food as medicine, Karyn Shanks, Karyn Shanks MD, food addiction, food heals, nutritional healing

Food Hurts. Food Heals.

We all know food is medicine by now. We know food has the molecular power to change our genetic expression, physiology, and function in infinite and profound ways. We know food is us at the most foundational level.

It works both ways. Food hurts. Food heals.

It’s easy to turn to foods that taste good, make us feel better, give us a “high,” a hit of pleasure to help us numb the suffering and forget our problems. Sugar. Gluten. Processed fatty salty sugary carbs. Mmmm…

There’s just one problem.

Or two.

The numbing feel-good is temporary. And the consequences of ingesting the toxic food we crave drives us to the next hit—bringing on the low energy, crappy mood, bloat, and achy joints. We all know what I’m talking about.

So we dose ourselves again. And again. And before we know it we’re in that vicious craving—addiction cycle most of us have experienced with our food (and other addictions).

The solution? Break the cycle.

Hold on tight. These emotions are powerful! The sense of deprivation can bring us to our knees. We feel worse before better. But as we feed our bodies molecules of healing, something amazing happens—we heal. We feel better. Our energy rises. The addiction stops. The vicious cycle is broken.

How do we break this vicious cycle?

  1. First, call your power back. Tell your story of becoming well—declare your “yes” to a healing life, list your goals and desires, imagine what it feels like to achieve those goals (Better energy? Less pain? Feel more like your true self? Rise to your full potential?).
  2. Choose a healing food plan (may I suggest one below?).
  3. Get organized and prepare to implement.
  4. Take your first baby steps (remember the “rule of threes?”).
  5. Hang on! Use this mantra: “this too shall pass” (because it absolutely will!).

I teach a variety of powerful healing food plans to my clients. The one I find suitable for most (with tweaks to address unique needs) is called the Foundational Intensive Nutrition Energy (FINE) food plan. You may see similarities with “Paleo,” “Ancestral,” and “AIP,” (autoimmune protocol) food plans, in how it emphasizes “real” food and excludes toxic and irritating food. However, the FINE food plan stands out in its greater emphasis on the intensive energy nutrition aspects of eating.

So, call your power back—break the vicious cycle. Eat food that heals.

p.s. From my Archives:

Simple is Better: the “Rule of Threes.” 2017.

Deprivation: the Challenge of Lifestyle Change. 2017.

Foundational Intensive Nutrition Energy (FINE) Food Plan. 2018.

Karyn Shanks MD


Karyn Shanks, MD, is a physician who lives and practices in Iowa City. Her work is inspired by the revolutionary science of Functional Medicine, body-mind wisdom, and the transformational journeys of thousands of clients over her twenty-eight year career. She believes that the bones of healing are in what we do for ourselves.

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