FINE and GRIN Food Plan Reinforcements

Basic Kitchen Equipment for Executing the FINE and GRIN Food Plans

These are the basics, beyond what I expect are in most peoples’ kitchens already. They’ll make your food prep so much smoother and easier.

  • A good all-purpose food processor, like Cuisinart.
  • A Vitamix or similar high speed blender.
  • Excellent set of chef knives (I prefer Wusthof): you’ll need a chef’s knife and paring knife minimally as well as a knife sharpener.
  • Garlic press.
  • Cutting boards of various sizes.
  • A slow cooker that holds 4-6 quarts.



Smoothies made with fruits and veggies are a core part of many people’s food plan. They are a time saving, convenient, and delicious way to provide a huge hit of nutrition each day. They make a good breakfast or snack. You can use them to target particular nutrients you are trying to emphasize or add additional protein to your diet. Here are some basic smoothie recipes. Change them up. Make them your own. The recipes may make more than you need for one meal. Store extra in the fridge and consume within 24 hours for maximum nutrition. It is best to use a Vitamix or similar high-speed blender for silky-smooth results.

If you have digestive issues it might be best to use smaller smoothies and consume them along with part of a meal that is chewed. The reason for this is that chewing and appreciating food stimulates the whole digestive process. Some people benefit from using digestive aides. It is also important to avoid cold smoothies because they will impair digestion. Drink them at room temperature or warm.

If you are just starting this food plan and have recently ramped up your veggie, fruit or fiber intake, take caution. Too much too quickly can make the gut unhappy as the flora changes and your belly gets used to things being different! Start small and work your way up as tolerated.

Remember, if you are dealing with metabolic syndrome issues (elevated blood pressure, elevated blood sugar or belly fat), avoid the high sugar content fruits and starchy vegetables.


Simple Berry Avocado Smoothie

Makes enough for 2 servings.

1 avocado, peeled and seed removed

1 green apple

1-cup blueberries

20-30 grams protein supplement (see options below)

Enough water to achieve desired texture

Blend and enjoy.


Simple Veggie Smoothie

Makes enough for 2 servings.

1 green apple

3-4 stalks kale

2 T fresh lemon juice

1 avocado

20-30 grams protein supplement (see options below)

Enough water to achieve desired texture

Blend and enjoy.


Basic Berry Smoothie

Makes enough for 2 substantial meals.

1-2 cups frozen organic berries (I mix blue, rasp and black)

1 green apple (cut into 8ths)

½ cucumber (cut into large chunks)

1 avocado (remove skin and pit)

½ tsp Sencha ground green tea

¼ cup ground flax or Chia seed OR

40-50 grams (for 2 meals) protein supplement (see options below)


Place each item into Vitamix in the order listed, with chunkier items on the bottom. Use “variable” speed, start low and gradually turn to highest setting.

Add enough water to achieve desired consistency.

Blend 2-3 minutes, to desired smoothness.

I don’t recommend adding ice as cold smoothies can impair digestion. In fact, if I use frozen berries, I use hot water so the end result is a room temperature smoothie. You can add a tablespoon of coconut oil to this if you are trying to get your daily dose in and it is delicious!


Basic Green Smoothie

Makes enough for 2 substantial meals

1 green apple (cut into 8ths)

1/2 medium cucumber (cut into large chunks)

1 avocado (peeled and pit removed)

4-5 large kale leaves (tear into 1 inch bits)

1 tsp fresh ginger (throw an inch of fresh in whole)

1 pear (cut pear meat off off core or throw whole pear in!)

1 celery stick (cut into large chunks)

½ tsp Sencha ground green tea

40-50 grams protein supplement (see options below)

¼ cup ground flax or Chia seed


Place each item into Vitamix in the order listed, with chunkier items on the bottom.

Use “variable” speed, start low and gradually turn to highest setting.

Add enough water to achieve desired consistency.

Blend 2-3 minutes, to desired smoothness.

You can also leave the protein and added fiber out of this smoothie and have a delicious, nutrient-dense drink to enjoy all day long.


