Cycles

I want to explain how and why I use seed cycling to balance my hormones and synch up to the moon. Before I start I want to acknowledge that everyone’s body and needs are different and what works for me will not work for everyone. Please do your own research for your own health and wellness (Rosemary Gladstar is my favorite, Eat With Clarity has a great article about seed cycling, and Dr. Lara Briden has done amazing research for women) rather than just reading blog posts like this one hehe 🙂

A very basic explanation is that I eat:

Pumpkin Seeds and Flax seeds ~ Day 1-14

Sesame and Sunflower seeds ~ Day 14-28 (could be a bit shorter or longer depending on your own cycle. When I start my period, I switch back to eating Pumpkin and Flax seeds (Day 1) and the cycle begins again.

I eat about 1 tablespoon of each type of seeds in my smoothies. It is important the seeds are freshly ground when you eat them. So I just keep the whole seeds in my fridge and when it’s their turn to be eaten, I throw them in my blender with my smoothie ingredients and that grinds them up fresh for me.

There are days I forget to eat my seeds and some days, if I feel like having a savory breakfast, I will skip the seeds. Usually on the weekends. Missing a few days a month doesn’t seem to have negative affects but it’s probably best to not miss days. I try to use Organic/Raw seeds (I order them from Vitacost).

At first I was confused and could never remember which seeds to eat. I also worried about having other seeds like chia seeds or even nut butters; or eating sesame oil during the pumpkin-flax weeks. I didn’t want to mess anything up. But then it dawned on me how smart our bodies are and that the body would use what it needed from the food and when. Of course you wouldn’t want to purposely eat all the wrong seeds at the wrong time. I also watch for trail mixes or crackers that contain let’s say a mix of pumpkin and sunflower seeds. This wouldn’t be something I would eat often because it contains seeds from opposite weeks in the seed cycle.

I designed a handy tracker for my bullet journal which tracked the days in the month I was to eat which seeds. I also tracked my moods, energy levels, creativity and productivity loosely during the 4 weeks of each cycle. At once I saw the patterns were very clear. I always felt the happiest in week 1 and most creative and productive in weeks 2-3. By the end of week 3 and all of week 4 my mood would dip sharply, I would have more anxiety, more sadness, even some physical pain.

The connection with the moon also began with the trackers. I looked up when the moon phases were and drew them in my journal around the tracker for each week in my own cycle. For as long as I can remember I’ve had my period on the full moon. This is opposite to what it is “supposed” to be. I remember so many nights, in so much physical pain and anguish (I battled for years with the disease endometriosis- more on that later) and the bright full moon light would be streaming in and I never enjoyed it. It made it even harder to sleep when I already couldn’t sleep because of the pain. After seed cycling for about 6 months my cycle has shifted. I now have my period during the new moon, when it is in darkness and I experience my joyful, creative energy time during the full moon as it should be.

I am totally unclear on how and why eating these seeds lines you up with the moon. It doesn’t make sense to me. I totally understand how the chemical make up of the seeds affect physical hormones in the body causing changes. With balanced hormones comes a balanced cycle. I have experienced that. Since seed cycling continuously for months I now have a 28 cycle pretty much dead on accurate. I also have ZERO physical pain pre cycle. My period sneaks up on me. That is a new phenomenon for me. The sharp dip in my mood is not so sharp either. I used to literally feel happiness slipping away the week or so before my period.. replaced with palpable sadness and worry. I knew it was hormonal. That doesn’t happen anymore. Now when I am sad or worried I sit up straighter and accept the emotion but also ask why, because I know it’s not something that will just automatically happen anymore. I still notice lower energy as my body prepares for my period and I embrace it. I consciously move slower and allow myself the rest I need. Of course, if I have to go to work on those days I can’t, but I still try to move a little slower. And be kinder to myself. I also don’t pressure myself to continually be productive during down time knowing the cycle will come around again and I can be productive on the times of the month that work best for me and my energy levels.

In the past, my cycle was always a thing of literal terror. I had intense hatred for my period. It caused me visceral anxiety. The pain was nearly unbearable. It turns out I was living for years and years with endometriosis. It is a disease which causes labor-like cramps for each period, vomiting, diarrhea, and abnormal bleeding. I had constant lower back pain that never went away and often had cramps 14 days each month. Often when my bowels moved, I had intense and searing pain on my left side that caused me to double over. It’s a long and winding story but eventually I had 2 surgeries to remove the endometriosis. The second surgery did wonders. Dr. Robbins of Advanced Womens Healthcare in Scarborough, Maine is the one to see. (I hope he’s not retired yet! And if he does I hope he passes his practice on to someone he’s trained personally)

In my second surgery, Dr. Robbins found the endometriosis had fused my colon to my inner left pelvic side wall. I also had endometrial lesions in 12 other places. He removed all of those lesions. Healing from that took a long time and I had to have pelvic floor physical therapy (Dr. Megan Rorabeck! Who is awesome.. both of us moved away the same week; she to Wisconsin, me to Alaska. I still miss her!) It was also an immensely busy year and I lifted more than I should have and then I moved to Alaska less than a year later which brought its own set of worries and traumatic experience (stories for another day) But I also knew that I did not want my surgery to be in vain. I’m always worried the endometriosis will come back. Even with the surgery, I still had pre-cramping and some fairly bad pain with my cycle. It was far better than what I experienced pre-surgery. I no longer had to worry about fainting out of pain or spend hours in bed curled in the fetal position. But I knew I had to get to some of the root causes.

