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Turkish Red Lentil Soup Recipe

With this week’s news focusing on the link between junk food (ultra processed food) and cancer, diabetes, heart disease and … death, we thought the best thing we could do was provide a recipe that’s almost as simple and convenient as a ready meal but brimming with nutrients, fibre and anti-oxidant-rich spices.

I was introduced to Turkish Red Lentil Soup by a wonderful Turkish au pair, Natalin, who I was lucky enough to have in my life for a year when my children were small. I’ve made this soup regularly since then. It’s hugely forgiving: add carrots, sweet potatoes, dried mint, whatever needs eating from the back of the fridge or larder. It only takes five minutes to prepare – less time than it takes to pop to the shops for a ready meal. It needs a 40-minute simmer, but then you’ve a week’s worth of soup in the fridge. What’s not to like?


3 red onions, roughly chopped
3 sticks celery, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
250 g red lentils
3 tsp Baharat spice blend
3 tsp sea salt
1 litre veg stock
1 can tomatoes

Quickly fry the onions and celery in a splash of olive oil until just soft. Add the garlic, peeled but not chopped, the lentils, stock, sea salt and tomatoes. Cook for 30-40 minutes until the soup is thick, adding a little water if it’s too thick.

Blend ‘til smooth and serve with lemon wedges (it glows in the mouth with a good squirt of lemon juice). Add a sprinkling of chopped mint or coriander if you have it to hand. A dollop of yogurt or a fistful of crumbled feta would work well too.

Annabel @

Dr. Barnard has led numerous research studies investigating the effects of diet on diabetes, body weight, and chronic pain, including a groundbreaking study of dietary interventions in type 2 diabetes, funded by the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Barnard has authored over 70 scientific publications as well as 17 books. As president of the Physicians Committee, Dr. Barnard leads programs advocating for preventive medicine, good nutrition, and higher ethical standards in research. He has hosted three PBS television programs on nutrition and health and is frequently called on by news programs to discuss issues related to nutrition and research. Originally from Fargo, North Dakota, Dr. Barnard received his M.D. degree at the George Washington University School of Medicine and completed his residency at the same institution. He practiced at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York before returning to Washington to found the Physicians Committee.

WASHINGTON—Do multivitamins increase Alzheimer’s disease risk? Can sweet potatoes improve mental clarity? Power Foods for the Brain, a new book by noted nutrition researcher and New York Times best-selling author Neal Barnard, M.D., reveals how simple diet changes can shield the brain from memory loss, stroke, and Alzheimer’s. 

Power Foods for the Brain presents the latest and most compelling research on nutrition’s surprising effects on the brain. Dr. Barnard also lays out his simple three-step plan to protect the mind and strengthen the memory: Put power foods to work, strengthen your brain, and defeat memory threats. 

“Every minute, our brain cells are bathing in the nutrients—or toxins—we take in through food,” says Dr. Barnard. “Just as we put money in a retirement account to ensure a secure future, we can put foods on our plates today to help keep the brain in high gear well into the future.” 


Research overwhelmingly shows that “bad fats”—such as the saturated fat found in red meat and butter—greatly increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and reduce brain functioning in the short term. But conclusive evidence demonstrates that eating foods rich in vitamin E—such as almonds and sunflower seeds—may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 70 percent.  

Power Foods for the Brain identifies these and the dozens of other brain-trigger foods that are consumed on a daily basis and offers tips and insights on how to build back up brain health. 

Book details: Power Foods for the Brain gathers the most important research to deliver an effective three-step program for boosting brain health. The book includes 75 power-food recipes developed by chefs Christine Waltermyer and Jason Wyrick. The all-inclusive program includes sample mental stimulation exercises, guides to choosing aluminum-free foods and medicines, and a guide to physical exercise.  Publication date is Feb. 19, 2013. 

Author details: New York Times best-selling author Neal Barnard, M.D., is an adjunct associate professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, board-certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, D.C. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, his clinical research revolutionized the treatment of type 2 diabetes. 

PBS will launch a documentary connected to Power Foods for the Brain in March 2013. 

For an interview with Dr. Barnard, please contact Jessica Frost at 202-527-7342 or sends e-mail)

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