Seed Cycling has changed my life. I know that sounds dramatic, but I'm serious! Honestly, I wish I learned about this hormone balancing trick years ago. Since I started this routine of consuming certain seeds based on certain times in my cycle I have not had ONE hormonal break out. That's right you read that correctly, NOT A ONE. So, you're probably wondering what exactly seed cycling is and how to do it. Well the great news is it is very simple.
First let me explain why and how I came to seed cycling. I have had acne on and off since I was a teen. It was never too horrible, just your basic run of the mill, typical teenage break outs. As I got older my skin improved until I was diagnosed with lupus. I had years of struggling with painful break outs and lesions. I was able to get that under control with dietary changes, i.e. veganism. Then I started a family in 2014. I had my first baby. I was over the moon with happiness to be pregnant. It was a wonderful pregnancy and my skin was flawless (for the most part). I breast fed for two years. My cycle returned about 1.5 years after I gave birth. Then I got pregnant again and breast fed for another 1.5 years (I'm still breast feeding). Around the 1.5 year mark my son started feeding less and I believe that is what made my cycle return. I hadn't had my cycle for almost 4 years (except for the couple months in between pregnancies). It was back in full effect and by that I mean the headaches, cramps, moodiness (although my husband would probably say that symptom never went away), and horrible break outs right before my period like clock work. I was NOT happy and NOT willing to suck it up as part of my new normal. So I hit the blogs, read every article and post I could find about hormonal acne and kept seeing a few recurring ideas, one being seed cycling. It sounded easy enough so I decided to give it a shot and I'm so glad I did.
So what's the 411 on seed cycling? The science behind it is pretty simple. Certain seeds carry particular vitamins and nutrients to promote the production, metabolism, and balance of hormones. For instance flax seeds and sesame seeds have lignans which bind to excess estrogens, helping to eliminate them from your body. There is research that indicates the use of certain seeds at key points within a woman's cycle can help reduce PMS and menopausal symptoms, including, you guessed it, hormonal acne. The seeds are seeds you may already enjoy and have in your kitchen cabinet. They are common and inexpensive. The first seeds used in combo are pumpkin and flax. The seeds used during the second half are sunflower and sesame.
Here's how you cycle the seeds. On the first day of your cycle (aunt flo is visiting) until day 14 you eat two table spoons of pumpkin and flax seeds. I've read that its best to grind them up fresh, but I like to grind up a good amount, enough to last me a few days and keep them in a little glass jar in the fridge. It is important to grind the seeds so the vitamins and minerals are released and they don't just pass through your system. I add the seeds to oatmeal or make a smoothie with coconut, hazelnut, or walnut milk. You can make energy balls with them as well.
From day 15 until day 28 you consume the sunflower and sesame seeds, following the same routine described above. Then continue the cycle over again.
I like to use my calendar and a menstral cycle app to keep track of when I should be eating which seeds. You can set an alarm on day 15 as a reminder to switch to the sunflower/sesame seeds.
So here is a simplification of what seeds to eat when:
Follicular Phase: Day 1 to Day 14, or until ovulation:
1 tablespoon each freshly ground raw flax seeds and pumpkin seeds daily.
Luteal Phase: From Day 15 (about) to 28, or until menses:
1 tablespoon each freshly ground raw sunflower and sesame seeds daily.
So give it a try if you are struggling with hormonal acne or any hormonal issues related to your cycle. Just remember to give it a chance to work. I noticed a drastic improvement with in the first cycle, but it can take up to three cycles for improvement and balance.
Happy seed cycling!