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. 5 stars
    Olena, thank you for your great recipes! I just made the cauliflower pizza crust today and I immediately had to make another one because my boys finished it and demanded more! My younger son is gluten free, so this was great! Also, both my grandparents are from Odessa and immigrated as children to Brooklyn.

    1. Awesome, Randi! Yes I make two at a time otherwise it is not enough. I wonder if you grandparents were Jewish?! There was a lot of Russian speaking Jews in Odessa back then. Not many Ukrainians, more Russians and Jews. My husband is Jewish with a Russian last name.

  2. Hi Olena! I just wanted to say that reading your “about” page really touched me! Thanks for being so real! I just found your site but am thankful that you have nutrition info on your recipe so please keep that up! I have tried one and will try more and possibly buy your book. Thanks for your hard work!
    Blessed in all you do!
    ~Celeste

  3. Dear Oleana, You might be a minority as you said, yet I truly think that lots of people would prefer to consume organic foods only if only the cost of both basic ingredients like veggies and fruits and condiments etc’ would be lower or cheaper and if other ingredients from around the world, like whole fat coconut milk or young coonut etc’ would be available everywhere around the world all year round (for a reasonable price). The reality is not like that and people who consume organic food whether in the U.S where I used to live or in Israel where I live now and I am sure it is mostly the same every where around the world, are people who make a very good living and they can certainly afford those high cost foods.
    Indeed many people would suffice with ready made foods, but many others could only dream to consume some organic items and integrate them in their daily diet as I have been trying doing.

    Anyway, thank you for your recipes, I will look into them and I will also appreciate if you could develop some that do not include sugars like honey, maple syrop and similar ingredients only, but maybe you could also give sweetener alternatives like stevia powder, coconut sugar, Agave syrop, etc’.

    Thank you for your time and for sharing your experience and flavors. Oree.

    1. Hi Oree. Yes, I mean people who can afford food. In fact, once you stop buying processed food and stick only to real food eating organic IS NOT much more expensive in North America for sure. That is such a huge misconception that drives me crazy in conversations with friends. I do not mean to buy frozen organic pizza that costs an arm and a leg. Instead, I mean have boiled potatoes with kale salad and avocado for dinner. Takes 30 minutes to make. Majority of people just don’t care, could care less to find out more about food they eat or what harm to the environment they do by buying GMOS and processed food. That is until they get sick and if they are smart enough not to jump onto unnecessary pills and find excuses. Our society is so screwed up these days mostly thankfully to huge money making corporations and human nature – laziness. Life is too easy and comfortable, don’t have to hunt and fish for fish with a stick. Plus GMOs make food so cheap. Blunt but it is true.
      Agave used to be known good for you until recently it has been declared as bad as high fructose corn syrup. 100% pure maple syrup and raw honey are MUCH healthier and better for us. Coconut sugar is OK too but still honey rules. So, I recommend to stick to those.

      1. Hi, Olena, I am so happy to have found your website. I love the Overnight Mango Chia seeds Pudding! I try to eat mostly vegetarian foods and I try to avoid dairy products from cow’s milk, I also try to avoid sugary foods, so this makes it very difficult for me to find any good deserts! This one is perfect for me, as I always have a big jar of chia seeds at home and I love mango and coconut milk. By the way, I was born in Russia but lived in the US for almost 25 years, and I have a 14 year old daughter who I adopted from Ukraine back in 2011 (she was 10 years old then).
        It is funny because my daughter used to be “meat and potato” person and used to love sugary foods and she thought that my food was weird and won’t even touch it, but now she has changed her eating habits and she is cooking delicious foods for me sometimes. She just recently made the best vegetarian Ukrainian borsh (борщ) I have ever tasted. Thank you again for your blog and your recipes! Lana

        1. Hi Lana. Oh, then you eat like me.:) I bake with honey and maple syrup but mostly for my boys.
          Ukrainian girls are amazing in the kitchen, I know LOL. That is so wonderful what you did! I have seen Ukrainian foster homes and it is so sad…You gave her a big chance in life! I was lucky to immigrate as a teenager and feel like I have won a lottery and a second chance in life. Blessings to you and your family!!!

