Cycle Wellness Part 1: Seed Cycling
Updated: Nov 21, 2020
In recent years, I have experienced new-to-me symptoms around my cycle, including night sweats and cramping. While the night sweats ended with my stress levels declining, my cycle began to fluctuate and increase in number of days. After regulating my cycle post birth control (link to this blog below), it stayed steady within the 28-30 day window. In the last year or so, my cycles have been averaging 40 days, and up to 47 days. The increase in length has caught my attention.
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The particularly long 47 day cycle was a wakeup call and urged me to turn my attention towards being more curious, aware, and proactive in my menstrual health. I dug up what I had researched and compiled in 2015 when I was quitting birth control pills (hence why I recently posted Birth Control Detox Part 1 & Part 2). I was inspired to do another big sweep of research based off of what I am currently experiencing hormonally, namely longer cycles. I put in a full day researching online hormonal imbalance, general cycle “irregularities”, conditions like oligomenorrhea (cycles of 35+ days) and ovarian cysts (PCOS), and then spent an evening being with my womb and listening inward. The following day, I let the whole experience settle in and reviewed what I had researched to help inform my actions moving forward.
I am giving some time and attention to my cycle health, including being more intentional nutritionally, and I am exploring possible healers/health care providers to work with further down the road if needed. (Parsley Health is one resource that caught my eye.)
For now, I want to share what I’ve found and how I am being proactive in my cycle health.
My primary focus is seed cycling. After three moons, this has already brought my average cycle days down. The idea behind it is that is provides hormonal support that aligns with a 28-day cycle, thus regulating one's cycle. Because it is hormone balancing, it can ease premenstrual symptoms.
Here’s the breakdown of how it works:
Menstrual-Follicular Days 1-14 of cycle, for estrogen boost, take:
· 1-2 tbsp daily of raw, organic, freshly ground flax seeds
· 1-2 tbsp daily of raw, organic, freshly ground pumpkin seeds
Ovulation-Luteal Days 15-28 of cycle, for progesterone boost, take:
· 1-2 tbsp of raw, organic freshly ground sunflower seeds
· 1-2 tbsp of raw, organic freshly ground sesame seeds
Day 1 is the first day you bleed, the start of your menstrual cycle. I am following this regimen as if I am on a 28-day cycle, so, even if I do not bleed after day 28, I still start taking the flax and pumpkin seeds on the 29th day. This is an important detail to help regulate longer cycles and encourage flow within the 28 day window.
The seeds do not necessarily need to be ground up in the form of seed meal, however, they will be more easily absorbed and digested if ground. Some people use coffee grinders and make the seed meal themselves. I was able to find raw, organic freshly ground seeds at local and online health food stores. (Thanks GERBS!)
I have enjoyed being creative finding ways to incorporate seed meals into my diet. At first I was adding them to smoothies, occasionally oats, and then discovered the flax and pumpkin, blended with banana, oat and water, made for a great pancake*!
Finally, I created my all-time favorite way to incorporate seed cycling: rolling them up into delicious balls which I call seed cycle bites! I share the recipe in the Soul Foodie Recipe E-Book.
*Banana Flax Oat Cakes recipe is in the e-book too! Just add pumpkin seeds.
Even if you do not have the intention to seed cycle, incorporating seeds into your diet is an enriching source of nutrients and protein. Plus, the recipes are awesome: simple, delicious vegan pancakes and energy packed bliss balls for a breakfast boost, afternoon pick-me-up, hiking snack, etc.
Coming up in Part 2... I will share the detailed nutritional regimen I created for myself to support hormonal cycle health. Stay tuned!