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-five-year career. She believes that the bones of healing are in what we do for ourselves.

Find Your Strength in the Midst of Fear

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This past week brought with it a tsunami of emotions as a result of the election. Throughout this presidential campaign, no one has been immune to the expressions of anger, fear, disbelief, shame, grief, and hatred that have permeated our social spaces, leaving many of us feeling vulnerable and exhausted. Whether it be a highly contentious election, economic insecurity, health crises, or the…

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Paleo Pumpkin Pie Recipe

This has become my all time favorite pumpkin pie recipe. Not only does the flavor and texture absolutely rock, but it meets my high nutritional standards. It is grain-, cow’s milk-, egg-, and legume-free, lower in sugar-content than other pumpkin pie recipes, and is utterly creamy and delicious. It’s robustness and depth of flavor is reminiscent of a cheese cake.

I believe my first rendition of…

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Healing Foods: Welcome Back, Eggs!

Dear eggs, I owe you the biggest apology for the years of questioning your virtue and beauty. You see, my culture taught me some things about you that eventually were proven to be all wrong. They told me that your cholesterol and fat were bad for me, that you would give me a heart attack or stroke, and that I should never eat you. I missed you and thought of you often (and even snuck you in a…

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All-Star Recipes: Paleo Brownies

Those of you who know me are aware that I’m not a fan of using “paleo” to describe twenty-first century food. I mean, it’s like saying “human” to describe a very nuanced and sophisticated way of eating and taking care of ourselves. My soapbox aside, to pay homage to the many authors out there in virtual paleo-land, who have influenced the many iterations of my brownie recipe, I am calling them…

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Vitamin D: Boost Your Winter Mojo

Many of us feel our energy and mood take a nose dive during the winter months. Yes, it’s cold outside and Nature is all but asleep, and perhaps we should take her cue to light our internal fires with cozy blankets, warm socks, and afternoon naps. But when winter brings suffering, we can rise above the darkness by supplementing with vitamin D–the nutrient of light.

Optimal vitamin D levels in…

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Heal Anxiety: Let Go of Comparisons

Constantly feeling anxious because when you compare yourself to others you come up short? Feel like you have to compete to be good enough, successful enough?

You’re using competition and comparisons as a tool to check out where you stand on the worthiness scale. There’s just one problem. Competition and comparisons are built on the assumptions we make about others and their lives–not the…

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Anxiety Reboot in Thirty Seconds

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Looking for a quick way to boost your confidence, relieve anxiety, and get yourself ready for the challenges ahead? Try powering up: use your body to reboot your emotions in thirty seconds.

I was feeling mopey and weepy. Summer was coming to an end and it was almost time to say goodbye to my youngest son as he went off to college. Not only that, I would soon be saying goodbye to my oldest son…

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My Ten Rules for Starting a Meditation Practice

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Thinking about starting a meditation practice? Feeling daunted and, perhaps, intimidated by the many choices and strategies available for doing it “right?” No need to worry! Let me ease your mind about what meditation is all about.

#1: There really are no rules.

#2: This is all just about getting quiet, turning down the noise of our lives.

#3: And not judging or being judged.

#4: It’s about…

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Healing Foods: Turmeric

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Turmeric is one of the world’s powerhouse foods, used extensively as a spice, condiment, and medicine for thousands of years in Chinese and Indian traditions, and showing up more recently in the cuisine and healing practices of the western world. Knowing all that we do about the inflammation basis of most age-related health conditions, turmeric, one of the most anti-inflammatory foods on the…

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Nutritional Healing: My Top Ten Nutritional Supplements

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Food First

I’m a food girl, first and foremost, however, there are important reasons for using supplements to augment the nutrition we receive from our food. In Functional Medicine, food and nutritional supplements are foundational tools for optimizing health and reversing troublesome health problems. Food is our foundation. Supplements are just that–they supplement what we eat.

Why do we need…

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