Spice Smoothie

This is delicious and stimulating. Great for an occasional breakfast or snack.

You can leave out the protein and fiber if this is being used as a simple snack. For a meal, add them. Do not use this recipe if you have metabolic syndrome!


1 banana

12-16 oz hemp, almond or coconut milk

1 tsp unsweetened cocoa (non-Dutch processed)

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp cloves

¼ tsp cardamom

¼ tsp nutmeg

20-30 grams protein supplement (see options below)

½ tsp Sencha ground green tea (regular or decaf)

1 heaping T whole Chia seeds


Blend 1 minute. Yum.


Special Dessert Smoothie

1 cup mixed berries

½ banana

½ cup almonds

2-3 pitted dates

12-16 oz unsweetened hemp milk


Blend well on high speed for at least 2 minutes to make nuts very smooth. This is a delicious and decadent treat. Leave out the dates if you want to avoid the sugar! You can even leave out the banana and it will still be yummy! People with metabolic syndrome, sorry, this one is not for you.


Bone Broth

Place one chicken carcass or large beef shank (or 2-3 smaller cut beef shank pieces) into 5 quart slow cooker along with a chopped onion, garlic, celery, carrot, salt and pepper, and 1 tsp vinegar or lemon juice. Completely cover with water. Set to “low” and simmer continuously for at least 24 hours. Strain the broth while hot.

You can drink immediately, refrigerate, or freeze. Use as a soup stock. This will be rich in connective tissue from the bone marrow and sinews, broken down sufficiently for easy digestibility and utilization by the gut lining. Use routinely, as it is delicious, and make a special effort to consume regularly if you have digestive or inflammatory issues as it aides in gut healing.


Bone Broth Smoothie

2 cups bone broth

20-30 grams  hydrolyzed collagen

Seasoning as desired

Heat to desired temperature, stir, and drink.


Green Tea Coconut Smoothie

½-1 tsp Sencha ground green tea

½ cup coconut milk (full fatted)

20-30 grams hydrolyzed collagen

Hot water to desired consistency

Stir and enjoy.


Karyn’s Favorite Savory Veggie Madness Soup

This is one of my favorite staple veggie soups. It tastes fantastic, I can change it at whim and it is a phenomenal health tonic.

I like to make a huge batch of this so there is enough for my family to eat for several days and I can freeze a bunch of single serving containers to pull out for lunch later.


You will need:

3 large, whole, free-range organic chicken breasts

½ pound pork chorizo or Italian sausage (sautéed and drained of excess fat)

8-12 cups (or more) water and/or chicken broth to desired consistency

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 large yellow onions, chopped

3 large leeks, white part, chopped

6 large garlic cloves, chopped

2 cups celery, chopped

8-10 large carrots, peeled and sliced

3 Tbsp ginger root, peeled and chopped

2 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced thinly

1 cup fresh basil, chopped

1 large bunch kale, chopped

1 cup Italian parsley, chopped

1 large jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (include seeds)

10 tomatillos (lose outer peel removed, blended)

2 tsp sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Poach chicken breasts whole in enough water to cover them. Save the water to be used as part of the broth in the soup. Cook the sausage and drain off all fat.

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot and sauté onions, leeks, garlic, celery, carrots and ginger for about 10 minutes. Add shiitake mushrooms, basil, kale, parsley and jalapeno pepper and 8-12 cups of fluid. Add tomatillo mixture. Cut up chicken and add along with sausage. Add salt and pepper. Bring to boil. Cook covered on low heat for 30 minutes. Serve immediately.


Delicious All-Purpose Vinaigrette

I use this as a base for salad dressing, to mix with steamed veggies or as a dressing for chicken or shrimp salad. It is very adaptable to a variety of flavors, so use your favorite ingredients to make it just right.

This recipe will make enough dressing for a couple of family salads. You can make extra and store in the fridge in a covered container.


