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Food is Medicine: Exploring the Anti-Inflammatory Diet

I’ve been exploring the concept of food as medicine as a way to help deal with the pain and inflammation of my knee. So many years of bearing excess weight, and running half marathons at 200+ pounds have caught up with me. I’ve got bone on bone in my left knee, along with damage to all of my ligaments. Since my gastric bypass, I am no longer able to take NSAIDs for inflammation and pain, so I have turned to more homeopathic approaches like arnica, CDB topical products, heat and ice, and food. Yes, food.

Since starting my health coaching program, I have learned quite a bit about the healing properties of a lot of different foods and spices and the benefits of a primarily plant-based diet to help heal a variety of ailments. I recently picked up the book “Healing Arthritis” by Susan Blum. The book connects arthritis to other immune and inflammatory disorders and focuses on restoring gut health, elimination of inflammatory foods, and reducing inflammation without adding medication. I heard Dr. Blum discuss the connection between gut health and arthritis in an interview with Dr. Mark Hyman on Twitter. I’m a skeptic at times, but the science makes sense to me.

Last week I received a few recipes from my own health coach and fellow student at Institute for Integrative Nutrition to address my goals of adding more plant-based foods and more anti-inflammatory, healing foods into my diet. One was this recipe for Easy Vegan Red Lentil Dal, which I ended up pairing with a modified version of a quinoa salad that features turmeric.  Seemed like a good pairing.

Both recipes together took me about an hour to prepare and clean up (for me, I need to know how much clean up there will be, and I am definitely getting more efficient about cleaning as I go). I’m definitely going to incorporate these recipes into my food prep tool box.  Considering the volume of food I can eat, I may consider cutting the recipe in half next time, or sharing with my food prep clients too. If you try them, let me know what you think!

Serves 6

Easy Vegan Red Lentil Dal

5 minPrep Time

15 minCook Time

20 minTotal Time

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  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups dried red lentils
  • 1 (15oz) can of coconut milk (full-fat or light - I used light)
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt & pepper (or to taste)


  1. Wash lentils in a strainer and let them drain.
  2. Bring water to a boil.
  3. Add lentils and coconut milk.
  4. Return mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  5. Cook (uncovered) for 10 minutes until the lentils have softened, then stir in spices and cook for another 5 minutes.
Recipe Type: Vegan


Serve with quinoa, cauliflower rice, or brown rice. The turmeric quinoa recipe pairs nicely, served on a bed of arugula.


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