The first time I heard about the concept of seed cycling was on Instagram Reels, as I was scrolling away one day. Something about having specific seeds at certain times in your menstrual cycle to ‘balance hormones’ REALLY caught my attention. I’m generally a CRUNCHY person! I love exploring naturopathic alternatives to address fairly common, chronic issues and the value of good nutrition is not lost on me. So, I had to immediately try this out.
(Also, this is the only type of cycling I would ACTUALLY consider!)
This happened 4 months ago and here’s what I’ve seen so far.
What is Seed Cycling?
Seed cycling refers to having a tablespoon of specific seeds which are organic and freshly ground to regulate oestrogen, progesterone and other hormone levels over the course of the menstrual cycle. There are two phases to a seed cycle which are timed in tune to one’s menstrual cycle.
What are the 4 seeds you need?
- Flax seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Sesame seeds
In my personal experience, I had all four seeds handy in my kitchen cabinets. Pumpkin seeds and chia seeds have always been a mainstay of our household’s breakfast oats bowls, sesame seeds are a must to make theplas or in Asian cooking and flax gel is a wonderful egg substitute and hair gel! So, it only seemed right to start immediately.
That first time, I was on day 10 of my cycle so I decided to start off with the phase I was in. I recommend you do the same instead of putting it off and waiting for the new phase to restart. So, what are the phases, you ask?
Phase 1 of Seed Cycle:
This phase begins with menstruation and lasts until the day you ovulate. In Phase 1 of the Seed Cycle, it is recommended to eat one tablespoon each of flax seeds and pumpkin seeds. Start from the first day of your period and continue up to approximately 2 weeks (or different, based on your personal cycle).
Phase 2 of Seed Cycle:
This phase begins from ovulation and lasts up until the next menstruation begins. In phase 2 of the Seed Cycle, it is recommended to eat one tablespoon each of sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. Start consumption when ovulation begins and continue up to approximately 2 weeks (or different, based on your personal cycle).
What you need to do Seed Cycling
To do seed cycling, all you need are a few bags of four different organic seeds, a grinder (not mandatory) and the commitment to do this every single day! It is recommended to source organic seeds and freshly grind them before consumption. In case you can’t grind them, your teeth can do the job just as well!
Another thing, that I realised mid-way through the cycle is that you will also need an awareness of when you ovulate. For those who track their periods to plan pregnancies, it may be fairly simple to do this by decoding the consistency of their vaginal discharge. When it becomes thin and stretchy, it’s a sign to switch to the next phase in the seed cycle.
Seed cycling had me thinking of inventive ways to consume the same seeds on a daily basis for 2 weeks. Top suggestions are to add them to your smoothies, into your oatmeal, on pasta and salads or even mixed into your chapati dough.
And if you’re too lazy to do any of the above- just chew them.
Why do people do Seed Cycling?
The practice of seed cycling has been around for a century or so- and is only just getting its moment in the limelight. Doing seed cycling is said to benefit Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS), improve fertility, address symptoms of menopause, PCOS, endometriosis and help maintain general hormonal balance.
Related: Doctor Decodes Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
It’s a small addition to your diet which has no adverse effects, so what’s the harm in trying?
What Seed Cycling did for me?
Something I noticed within three cycles of seed cycling is that my periods were far less painful.
Every other cycle I’d rely on period pain relief patches which helped sail through the cramps. This, on the other hand, felt like an internal change. I’m not sure if any other reasons contributed to this happening, but there was a notable change with seed cycling. I still did continue to have very mild ovulation pains, so no changes were observed on that end. Safe to say, seed cycling has become a permanent part of my routine.
While many may not love how these seeds taste, I’m surely not one of those people. The seeds added an extra crunch to my meals and I think they’re delicious! It’s also fun to figure out ways to serve them up, if not chewing them up as is.
Would you be willing to give seed cycling a try?
Yes this is a new concept to me and I will try this too.