Olena’s Story Olena’s Story
December 30, 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! See next bullet point…
  • Instant Pot video recipes on our Youtube channel – Thanks to my husband, Alex. And me. 🙂
  • Nutritional information with every recipe as a guideline – I don’t count calories.

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!

Comments and Stay in Touch

I reply to every single comment on the blog. Or send me an email. You gotta be nice though. 🙂

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 welcome constructive criticism. Before you leave a comment, please re-read it and if it sounds like something you would be OK to hear, then hit “Post Comment”. I am a human just like you.

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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463 comments on “Olena’s Story

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  1. Hi Olena, I loved reading your story. I am currently on the 310 shakes and healthy meals. I am a horrible cook and right now I have changed many bad habits into good. I am down one size and I have been eating healthier for a month. I also have very bad digestive tract so I can’t eat anything spicy, like tomatoes or spaghetti with sauce, so bad. If I do, than I have to drink aloe water to help. I truly look forward to seeing what recipes I can use!

  2. Cant wait to try your receipes….I am like you I don’t believe in these crazy diets….I eat real whole foods and exercise.

  3. thanks for sharing your sweet story. we too try to eat healthy in this fast pace world. we are now over 70 and are trying to do without so much meat and eat from the earth. we would love to receive your recipes

  4. Your poppyseed dressing is so tasty and guiltfree! Love it! I love to cook with “real” ingredients and from scratch. I’m following you on instagram and have already searched for new recipes on your website. Thank you! You are so refreshing and inspiring!

  5. Oh, Olena! What a joy to stumble across your page! At 63 years old, I have been cooking a LONG time, but it’s refreshing to see a young mom like yourself enjoying & sharing your discoveries. You & Alex are doing AWESOME parenting with your children, & they will thank you when they are adults! My mom’s roots were from Slovakia, my godmother (her sister) married into a Ukrainian family, complete with wonderful recipes that were deliciously “modified”. Thank you for speaking from your heart in all matters family related, because food is one part of how we care for our loved ones. Your recipes are simple, nutritious, tasty, & well thought out ~ I LOVE them! Dyakuyu! xo Deborah

    1. Thanks so much Deborah for your kind words and well wishes. “Young mom” was the best part haha. Enjoy and please let me know what you try.:)

  6. I am type 2 diabetic since July 2018 and lost 45 pounds since then by cutting sugar out of my life, except natural sugar from foods and occasional local honey in my green tea. I’m a healthy whole foods eater, active, 68 years young, and married almost 50 yrs.

    More people than I thought have diabetes. Your chia pudding has 23g sugar and it’s over a day’s worth for me. Can you concentrate on healthier no sugar added or low sugar recipes? I need more ideas.

    Your blog and your story inspires us. Thanks for sharing your life and successes.

    Jacksonville, Florida

    1. Hi Sheila. Super happy to hear that. I just checked the chia pudding recipe and there was a mistake in nutritional info calculation because sweetened almond milk was used in calculating numbers. Now it’s at 12 grams and if you don’t add honey or just 1 tsp you will be at almost noen sugar. It’s easy to control with this type of recipes. Be healthy!

  7. I have your banana muffins with almond flour in the ovenjust now and can’t wait to try them. Not sure I will be able to wait the 20 minutes though lol. Love, love Van Island. We are on the east coast. Good luck with renos. Looking for healthy gluten free meals as well.

  8. Hi Olena,
    My husband has severe heart problems and diabetes. I’m hoping your blog can help me come up with healthier meals for him that are low in sodium and carbohydrates. I saw your cauliflower recipe for pizza crust and was hooked!

    1. Hi Hope. Sorry to hear that. My mom’s husband is diabetic too and I know the struggle. Search the blog for “cauliflower” and “zucchini”. You should find some inspiration. xxx

  9. I just discovered your website and boy it is a game changer!! I love eating healthy, but I have only been boxed in with my meals. Thank you very much for creating this blog, now I can diversify my meals.

  10. HI Olena, I love your recipes! Thank you for becoming a stay at home Mom and for being chubby. hahahah! We wouldn’t be reading your wonderful blog otherwise! I am in complete agreement with your philsophy as well as your take on paleo and whole 30 being diets. Yes! Wholeheartedly agree. I am a Professional Hypnotist and have been helping women lose weight in my community (Mind Body Fit Club). My goal is always for my clients to create a better relationship with food and themselves. I’d love to recommend your blog for recipes and food wisdom. Here is my FB link http://www.Facebook.com/mindbodyfitclub and my website http://www.DeAnnaNunez.com

  11. I agree, so many kids are picky these days and are given too much power at the dinner table. Several parents have commented on my kids’ eating habits over the years (now teens) … about how my kids actually choose vegetables for their plate, they like fruits and veges, how did I do it, etc. It was simple. I have always cooked healthy meals “from scratch” (real food) and they ate what was given to them. There was not another option, or a favorite substitute if they didn’t like what I made. A meal is there for nutrition, eat as much or little as you like, but this is dinner. Never had a problem, they accepted it and tried new things without hesitation because “that’s what we do”.

