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

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463 comments on “Olena’s Story

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  1. Hi Olena!
    Just found your blog while searching for a cauliflower pizza recipe. I was put on the Mediterranean diet by my physician and am trying to make healthy meals with veggies. My grandparents were from Winnipeg Manitoba and I would love to visit you. I have family n Michigan and I live in Florida (for 33 years now). If you’ve written a cookbook, I would be most interested in purchasing one. God bless you and your family! The testimony of faith was very exciting to me!

  2. We adopted a 15 year old from Mariupol, Ukraine. He misses the food there. Do you have a borscht recipe? He says there were two different kinds. Any other traditional recipes would also be great.

  3. Hi Olena!
    I just wanted to thank you for all you do. I discovered your YouTube videos and then checked out your blog. Today I put together 3 of your freezer meals as I am going to be working every day for the next two weeks and wanted to be prepared and have a plan for good and fresh food on hand. I love your ideas. When I searched YouTube for freezer meals I found a lot of recipes with things like canned cream of whatever soup and canned biscuits… and many other processed foods. Not that I don’t love all of that, because sadly I do. But in the last year I have lost 135 pounds and I am changing my life. I don’t want to “diet” … I think that I can eat food that is satisfying and good that will help contribute to my health. Anyway, long-winded post, I know. I just wanted to say thank you. I love what you are doing!!

    1. Hi Cathey! 135 lbs? Good for you! You are so right about not dieting. You can totally do it – just eat real food and be healthy. I know, we all love our guilty things and it’s OK to indulge once in a while.
      So happy to hear you are enjoying my recipes! Please don’t be shy to leave me a comment with a star review once you make any recipe. Have a great weekend and work weeks!

  4. Welcome to Canada, Olena! You are a great help to many Canadians – bringing back the real food we used to eat and sharing more healthy recipes. You are doing a lot of good in the world.
    I just made your beef stew in the Instant pot and it is delicious. No one else has told me it is better to pressure cook raw meat rather than sauté it first. I used to saute’ the vegetables too, to keep the flavour in. It is so much faster just to chop and add to the Instant pot.

    I like your blog and the efficient way you give instructions. You can tell your story without long, boring details that we find in so many blogs.
    Thank-you for your recipes.

    1. Hi Donna. Thank you for the warm welcome. Been in Canada for 20 years now but no bad time for warm welcome haha. Glad I could help! Would appreciate your comment and review on the beef stew recipe itself. Yes, I agree – what 95% of North America eats is terrifying. No other way to say it. We need all the help we can get. Thankfully more people are paying attention to what they put in their bodies. ENjpy and please let me know what else you try.

  5. Hello there,

    I want to try your recipe for healthy waffles, however, do you think I can use multigrain flour instead of whole wheat?

    Thank you,

  6. Hi Olena! My husband loves to cook and he especially loves your site. He used to make a dish that we loved and can no longer find. It was Oriental Zucchini Salmon Bowl. Sooo good. Have you taken it down? Is it possible to get it.

    1. Hi Darlene. Unfortunately we took that recipe down since it had no reviews or comments in a website cleanup. Sorry didn’t keep a copy either since who knew someone liked it. But I’m so happy to hear your husband is a fan. Sorry once again.

  7. Found you by accident,Have been looking for a almond Banana Bread for my grandaugther who is 14 months old she has Hirschsprung;s Disease she has to have a grain food high fiber diet…She has a ileostomy bag her food diet is very important it looks like your recipes will be good for our family..bread is in the oven now..;] Blessings

  8. Hi Olena,

    I used to make a recipe from your site quite often, but now when I go to the bookmark the recipe is no longer there and I can’t find it anywhere in your recipe archives. It was the Vegetarian Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with green peppers, onions, and cheese. When I go to the site I’ve always gone to it’s been replaced with parmesan stuff mushrooms. Can you help? I love this recipe!

  9. Hi! I’m very excited to come across your website/blog. I too have a passion for creating food. I LOVE finding new recipes! I think of myself as a “closet canner” as well. In the summer months I almost need to schedule vacation just so I can can stuff!
    My husband and I also relocated to vancouver island from Squamish in 2016. Best decision! I’m looking forward to trying your recipes especially the instant pot ones. I just purchased one. Thank you for your ideas and recipes. Happy cooking!

