In Portland, OR (my hometown), the city hosts a cycling challenge, challenging you to ride your bike to work as many days as you can.
This is a different cycling challenge!
Seed cycling - alternating the consumption of certain raw seeds every 2 weeks - is intended to support the production and clearance of hormones. It's very safe and gentle, but always ask your doctor first if you are on medications or in poor health.
This protocol is NOT intended for pregnant women. It is safe for breastfeeding women, women trying to conceive, menopausal women and even for men! My husband will unwittingly be on the rotation as I'll put the seeds in our shakes.
How to Do It:
Phase 1: Raw, freshly-ground (same day), pumpkin and/or flax seed
Phase 2: Raw, freshly-ground (same day), sunflower and/or sesame seed
Dosage: You will see slightly different recommendations in different places. You can do rounded 1 T of each, 2 T of just one type, or up to 4 T total (measurement is made before grinding) in a day. I think what is most important to to get at least 2 T a day (size before grinding.) If you happen to get in extra servings, no problem!
Cycling women: If you are currently cycling, you start phase 1 of the seeds on the first full day of your period. Day 1-14 is your follicular phase. You will then switch to phase 2 on day 15 of your cycle. Day 15-28 is your luteal phase.
Non-cycling women: This goes for menopause, breastfeeding women, or women with amenorrhea (no cycle in 3 or more months.) Start phase 1 of the seeds on June 4 (the new moon.) You will switch to phase 2 of the seeds on June 20, or the full moon.
To see a lunar calendar, click here.
When do I switch the seeds exactly?
Seed cycling is recommend on a 28 day cycle. However the lunar cycle is 29.5 days.
I would say if you are going with the lunar calendar, stick to the lunar schedule.
If you are a cycling woman, always switch on day 15, but if you cycle runs longer than 28 days, it's ok to keep taking phase 2 seeds a couple extra days, but no more.
This is a tip from the website of Dr. Amy Neuzil, ND, "If you’re trying to get pregnancy it’s important to continue the luteal-phase seeds (sesame/sunflower) until you actually have a period, just in case you are pregnant that month. This gives the egg the best chance at implantation."
Can you just take the seeds whenever?
It depends. If you are trying to really stick to the phase 1 and phase 2, avoid eating a bunch of tahini (contains sesame seeds) in phase 1. But, sure you can have hummus a couple times, no problem.
The other side of the coin, say if you are post-menopausal, or have a healthy cycle but just want to eat these foods as boost, you can take the seeds whenever, but just know you aren't really seed cycling anymore, but you are instead just getting some healthful, hormone-boosting foods throughout the month.
What if my diet doesn't allow me to eat some of these seeds?
If you are avoiding, for example, flax seeds and sunflower seeds, then just use the pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds in rotation. If you are avoiding all nuts and seeds, then you can rotate fish oil supplement in your phase 1 (2 caps a day), and then use borage oil in phase 2 (2 caps a days).
You can purchase these at our supplement shop under the names GLA 240 and OmegAvail Ultra.
Do I need to soak the seeds?
No, you don't need to soak the seeds, but you are welcome to do so to increase the digestibility.
We are mainly hosting the chat for this event on our private Facebook group. You can ask to join that here. (It's free.) If you do use Facebook, I highly recommend that you join!
If you aren't a Facebook person, it's no problem. You can also leave comments or questions at the close of this blog.
We had a super fun Q and A webinar, Fixing Your Hormones with Food, to talk about seed cycling and balancing hormones with food (especially estrogen dominance) on 6/23/16 with Magdalena Wszelaki of HormonesBalance.com.
Please be sure to watch this first video, as it is the main instructional video. The other videos are recipes. We have two and will be adding more on June 15!