Kathy, this reply will be a repeat of what I sent you on e-mail yesterday. Yes, there are some foods you can eat that may help a little with your knee pain,...not because these foods specifically target knee or other joint pain but because these foods are high in nutrients which you body needs to have a healthy immune system to fight off oxidative damage which can manifest itself in knee pain, joint pain or many other problems. And in fact eating healthy is one of the legs of the Chair of Health.
I like fresh darker fruits like blackberries, blue berries, dark grapes and fresh vegetables - buy the veggies you like so you'll be more inclined to eat them. Boiling or high heat cooking leaches many of the nutrients out of the fruit or vegetable. It is really hard to buy fresh produce high in nutrients unless you gt to a local farmers market. In some cases frozen vegetables and fruits are better. Some manufacturers freeze the produce right after it is picked therefore controlling nutrient loss.
Foods like olive oil, fish, and some grains like flax have a higher concentrate of Omega 3 fatty acids which is particular good for the joints. Omega 3 is a standard ingredient in my joint pain supplement routine and optimizes the Glucosamine I take daily.
I don't understand why you don't like pills. Did you have a bad experience with a supplement or medication in the past? Do you have a hard time taking pills or tablets? I put one of my clients on our supplements when he had a stomach tube. He crushed up his tablets and got them into his gut that way. He was pretty hard core, refusing additional chemo treatment and determined to make himself healthy in a more natural way.
Since it sounds like your knee pain started when you started at the gym,..it lasts for a couple days after the exercise that puts the most strain on them, then goes away, I think you would benefit from the pharmaceutical grade Glucosamine and maybe even the Omega 3 fatty acids that I take. I'll never go without them for the rest of my life - that is how much they have changed my life for the better. You may think about ice and heat therapy after your cardio periods as well....but this is more to manage pain then to make those joints better. Anyway - good luck to you.