¼ cup organic extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp prepared horseradish

1-2 Tbspn culinary coconut milk

1-2 tsp white wine or water

1 crushed garlic clove

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

dash of cayenne pepper

Mix well with a whisk and serve.


Crucifer Salad

This crucifer blend is delicious and is a great way to support detoxification daily with food. Makes enough for several days.

You will need:

1 small head of red cabbage grated

1 head broccoli cut up into small pieces

1 head cauliflower cut up into small pieces

4 large kale leaves, stem removed, cut into small pieces

Juice of 1 lemon

Dried cranberries ½ cup

Toasted pumpkin seeds 1 cup (toast until light brown in heated cast iron skillet—stir frequently, don’t burn)

Organic extra virgin olive oil 1 cup

Sea salt 1 tsp

Fresh ground pepper ½ tsp

Garlic 1 fresh clove, pressed

Combine using your hands to thoroughly coat all of the contents with olive oil. Feel free to add additional oil if needed.

This salad is a great base for the addition of other flavors.


Cabbage Slaw with Coconut Milk

1 head cabbage, green or red, grated

Olive oil ½-1 cup

Coconut milk (full-fatted culinary version in a can) ½=1 cup

Garlic 1-2 cloves, pressed

Sea salt ½ tsp

Pepper ½ tsp

Whisk the olive oil, coconut milk, pressed garlic, salt and pepper together well in a small bowl. When well blended, add to shredded cabbage and blend well.


Simple Guacamole

1 Hass avocado, medium ripeness

Fresh lime juice 2 Tablespoons

Sea salt 1 tsp

Red onion ¼ chopped small

Jalepeno pepper ¼ chopped small (wash your hands after you do this!)

Cilantro few sprigs chopped small

Slice avocado horizontally around its circumference and open. Remove pit. Scoop out the inside with a spoon and place in bowl. Add lime juice and salt. Smash well with fork. Add remainder of ingredients and mix well with fork. I enjoy this as a condiment over a variety of meats.


Coconut Brownies

This is a delicious dessert option for the FINE food plan and contains lots of healthful cocoa and coconut. Those with metabolic syndrome, leave out the honey!

You will need:

16 oz walnuts (or nut of your choice)

1 can coconut milk (full fat)

1 egg (or 1 T ground flaxseed soaked in 2 T warm water)

1/4 cup honey (you can skip this if you want NO sugar)

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking soda

2 oz (or more:) unsweetened dark chocolate chopped

1/2 tsp coarse sea salt

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor, pulse walnuts until smooth and creamy. Add enough coconut milk to help make that happen. I typically use 1/2-2/3 can.

Add egg and honey. Pulse.

Add remaining ingredients and blend well in food processor.

If you prefer, you can transfer to mixer and process that way, but

I like the convenience of doing it all in the food processor.

Add the rest of the coconut milk if mixture seems too thick.

Pour out into an 8×8 baking dish greased with coconut oil.

Bake for 30-35 minutes. May need more time. Check for doneness with toothpick.

These should be well set but fudgy and moist. You might be tempted to eat them all in one sitting!


Resources to Support FINE or GRIN Eating 

  1. Karyn Shanks, MD. Foundational Intensive Nutrition Energy (FINE) Food Plan. 2018.
  2. Karyn Shanks, MD. Gut-Immune Restoration Intensive Nutrition (GRIN) Food Plan. 2016.
  3. Sarah Ballantyine, PhD. The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body: com.
  4. Loren Cordain, PhD. The Paleo Diet, The Paleo Diet for Athletes, The Paleo Diet Cookbook.
  5. Robb Wolf. The Paleo Solution: the Original Human Diet.
  6. Julie and Charles Mayfield. Paleo Comfort Foods.
  7. George Mateljan. The Worlds Healthiest Foods: com.
  8. Michelle Tam and Henry Fong. Nom Nom Paleo by: Food For Humans.
  9. Elana’s Pantry: com.
  10. Karyn Shanks, MD. Healing Foods: My Favorite Healthy Fats. 2017.
  11. The Center for Medicine and Healing Arts:
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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