How To Balance Hormones Through Seed Cycling + Seed Cycle Cacao Hazelnut Granola Clusters
If you know me, then you know I’m all about food that tastes good AND makes you feel good too. For me, seed cycling is a powerful way to check both of those boxes, as you can incorporate this hormone-balancing and fertility-boosting practice into some seriously delicious recipes (like these granola clusters).
Read below to learn how your cycle and hormones can benefit from this practice, how to do it, and snag the recipe for the Seed Cycle Cacao Hazelnut Granola Clusters.
WHAT IS SEED CYCLING?
Seed cycling is a natural and inexpensive way to support the female endocrine system through its hormone fluctuations by consuming different seeds during different phases of our menstrual cycle.
This practice of rotating different seeds (pumpkin, flax, sesame and sunflower) between the first and second half our our cycle phases regulates our hormones, helping to relieve PMS, reduce period pain, stimulate ovulation, increase fertility and support the body in healing conditions such as PCOS, endometriosis and ovarian cysts.
HOW DOES SEED CYCLING WORK?
+ First Half of Cycle (Menstruation, Follicular + Ovulatory Phase)
During the first half of your cycle (menstruation, follicular and ovulatory phase) estrogen levels begin to rise and steadily increase in preparation for ovulation (the release of an egg from your ovary) in order to potentially get pregnant.
While this is a good thing, there’s a very fine line between too much and too little estrogen, and many modern day lifestyle obstacles (alcohol, caffeine, stress, sugar, dieting, processed foods, toxins, etc.) can wreak havoc on your estrogen, leading to imbalanced levels.
Adding in pumpkin and flax seeds rich in phytoestrogens works to balance overall estrogen levels, helping increase and decrease estrogen as needed. Optimal estrogen levels are then able to effectively regulate other important hormones (such as follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) necessary for ovulation) and ensure a healthy menstrual cycle.
+ Second Half of Cycle (Luteal Phase)
After you ovulate, estrogen and other hormones (testosterone, FSH, LH) drop, sending you into the latter half of your cycle, your luteal phase. This phase typically lasts 10-14 days and should be a minimum of 10 days (as it takes the egg at least 10 days to travel to your uterus to implant in your lining, if trying to get pregnant). Anything less than 10 days an indicator of low progesterone and possible fertility issues.
During this phase, progesterone levels begin to rise steadily, enhancing your endometrium (uterine lining) in preparation for a potential egg implantation and pregnancy. It’s very important to have healthy progesterone levels during this phase, as low progesterone can lead to PMS, irregular cycles, and challenges with getting or staying pregnant. Adding in sunflower and sesame seeds (both rich in gamma-linolenic acid, GLA) works to support progesterone levels and reduce any inflammation in the body that can trigger PMS.
BENEFITS OF SEED CYCLING
Practicing seed cycling each month works to regulate your hormones and reduce inflammation in the body, leading to benefits such as:
+ Reduced PMS
+ Period Pain Relief
+ Regulated Menstrual Cycles
+ Decreased Hormonal Acne/Breakouts
+ Optimized Fertile Window + Increased Chances of Conceiving
+ Successful Egg Implantation + Healthy Pregnancy
+ Reduced Perimenopause Symptoms
+ Support Body in Healing PCOS, Endometriosis + Ovarian Cysts
HOW TO SEED CYCLE
+ First Half of Menstrual Cycle (Menstruation, Follicular + Ovulation Phases, Days 1-14)
Consume 1 Tbsp each fresh ground flax and pumpkin seeds daily.
+ Second Half of Menstrual Cycle (Luteal Phase, Days 14 – 28)
Consume 1 Tbsp each fresh ground sesame and sunflower seeds daily.
Pro-Tip: Personally, the easiest way for me to practice seed-cycling is by using the seeds in delicious recipes like this granola. I’ll make a big batch with pumpkin/flax seeds once during my period to enjoy during the first half of my cycle, then another batch after ovulation with sunflower/sesame to eat the second half. When you incorporate seeds into a granola that tastes this good, you’ll have a hard time forgetting to do it :).
Seed Cycling is an effective and easy way to help balance your hormones and support each phase of your cycle, which can lead to a reduction in uncomfortable or painful symptoms and an increase in fertility and menstrual health.
If you’re looking for more delicious seed cycling recipes + tips to help balance your hormones, boost your fertility and feel your best, check out my 28-Day Hormone Balance Reset Plan or Fertility Boosting Fundamentals Guide.
- 1 cup raw, organic cashews
- 1 cup raw, organic hazelnuts
- 1 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened
- 1 cup raw, organic pumpkin seeds (swap for sunflower seeds after ovulation/during your luteal phase)
- ¼ cup cacao powder
- 2 tbsp ground flaxseed powder (swap for sesame seeds after ovulation/during your luteal phase)
- 1 tsp ceylon cinnamon
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1⁄3 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1⁄2 cup dark chocolate chunks
- Preheat your oven to 325 F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add all nuts in a food processor and pulse several times to "chop" them into a crumbly texture (make sure not to overmix, as you want some larger chunks for the cluster texture).
- Add in coconut flakes and pulse a couple more times until well mixed.
- Transfer pulsed nuts + coconut to a large mixing bowl and stir in the rest of the dry ingredients (flax or sesame seeds, cinnamon, cacao powder + sea salt).
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients until smooth. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and stir well until fully moistened.
- Spread the mixture evenly on a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer. You want it to clump together to achieve those clusters.**Make sure to LEAVE OUT chocolate chunks/chips for now.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 325 F, then remove and gently stir to turn over (keep it very gentle to ensure clusters stay in tact). You have the option to add in your chocolate chunks here to get them super melty, or wait until the end to keep them more chunky (my personal preference).
- Bake for another 10 minutes, until golden brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to let cool at room temp, it will crisp up as it does.
- Once cooled, if you haven’t yet, it’s time to add in those chocolate chunks.
- Store tightly in a sealed glass jar for 2 weeks in the cupboard. Remember to use flax + pumpkinseed the first half of your cycle and swap for sesame + sunflower the last half of your cycle.