  10. I made these but added about one quarter cup of panko bread crumbs. These turkey meat balls are delicious! We Love them!

  11. I love your outlook on food for kids. I raised my 6 kids with the same outlook. Not a picky eater amongst them😊 I use to watch my friends kids (and my sister’s kids to be honest) and shake my head. Who’s the parent? Anyways, love your recipes, keep up the good work!

    1. Yes, Lori. That’s our reality unfortunately…Can be responsible only for your own I guess. But overall state of nation’s health and our tax bill with it is definitely horrendous just because of processed foods.

  12. I tried your almond flour banana bread and I added chocolate chips to the mix and IT CAME OUT PHENOMENAL!!! I couldn’t believe it was so good and no white flour!!! It was a hit at my house, the kiddos loved it! I and just picked up some more chocolate chips to do it again!

    I want to try more of your recipes. I’m super impressed! Well done.

  13. Do I subscribe to an email or do I just go on the site on my own? I found you looking for a lemon water recipe. I totally respect and admire your philosophy and try to do it at home. We have her own garden and we go to farmers market. Husband catches fresh fish for us on trips to the ocean that we freeze And eat until they run out and then it’s time for him to go fishing again!! He hunts venison in the winter but I don’t eat it. My daughter and I only eat fish so I hope there are some recipes that are vegetarian or pescatarian!! Your studio looks amazing and I love to see more photos!

    1. Thanks so much. You can go to site on your own or subscribe to a form you see below the post or in homepage. But for latest just check the website. Good for you!!!

  14. Hi Olena ~

    I came across your recipe when searching for a heart healthy casserole. My husband had a mild heart attack middle of June, so we have completely revamped our diet. I am a Canadian of Ukrainian heritage, so when I saw you were from Ukraine, that intrigued me. After cooking a specific way for 40+ years, this transition has been a learning experience! (I had tears in my eyes when I had to give away my sour cream!)
    I look forward to making your chicken & rice casserole tonight, and I am sure I’ll find some other recipes of yours we’ll enjoy!

    1. Hi Della. That is such a great change. You will do great! Buy 2% Greek yogurt and it will be fine. Please let me know if you have any questions or leave a comment what you try. I used to love sour cream and now I’m totally fine for over 15 years without it. Lots of health to you and and your husband.

  15. I love what you’re doing. I wish more people could do what you’re doing. I love healthy food that’s quick, easy and simple to prepare but really tasty.
    Well done for being true to yourself and your family.
    I’m a British woman who moved to Utah January 2018. Cooking at altitude is very different so I’ve had to adapt some recipes……..still trying to adapt the baking to perfection. Hopefully I’ll get there soon.
    Thank you for the inspirational recipes and blog. I look forward to trying them.

    1. Awe, you are so welcome! So happy to hear you are enjoying my recipes! Please don’t be shy to leave me a comment with a star review once you make any recipe. Have a great week!

  16. Story for the first time and very in tuned with your message. I too believe children eat with their parents encourage them or discourage them to take part in. Seeing that I also have lived my first 49 years eating unhealthy and to becoming medically called obese. After being diagnosed with diabetes I decided I could change my life myself. I started eating as a DIABETIC and basically carb free. which I have found most people call the keto diet. I never liked the words diet either. I thought I had simply made a lifestyle change. I am very excited to follow your blog and get your recipes. The first one I’m going to look up is your crustless zucchini quiche thank you I look forward to our mornings together drinking coffee.

  17. Hi this is Shirley-Ann now seeing you site haven’t gone though your recipe as yet but just reading a little about you I’m already excited I love cooking and baking and are looking for more simple and healthy ways to eat i am from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean

  18. Hi Olena,
    I am a 78 year old male from New England where I was raised on a potato farm. I now live in Maryland where my wife is from. I came across your recipe for frozen Instant pot chicken which is cooking right now. Can’t wait. I have an old tried and true recipe for Apple Cake which is kind of labor intensive but would be glad to share with you. My wife can’t get enough of it and I even send it to my family in California and Texas. I will be making frequent trips to your site and I am sure I will be very busy with your recipes. thank you,

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