real raw kitchen: balancing hormones with seed cycling

Friday, July 12, 2013

balancing hormones with seed cycling


Confession: I was on birth control for years. And now I'm paying for it, daily.

I initially went on birth control to alleviate my cramps at the advice of my GP. I remember the day very clearly. I was very young, not yet sexually active, and very hesitant. I had never thought to use birth control and mostly felt uncomfortable with taking medication. The woman--who had the sniffles and an overall lackluster personality--waved her hands in the air at me as I started to protest. She said, "so many women get pregnant while on the pill so you know that it won't interfere with your fertility. So don't worry about that." 

I didn't really know what to say. I was 17, she was a doctor, and I really just wanted to know why I had such bad cramps. She wrote me a prescription and then told me to return in a year to get a new prescription. I walked out of the office stunned, disturbed by her sniffles (I mean, she was a doctor), and nervous to start birth control even though I wasn't even having sex yet. 


I got my prescription filled and then started taking it at my next period. Shortly after I returned to the doctor's office because I had a list of questions prepared that I didn't think of during the first meeting. When I checked in I was informed that the doctor had been fired and that I could meet with any of the other health care professionals if I had an emergency. Not interested in meeting with another doctor I just turned around and walked out of the clinic. I continued to take birth control for seven more years until I finally got the courage to ask questions.

Once I went off of birth control my body went through a hormonal roller coaster. My period became sporadic with each cycle drastically different than the one prior. I developed acne for the first time in my entire life. My mood began to plummet to the lowest of lows almost immediately after ovulation. And I became pretty damn tired the week leading up to my period. It was chaos. Because I take such good care of my body I was able to watch what helped and what didn't pretty easily. 

One of the things I came across that has been THE most helpful of all is seed cycling. I came across this article by Bonzai Aphrodite when I became desperate for answers. In her story she shares that seed cycling essentially saved her. I thought I'd at least give it a shot since I had tried crazier things.





Within a month of seed cycling my period became regular again, my cramps diminished significantly, and my mood swings were less swing-ey. My acne has calmed down as well with more clear days than break-out days.

Since I had such dramatic results within weeks I decided to look further into this hormone thing. The more I learn the more I realize that birth control is evil and that hormones control everything. 


You know what else is creepy about this cycling being so effective?? Even my cycle is syncing up with the moon phases like the chart above suggests ... whoa.

TMI?? Okay. I get it. But I just had to share all of this information because
  1. I know I'm not alone
  2. It's super interesting
  3. It's a pretty neat way to balance your hormones that doesn't involve anything drastic

I feel like this is a topic worth exploring and one I stand behind. It's really not that difficult to do, either. I eat 1 T, each, of Sunflower Seeds and Sesame Seeds on the second half of my cycle and then 1 T, each, of Flax and Pumpkin seeds the first half of my cycle. It's delicious, easy, and really not that much. I love adding the seeds to my salads, making tahini dressing, sprinkling over my fruit, or just throwing into a smoothie. It's not as tedious or difficult as I'm sure it sounds. I promise!


Pretty neat, huh? Let me know what you think in the comments!

xo



21 comments:

  1. So strange, I found your blog via Gena from Choosing Raw's post on Food 52 (you had posted a "shameless plug" there. :) When I saw this post looking around your blog I was instantly intrigued, then I realized you JUST posted it! I will definitely look more into this. And you're in Miami too! (I'm from Sarasota but come down here regularly to visit). It's such a scary place to be in when your moods seem to have a mind of their own, and a deeply dark and negative one at that. And when you feel that way, sharing it with others is the last thing you want to do. So, thank you for sharing this. I don't think people really realize how brave it is to share your experience in this way. I'm with you that birth control is so deeply harmful to the body and I've had to find out the hard way as well. I also had to drop an anti-anxiety med I was prescribed a few years ago so I have the double whammy. Moving to a more raw and vegan-centric diet has helped immensely but the road to recovery is a bumpy one. Your blog rocks- I'll be back! https://www.facebook.com/ButterflyEffectSarasota

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    1. Shayna! Thank you so much, you are so sweet! I appreciate your words, this is a very big topic that I feel very strongly about. Hormones are no joke and I'm so happy to have found this method. I love that you're finding a routine that works for your body, that is such an exciting time. And I'm so happy to have you! :) I will definitely check out your site, too ... xo

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  2. This is such great information and I'm so very glad that you posted it. I definitely thing more women need to try it and get the word out. I'm going to start this week!