  4. I just discovered your blog and have already added a couple recipes to my files to make very soon. I am a mature woman of 60, have raised 4 children and never carried extra weight until I hit menopause. Now I am looking for ways to shed pounds and I have already removed all while products from my pantry, cook all my own foods and desserts, use only coconut sugar but not all my purchases are organic. We live on a very small budget so I buy the best I can with my what I have. I need more exercise, but you have given me hope that more effort on my part will help me rid the muffin top I carry around now. Thanks

    1. Hi Shelly! Koodos to you for raising 4 kids! But organic as much as you can. Or Non GMO Project verified at least. Also buy organic produce on Dirty Dozen list and save money on Clean Fifteen. Just do your best. Google those lists, I’m on my phone so hard to insert links. Also limited sugar, clean eating and moderate exercise will keep you in shape. I feel extra sugar right away lol. Good luck and let me know recipes you try!!!

  5. I’m cracking up, Olena! You are too darn cute. I’m 59, raised two daughters and one daughter has twins in the hopper! I just discovered you through Yummly and your chia pudding. I agree with everything you have to say about eating habits. I already eat pretty much as you suggest but still carry 10lbs more than I’d like, which arrived after menopause as with Shelly above. I look forward to reading your blog and trying your recipes. I love your attitude! I have the same feelings about exercise. I have a gym membership with mold on it. I’m an outdoor gal with a horse and a mule and my husband and golf. I’ll look at your suggested DVDs for home workouts.
    You look absolutely awesome! Thank you for sharing your lovely family as well! Happy cooking!
    Lisa

    1. Hi Lisa! Thank you! Hormones are responsible for so many functions in our body. Your attitude is absolutely spot on. America is so hung up on gyms and exercises, how boring! Just get outdoors, get moving, enjoy it and stop eating crap! The last 10 lbs are the hardest and usually it’s too much sugar and not enough vegetables.:) I’m sure you can do it. I yo-yo sometimes too, even with honey and maple syrup extra lbs can add up fast. I love to work out in my clean home when I feel like it. Good luck with your grand babies, tell your kids to eat like you and raise healthy children! Let me know which recipes you try.:) P.S. You originally left me a comment on my old About Me page I have removed now but you can see the list of DVDs there if you would like.

  6. Hello!

    I am from Germany. I am interested in Clean Eating, because I love food, I love to cook and after gaining some weight in the last years (because I am an emotional eater when I am stressed) I decided that I want to start over again with good food. In the last days I tried three of your recipies and it was very delicious, easy to cook and my husband was very happy about the good tasting food. I really like your website and I am looking forward to try more of your tipps and recipies! Greetings from Germany 🙂 Severine

  7. Olena! Oh girl, I feel you about this weight gain post pregnancy. I am a few months short of a year since I gave birth and haven’t made much progress in the weight loss department. But this mean sweet tooth awoke after birth that I’ve never seen the likes of. So I am trying to tackle that issue and get back into the healthy, organic, natural choices that I know and have made in the past.

    I, too, need to loose 20 pounds or so and I start my Walking for Losers on Monday (going to rain next few days and I’ll be walking with the baby) so I am hoping with that and some of your yum recipes I can fit into the bags of clothes that lay around useless at the moment.

    I love your creativity, your meticulous lay out of the site, and the seemingly beautiful ebooks. It truly shows you love what you do here and I look forward (with your permission, of course) to sharing you with my readers. I have a feeling they will love you as much as I do.

    1. Thank you so much! If you are breastfeeding sweet tooth is normal. But overall exercise and more importantly whole foods is the key to weight loss. Sugar is number one enemy!!! I would be honoured if you shared my ️recipes! More healthy people is good for all of us!!!

  8. Your site is very inspiring…I am a culinary arts graduate and have been “rewriting” my collection of recipes to use whole grains (that I mill at home) no refined sugar, no unhealthy fats and oil, etc. Looking forward to trying out some of your recipes!

  9. Hi Olena!
    It’s funny how things work. I’m just about to start on a weight loss plan and I literally stumbled onto your blog through Pinterest! I love your sincerity and your story! I’m sure your recipes will help me (: Thank you!

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