for my 6 mile run (it’s already almost 90 degrees) and am sucking down my coffee looking at your chicken and peppers recipe. What a joy and inspiration to read your blog. And from the amount of comments I’m not the only one. You go girl! Love it and will continue to enjoy- I’m inspired because I love food, running, wine and family. You’re my hero!

    1. Awe, thank you, Stephanie! The fact that you can sip on coffee being kind of OK oversleeping for a run, makes us online friends.:) My husband did the same past weekend – lazy mornings are just too good to pause.:)

  9. Hi Olena! A few weeks ago I decided to start eating clean. I normally eat well but I noticed I ate a lot of processed sugar. I stumbled upon your website when looking for recipes and the fact that I am Ukrainian as well helped me keep coming back to this site! I loved the quinoa chicken pot pie. I am going to make some peanut butter chocolate cookies today and can’t wait to try them! Thanks for the great blog.

    1. Thank you, Adya, and please feel free to let me know what recipe you like or don’t. Hopefully now with all fresh berries and fruit popping up, you will be able to reduce your sugar consumption. And balance is totally fine.:) Welcome!

    1. That is a part in our virtual friendship where we would have to agree on our differences. I suck at gardening, I just don’t love the soil, bugs and worms. I feel like it is out of my control with weather and too much to know lol. Thank goodness for farmers market.

  10. So, basically I feel like we could be really great friends! So happy I found your blog… eating clean, local, in season, and organic where possible are my goals in life! My second child is 7 months old and I am working on fitting into my clothes pre baby! Eating healthier is huge for me right now… it’s not so much about the pounds, I just want to be a healthier person! Thanks for the inspiration! Will be sharing your double chocolate muffins at playgroup tomorrow!

    1. We could be!:) You will get there. After 2nd baby it takes a few years for everything to settle down in your body – skin, hormones, sleep etc. You will arrive to happy you self. Eating healthy is the key, weight will fall off eventually. I wish I didn’t do crazy diets but oh well. Thank you for sharing my recipes with other moms. There are many moms who need help to feed their families better.:)

  11. Hi Olena,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story on your blog. I have just popped my fudge into the freezer from your recipe I found on Pinterest using only 3 ingredients! I cannot wait to try it in 3 hours 🙂

    South Africa

  12. Olena, I just stumbled upon your blog while searching for healthy breakfasts on pinterest. I plan to make your vanilla Chia pudding for tomorrow morning.

    I’m a 28 yr old student, just went back to school for Dental Assisting. Going back to school as an adult has been so difficult and I’ve completely stopped taking care of myself. I really want to get back on track because I feel awful and have developed a very soft muffin top . However, I’m struggling because I’m so tired and busy ALL the time. If I’m not at school, I’m doing homework, cleaning my house, walking my dog or cooking for my hubby. Also, I’m on a major budget so have started to shop at no frills and they don’t have organic. Anyway, I’m going to start following your blog for inspiration because I do have a passion for nutrition and fitnes (I used to be obsessed with Tosca Reno’s eating clean books) I just need some motivation. PS my Jillian Michael’s DVDs at home are the best workouts I’ve ever had!

    1. Oh and I forgot to mention that I wrote that comment while indulgjng in my fave pizza from Costco and a glass of white wine.

      Like I said, I’m lacking motivation haha

    2. Hi Jody. You need to make large batches of soups, stews etc., that last 2-3 days. You can’t make chicken nuggets, burgers or tacos because that is one time meal without any leftovers. You need food ready sitting in a fridge waiting to be reheated. That is all you need. Good old grandma’s cooking. Try that, I have many recipes for one pot meals etc. Buy not organic but buy real food, organic will come after school. Good luck, you can do it!!!

  13. Hi Olena,
    I was just browsing the web looking for some pesto pasta recipes, and found one here. And then suddenly I noticed that you are Olena from Ukraine, and so am I 🙂 Normally I only look at the recipe and don’t bother reading the blog, bot not in this case as I was really excited to find a girl with the same name from my home country who also cooks healthy and tasty food. Will be following you from now on!
    Olena from Toronto

  14. Olena, I’ve stumbled on your blog a few times over the years and even pinned some recipes. But this January, I have (finally!) committed to a cleaner lifestyle and rediscovered your blog. Today, I’ve already spent a few hours going through your recipes and posts. I love your honestly in your new weekend series (I am also an unapologetic wine drinker) and your posts on your immigration are inspiring. I have a very good friend in Ohio who is also from Ukraine. You and she are “good people.” I will be making a few or your recipes this week. – Tracy

    1. Hi Tracy. Oh haha, I have learnt a few new things about myself – “an apologetic wine drinker” and “good people”. Interesting to hear an outside view on yourself. Good for you! You can do it! Let me know if you need any help and WIAW series will resume next Monday. In the meanwhile, you might find a post about balance and how not being afraid to eat useful.

  15. Hi,

    Just wanted to let you know that I absolutely love your recipes and have made the zucchini lasagna and I’m going to be making a few others this weekend and they’re just great!! I was wondering for the 2 ingredient crackers with rolled oats and mashed bananas could steel cut oats be a substitute for the rolled oats? I have a ton of them and figured it’d be convenient to just use those.

    I can’t wait to continue to try out your recipes:) i have recommended your site to family and friends because it encompasses the healthy eating we are striving for.

    1. Hi Rebecca. Thank you so much for everything!!!
      No, steel cut oats wouldn’t work as they haven’t been pre-cooked. Use the search bar on my blog and look what other recipes you can use them for. Or they make the best breakfast oatmeal.:)

  16. I read your about and “my home workout space”. They are both very good reads! Nicely said. And you look awesome. Embrace the mama pouch! You earned it. I also eat pretty clean and im trying to get my boyfriend on board. It is very difficult for him to stay on course when he is away from me. When i feed him, he eats well tho. How did you get Alex to be pro-whole foods with you?? I need that advice!!

    1. Hi Christy. Thank you so much! Yep, since I wrote those 2 posts I have kinda embraced my mama pouch. Almost there. I mean I realized that it ain’t going anywhere unless I remove it surgically which is not an option for me. Most women have a mama pouch, no matter how skinny they are. The skinnier, the bigger the mama pouch haha. It blends in with more belly fat. Mine does. At the end of the day I realized if taking into consideration average population and not Hollywood stars I look good. I can feel my biceps and barely have cellulite. Thank you for the reminder! And I have 2 kids which were worth any pouch.
      With Alex embracing eating what I eat was a simple process. We came back from a 2 week all inclusive trip to Jamaica and he happened to have pre-scheduled general exam at GP. His cholesterol was so high his doctor put him on Crestor. He took 3 pills and said “F*** it” and started running. Then joined me eating clean. Plus Alex can’t cook so he kinda has to eat what I eat LOL. Now Alex eats healthier than me LOL. He just kinda got scared and his personality is a go getter. He won’t be looking for excuses for sure. Plus he is competitive so he wants to be as healthy as me. He even orders food in a restaurant what I order haha. Then once you eat healthy for a while it is hard to eat junk when eating out. That is what we find. I hope you get him on board. Usually wisdom comes with age too for many men. How old is he? I found kids made us really change ourselves.
      Good luck to you both! He will come around.:)

  17. Shout out from a fellow Ukrainian with a same name and a same life situation 😀 I live in Copenhagen, Denmark now and blog about traveling. Enjoyed your website with Ukrainian – North American recipes. Good job, Olenka!