    Of course now I WANT them to choose, I want them to tell me what’s for dinner! I’m happy to make it, but I get tired of deciding what to make.
    I was so happy to find ifoodreal!! This is how I cook, and many of the recipes are similar to ones I make already. But there are some new ideas here that I can’t wait to try. It’s always nice to add a new recipe to the regular line-up.

    Another favorite recipe site of mine is budgetbytes.com. My favorite recipe there is the Easy Oven Fajitas. Simple and delicious. Check it out.

    Thanks for your website!!

    1. True. It is very simple. There is no magic. I always am confused by this question. You just do it and do what you have to do as a parent for the good of your own kid. Not letting your kid choose and pick his food is just common sense like not letting your kid do what they want all day. Otherwise every single kid would be just glued to electronics. And that’s why 95% of kids’ diet is mainly junk food. Because they are allowed to.
      Yes, I know Budget Bytes. I will check out that post. Simple recipes. Not everything is healthy but you can pick a few for sure.
      You are very welcome and so glad I could help.:)

  12. I make your healthy waffles once a week for my kiddos. They are wonderful. I can’t figure out how to rate them, but absolutely 5 stars. Thank you so much!

    1. You are very welcome, Sara. So happy to hear your kids don’t eat Eggo.:) To rate any recipe, look for orange button Load Comments and that’s where stars will be.:) Thank you for taking time and letting me know.

  13. I have twice baked your chicken thighs recipe. My family of 7 raves about it each time. I bake 8-12 thighs and double the spices. Definitely 5 stars.

  14. Thank you for the heads up about Disney “Dole Whip” ingredients- I’ll be sure to skip those during my family’s first trip to Disneyland next month. I’m looking forward to using your recipes to make some satisfying and nutritious meals for my family.

    1. Well, I just thought it was pathetic. Disney is hard. I recommend to bring your own food otherwise there is nothing to eat for those who are money and health savvy lol. Sad truth not sure why I’m laughing. Through tears. Please don’t be shy to leave me a comment on recipe you try. Would love to hear your thoughts!!!

  15. Hello Olena! Came across your blog and wonderfull recipes. We are so proud of you and outstanding job you are doing! Your blog is one of the best I came across through my journey of healthy cooking. We came to Canada (Vancouver) 25 year ago with 2 small daughters from Siberia, but all my realtives from my dad’s side are from Ukraine and we consider ourselves as proud Ukranians an Russians, despite the modern day political climate. I do find your story very moving and personal. This really make your blog to stand out from many others. And of course your beautifull and tasty recepies are simply the best! We wish you all the best in your business and will be looking forward to many of your ideas and your delicious recepies! With love from Toronto! Elena K and family.

    1. Hello Lena. Thank you so much! Well, I naturally have advantage over other blogs by surviving on potatoes and eggs until 19 haha. Pretty unique diet. Kidding, we ate more than that. Pickles and canned meat haha. Let me know what you make. Would love to hear your comment. xoxo

  16. What an interesting story. I tried whole30 and I liked the journey but I’m not traditionally a meat eater so in the long run it wasn’t for me. I’ve been a Weight Watchers member for 2 years and I lost 15 pounds eating what I like. I’m a life time member now at WW because I reached my goal. I like your recipes so far, they do not have a lot of “points” so I’m all in. Looking forward to using your site, starting with califlower pizza and then Zucchini chicken recipe. People have lost the ability to cook, work schedules don’t help. Glad you’re re-inventing what is truly most important, learning how to cook. It is a life skill NOT A CHOICE !

  17. I. Found this ad by mistaken but I am interested in your recipes . I am going to try your Bananas muffins. Will let you know who they turn out. . I was born and rise on vancouver Inland a.very beautiful place to live. Wish you all the best. Sandra

  18. Hi Olena

    Congrats on a great website, I just found it a week ago and already it is the first place I look for any new ideas. Besides delicious foods, most (all?) of the recipes that I plan to try are good for low carb that I started about a month ago. I love(d) bread and potatoes, and you have many tasty alternatives.


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