Seed Cycling – How I Balanced My Hormones Naturally

seed-cycling-smoothie-edit.jpgI’m pretty new to Seed Cycling but me and hormonal issues? We go way back, man… I started having “lady problems”(gag) pretty early on so at 16 my doctor prescribed birth control pills which thrilled me because I was one of the only girls I knew who wasn’t already taking an oral contraceptive, which is INSANE! Little did I know that this early intervention(which did actually resolve the short-term issues a was struggling with) would lead to years and years of hormonal imbalance, mood swings, weight gain and loss (hello, stretch marks), acne, inflammation, and a gradual worsening of my preexisting depression and anxiety symptoms.

 

My Experience with Seed Cycling

I first heard of Seed Cycling from a holistic health blogger called Healthfully Hannah (1), I was instantly fascinated and decided I needed to dig deeper! The good news is there are plenty of resources about how and why to Seed Cycle but there wasn’t much I could find in the way of personal reviews/success stories but the beauty of Seed Cycling is that, even if it didn’t work the way I wanted it to, as far as I could see – there is literally no risk! If anything it seemed to me that it would benefit your health in other ways regardless of how your hormones reacted. So I went for it! And I couldn’t be happier with the results I saw…

Short Term Results: After a week my skin was clearer, my nose and eyes were less swollen and I had more energy.

Long Term Results: After 3 months I had a regular cycle, which had never happened in my life unless I was on birth control, my skin continued to improve, I had fewer hot flashes/flushing, and I experienced a noticeable improvement in my depression and anxiety symptoms.

Withdrawal Results: It really wasn’t until I had a few weeks in a row where I did not adhere to the Seed Cycling guidelines that I truly realized the impact it had on my body. Like so many other medications and dietary changes, it takes a while for the ball to “get rolling” and to start seeing results but when you quit cold turkey, you really see how the treatment has been helping you on a daily basis. I was struggling with fatigue and acne most noticeably during this time but once I realized what was happening and got back on track it really didn’t take long to start seeing improvement in those areas.

I know all of that may seem extreme or hard to believe and I know not everyone will have the same kind of results but if you’re struggling in the same way I was, it may at least be worth a try! So now that I’ve shared how I’ve benefitted from Seed Cycling, let’s talk about how it works and how to do it…

 

What is Seed Cycling

According to The Herbal Academy “Seed Cycling integrates different seeds into the diet at different times in the menstrual cycle to support optimal hormonal balance. The idea is that seeds carry certain oils, vitamins, and nutrients that can help support the body’s production, release, and metabolism of hormones. The seeds used in seed rotation are flax and pumpkin seeds, and sesame and sunflower seeds.”(2)

 

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. However, some women experience shorter or longer cycles than the “ideal” 28-day cycle, and not everyone ovulates exactly on Day 14, so it’s important to know your body’s rhythms and read its signs.(2)

seed cycling moon
Photo credit: dramyneuzil.com

Follicular Phase: Day 1 to Day 14, or until ovulation:

1 tablespoon each freshly ground raw flax seeds and pumpkin seeds daily.

The pumpkin and flax seed combo is a potent one to help your body detoxify the extra estrogen that can plague this time of the month (the lignans especially from the flax seeds bind to excess estrogen and help your body to eliminate it) High zinc levels in pumpkin seeds prevent the estrogen from converting to harmful forms of testosterone and also prime your body for progesterone production which will happen in the second half of the cycle. (3)

Luteal Phase: From Day 15 (about) to 28, or until menses:

1 tablespoon each freshly ground raw sunflower and sesame seeds daily

The sunflower and sesame combo used in the luteal phase of the cycle has a much lighter dose of lignans from the sesame seeds, but is rich in zinc and selenium which helps progesterone production.  These seeds are also a rich source of linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid which can convert to gamma linolenic acid, which also helps the balance between progesterone and estrogen. (3)

Dr. Amy Neuzil says that “The seeds should be organic and raw if  possible and ground fresh every day or two just because the oils in the seeds can go rancid if they’re ground for too long.  You can add the seeds in anywhere that it’s easy for you and if you completely hate eating seeds you can mix them into a small glass of juice and gulp it down.” (3)

I have only ever taken the seeds in smoothie form and I add them whole, to my lunch smoothie, without grinding and both my Ninja Blender and my NutriBullet blend the seeds easily with the rest of the ingredients into a yummy Seed Cycling Smoothie!

 

Sources:

(1) Healthfully Hannah – A Beginners Guide to Seed Cycling

(2) The Herbal Academy – Seed Cycling for Hormonal Balance

(3) To Health With That, Dr. Amy Neuzil – Seed Cycling for Hormone Balance

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