I have to mention the “root cause” for endometriosis is not known. It is connected to “estrogen dominance” (although the latest research contests this and endometriosis is sometimes classified as an autoimmune disease as theoretically a healthy immune system would attack the endometrial cells causing the lesions and take care of them – major simplification in my understanding of course; again, I am NOT a doctor or nurse.) In my herbal studies with Rosemary Gladstar, she connected endometriosis to poor liver function, among other factors. (The liver is overloaded or sluggish and doesn’t process the excess estrogen. That is a gross simplification but it is how I understand it) at any rate, I knew my hormones still needed balancing despite the surgery “fixing” the endometriosis.

And there enters seed cycling. I can’t speak highly enough about it. I’ve now had 3 full cycles with almost zero physical pain. My mood and energy is more stable. And I am totally aligned with the moon. My skin is even clearer. I have leagues to go with eating right and more balanced (it is tough in Alaska and during a pandemic to meal plan like I used to) but at least I feel I am doing something proactive and natural.

My tracker for this cycle ready to go 🙂

Emotionally, I also had to heal my relationship with my own natural cycle. I am at the point now where it doesn’t fill me with anxiety and dread. I’m trying to embrace it as a time to slow down. I realize my surgery is to thank for this and I’m immensely grateful for my privileges and opportunities which afforded me that surgery with Dr. Robbins. My mother covered the costs that my insurance company wouldn’t and I am forever grateful to her for such a life changing gift she gave me. I’m saddened that so many cannot get the care they need to experience a healthy cycle. I’m honestly not sure how much seed cycling would help with some with Stage 3 or 4 endometriosis (I had stage 3). It probably wouldn’t help much as it is a very physical problem. But again, I am not a doctor or nurse and everyone’s body is different. I’m in no way advocating for or against surgery. Merely sharing my experience.

Please look at other sources if you want to seed cycle yourself. This is only my story. I do not like all the health claims on the internet for various things so I am not claiming seed cycling will do this for you. I’m just telling you what happened to me. I do know seed cycling will have no effect if you take the pill or other hormone regulating medication. I would in no way want to mess with that. I am not sure how seed cycling would work in menopause, but I’ve read that you follow the moon cycle if you want to do it. Definitely give that your own research if that’s the case. Also there are plenty of other (quite healthy!) foods and herbals that will alter hormones. We are each different in that way. For me, I have to watch how many avocados I eat, I can’t have too much fermented food, and I avoid cinnamon. This is why posts about eating X for X condition really annoy me. I hope this post doesn’t come across as that. We are all unique with different needs and must eat intuitively.

Seed cycling is a relatively simple thing to do if you’re struggling with hormone imbalance. I hope it will help you if you feel after researching it more to try it. Thank you for reading. xc

4 thoughts on “Cycles

  1. What a great read Callie! You tell your story in an artful, respectful and thorough way. I think I am going to try to chart my moods and physical pains to see how it aligns. I am long past having a period but the concept of seed cycling is intriguing to me and Amanda suffers still and would love this. I make us each a green smoothy most days and can easily incorporate them in.

    I never understood all the complications and severity of the endometriosis you suffered with. What a joy it must be to have that all in the past. What a blessing you have in your Mom to have helped you so much during that difficult time.

    Thanks for sharing the post. You are such a talented woman and your writings are a delight. I hope someday you are able to have something published, but in a way they already are just in a new format with blogs!

    Enjoy your day. I get to have Alastair today so already it is a good day for me, even if it just started.

    Love, Gloria

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    1. Thank you, as always, for your readership of my little neglected blog ☺️ I’m glad you enjoyed this. I’ve been waiting so long to get this out of me, but I wanted to share it, because I know so many suffer. I’m sad to hear Amanda suffers. It’s awful to dread something every month and have it interfere with your life so much.
      Green smoothies, yum! Yes, the seeds would be easy to incorporate. I much prefer my flax-pumpkin days. I love flax the best. Sunflower is almost bitter somewhat. But I’m used to them all now. It’s interesting the effect of just little seeds of all things! Especially with the moon. I truly don’t understand that. It’s neat though!

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