Cycle syncing. Seed cycling. Phase-based eating. Chances are that you’ve heard the news: there is a scientifically-proven link between the foods that we eat and the state of our menstrual cycles. “Wait… So there’s a reason I crave chocolate during my PMS (aka luteal) week and salt during my period?” Yes!
As our hormones fluctuate each month, our bodies’ micronutrient needs change. Quick lesson on the phases of the cycle and their nutrient needs:
Phase 1: Menstrual. Key nutrients are magnesium, iron, zinc, omega 3s, manganese
Phase 2: Follicular. Key nutrients are omega 3s, manganese, zinc, magnesium, iron
Phase 3: Ovulatory. Key nutrients: B vitamins, vitamin E, selenium, manganese, magnesium
Phase 4: Luteal. Key nutrients: magnesium, calcium, fiber, B vitamins,vitamin E, selenium, manganese
While supplementation of these vitamins and minerals is certainly an option, research shows that micronutrient intake is most effective when consumed via whole foods, whenever possible. Enter seed cycling.
Seed cycling is a functional nutritional practice that, during the past several years, has become widely embraced in the practices of healthcare professionals from both holistic and conventional sides of the spectrum. Seed cycling uses strategic combinations of raw superfood seeds to support the natural ebb and flow of hormones like estrogen and progesterone throughout the monthly cycle and support organs of elimination to rid the body of excess estrogen or progesterone, should that be the case.
Many of us are living with hormonal imbalances, either caused by genetic factors, stress, lifestyle, or exposure to endocrine disruptors in our environment, beauty products, household cleaners, and food supply. Additionally (or perhaps relatedly), many of us are severely deficient in the micronutrients we need, or imbalanced in our intake of macronutrients. Seed cycling seeks to be a gentle means of supporting healthy hormone production and nourishing the body with several of the nutrients that so many of us are lacking in our daily food intake.
For one reason or another (thanks, social media!), seed cycling recently (finally) hit the mainstream. I personally came to seed cycling after ten years on the birth control pill, subsequent amenorrhea, and my lifelong challenge with PMDD and period cravings. For me, the benefits have been twofold, as the strategic alternation of the two seed combinations in Wellflower’s blends has helped me build a more conscious relationship with each phase of my cycle while also helping me to regain my cycle regularity and alleviate the devastating cramps that for so long, had kept me from participating in my day-to-day life during my luteal and menstrual phases. The benefits have had a profound effect on my quality of life and the way that I have come to view food as a part of my healing.
“But how do I seed cycle?”
Phase 1 and 2: Take 2 tbsp daily of Wellflower Pepita Flax Seed Cycle Blend.
Phase 3 and 4: Take 2 tbsp daily of Wellflower Sesame Sunflower Seed Cycle Blend.
It’s important that you consume the seeds raw, and they are most effective when blended, ground fresh, or chewed well.
Once I began experiencing positive changes in my own cycle thanks to seed cycling, it became important to me to share this practice with as many people as I could, and to make it easy for people to incorporate it into their daily lives. I started by mixing my own seed cycle blends, then peddling them out at farmers markets, where they sold out fast. This grew into what Wellflower is today -- a functional food brand with reproductive health and wellness at its absolute center. Our Seed Cycle Blends and Adaptogenic Cycle Support powders are designed to integrate into day-to-day life, into recipes that you’re already making, for a seamless approach to hormonal health and cycle support. I love seed cycling because it is so simple and versatile. I blend our blends into smoothies and soups, sprinkle over salads or toast, stir into yogurt or oatmeal, or roll into snack balls, per the recipe on the back of the pouch.
For more information, check out www.wellflower.co.
Asha Carroll is a three-time natural foods entrepreneur and holistic nutritionist and is a passionate advocate for reproductive health and education.