How To Spot The Stages of Imbalance

The Self-Healing Cookbook by Kristina TurnerOne my favorite books is part cookbook, part healing tips and remedies. It’s called  The Self-Healing Cookbook, by Kristina Turner. When I first started learning to eat healthy, there was very little information about healing diets. I had been given a nutritional protocol by a talented medical intuitive who could see into my body and know what it needed to heal my organs. My next step was to learn to cook recipes that tasted halfway decent with a protocol that was so outside the mainstream.

The closest recipes I could find were in Macrobiotic and Ayurvedic cookbooks, so I got a few and learned to modify recipes to my tastes. If you’ve tried macrobiotic cooking before, you may know it’s intentionally designed to be bland. This didn’t really suit me, so I learned to tweak the recipes so that they suited my needs.

When I came across The Self-Healing Cookbook, I loved it because the author also added a bunch of helpful information on how the body heals, how to use our intuition, how food affects mood and one of my favorites – how to spot the stages of imbalance. I think this information is so helpful that I want to share it with you here!

Spotting the Stages of Imbalance in your Body & Mind

Kristina Turner put the signs of imbalance into 3 categories:

  • Stage 1 – Imbalance
  • Stage 2 – Accumulation & Discharge
  • Stage 3 – Trouble Deep Inside

Stage 1: Imbalance

According to Turner, all illness comes from imbalance, but the first signs can be easily overlooked. She reminds us that when we are young, our bodies bounce back much faster from lifestyle habits that don’t promote health. However, if we keep doing these things year in and year out, trouble ensues. It gets harder and harder for the body to deal with an accumulation of poor habits, ignoring the body and burning the candle at both ends. What starts to happen, is that our eliminative organs get overloaded and sluggish, intestines can clog, arteries can start to harden, sinuses and lungs can congest. Turner also says that our emotions can start to flare up, creating relationship stress (not to mention personal stress). This is where the immune system can start to have problems.

Signs of Imbalance in Stage 1

Keep in mind that many of these symptoms point to adrenal fatigue, which is common among people with stressful lives and with eating disorders or addictions.

  • Fatigue
  • Nervous tension
  • Mild headache
  • Overeating
  • Indigestion
  • Minor aches and pains
  • Tense or cramped muscles
  • Low sexual energy
  • Feel chilled or flushed
  • Occasional cough or sneeze
  • Itchiness
  • Forgetful, confused
  • Listless, no motivation
  • Mildly depressed
  • Irritable, frustrated
  • Hyper, fidgety
  • Can’t relax or unwind
  • Uncomfortable weight gain


Stage 2: Accumulation & Discharge

According to Turner, in stage 2, fat, mucus, toxins and tension can accumulate inside of you. Organs can be impaired and illness is a possibility. As the body seeks balance, you might notice discharge, like hay fever, skin issues, diarrhea, emotional outbursts and sinus issues.

People who are very hardy – possibly those with type O blood – may not notice this discharge and instead, have issues like tense muscles, becoming accident prone, stiff joints, deep-held resentment or fears and rigid mental attitudes. What is so interesting about Turner’s description here is exactly what I was going through while I was struggling with an eating disorder. I kept waiting to get really ill, but I kept hovering in stage 2 for a long time. This is partially why I felt like having an eating disorder wasn’t really impacting my health – until I started to get more stage 3 symptoms.

Stage 2 Symptoms According to Turner

  • Bad breath
  • Body odor
  • Sinus congestion
  • Recurring cough or sneezing
  • Oily or dry skin
  • Can’t sleep
  • Gas, belching
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea or loose bowels
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Recurring infections
  • Menstrual tension, cramps
  • Overheat, or perspire easily
  • Skin eruptions
  • Recurring headaches
  • Frequent, pale urine
  • Infrequent, dark urine
  • Low blood sugar
  • Binging
  • Vomiting
  • Mood swings, emotional outbursts
  • Chronic backache
  • Obesity
  • Deep depression

Stage 3: Trouble Deep Inside

Turner tells us that if we ignore the signs of stage 2, our organs can strain under pressure. One way to look at this is that our blood would get more and more acidic – and it wants to be slightly alkaline. This means our blood will pull minerals from the body – including teeth and bones – just to get back into balance. Symptoms start to vary more widely in stage 3 and it becomes harder to bring the body back into balance. This is where we must work harder to help our bodies.

Stage 3 Symptoms According to Turner

  • Chronic digestive upsets
  • Eating disorders
  • Migraine headaches
  • Persistent infections
  • Loss of hearing
  • Loss of memory
  • Insomnia
  • Arthritis
  • Appendicitis
  • Diabetes
  • Herpes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Manic depression
  • Hysteria
  • Impotence, frigidity
  • Debilitating pain
  • Paralysis
  • Kidney or gall stones
  • Heart disease
  • Other degenerative illnesses

Healing From Stage 3

It was when I read Kristina Turner’s book that I realized I was in stage 3 – that I actually had a few of the things on the list – even though I passed my physical exams at the doctors with flying colors. This was a whole new look at health from my perspective – it was time to take action and heal my body.

Turner mentions that a healing diet is one way of doing this, but certainly not the only answer – and I agree. I do believe that a healing diet is one way to nourish the body back into balance – but healing the mind and spirit is just as important. Turner even offers some meditations and exercises for balancing these areas as well, which is why I really loved this book. It reminded me that my body is the basic level of health needed – kind of like the foundation of a house. No matter how hard you work on the structure, it will still be unstable if the foundation is bad. So I’m thinking that no matter how much we work on our mind and spirit, if the body is not healthy, it impairs our success with the rest.

Paths to Healing

Kristina Turner urges us all to get a food/mood journal to track how our food is making us feel. I liked this process so much that I started using it myself and have many of my clients do this as well — it works! She also suggests that we research and experiment with healing foods and natural remedies – and above all – to trust our instincts.

Another great tip is to get a healing friend – someone who empathizes, affirms, plays, expects the unexpected, trusts nature’s cycles and helps you plan.

Even if you don’t have someone nearby, there are wonderful communities online sharing love and support – even this – a word written or read, a comment posted, an e-mail to reach out – there are so many paths to healing. Thank you for being part of mine. There is so much hope out there – so many ways to heal – it is worth that one step you’ve been thinking of taking.

Now What? Here Are Some Next Steps

I hope you like the article and if you want to know how you can use food as medicine, check out this online FREE Eat Real Food Health Summit — it starts today. There is a big lineup of wonderful health experts, tips and demos to support you in getting started.

Check out the Eat Real Food Health Summit Here

Above all, you have the BEST guide ever in your own body. Today, commit to listening to your beautiful, wise body. It’s OK if it takes time at first while you get to know each other again. It’s worth it!


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As a coach, writer and recovered former executive, I understand the challenges of creating a balanced, healthy lifestyle when over-scheduled. In my journey to radiant health, I created a whole health system of eating, exercise, renewal and recharging -- a roadmap toward health & vitality. I empower clients to create their own whole health systems, in their own unique ways. I have seen amazing results in working with my clients!