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. 5 stars
    A friend I worked with before I retired sent me your website because I am part Ukrainian and I love food and love to cook. My Grandmother Lucy (Lucia) came to America through Ellis Island in 1912 and she was 8 years old. They lived in a village with the nearest town Kiev. Her Mother sold her dowry (a cow) to buy a wagon to take her and her children to eventually get to England for the ship to get to America. They settled in New Jersey and she had 2 children with the first husband and one with the second. She worked hard all her life and moved to Florida in 1950 as N.J. had RENT CONTROL and by then she had some rental apartments. My parents followed in 1953 and when I was about 16 I went to her house while she made capusta and borscht and other recipes while I watched and wrote down her recipes. Thank you for reminding me of her and old times. Love, G

  2. All of my younger life I heard about “adjika” from my Russian father. If he ever made it, I don’t remember. Today I was reading an article that mentioned “adjika” so I googled it. Your comment/recipe came up. Thank you for opening another ever broadening door on great food & familial memories. Anxious to try it after so long. And then … my version. Thank you.

  3. 5 stars
    I have never left a comment before, but I just wanted to tell you thank you! I have been using your recipes for 5-6 years, almost every night. Everything is always delicious!! Thank you helping me feed my three hungry children something healthy and quick!

  4. Love the background, authenticity and honesty in your website. I am gluten free and appreciate how simple you make things to find what I am looking for. You and your family are an inspiration!!

  5. 5 stars
    I added zucchini, mushrooms, red onions, yellow squash, turkey pepperoni, tomatoes and pepper jack cheese and I am in love! My new favorite!

  6. 5 stars
    I Love Your Honesty, Goodness, and All the Hard Work You and Your Husband put in to Make Your Dream A Reality. God Bless You and your beautiful family. You are an inspiration to me. Love, Karin

  7. 5 stars
    I love your recipes and find it very easy to adapt to my family’s likes and dislikes. Thank you so much for providing them for free- I am in your debt. While I do peruse other sites I probably make your recipe so 4-5 per week. My favourite has been the Taco skillet – with leftovers I made it into Sheperds Pie, and will now always make Sheperds Pie using your Taco skillet recipe! It was so flavourful my family LOVED it!

  8. 5 stars
    Hi, Olena!
    You and Alex are so adorable on the Healthy Zucchini Bread video. I’ve watched it numerous time, and I’ve made the bread twice. The first time I had only a 1/4 cup of maple syrup in the house, but I made the bread anyway, and added walnuts. My boyfriend and I loved it. The second time I used almost 4 cups of zucchini, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup of maple syrup, 2 cups of flour, and 1 cup of walnuts. And we loved it again. Even with my variations your recipe is foolproof. I’m so happy that I found ifoodreal.com, and I look forward to trying the Tex Mex Rice with Beans and Zucchini.
    Best wishes to you and your family,
    Wendy

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