Month: December 2016

Healthy Homemade Hot Chocolate

There’s nothing quite as warm and comforting as a cup of hot cocoa on a cold day. I love drinking hot chocolate, especially in the wintertime. It feels great just to curl up with a good book on the couch or in a recliner and sip on hot cocoa by a warm fireplace.

If you live in Charlotte, then you’re no doubt pretty familiar with our unpredictable weather. In my opinion, that makes hot chocolate even better, because you never know when the perfect occasion to make it will come. It could be 80 degrees in the middle of December, and a week later, they’re cancelling schools and calling for a blizzard. Just a week ago, you were eating ice cream on your deck, and now there’s freezing rain falling outside. Crazy, right? But it happens all the time here, and you’re probably nodding your head in agreement as you read this, because you know how it is!

And when that happens, it’s a great time for a cup of hot chocolate under a blanket by the fire with a good book (or maybe a date-night movie with your spouse or significant other!)

Sometimes I even like to substitute hot cocoa for my morning cup o’ joe. Chocolate is naturally caffeinated, so I get a little boost without the crash that often comes with drinking coffee.

Whether you drink it in the morning to replace your java, or you curl up with a cup in the evening to unwind after a long day’s work, I recommend making your own hot chocolate, using this simple, healthy recipe.

  • 1 cup full-fat organic coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons organic unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon organic honey (to sweeten; or you could use 1-2 drops of liquid stevia)
  • a dash of cinnamon (to garnish)
  • 4 oz. organic unsweetened dark chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons organic coconut cream

Heat the coconut milk in a pot on the stove. Add the dark chocolate and cocoa powder, and stir until melted. Pour the mixture over the honey into an 8-oz mug, and top with coconut cream and cinnamon.

This recipe is great because it’s dairy-free, gluten-free, and processed sugar-free yet it still tastes AMAZING. Much better and healthier than the pre-made packets you can buy at the grocery store, which are usually full of sugar, preservatives, and artificial flavors. Yet still just as quick and easy to make.

Enjoy this yummy hot, chocolatey beverage on a cold day, and let us know what you think by leaving a comment below!

10 Foods to Boost Your Fiber Intake

It is estimated that only about five percent of Americans get the recommended amount of fiber in their diets from the foods they eat each day. Despite our attempts to ingest more fiber by eating grains, cereals, and other processed foods that claim to be high in fiber, many of us are still fiber deficient. Not to mention, the added ingredients in these foods are generally not very healthy for us, putting even more burden on our body’s digestive system.

Fiber helps to build and support a healthy digestive tract. In doing so, it also aids in the prevention of cancer, kidney stones, diverticulitis, heart disease, obesity, PMS and more. Since health starts in the gut, it makes sense that supporting your gut with plenty of natural fiber would help to prevent the diseases that occur as a result of poor gut health.

But you should avoid the processed kind. The best way to get more fiber in your diet is by eating foods that are naturally rich in fiber. Below is a list of 10 fiber-rich foods that you may not have known about.

