Category Archives: Healthy Living

Greek Yogurt by Voskos is a very healthy addition to your daily diet because of its natural source of protein and probiotics. Learn more about how to incorporate Voskos Greek Yogurt into a healthy lifestyle.

Be Good to Yourself!

Healthy living is not just about healthy eating and exercise, although those are obviously very important. The way we see it, healthy living has several aspects, and learning to de-stress and to be good to yourself is just as important as eating a healthy diet and adopting a non-sedentary lifestyle. Most importantly, we believe that you should be good to yourself!

But what do we mean when we say “be good to yourself?” Here are a few examples:

1. Exercise moderately. Grueling workouts are not necessarily such a good idea. You should definitely aim to move frequently – research shows that sitting is actually killing us. Our bodies were designed to move, walk, be active, not sit all day in front of a computer.

On the other hand, our bodies are not necessarily suited for prolonged, intense workouts either, and those can place too much stress on our muscles and joints. Moderate exercise is best (yes, moderation IS key). If you can’t get to the gym every day, don’t worry about it – all you need is to incorporate frequent moving into your everyday life. use your lunchtime for a walk (a 15-minutes brisk walk to the restaurant and back during lunchtime is great); use the stairs; get up from your desk often and walk around a little. It all adds up.

2. Eat well. Harsh diets don’t work, because our bodies are built to fight what they perceive as starvation by slowing down metabolism and making the most of each and every calorie. We’re also not very good at ignoring hunger signals, certainly not for long. The best way to lose weight steadily and reliably, and to keep it off, is to eat well, but choose the right foods, and eat just until satiated, not until stuffed. The more protein, fiber and good fats in your diet, the better you will feel. The more empty carbs, the worse you will feel. So fill up on lean meats, eggs, Greek yogurt, vegetables, nuts and fruit, and minimize your consumption of highly processed starches and sugars. Your reward? You will feel satiated, won’t suffer hunger pangs, and the weight will come off and stay off.

3. Sleep well. One of the best things you can do for yourself, is to go to sleep every night at 10 or 10:30pm. Assuming you wake up at 6am, this should give you 8 hours of sleep. We can’t emphasize enough how important sleep is for your sense of well-being, for your metabolism, your stress levels and your overall health. If you’re one of the many Americans that can’t fathom going to sleep before midnight, start gradually, setting your bedtime to 30 minutes earlier than normal for a week, then 30 minutes earlier and so on, until you get to those 8 hours. Trust us, you’ll feel so much better, the loss of “fun time” (how fun is it really when you’re so tired?) will be very much worth it.

Five Habits That Are Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Efforts

It’s obvious to anyone that regularly wolfing down donuts and pizza will not exactly promote weight loss – or good health. But there are other, less obvious ways in which you could be sabotaging your weight loss efforts. Here are a few things to consider:

1. Not getting enough sleep. When you’re sleep deprived, you tend to reach out for food in an attempt to get some much needed energy. In addition, research shows that chronic sleep deprivation can negatively affect cell function.

2. Not getting enough fat in your diet. Sounds counter-intuitive, we know, but a healthy diet is a diet that contains a significant amount of fat – as long as it’s good fat. Olive oil, avocado and fatty wild fish such as salmon are all great sources of good, health fats. Recent research has shown that dairy fat may also be healthy and offer protection against diabetes.

3. Eating a high-carb, low-protein diet. This type of diet is a disaster in terms of weight loss and weight maintenance, because a high-carb, low-protein diet often results in blood sugar fluctuations and in a constant, unrelenting hunger. This is especially true if the carbs are highly refined, of course, but a protein-rich diet (aim for 20% percent of your daily calories) will keep you full, satiated, and will rev up your metabolism.

4. Skipping breakfast. Mom was right: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating breakfast wakes up our body and your metabolism. Skipping breakfast will not just cause you to burn fewer calories during the morning hours, it will also cause you to overeat at lunch, or reach out for unhealthy snacks in between.

5. Eating too few calories. The last thing you want is for your body to decide that you’re starving and that it needs to slow down to a crawl and use every last calorie to its fullest, but this is exactly what happens if you eat too little. Generally, a moderately active woman needs 2000-2200 calories per day, and a man needs 2400-2600. You could go lower of course if you need to lose weight – a 500-calorie daily deficit is a good number to aim for, which still means a woman should get 1500 calories and a man 1900 calories. Frankly, all those “1000 calories per day” diets scare us.

