When I first heard of seed cycling I quickly dismissed it as hippie medicine and had a chuckle. But then it just kept coming up and I started to pay a little more attention.
Some background about me and my female health (gents, sorry this post is not going to be super entertaining for you). But here we go as there is nothing quite like sharing amongst friends. I have always had a heavier period, like embarrassingly heavy. I have also struggled with low iron + very low B12 a different times in my life. Almost chronically when I was a distance runner. That came with fatigue and side effects that I didn’t enjoy. My doctors often prescribed birth control as a way to help and remedy the situation.
Until recently I didn’t really question that recommendation and went along with it.
I mean no one enjoys their period, especially if it is particularly heavy and disruptive, and if a pill can make it easier it never occurred to me to question if this was what was best for me or figure out why I was bleeding so heavily in the first place.
I made a mistake we all tend to make too often, accepting something for what it is, see it as my normal, and dismiss it. You know we’ve all done it. “Oh it’s just me I am a little gassy” you might say. Or that I don’t sleep through the night, but that’s just how I am wired. When really it isn’t, it’s often a symptom of something else and while it’s easy to pop a pill and move on, there may be more going on.
Anyways, back to my personal back story which I am trying to abbreviate for you, a few years back I had an unusually bad bleed, so much so that it wouldn’t stop, as you’d expect I felt like crap and again I was put back on the pill. This time my period was not just lighter, but all but disappeared. Didn’t have it again for 2-3 years. Again, I kinda liked it, seem like one less hassle to deal with and at first I didn’t question that either.
But time went by, I did more reading and research and realize that maybe it wasn’t all good news. Truth is regular periods between puberty and menopause mean your body is working normally. Anything else may be a sign something is not as it should be. So I got myself tested and I am not yet in menopause. I decided to stop taking birth control and see if my body could figure things out on it’s own. I stopped in the middle of last summer and it took a few months and my period eventually return, like maybe 3 months. And just like in the past it was quite heavy and also came around too often with a cycle anywhere from 21 to 23 days. 28 being the norm.
Enter my experiment with seed cycling.
This is not going to be an endorsement and I am no expert on the matter, in fact, if you’d like to read more, I’d recommend these two ladies who are much better versed in all things women and hormones https://lauriechristineking.com/naturally-balancing-hormones-seed-cycling-2/ and https://drbrighten.com/seed-cycling-for-hormone-balance/ . Also to be fair, scientific research on the subject so far is limited, but there are plenty of women who like me were having issues and report feeling better and that was enough to get me willing to try.
What is seed cycling in a nutshell?
Seed cycling is a technique that helps your body naturally re-balance it’s hormone levels (namely estrogen and progesterone) by including different seeds (flax, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower) during the two different phases of your menstrual cycle.
During day 1-14 of your cycle you take 1 tbsp of ground flax seeds and ground pumpkin seeds to produce the right amount of estrogen.
Day 15-28 you switch to 1 tbsp each of sunflower seeds and sesame seeds, also ground. Loaded with zinc, vitamin E and selenium to boost progesterone production. These seeds are also a rich source of linoleic acid which may help the balance between progesterone and estrogen.
How to implement?
- Best to wait for your next cycle to start and start on day 1*.
- Easiest way to get started is to go buy seeds. I bought myself organic seeds and a cheap coffee grinder. I grind a few days at a time and keep my seeds in my fridge.
- Most days I put the seeds in my oats or as a salad topper.
- If your cycle is less than 28 days, still switch at the 15 days mark and start fresh on day 1 of next cycle.
*If you don’t keep track of your cycle already I highly recommend this app. https://www.fitrwoman.com
My own experience and takeaway?
I decided up front I would give my experiment 3 months to see if there were changes. The changes have been subtle, and I wanted to give it time. First month I noticed no changes, 2 months in I did notice a lighter period and less cramping. And now after 3 months my cycle went from my 21-23 days norm to 26 days this month. Not quite 28, but closer to normal and I am happy with this. Plus it is a noticeably lighter flow and no cramping. Also dare I say less moodiness.
Will I continue?
Most likely since it’s easy enough and I’ve come to like the taste in my oats.
Is it for you?
Maybe, it can’t hurt to try. Heavy periods, bad cramps, irregular cycle, acne are just a few things it could help. But let’s please remember that while food can be powerful it cannot replace medicine, if you have a serious medical condition don’t go tossing your medication to start putting seeds in your smoothies because I said so.But maybe experiment for yourself, if anything you’d be adding fibre and good sources of fat to your diet. Low risk, potential high reward.
I still call it my hippie medicine, but jokes on me now since it’s helping, maybe I have a little hippie in me after all.