Lots of Lentils

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A close friend of mine recently found out that she is slightly anemic.  If you’re not sure, people afflicted by anemia have a deficiency of red blood cells or hemoglobin (the protein on red blood cells that binds to oxygen and transports it to your body).  Because of this lack of oxygen, or rather, oxygen inefficiency, anemia can make you tired and weak.

Often, anemia is caused by an iron deficiency, as iron is used to make hemoglobin.  Iron deficiency is of particular concern in vegetarians and vegans; I went vegetarian for about a month until my mother expressed overwhelming concerns about such a deficiency.  It’s tricky to find natural sources of iron, and my Flintstone 1-A-Day vitamins weren’t up to my mom’s standards, for better or for worse.

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Lentils, however, do contain natural iron.  Per cup, lentils provide around 37% of your daily recommended value for iron.  Pretty good, huh?

This is a spiced up version of lentil soup.  It’s quick and easy to make: throw it all in the pot and you’re practically done.  It’s also a forgiving recipe, so feel free add/subtract what you like.

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And, finally, anemia is not just a veggie problem.  There’s nothing wrong with a little bit more iron, so even if you think your T-bone steak has got you covered, lentils can throw some fiber and protein, too.  Try them!

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{curried lentil soup}

–serves 4–

olive oil

salt, to taste

3/4 cup chopped carrot

1 medium chopped yellow onion

1 T + 1 t yellow curry powder

1/3 cup barley

3/4 cup lentils

4 cups vegetable broth or water (or combination of the two)

plain yogurt

lemon zest and juice

in a large soup pot over medium heat, saute carrots and onions in olive oil until onions are translucent.  add curry powder and salt and stir.  add barley, lentils, and liquid of choice, and bring mixture to a boil.  reduce heat to a simmer; cover for 45 minutes.  add extra liquid if needed.

5 cups vegetable broth or water (or a combination of the two).

to serve, top with dollop of yogurt, lemon zest, and drizzle of olive oil. enjoy!

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