10 Easy Steps for a Healthier Lifestyle

Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to mean putting yourself on a juice fast and/or becoming a marathon runner. A more realistic way to become health-conscious is to make small changes to your daily routine. Here are a few ideas:

1. Cut out the empty calories. Replace “easy” sugary snacks like a can of soda and a candy bar with something just as simple but nutritious, like a water bottle and a cup of high-protein Greek yogurt.

2. Take the stairs. Sure, even one flight seems daunting after a long day at the office. But try to push yourself to climb the staircase instead of copping out with that relaxing (and ever-so-tempting) ride up the elevator.

3. Go for a walk. If you’re bored and can’t decide how to pass your waking hours, why not stroll through your neighborhood instead of planting yourself in front of the television for the entire afternoon. As a bonus, you’ll not only burn some extra calories, but you’ll also get to know your hometown.

4. Cook more at home. Eating out can add up to a lot of excess calories. When someone else is cooking for you, you can’t know how much oil, cream, and sodium goes into the dish (and usually you’ll get a lot of those when you eat out). When you prepare your own food, you know exactly what goes into it.

5. Notice the colors on your plate. Different nutrients color foods differently, so a rainbow meal means that you’re filling up on all the proper nutrients. Pile on green, orange, and red, and limit yourself on the browns and whites. We’re talking natural colors here, of course… a rainbow-frosted cupcake is not the right choice to stay healthy. :)

6. Limit processed foods. Instead of spending your grocery money on fancy microwavable meals with three thousand ingredients, just keep it simple. Try to make time to prepare food yourself, and stick with ingredients whose names you can recognize (and not from chemistry class).

7. Pile on the veggies. Be sure to incorporate vegetables into all your meals. If you’re eating eggs, add some spinach and onions. If you’re having chicken, add a salad on the side.

8. Eat more protein. Protein keeps you fuller for longer and does not cause the famous cravings, or sugar crashes, that carbohydrates often cause. Including some form of protein (eggs, yogurt, lean meat, cheese) in every meal and snack will help you feel satiated and help prevent snack attacks.

9. Don’t be afraid of good fats. Low fat diets often backfire, because they tend to be very high in simple carbohydrates. Fat is good for you – especially the fat found in foods such as avocado, salmon, and olive oil, and recent research shows that dairy fat can be beneficial too.

10. Walk or bike short distances. Though many of us are used to driving anywhere outside a 20-foot radius, distances of less than a mile are easily walkable, and distances less than three miles (especially on flat terrain) are easy to bike. Plus, gas prices are only rising… so you’ll be doing your wallet a favor as well.

Calcium-Rich Diet Linked To Weight Loss

For some people, January marks the beginning of a new undertaking to lose weight. Before choosing a specific program, consider the following study, which found a link between dietary calcium and weight loss.

A review study done by researchers at the University of Tennessee discovered a link between high calcium diets and weight loss. Scientists determined that calcium inside human cells has the power to regulate fat cell metabolism.1 Here is a brief summary of what the researchers concluded from the study:

1. Dietary calcium controls the levels of a hormone called calcitriol (the active form of vitamin D), which in turn modifies the amount of calcium taken in by fat cells.1 Researchers determined that this mechanism has the power to control fat metabolism in human fat cells.1

2. High calcium diets increase fat loss during periods of caloric restriction.1

3. Calcium consumed from dairy products is significantly more effective than calcium supplements at reducing body weight and body fat during periods of caloric restriction.1

4. Increasing dietary calcium through dairy products can reduce the effects of weight gain and fat accumulation during periods of over-eating.1

5. Dairy demonstrated an ACE-inhibitory effect in hypertensive humans.1 In other words, dairy was found to have similar effects to that of high blood pressure medications.

6. Addition of dairy products to a caloric restriction diet is associated with the conservation of lean body mass.1 Dairy products have a high concentration of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) which are needed to build muscle tissue.1

7. It is important to note that these findings are not independent of “energy balance.”1 In other words, one still needs to consider the ratio of calories ingested to calories burned on a daily basis.

