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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322 comments on “Olena’s Story

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  1. Yesterday I made the kid-friendly chicken broccoli, it was delicious! Tonight my husband made the beef and broccoli. It was a surprise to add maple syrup, but gave it just the right amount of sweetness. Th ginger/garlic combination was just right as well, it had a bright, fresh flavor!. We are SO impressed! It is absolutely wonderful! Even my 4 and 7 year old girls ate it, and said it was good. Thank you for posting awesome recipes! I certainly plan to try more of them.

    I enjoyed reading about your story! Congrats on your success! I am looking forward to more tasty food from your recipes!

    1. Hi Annie. That’s so awesome!!! ANd thank you for your sweet comment.
      I use maple syrup in place of sugar. believe it or not when I started cooking I was surprised too that dinner recipes call for some sugar. It offsets acidity and does wonders in many sauces. Like salt + sugar is a genius combo. Hope to hear more from you on recipes you tried and loved. Be healthy, wishing to all your family!

  2. Hello Olena,

    I would like to try your recipe for Instant Pot Butter Chicken but I do not have an Instant Pot.

    Could I make this recipe in a crockpot and if so would there be any change in your recipe.

    Thanks, Denise

  3. Just joined. Your recipes look delicious & not complicated for me. Do you have any low salt recipes for my son. Thanks & have a blessed day.

    1. 🙂 I personally leave websites with pop ups and slides from everywhere. So wouldn’t like this experience on my website. I still need to run ads though to feed my kids and pay the mortgage LOL. But there are lots of free recipes thanks to ads. Yay! Enjoy the blog!

  4. Tonight I made your Instant Pot Chicken and Rice from YouTube October 22, 2018.
    I got a 6 quart Instant Pot for Christmas and this was my first go at any kind of a recipe other than some simple reheating or potatoes and vegetables.
    Followed your instructions precisely and am blown away how great it turned out. What a fantastic recipe!
    I used the brown rice from Costco that is grown in Australia and it sometimes requires a little more cook time. I just let it sit for about 10 minutes after the 22 minute cook cycle.
    Thank you for the precise instructions.
    I am of Eastern European ancestry having my Great Grandfather emigrate from Humenne, Slovakia, while it was still referred to as Austral Hungary, in the 1870’s or 80’s. My Grandmother’s family came from Poland and I have many family members of Ukrainian descent. I grew up in a household with the wonderful foods of the Polish and Ukrainian cultures.
    Thank you for your wonderful story; I read it while the Instant Pot was doing it’s work…lol…
    My family obviously had no part of experiencing the communist era but nevertheless came from agricultural roots and experienced life in a time of subsistence and hardship. They thrived and appreciated every gift bestowed from our creator.
    I live in BC interior and have many relatives on the Island in Nanaimo and Victoria. I will share your site with them.
    Now subscribed and following. Will share on Facebook and wish you well in your success.
    Thank you,

    1. Hi Todd! Great job on tackling the Instant Pot and thanks for sharing your story. BC is beautiful all around.:) I am getting settled on the island more and more and truly enjoy the simplicity of life. Had beach fire last night after a crazy weekend of driving kids around the island for hockey. Please let me know what other recipes you try in your new toy. Olena

  5. Me and my mom just started eating more healthy. I can tell that your blog will us. Thank you for making this blog. You are taking time away from your family to help people like me and my mom.

  6. Tried you cauliflower crust pizza recipe the other day – FANTASTIC version of pizza for my new Keto nutritional plan. Beautiful view too. I can totally see why you moved. Congrats for all you have built for yourself and your family!

  7. I love your recipes! Thank you so much for providing various cooking methods (slow cook, instant pot, freeze…). I just tried your lentil curry and my family loved it! I’m planning to be away from home for three weeks and was worried what to prepare/freeze for my husband and three boys to have tasty dinners while I’m away. I came across your your page and I am here to stay! Thank you so much! By the way, happy Ukrainian Christmas! I’m Ukrainian too! Христос Народився!

    1. Yay! 4 men to feed is a full-time job! I can’t keep up with my 3 cause everyone plays sports and works out. So happy I could be of help and Merry Christmas! xoxo

  8. Hi Olena. Fantastic site! I wanted to make the lazy cabbage rolls recipe for Ukrainian Christmas Eve, but obviously we don’t eat meat on that day. Can I just omit the ground turkey, or do I have to add other ingredients to make it tasty and meatless?

  9. Hi Olena,

    I recently purchased an Instant Pot and I found your site when searching for healthy IP recipes. So far I’ve tried and loved the IP Beef Stew, Pea Soup, Butternut Squash Soup and my favorite favorite favorite, IP Cabbage Rolls. I googled Instant Pot frozen chicken and guess what? I landed on your site again! So now I’ve subscribed and look forward to trying a lot more of your recipes. Chicken and Rice tonight! Thanks very much for sharing your philosophy and recipes.

    PS I’m single and cooking for myself so I resisted getting an Instant Pot. I took the plunge and now my freezer is full of healthy, yummy meals to fill my lunch box!

  10. There are far too many ads on your website. Your recipes enticed me, however I don’t want to sift through all the advertising:(

    1. These kind of comments make me smile. That’s “the price” to pay for free recipes. Otherwise there are many cookbooks you can buy. Nothing is for free in this world. I have a mortgage to pay and kids to feed like anyone else. Hopefully you can overcome that and enjoy healthy delicious recipes for free. No miracles. Just hard work. 😉

  11. Going to try the instantpot beef stew tonight. Sounds so easy. So glad you’re enjoying life on the Island. We’ve been here for 16 years and can’t imagine living anywhere else. Life is sweet.

  12. I just made the beef and broccoli recipe and absolutely loved it! The flavor of the ginger and garlic in the broccoli was amazing, and tasted so fresh. Thank you for the recipe!

  13. Good Morning 🙂

    I just found your site, read your story and have decided to subscribe. In need of a healthy banana bread recipe, I found yours and will be making this hopefully today! I was wondering if I can add pecans to the recipe and if so, do I need to adjust / add any ingredients? Many thanks. and Happy Sunday!!

  14. Hoy Olena, I came across your site whilst trying to find a simple but tasty summer salad and have settled for your Lettuce
    salad with cucumber , tomatoes with that home made toasted Sesame dressing.Thank you very much!

    BTW; came also across that photo of you and family in front of that outlandish futuristic looking flying machine, did it ever
    get off the ground 🙂 ? Cheers……Roy.

  15. Just popped into your interesting blog! We have visited V. Island a number of times. Love Sooke Harbour House…great food. Have rented a vaca house on San Juan de Fuca (sp?) and watched the whales from the hot tub on the deck.
    Also hosted a teacher once from Murmansk. I am looking forward to becoming one of your subscribers and delving into your recipes! Good luck from the Northern Rockies (N Idaho)!

  16. There are definitely some things about your life that I can really identify with! I am also a busy Mom with two boys and a love of food! So it’s so refreshing to find a woman who cares alot about the basics of eating wonderfully but healthy too!!! I absolutely love your recipes and blog! Keep up the great work! Looking forward to your newsletters!??

  17. I was very impressed with the salmon and sweet chili recipe. So simple and delicious. And I like that you focus on healthy meals.

    I look forward to trying your other recipes.