I talk to women often who are experiencing Amenorrhea (absence of a period) from being on birth control or from PCOS. I became aware of seed cycling when I was searching for natural hormone balance. I came back to it after my miscarriage. We are exposed to many toxins and environmental factors that cause hormonal imbalance. Too often we think that that a lack of a period (when avoiding pregnancy) is not harmful. I'm here to start the conversation that it is harmful to not have a normal cycle. That's for anther blog but lets start with seed cycling and HOW to do it!
What is Seed Cycling?
Seed cycling in the simplest terms is incorporating seeds into you diet and different parts of your cycle to help balance your hormones. The idea is that seeds carry certain oils, vitamins, and nutrients that can help support the body’s production, release, and metabolism of hormones. You use ground up (for easier digestion) flax and pumpkin seeds, and sesame and sunflower seeds.
The Herbal Academy breaks it down with a bit more science; "Proponents of seed cycling say that lignans in sesame seeds and flax can help the body bind excess estrogen, supporting its release, and that omega-3s help cellular receptor sites to remain in good condition, which in turn keeps hormones in balance. Certain seeds are high in vitamins or minerals like zinc and selenium that help support hormone release."
Essentially these seeds contain what your body needs to balance your hormones naturally. This isn't a quick process but in time it has proven effective for me and many of my friends. Usually 3-5 months!
How to Seed Cycle:
The seeds are rotated based on the follicular and luteal phases. The follicular phase of your cycle starts with “Day 1,” which is the first day of your menstrual cycle and the day that you begin to bleed. The luteal phase is from ovulation (or about day 14 or 15) to day 28. My "normal cycle is 32 days and most women experience shorter or longer cycles than the “ideal” 28-day cycle. A big misconception is that everyone ovulates exactly on Day 14. It is important to know other signs and symptoms of your body like basil cell temp or cervical fluid/position to get a better idea of your phase. For those who don't have a cycle it is fine to start with the last NEW MOON as your Day 1. You are giving your body a starting point!
Follicular Phase: Day 1 to Day 14, or until ovulation:
1 tablespoon each freshly ground raw flax seeds and pumpkin seeds daily.
Luteal Phase: From Day 15 (about) to 28, or until you bleed:
1 tablespoon each freshly ground raw sunflower and sesame seeds daily.
Keep it simple!
Don't over think it. I add my seeds to my salad or into my morning smoothie. It's pretty simple! Most of my friends have a hard time just STARTING. It may feel overwhelming but its all about taking the first step. I get my seeds online, often on amazon. I don't buy in huge bulk because seeds can go bad. A seed grinder is necessary for the sesame seeds but my bullet blender will blend the other seeds just fine (and much faster). I spend a few minutes grinding the seeds I need just for that week, to make sure I don't waste any. That also makes it easy, day to day to throw the seeds in whatever meal. Some days I just throw a table spoon into my mouth as I run out the door.
*I pulled these tips from the Herbal Academy website, they are a great reminder that our health and hormones are related to our environment.
Tips for Happy Hormones and Seed Cycling Secrets
One last thing I want to add is that I track my cycle. I talk about it in my blog Understanding Your Cycle. The reason I share this is if you are searching for hormone balance or want to have a better understanding of your cycle it is very important to start using an app or journal to track your symptoms. This gives you a great view into your overall health and when you seek others medical advice this can be very helpful to show your provider. There are many other reasons I think women should track their cycles and know what is "normal" cycle symptoms. Too often I hear women say they have terrible bleeding or cramps and in general think PMS symptoms are normal. I want to tell you that it's NOT and that you should seek more information. My favorite book is Taking Charge of Your Fertility, check out their website for great information on where to start. I also love the podcast Fertility Friday, she has a tone of podcasts on all things related to fertility and women's health. Her website is also a great resource and you can work with her to learn how to chart!
Please reach out with questions, it helps me learn and helps me create better content!
I am a Doula, Childbirth Educator and certifying Nutritionist. Essentially I am a women's health nerd. I have struggled with Autoimmune issues for the last 10 years, and more recently fertility issues. This along with my birth work, has driven me to self research. I have added a blog to my site in hopes of giving resources to clients or those interested in these topics. I would love feedback and comments.
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