  1. Berries. Besides being an easy addition to your morning smoothie, berries (particularly blackberries and raspberries) are an easy way to boost your fiber intake.
  2. Avocados. In addition to fiber, avocados contain plenty of healthy fats to support heart health, boost your energy, and help you burn fat and lose weight.
  3. Coconut. With at least four times the amount of fiber contained in oat bran, coconut—both the flour and grated varieties—is a healthy addition to your diet that’s also packed with plenty of brain-boosting omega fatty acids.
  4. Figs. This wonderful fruit can be enjoyed on top of salads or cereals, or even eaten plain as a healthy dessert. Figs have the perfect balance of soluble and insoluble fiber and are known for lowering blood pressure and preventing macular degeneration.
  5. Okra. We just had to include this southern veggie. Just like Bubba Gump shrimp, there are so many ways to enjoy this fine food. Fried, baked, roasted, or added to soups and stews, it’s packed with fiber and rich in calcium as well.
  6. Brussels Sprouts. As a child, the thought of this strange-sounding vegetable no doubt repulsed you. As an adult, though, you’ve probably grown to love it, and if you haven’t, it’s because you’ve never had it cooked the right way. Cut brussels sprouts in half, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast or sauté in garlic for 20-25 minutes until the edges are browned. It’s not only delicious; it’s packed with anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants, and—you guessed it—fiber aplenty!
  7. Chickpeas. Roasted with rosemary and sea salt or ground into hummus paste, this exotic bean is rich in manganese and other essential nutrients. The perfect snack or side dish—it’s a staple.
  8. Flax seeds. Ground flax is a great substitute for flour in your favorite gluten-free recipes, including muffins and even hamburger buns. You can also mix it with water for a gelatinous substance that works great in place of eggs in brownies, cakes and other yummy baked sweets. Flax seeds are known to reduce menopausal symptoms and cholesterol. This tiny seed is power-packed with fiber and other nutrients.
  9. Chia seeds. Again, tons of nutrients in a tiny seed. Nature is amazing, isn’t it? Chia seeds are a great addition to your morning smoothie or yogurt bowl. In addition to supporting your digestive health and increasing energy, this essential superfood is a must for any health diet.
  10. Nuts. Especially almonds and walnuts. A quick way to boost your fiber, almonds are high in protein and potassium, while walnuts are known to improve mood and memory. No matter which one you choose, you really can’t go wrong. We recommend both. After all, variety is the spice of life!

What are some of your favorite fiber-boosting foods? Share them with us in the comments below.

The USDA recommends that we take in 240-420 mg of magnesium each day. The actual number depends on age, but sadly, most of us fall short of the minimum amount on a regular basis. Without sufficient magnesium, our bodies may be unable to absorb other essential nutrients such as calcium, and we suffer from a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Constipation
  • Calcium deficiency
  • Poor heart health
  • Poor memory
  • Insomnia
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Type II Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Migraines

The list goes on… Magnesium is an essential mineral. Without it, our bodies are not able to operate at optimal levels, as we fail to absorb other nutrients essential to our bodies’ overall function. If you suffer from any of the symptoms listed above, you may have a magnesium deficiency. Thankfully, there are some ways to safely supplement this mineral to ensure you’re taking in the right amount on a daily basis, and bring your body back into equilibrium.

How to Supplement Magnesium

  1. Take a Magnesium supplement. Sounds simple, and that’s because it is! Magnesium citrate is among the most readily absorbed forms of this nutrient, however, beware of taking too much at once. There is a certain threshold that your bowels can handle, and exceeding that threshold can lead to diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms that’ll make you wish you had never taken it in the first place!
  2. Eat magnesium-rich foods. These include: seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame), spinach, black beans, squash, almonds, okra, cashews, and soybeans.
  3. Use a topical magnesium treatment. Magnesium chloride can be applied topically and absorbed into your skin, which is very porous and able to absorb just about anything it comes in contact with (another reason to limit your skin’s exposure to toxins). If you don’t want to take an oral supplement and don’t feel that your diet will suffice to solve a deficiency problem, this is a good alternative solution. Google “magnesium oil” to find a variety of topical solutions that you can use.

Chronic diseases are rampant in our society, and many of them result from a magnesium deficiency, which directly affects the gut by preventing the absorption of necessary nutrients into our bodies. If you think you might be at risk or are suffering from chronic illness, try supplementing your diet with the recommended daily amount of magnesium, and see what happens! We’re sure you’ll see a difference in your health and life.

12 Deliciously Dairy-Free Cheesecake Recipes

At Queen City Health Center, we recommend limiting your dairy intake. Too much dairy can result in side effects like excess mucus production (leading to stuffy nose & upper respiratory congestion) and constipation. Moreover, lactose intolerance is an increasing problem in our American culture, where our diets consist largely of dairy and gluten-containing products.