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    1. Thank you, I sure hope it's helpful! I agree, there are so many options available to women that are truly empowering, but there is little information out there. Let me know how it goes! .. xo

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  3. This is great! I too started taking birth control when I was about 16/17 and continued with different methods for over 8 years. The past few years have been an absolute roller-coaster of anxiety, hormones, breakouts, insane periods (twice in one month, lasting for up to 8 days!), and on and on. About a year and a half ago I started seeing a new ND who had me try seed cycling - the problem was that I was also doing SO many other things (elimination diet, castor oil pack, homeopathic drops, and on and on!) that I became so overwhelmed with it all and flat out stopped. About a month ago I started eating an apple with two tablespoons of sunflower seed butter just about every morning for breakfast. I didn't put too much thought into it, but about a week ago realized that I've been feeling SO balanced. My period is now officially two days "late" (I'm queer, so no worries!), my anxiety is greatly diminished, my skin is looking great, and I just feel GOOD. I pulled your site up trying to remember which seeds to take when - I'm now hoping that with true seed cycling I can really get back in balance. So wonderful!

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    1. ugh I seriously loathe birth control .. And I feel ya on trying too many things. Every few months I stop all treatments to give my body a break and then slowly add in what I feel is helpful. But it's pretty amazing what we can do for our bodies with pure nourishment, whether it's food or exercise or even fresh air :) I'm SO happy for you!! What a great reward after such a struggle!

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  4. Hi! I discovered your instagram account today and then I saw this picture and read up and found your blog and I'm so glad I did!! I've been on bc since i was 17 (because my periods were VERY irregular) and i'm now 26. i have been wanting to stop taking it for a while now and i did try for a short three months but never had a period in those three months being off bc and my gyno told me to come back in to see her. she told me to start taking bc again so i did (because she said it's a cancer risk to not have your period for so long). i also got HORRIBLE acne shortly after stopping bc for those three months and my skin has only recently started getting better. this seed method sounds very intriguing and i'd like to give it a try but i'm a little confused by your description. do you take the seeds every day of the month?? do you stop taking them then your period starts?? when should i start taking them? i'm currently taking bc so should i finish out this months pack and then start the day my period normally ends??

    thank you so much for posting this!! i never even knew this existed! i've read about tea mixtures you can make that help with hormone regulation and i thought about trying that out too.

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    1. Hi Hayley! Welcome, I'm so happy to have you :) As far as the seed cycling goes, you take a tablespoon of each everyday. So, you take 1 T of flax and 1 T pumpkin seeds everyday for the first half of your cycle. Then 1 T sesame seeds and 1 T sunflower seeds in the second half. They must be raw in order to have the fullest impact, and it's recommended they are ground, but I didn't always grind mine. It takes a few months to notice any real difference for many, but I noticed my cycle got right on track almost immediately. You can guess when you ovulate, or just follow the standard 28 day cycle to help guide your body.

      Another popular way to treat irregularity is with Vitex, or Chasteberry. It's a natural supplement that is commonly used to help regulate the cycle.

      I'm SO sorry for your experience and I totally empathize. From what I've experienced and what I've read/heard from others, there is just no way out but through it. It is dangerous to not have you period, that is true, but the reason you aren't having your period initially is because your body has been flooded with synthetic hormone for so long that it has stopped producing adequate amounts of the hormones on its own. Imagine taking this hormones for years and years.. do you think the body could stabilize in such a short time, afterward? It's frustrating because three months seems like a long time, but it really isn't. :(

      I am 100% for keeping things natural and so anything that helps your body get back to performing the way it's meant to perform is something I'm a fan of! Also, it's worth noting that cleaning up your diet usually helps regulate periods as well. I don't know your eating habits so maybe you're already pretty clean! But a lot of preservatives, hormones, and additives in packaged foods can make your hormones get pretty funky and gets them off track pretty easily. This is actually a big reason why so many women have a hard time conceiving!

      Just start your research and eventually you'll find something that resonates with you! good luck, keep me updated ..

      hugs xo

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    2. Thank you so much for your heartfelt response!! I do eat a very healthy diet (at least I think so!) I'm vegan and try to eat raw as much as I can. I think another reason my hormones have been crazy recently has to do with the fact that I was very low place and I think I was even slightly depressed but didn't realize it at the time. Now I'm feeling much better and my confidence is improving so I want to give this no bc thing another go! I think I'll wait til this pack is finished (in about 3 weeks) then start the seed cycling.

