A while ago I was searching the web for ways to reduce my PMS symptoms. Desperately looking for anything to ease the cramps, prevent the head aches and maybe, perhaps, preferably also even out the mood swings, I came across seed cylcing. Read about my experience with it in this blog post.
If you know me even a little (or follow me on Instagram), you’d know that PMS and menstrual pain is very much a part of my life. Severe cramps on day 1 and 2 of my cycle, chocolate cravings starting a week before my period and mood swings, … I’ve had enough of it. I was SO over this monthly agony (and I bet my surroundings were too).
Pain killers didn’t exactly kill the menstrual cramps or take away the head aches, I was already eating a very healthy diet, I avoided caffein the week before and during my period and I had tried some medication with broccoli and rice enzymes (they helped to a certain extend). I had tried just about everything.
I’m extremely interested in menstruation so, naturally, when I came across Amanda Laird’s The Heavy Flow Podcast, I binge-listened to it. That’s where I learned about seed cycling and it’s benefits. It is so easy and what I love about it is that it solves a physical problem from within. Nutrition is such an underestimated actor in many of our physical complaints and that is no different for (not all, but most!) menstrual problems.
Seed cycling is ridiculously easy: from day one of your cycle to the day of your ovulation (typically day 14) you eat 1 tablespoon of flaxseed and 1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds a day. Then, from day 15 to the last day of your cycle (the day before your period, typically day 28) you eat 1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds and 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds.
I add them to my daily bowl of oatmeal but you could add them too your smoothies, use them for salad toppings, make bliss balls specifically for your menstrual phases, …
Not that hard, right? The only aspect that might bring some confusion is knowing on which day you ovulate and what day is the last day of your cycle, since not all periods are the ‘standard’ 28 days. If you’re not already tracking your cycle, I highly recommend you start doing so. Not only will it make seed cycling easier, but it will also provide you useful insights about monthly patterns, help you understand certain behaviour and prepare for your period. There are several ways of tracking your cycle, but I prefer using Clue. It’s a very user-friendly and costumizable app for tracking your cycle to understand what’s happening in your body.
So, what does seed cycling actually do for you? Well, the nutrients in the seeds help balance the hormones specific to the two menstrual phases.
In the follicular phase (day 1-14) you’ll be eating flax seeds and pumpkin seeds. Flax contains lignans, a fyto-estrogen that blocks excess oestrogen. The pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, that supports progesterone production.
In the luteal phase (day 15-28), you’ll be consuming sesame seeds and sunflower seeds. The selenium in the sunflower seeds will help hormone metabolism and liver detoxification. The sesame seeds, again, contain lignans to block excess estrogen.
So, what has changed after three months of seed cycling? I’d be lying if I said I don’t experience any head ache or cramps anymore, but the pain is so much milder and way more bearable without any pain killers. I also feel like my mood swings are evening out, which is only a good thing for both me and the people that happen to run into me during my PMS days. Periodal acne is slightly less present as well. To conclude, it’s a real win-win situation since there are no actual downsides to seed cycling.
- Use ground seeds: their nutrients are easier to digest. If possible, buy whole seeds and grind them up yourself to ensure maximal nutrient density.
- Be consistent and patient: it generally takes up to three months to start noticing changes.
- Find a way that makes getting in these seeds easy for you.
- You can use seed cycling to regulate your menstruation. Start seed cycling the first day of your cycle and follow the day 1 – day 14 and day 15 – day 28 division. Give it time though!
- If you’re interested, you could use seed cycling to sync your cycle to the moon phases. New moon would indicate the start of the follicular phase and full moon would be the indication of ovulation so you’d just have to seed cycle accordingly.
Have you tried seed cycling or are you seed cycling? Let’s talk periods and PMS! Pop me an e-mail or slide into my DM’s and we’ll chat. I’d love to hear about your experiences, how you get in your seeds or maybe even answer your questions.
I hope you enjoyed reading this and got some useful information out of this.
With all my love,
- The Heavy Flow Podcast – Amanda Laird
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