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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469 comments on “Olena’s Story

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  1. Oh you are so right about food and diets! If you fill up on healthy Vegs there is no need for junk. Children should eat what is put in front of them and learn healthy eating at home. I was raised by parents who were poor always hungry as children. They valued good as adults and taught us that. We ate soups, all leftovers and did not waste anything.

  2. Just found your site and love it! Your comments about the issues with N. American diets and how kids should eat are right on! I was raised by Dutch immigrant parents who had lived through the hunger of WWII, so nothing was wasted and we were grateful for what was prepared. I raised my kids with that same attitude to food, and they continue to eat pretty much any food as adults! They love to experiment with foods from different cultures, too, and all of them know how to cook well enough for themselves. I am going to make your IP Lentil Soup tonight. It looks delicious! And from one fellow Canadian to another, thanks for your no nonsense approach! (We are in S. Ontario, although one of our children is now living on Vancouver Island. 😊)

    1. Hi and welcome, Yvonne. So many people from ON live on the island here.
      Yes, some might mistaken my approach as “judgemental” but it’s rather observational because I have lived outside of North America. But it’s fine. We are all responsible only for our own kids and families. I am here to share my story and recipes and not everyone has to agree with each other. We live in very different times with a lot of freedom now.:) Anyways, glad you found me and I hope you enjoy the soup. Would love to hear your feedback.:)

  3. I think you are just super, Olena.I am a physician with grown kids taking care of parents who think they are taking care of me.My hobby has to commute all over the place but is blessed with a great metabolism so far though we are both diabetics-family histories and, unfortunately-weight on my side.Had bariatric surgery 5 yrs ago when arthritis got worse and diet and exercise were not enough.Now am mainly vegetarian as my parents prefer it so.can you help please with a healthy weight losing diet?
    They say no snacking now so am going to try(lol)

    Ranjini(my instagram is ranjinipillai)

  4. Just found this blog, as I have gone “off and on” again with healthy eating. I need “on” to stay! I love your philosophy and story! Good luck to you and your sweet family! What a fun adventure! I will be using your recipes often for my family of 8. Thank you!

  5. This was kizmet finding your salmon recipe! I am try to use what I have left in my “pantry”— this recipe hit the spot. Thank you!
    I also got more and more interested in your site. You have a nother follower.
    By the way recipe was DELICIOUS!

  6. I accidentally created my cauliflower rice risotto using what I had in my fridge because, like you, a believer of not wasting food. It turned out so delicious that I posted it on my blog. But before I posted, I searched on WordPress to see if others had done something similar and found your site. I love your personal story and look forward to trying your recipes. Keep dreaming big!

  7. I just found your wonderful beef stew recipe in the instant pot group on face book. I have a Ukrainian daughter in law so have begun researching your recipes. The one thing she always says about food growing up in the Ukraine was “ it was always what we could get fresh.” Her cooking has been marvelous for my type l diabetic son! Thank you for your healthy recipes and I will be sharing your ifoodreal.Com with her.

  8. Looking Forward to many amazing recipes!! I was looking for a cauliflower pizza crust, and found yours. Cant wait to try it!!!

  9. I am on maternity leave (44 years old and just had healthy 3rd boy!) I have lost most of the weight and just want to get stronger and healthier. I eat well and enjoy new but simple healthy recipes. I recently went dairy and gluten free and wanted to try new breads. I spontaneously googled quinoa bread (bc I love quinoa) and found your recipe. I love how simple it is!! And I share your philosophy that everyone can eat healthy even with a few dollars. I’ll let you know how the bread came out when I make it.

    1. Welcome, Marsha. It is not that much to learn. You will do great! Please don’t be shy to leave me a comment with a star review once you make any recipe. Have a great week!

  10. OMG Olena! I am in love with your blog. I am from Russia living in USA for 13 years. I started healthy eating journey recently and found your web site with Costco food recommendation. I got so much valuable information just reading the list. I love your writing style, your humor and honesty. Thank you so much! I want to try every single recipe from you. Спасибо, что я вас нашла 😇🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

    1. Hi Yulia! Welcome and I am happy you found me.:) Please don’t be shy to leave me a comment with a star review once you make any recipe. I appreciate it a lot! Have a great week!

  11. Olena I’m so glad I found your page, I was looking for a lentil soup instant pot recipe and yours was very good! I added kale instead of spinach because I love it. My husband and I went to Ukraine 20 years ago tomorrow, we left 9/11/1999 to adopt 2 little girls. They were 8 and 15 months old, now 20 and 21! What a blessing. I remember the kindness we found as we stayed in host apartments and the food was so delicious! We had amazing fruit and vegetables at every meal. I’ve never had grapes or melons as good since! We stayed in Kiev a couple of days, then went to Zaporizhzhia where the orphanage was located. Such wonderful memories of our trip. I look forward to following your recipes.

    1. I had goosebumps reading your story. I remember Ukrainian orphanages from documentaries and overall our quality of life back then…You saved 2 souls. Blessings to your family and so happy you found my website! Kids are a blessing, for sure. You found yours in Ukraine. Ah, so sweet.

  12. Loved the black bean brownies, which worked out well for brunch with 2 friends. Both asked for the recipe, so I forwarded them your link. One does not eat eggs, so I like that you had the substitutions. Also learned the difference between cocoa and cocao. 😎

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