      I'm also gonna look into Vitex and Chasteberry. Thanks for the recommendations!!

      Since I started taking bc to regulate my periods, how long do you think it's safe to wait before seeing a doctor if I never get my period?? That's my main concern, well that and acne, haha.

      Thanks again for all your help!! xx

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    3. Aww well, with a clean diet then that makes it a bit trickier. You're halfway there, though! Now you just hafta' find the underlying cause. I'm no medical professional in ANY way but what I can say is that my #1 recommendation is that you find a doctor the you believe in and believes in you. I went through 4 doctors until I found one that said, "No, you don't need medicine if you don't want it and that's okay." I like him. Any time a doctor is quick to prescribe me something, I move on to the next one. So I'd recommend having that conversation with your current doctor, that this is very important to you, and that you'd rather treat your body holistically than muting it with medicine. If she's not supportive then I'd recommend doctor-shopping :) There ARE doctors out there that appreciate the body as a capable and natural source of life.. no medicine needed!

      Also, I can say that there is absolutely a connection with your hormones and your emotions. I truly believe everything is connected. I'd recommend reading a book by Caroline Myss, "Anatomy of the Spirit." I truly believe that my skin troubles and hormone troubles are related to my emotional non-well-being here in Miami. Whenever I leave Miami my skin clears right up and my energy soars! The stress that depression puts on your body really can affect its functioning.

      Then, the acne will still take time to clear up. It's just such a long journey of finding what works for you!

      m

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  5. yes you are so right!! I hate when my doctor's are quick to prescribe me something. Unfortunately, though, right now I don't have a job and so I have no insurance so doctor shopping will have to wait.

    But I have one more quick question. Should I start the seed cycling now even while I'm still on bc or should I wait until I finish this last pack and then then start at the end of my period?

    Thank you agian so, so much!! xx

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  6. My digestive system cannot tolerate sesame seeds. Is there another seed/nut I can substitute with the same results?

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    1. Hi Jeanette, I'm so sorry for the delayed response.. Check the link in the post. There is a medical doctor that is more of an authority on the topic and so she would be able to make recommendations for you. I gained most of my knowledge from her website. I hope she can help!! It's truly a wonderful experience ..

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  8. Hello! I'm not sure if you're still checking these comments but I came across your article and find this absolutely fabulous! I would love to help regulate my cycles with seed cycling. I came off of birth control a year ago now and my cycles are still very long - anywhere from 39-53 days with ovulation around CD30-45. I'd love to try this but when should I split the two types of seeds? Should I take the flax and pumpkin until MY ovulation or for just 2 weeks and then switch over? I want to get my cycles regular but I want to make sure I'm taking the right seeds at the right time. Thanks :)
    -Rebecca

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    1. Oops! Just saw this, but got your email :)

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  9. I have just been introduced to Seed Cycling by a friend... holy wow mother nature, so simple and so effective. Aaahh. I went off the pill in 2011 after almost a decade on it. I have not had a period since. BUT I have given birth to a perfectly healthy son. And still I have not had a period since. The how's & why's and what the heck's never seem to amaze me. But I will get onto seed cycling TODAY and see where it takes me. Thank you for sharing your knowledge

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    1. Oh I'm so happy for you! I hope that the seeds treat you well :)

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  10. Hi ..I have pcos and hypothyroid..and going to start clomid for ovulation and also iam using metformin..can i use seed cycling with clomid and metformin does it have any side effects if i follow both?

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  11. I have pcos. I skipped my periods last month. I am trying to time my seed cycling with th emoon phases. What if my periods dont start on day 28? Do I switch to flax & pumpkin? What if they start middle of the cycle?

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  12. Dude I love you!
    I used to take Wild Carrot Seeds as contraceptives, but because it's not standardised, some women advise taking it during ovulation (some say to take it once and others for 5 days) whereas a few women recommend taking them right after intercourse.. anyway, it got pretty confusing and I ended up pregnant but a llll that aside - I strongly believe in the power of seeds! I'm gonna try this seed cycling and see how it affects my energy and cycle :) Thanks for sharing! <3

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