I’ve been having a bit of bother with my mood lately. Well, to be brutally honest it’s been a lot longer than “lately”. I have been one of the lucky ones in my family not to have been plagued with woman problems. My cycle has been as regular as big ben chiming at the allotted hour and so I never really paid attention to the small changes in my body. Well, they absolutely can’t be ignored any longer. For the past 3 years or so I have started to experience the blessings of menopause, or so I thought. After a bit of research and talking with friends and my doctor I have discovered that I am in early peri-menopause. This phase is not to be confused with menopause as I had done. This phase is the warm up act to menopause. How utterly delightful to be a woman.
I will not bore you with the details of what this means for me right now, rather take a look at Dr Kathleen Mahannah and what she has to say on the subject. There is a wealth of knowledge out there and more and more people are sharing their experiences.
I have recently started using Anara products that have really helped me manage this next phase. They are manufactured here in South Africa and are available online. I am resisting, kicking and screaming not to go on HRT. So many women find these helpful, I am not one of them. I want to explore as may alternative and natural therapies as possible. Brian, my husband has been exceptionally gently and nurturing mostly. On days when I’m unplayable, he gives me a wider berth. I am very grateful for his understanding because most of the time I don’t know what I’m actually going through myself. This morning he assured me we will work through this together.
I have exercised all my life and love the health benefits both physically and psychologically. I noticed I was experiencing anxiety. I have never been an anxious person. This was completely foreign to my personality. I also noticed my exercise was not working anymore. I was doing it, but to less effect. I had also taken a liking to cakes and biscuits. This could definitely be the reason why the exercise wasn’t as effective. Something had to change. I needed a boot up the arse!Jump to Recipe
When I am about to make radical changes to my lifestyle, I go through a strange phase of denial where I resist the inevitable change. I make very poor choices about food where I eat with abandon. I know a famine is on the horizon and I start to eat burgers and chips and crave processed foods and anything fried. It’s as if I can’t help myself. I know the consequences are dire and yet I can’t stop myself. What I’m actually doing is forcing my body into such a tight corner that the only choice left is to STOP the destructive behaviour.
This morning I woke up KNOWING I was going to stop the runaway train.
This morning I woke up feeling disappointed and depressed with myself. Today was the day! I brushed my teeth and went for my run with Kenzi, our dog and Brian. I was impatient and snappy with Kenzi when she wanted to stop for a wee. I had zero patience with Brian too. I decided to decline coffee and went upstairs to meditate. I haven’t meditated for a very long time and this is such a healthy practice for calming my mind. Slowly but surely I was able to pull myself out of the negative thinking and gently bring myself back to peace. I am here. I have to accept this is what I feel right now. I can wallow here or I can move away from this pain. I am not rooted in this place of pain. If I could do something, just one thing today what would I do to move away from this pain.
Food is what I love and know. Food can give me such joy and can bring me pain too. I needed food to be my medicine today. I practice IF (Intermittent Fasting ) and TRF (Time restricted Feeding). I had been loosely following this practice and flouting excuses of holidays and weekends as a reason to be flexible. I had stopped pushing the start button on my app that helps me stay focussed and on track. I rationed that I can keep track of the 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours window of eating. What I was essentially doing was relinquishing my responsibility and accountability to myself. I was pretending that I was practicing , but I was lying to myself.
Grateful for stumbling on a phrase I have never heard before, “Seed Cycling” galvanised me into taking control of my eating. This gave me a sense of peace knowing that food has always be my source of comfort. Today this comfort came from knowing that food would be my medicine. I needed to get back to basics. This was the reboot I was looking for to at least stay on the train but slow it down to a manageable pace. I read that seed cycling helps with the side effects of peri-menopause as well as with fertility. Just when I was grateful that the night sweats and hot flushes had abated , I had to deal with crying for no reason, bloating, headaches, anxiety, sore breasts, weight gain and loss of confidence. This is early days and I have no idea if this is going to work, but I will be damned if I sit in depression and ignore what is happening in my body. My body is trying to rebalance itself in preparation for the next phase in my lifecycle. Apparently this will take about 3 months to recalibrate. I have nothing to lose but give it a try. So here goes!
Update after 24 days
Well it’s been a surprising success so far. The mind is a powerful tool for negativity and positivity. That was the first immediate change I noticed. I think because I decided to make the change and take back control of my thinking that was my first step to recovering. Accepting where I’m at and moving from there is my choice of direction. I got back on track with my eating, by sticking to my intermittent fasting and my exercise regime. I have logged in my weight every week to keep a visual reminder and a goal I want to achieve steadily and slowly. I have lost 2.3kg. I am proud of myself. I don’t feel so bloated anymore and my moods are not swinging like a 60’s dancer. I definitely feel a sense of balance returning. What I struggled with a little was eating the seeds every day. I was religious for 2 weeks and then I had perimenopausal bleeding unexpectedly and that threw me off what seeds I should be taking. I was supposed to start the luteal phase, but now I was confused about where I was in my cycle. So for me I will start the seed cycling by following the phases of the moon. The moon controls the waves of the ocean so it makes sense that it would influence me too. For the follicular phase, I will start at new moon and eat 1Tbls spoon each of flax seeds and pumpkin seeds. The luteal phase I will start at full moon and eat 1 Tbls each of sesame seeds and sunflower seeds. If you are experiencing a regular cycle then I suggest you follow as I originally posted.
Seed cycling my hormones back in balance
- 40 g Follicular Seed Cycling mix
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 cup ice
- 100 g frozen raspberries
- 1 Tbls cocoa nibs
- 1 Tbls chia seeds
- 1 tsp zylitol
- shake of cinnamon
- Place all ingredients in to blender and blitz on high until ice is finely crushed and smoothie is perfectly blended.
For more about Seed Cycling 101
Seed cycling for Hormones – Follicular Phase
- 160 g flax seeds I used a combination of golden and regular
- 160 g pumkin seeds
- 50 g almonds
- 150 g dates
- 50 g oats
- 1 tsp each Cinnamon and ground ginger
- 150 g cashew nut butter + water to combine you only need this if you are going to roll mix into little bite size balls.
- 1 cup Almond milk
- 1 banana
- 40 g Seed cycling hormone mix see above
- 1 Tbls cocao nbs
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- 1/2 cup crushed ice
- 10 g nut butter optional
- Add the flax seeds to the blender and grind to a rough consistency that's not as fine as flour. This helps with the absorption into your system rather than passing whole through your intestine. Remove from blender and set aside until ready to mix with the rest of the ingredients
- Add the pumpkin seeds and repeat the about process
- Add the whole almonds repeat the above process. This time you can leave the nuts in the blender
- Now add the remaining dates and oats along with the ground flax seeds and pumpkin seeds, cinnamon and ground ginger. Pulse blend until the dates and oats are a roughly chopped consistency. The dates will bind the nuts together a little more giving the mix a slightly wetter consistency.
- At this stage you can place the mix in an airtight container and portion 40g per day. Add your 40g portion to yoghurt and stewed fruit
- Alternatively mix in the nut butter and add water as needed to make 28 x 20g round balls. Your daily portion will be 2 balls for 14 days. keep balls in freezer
Seed cycling my hormones back in balance
- 160 g Sesame seeds
- 160 g Sunflower seeds
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Seed Cycling Mix
- This recipe is exactly the same as the one for the Follicular Phase but here you replacee the flax seeds and pumpkin seeds for sesame seeds and sunflower seeds.