Keep these points in mind when creating your nutrition plan this year. As I’ve stated in previous articles, a weight loss program should include both diet and exercise. A proper weight loss diet includes moderate calorie restriction, along with eating quality ingredients. Remember, not all calories are created equal. Maintain a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables (rich in anti-oxidants), lean protein (mainly fish, poultry, egg whites, and dairy), nuts and seeds (high in omega-3s), beans and legumes, and whole grains (mainly from buckwheat, brown rice, quinoa, steel-cut oats, barley, and wild rice). Avoid eating out whenever possible. If time is an issue, make all of your meals ahead of time on Sunday for the following week. Avoid drinking alcohol in excess, as it can quickly add unwanted calories to your daily intake. Try adding VOSKOS® yogurt to complement your diet plan this year, and see if it makes a difference for you.


1. Zemel MB. The role of dairy foods in weight management. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 2005; 24: 537S-546S.

4 Ways to Sneak in Nutrition

Can’t stand Brussels sprouts? The little ones refuse anything green? No worries. Just get a little sneaky with your cooking and include healthy additions in standard recipes. I’m usually one to try something new…but it rarely sticks. But when it comes to experimenting with healthy add-ins, I’ve been doing it on a daily basis – and even my kids enjoy it (gasp!).

Here’s how I’ve found my way to scientific satisfaction and more energy in the kitchen:

1. Breakfast burritos. I have mixed these up in all sorts of ways, adding in pureed onions and peppers until they look like ‘sauce’. Which makes them less detectable to the kids (visible pepper avoiders) and adds in tasty flavors. I’ve substituted brown rice for white and still no one has noticed! I’ve replaced sour cream with VOSKOS® Greek yogurt (VOSKOS® is one of my favorite add-ins…you may notice as you read on) to reduce the amount of fat and increase protein.

2. Muffins. This is a great go-to snack that everyone loves. Few can resist the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven, at it’s best in the form of a muffin that fits in your hand. Sweet or savory, muffins have become a vehicle for me to include whatever is on hand: oatmeal, greek yogurt, flax seed, etc. Get creative- a puree of blueberries and kale made for a bright muffin adventure one morning!

3. Dessert. Cake batter is delicate so you have to be careful here. I did have one memorable disaster that led me to my first (and only) rule of additions: Add in small portions first, larger portions later. A quarter cup of something is likely to go undetected in desserts – replace some of the butter with applesauce or VOSKOS® greek yogurt, add in a fruit or even carrot puree. Sweet potatoes are an excellent addition to a rich dessert. It feels great to make recipes more healthful and see how the detectives…er, I mean family try to determine what I’ve done differently. Often they don’t notice at all…shh!

4. Dips. We are all prey to the allure of dips; hummus, ranch dressing, salsa…it adds flavor and texture to veggies or chips. I’ve been able to add in roasted peppers, garlic, onions, beans, olive oil, carrots and squash to create some well-received dressings for carrots and pretzels. Replacing part or all of the sour cream with Greek yogurt should go without saying at this point.

One final tip: Parties and movie nights are good times to introduce a new dish…picky folks tend to inspect a little less and feel inclined to enjoy the food when they’re content with the activities going on around them.

Best of all, when yo start experimenting with healthifying your recipes, the kids aren’t the only ones eating healthier. The adults in my household are enjoying the fruits of my experiments too. Try it for yourself! include a sneaky, nutritious addition (such as oats or pureed beans) in Grandma’s meatloaf for tonight’s dinner!

Blueberries and VOSKOS® Greek Yogurt: Partners in Weight Loss

Blueberries and Greek yogurt have both been linked to weight loss in clinical studies.

For some time, researchers have known about the link between yogurt and losing weight. A 2005 study published in the International Journal of Obesity showed that dieters eating a low-calorie, high-calcium diet that included yogurt lost 81% more belly fat than dieters on a low-calcium diet. And their overall weight loss was 22% higher than the control group.

The other good news from that study? The dieters who ate yogurt burned more fat, and lost less lean muscle mass.
In 2011, a graduate student from Texas Women’s University found that the antioxidants in blueberries inhibited the development of fat cells in mouse tissues. The student, Shiwani Moghe, MS, discovered that blueberry polyphenols may actually inhibit fat gain at the molecular level. And the higher the dose of polyphenols, the greater the reduction of fat content in the tissue sample, according to the research presented at the Experimental Biology 2011 meeting. Blueberry phytochemicals have also been shown to help alleviate high blood sugar in animal studies. High blood sugar is a risk factor in cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

More advantages of blueberries, beyond their high antioxidant content? “Blueberries are relatively low in carbohydrates and high in fiber compared to other fruits,” says registered dietitian Janet R. Mertz.

