The first time I learned about Seed Cycling, I was like, “Nah, Hippies” that’s not a thing and you’re preaching fake news. Fast forward to when I came off of birth control and needed to get my hormones back in check (yes, post birth control syndrome is a real thing!) and I decided to give this “seed cycling” thing a go.
Hormone Imbalances come in all different shapes, sizes, colours. From acne to heavy periods, from stubborn weight gain to light or no periods, your hormonal imbalance could look completely different from Sally’s down the street.
Now, you’re probably asking yourself, “what the heck is a hormonal imbalance?” I’m so glad you asked! Hormonal Imbalance is a term thrown around a lot in the wellness world, but it’s not defined or explained very often. Hormonal Imbalance simply means the ratio of hormones in your body (i.e. estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) is out of balance. Ideally, in the first half of your menstrual cycle Estrogen should be dominant, then as you get into the second half of your cycle progesterone takes over and rises. This seesaw should happen every month (or 21-33 days) but what a lot of women struggle with is progesterone not taking over in the second half of their cycles. That’s when you’ll see signs of a hormonal imbalance or Estrogen Dominance, which simply means estrogen is dominant for the duration of your cycle, not letting progesterone have its 15 minutes of fame.
What the heck is Estrogen Dominance
- Acne, especially on the chin and around the jawline
- PMS or premenstrual syndrome AKA bloating, mood swings, back aches, cramps, headaches
- Breast tenderness
- Low sex drive
- Hair loss
- Stubborn weight gain or inability to lose weight
- Inability to get pregnant or maintain a healthy pregnancy
- Abnormal periods, heavy periods are more often associated with high estrogen whereas light periods are often associated with low estrogen levels
Conventionally when we go to the doctor with symptoms of a hormonal imbalance, they give us a band-aid solution, like the birth control pill, acne medication, or a little pat on the back of the hand, saying “you’re fine.” These are not long-term solutions and will only make your imbalance worse.
What can you do to naturally balance your hormones?
Eat more Fibre! Estrogen is removed via stool, so if your bowels aren’t working, estrogen is going to continue circulating in the body.
Focus on consuming whole foods, limit processed foods, and aim for lots of veggies! Cruciferous veggies like kale, cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli are amazing at helping the liver detox excess hormones!
Use clean home and personal care products. Head here for the low-down on ingredients to avoid when shopping for new products!
Limit stress. This includes external stress like work but also includes internal stress like food sensitivities and even working out. Listen to your body! Its okay to rest, especially during your period or ovulation.
Try Seed Cycling!
What is Seed Cycling?
Seed cycling is when you rotate different types of seeds in your diet to align with the part of your menstrual cycle you are in. In the first half of your cycle you consume seeds which contribute to estrogen production and in the second half of your cycle you consume seeds which are naturally more progesterone producing in the body.
How do you seed cycle?
Follicular Phase (Days 1-14)
Starting on Day 1 of your period add 2 tablespoons of raw ground flax seeds or pumpkin seeds to your diet. You can add them into a smoothie, top your oatmeal, or add them to your salad. Everyday until ovulation, you’ll have 2 tablespoons of raw ground flax seeds or pumpkin seeds. You can alternate between pumpkin and flax or have them both, it’s up to you.
If you don’t get a regular period or you haven’t been getting a period, start seed cycling on the first day of the full moon and continue with flax or pumpkin seeds until the Full Moon or 14 days.
Luteal Phase (Days 15-28)
On Day 15 until the first day of your period which is also known as the luteal phase, you’ll want to add 2 tablespoons of raw sesame or sunflower seeds to your diet. You can add them into a smoothie, top your oatmeal, or add them to your salad.
You’re going to continue eating these seeds until Day 1 of your cycle or if you are working at getting your menstrual cycle back, you’re going to eat these seeds until Day 28 or the first day of the New Moon.
Who should try seed cycling?
- PMS Queens
- PCOS Cysters
- Endometriosis Warriors
- Acne Champions
- Fertility Fighters
- Perimenopausal and Menopausal Mamas
Anyone looking to take their hormonal health to the next leve
Sowing The Seeds – How Seed Cycling Actually Works
Flaxseeds: high in Omega 3 essential fatty acids and fibre. These seeds help to eliminate excess hormones and wastes, which helps to keep menstrual pain at bay. Flaxseeds also contains lignans, a phytoestrogen that stops your body from producing excess estrogen.
Flax Seeds: Once you have eaten flaxseeds and it arrives in your large intestine, bacteria gets to work converting the lignans in flax to enterolactone and enterodiol. These go into your estrogen receptors and block them from creating excess estrogen.
Pumpkin Seeds: high in Omega 6 fatty acids and zinc which is crucial for reproduction and healthy immune function. Zinc inhibits 5-Alpha-Reductase which is an enzyme that converts testosterone into it’s more potent and dangerous counterpart dihydrotesterone (DHT), especially important for women who struggle with PCOS.
Sesame Seeds: a rich source of selenium and zinc which helps with progesterone production. A source of Vitamin E which is essential for fertility. Sesame seeds also contain lignans which block excess estrogen. Vitamin E is important in increasing progesterone levels, which is crucial for fertility. Vitamin E also improves luteal function. Sesame seeds are also a rich source of linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid which can convert to gamma linolenic acid, which also helps support a healthy balance between progesterone and estrogen.
Sunflower Seeds: Sunflower seeds are high in Omega 3 fatty acids and lignans which are anti estrogenic. Sunflower seeds important for the second phase of the cycle. Their vitamin E content is what sets them apart from flax seeds. Sunflower seeds contain the same essential fatty acids as sesame seeds which help maintain a healthy balance between progesterone and estrogen.