We’ve all been conditioned to think that milk “does a body good,” but the fact is, you can get more calcium and other nutrients from dairy-free equivalents like almond or coconut milk. And if you’re worried about cheese, cashew cheese is a great alternative to creamy cheeses like goat and ricotta, and even cows-milk cream cheese. It’s also really easy to make and chock-full of protein! For this reason, it’s a popular substitute in Italian dishes and cream-cheese desserts like cheesecake!

We’ve curated a list of 12 deliciously dairy-free cheesecake recipes that you can enjoy guilt-free. Start your new year off right by replacing your favorite sugar-laden cakes and cookies with one of these healthier alternatives.

(And then make a different one each month to stay on the right foot all through 2017!)

1. Brownie-Bottom Cheesecake

Diary-free, gluten-free, and absolutely amazing. This simple dessert features a brownie base topped with plain New York Style cheesecake

2. Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake

Made with cashew cheese, this one is a perfect holiday treat. It’s sweetened with maple syrup and is sure to impress your house guests. (Trust me, they won’t know it’s vegan or free from processed sugar!)

3. Raspberry, Lime, and Coconut Cheesecake

This one’s actually, vegan, soy-free, and nut free as well. So if you have food allergies, copy the crust from this recipe and you should be good to go. It’s got a tart, refreshing taste that sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

4. Roasted Almond and Salted Caramel Easter Cheesecake

This delicious cheesecake is a bit more time-intensive, but well worth the wait. Take this to your family Easter Sunday dinner and watch everyone lick their plates clean.

5. Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

Who needs Reese’s? You sure won’t when you try this recipe! This uses real, homemade peanut butter cups, as well as peanut butter for an even creamier consistency than cashew cheese offers on its own. It’s also naturally sweetened with maple syrup and medjool dates. YUM.

6. Dairy-Free Cheesecake Dip

Even though it’s not a cheesecake per say, we had to include this, simply because it’s so delicious and much healthier than the marshmallow dip that you can buy in grocery stores. It’s the perfect addition to the fresh fruit platter served at holiday gatherings. You’re welcome… 🙂

7. Caramel Apple Cheesecake

No oven needed. Packed with apples throughout, and topped with crunchy almonds and caramel sauce, this recipe is raw, healthy, and delicious. A great sweet-tooth satisfier at your Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

8. Easy Baked Cheesecake

If you’re looking for something simple, this is the recipe for you. Not surprising coming from Instead of making your own cashew cheese, this calls for store-bought vegan cheese, reducing your prep time by at least 4 hours. Top with fresh fruit and enjoy anytime!

9. Secret Ingredient Strawberry Cheesecake

The author of this beauty claims you won’t even taste the pound of grated cauliflower in the filling. Try it. We dare you.

10. Coconut Ice Cream Cheesecake with Lime and Avocado

Avocado is a great source of healthy fats (which are great for your brain and help you burn fat, by the way.) Vegan, lime, and gluten-free, this one is packed with some of our favorite ingredients, including cashews, chia seeds, and coconut oil.

11. Raw Banana Cheesecake

Again, no oven needed. The base is sweetened with dates and dried bananas, and the filling is made perfect with maple syrup. If you love bananas, ditch grandma’s pudding (sorry, G!) and try this instead.

12. (Almost) Raw Kiwifruit & Ginger Cheesecake

Last but definitely not least, we found this recipe quite intriguing. Ginger is a great immune booster, especially during the cold seasons when flu viruses run rampant. And paired with kiwi? You won’t believe your taste buds. Especially when you find out the filling also contains spinach leaves… whaaaaaa?

What’s your favorite diary-free cheesecake recipe? Share it with us in the comments below, and if any of these caught your fancy, please share this post with your friends!

Queen City Health Center is a Charlotte Chiropractic and total wellness center for individuals and families. With locations across Charlotte, NC and Matthews, NC, we specialize in helping individuals and families find true health and ways to maximize their lives through nutrition, lifestyle classes, detoxification and spinal correction.

SouthPark Office 4421 Sharon Rd #100 Charlotte, NC 28211 980-422-2000
Matthews Office 1730 Matthews Township Pkwy Matthews, NC 28105 704-844-6368