So, what does this mean? “If you want to lose weight, you can’t go wrong by combining VOSKOS® Greek Yogurt and blueberries,” says registered dietitian Janet R, Mertz. Of course, VOSKOS® offers a pre-mixed non-fat wild Blueberry Greek yogurt flavor, and a Blueberry + Granola variety. “But you can also make your own version by combining VOSKOS® plain Greek yogurt with frozen wild blueberries, found in the fruit section of your grocery’s freezer case,” says Mertz. Wild blueberries are highest in antioxidant capacity per serving, compared with more than 20 other fruits, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

End Dry Skin Naturally with a VOSKOS® Greek Yogurt Facial

Don’t spend a fortune combatting dry winter skin! You can enjoy a softer, plumper, glowingly hydrated complexion with an inexpensive product that is already in your refrigerator.

Are you suffering from dry winter skin? You can get natural relief without expensive beauty products. “Relief for your dry skin may be as close as your refrigerator,” says Emily Neukircher, the marketing manager for VOSKOS® Greek Yogurt, America’s first nationally-distributed Greek Yogurt brand.

“Many expensive moisturizers and facial creams contain lactic acid, which is found naturally in Greek yogurt,” says Neukircher. “Lactic acid is a gentle exfoliant. Adding a natural moisturizer like honey helps rehydrate dry skin.”

This simple face mask recipe contains just two ingredients, and is perfect for soothing dry winter complexions. It’s easy to apply first thing in the morning, and remove in the shower.

VOSKOS® Greek Yogurt Honey Mask

1 Tablespoon Plain Organic VOSKOS® Greek Yogurt
1 Tablespoon Organic Honey

Add honey to a small microwave-safe bowl, and microwave for just a few seconds, until it is warmed to approximately body temperature and becomes runny.

Remove bowl from microwave and stir in VOSKOS® Greek yogurt. Blend until just mixed.

Apply to cleansed face (avoiding eyes) and allow to sit on your skin for 15 minutes. During the last 5 minutes, you can get into the shower and allow the steam to help moisturize your skin even more.

Remove mask with a warm, damp washcloth.

“This natural moisturizing mask can help you combat the dull, dry skin that comes from heated indoor air this time of year,” says Neukircher. “And if you eat the rest of the yogurt, from the container, it will help you feel as good on the inside as you look on the outside!”

Greek yogurt is thicker and creamier than regular yogurt, and contains a number of probiotics—naturally occurring friendly bacteria that are present in our digestive systems. Some research has linked probiotics to healthy digestion and regularity.

Eating Greek yogurt may be even more important during “flu season.” In a study, people who ate two cups of live-culture yogurt every day for three months produced higher levels of immunity-boosting interferon. The probiotics in yogurt have also been shown to stimulate the production of infection-fighting white blood cells.

Improve Heart Health and Whittle Your Waistline with VOSKOS®

February is Heart Month—and a great time to add heart-healthy Greek yogurt to your diet.

According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is America’s number one cause of death. Approximately 2,200 Americans die from cardiovascular disease every day.

During February, Americans are encouraged to emphasize heart health by exercising and eating a healthier diet—and Voskos Greek Yogurt can be a part of that, says personal trainer Nikko Generales.

“The first thing everyone should be doing is making an honest attempt at becoming more physically active,” says Generales. “Aim to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity in every day.”

Generales continues, “The second and most obvious measure for heart health is eating smarter. One of the most important things you can do is eliminate empty calories by cutting down on sodas, cakes, cookies, candies, and other sugary desserts. Removing refined carbohydrates from your diet can help you lower your cholesterol, lose weight, and thus lower your risk of heart disease.”

Voskos Greek Yogurt can help with this goal in several ways. “Because it’s high in protein and calcium, Greek yogurt makes you feel full longer, to help you cut down on unhealthy snacking,” says Generales. Unlike most snacks, Voskos Greek Yogurt is nutrient rich. And finally, says Generales, “a diet that includes yogurt has been linked with weight loss in several clinical studies. And obesity is a risk factor for heart disease, so by losing weight, you also reduce your risk of heart disease.”