One of my favorite ways to help women heal their relationship with food and their body, is to understand the different nutritional needs throughout the phases of the menstrual cycle. Working with women over the past decade has opened my eyes to just how much women need more understanding of their body to heal. During my experience as a nutrition consultant, I got to realize that so women have experienced some type of disordered eating or exercise patterns along with body dysmorphia. Instead of working with their body and its natural rhythms, many women are fighting against this.
I have been there. I had my fair share of yo-yo dieting, over-exercising, and just fighting my body. The absolutely most healing knowledge for myself and many of my clients has been understanding how unique and extraordinary a woman’s body is.
So let’s talk about a super simple strategy that you can easily implement into your diet. It is called seed cycling.
WHAT’S SEED CYCLING
Seed Cycling is a really cool way to support your body throughout your hormonal cycle and it is a perfect example of using food as medicine.
Different seeds contain different types of nutrients that our hormones need throughout our cycle. The practice of cycling helps our hormones regulate and helps support our bodies to have a healthy and balanced menstrual cycle.
WHY SEED CYCLING IS A FORM OF SELF CARE AND BODY LOVIN’
Hormonal cycles are a totally normal part of every woman (and man’s) life, but they tend to be overlooked, downplayed, or filled with shame. Many of us dread the symptoms that come with PMS and would rather avoid bleeding at all. I want women to accept and embrace this part of themselves.
This monthly cycle gives us the ability to create life… and how cool is that! I find that when we begin to accept and nourish the parts of our lives and bodies that we aren’t super fond of, we replace that discomfort with a lot more compassion and love!
Seed cycling is one of the ways that we can give back to our bodies and embrace our monthly cycle. Honoring that our hormones change and that we are supporting them as they do so, allows us to embrace the changes with a lot more grace and hopefully leads to less PMS and more ease!
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Seed cycling boosts estrogen levels in the first half of your cycle and progesterone levels in the second half!
During days 1 – 14 of your cycle (menstruation and follicular phase), the goal is to boost estrogen, which builds up the uterine lining. Flax seeds and pumpkin seeds provide the nutrients (like lignans and zinc) needed to support estrogen production, as well as assist with excess estrogen clearance.
During days 15 – 28 of your cycle (ovulation and luteal phase), the goal is to boost progesterone. Post-ovulation, the corpus luteum secretes progesterone which helps to thicken the uterine lining and prepare it for implantation. The high content of zinc in sesame seeds and vitamin E in sunflower seeds support progesterone production.
HOW DO YOU DO IT?
During the first half of your cycle, also known as the intuitive and activated ‘goddess phases’*, try to have a daily dose of:
1 tablespoon of freshly ground flax seeds and 1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds.
During the second half of your cycle (the empowered and grounded goddess phases*), try to have a daily dose of:
1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds or unsweetened SunButter and 1 tablespoon of freshly ground sesame seeds or tahini.
*These are terms from my book The Goddess Guide, which teaches you all of this and more!