Hello my dears!
A few weeks ago I shared some of the meals that I’m making for myself in the kitchen these days. Meals that include more whole foods… though honestly I think the term ‘whole foods’ is kinda buzzy and I’ve always eaten whole foods along with the occasional NOT whole food(?). Human, you know?
See: Six Weeknight Meals I’m Eating Right Now.
Overall I’m paying more attention to the foods I eat as they pertain to my hormones. I’m researching foods that can help my body balance its hormones and I’m paying attention to how those foods make me feel month by month. That means I have a food journal, eat less white flour, bake with less white sugar, eat way more kale and as much avocado as I’d like. Listen… I also drink coffee and have an occasional glass or two of wine and I treat myself when I want to. It’s not a cold turkey, perfect ‘clean diet’. It’s not a diet at all.
I’m not here saying I have all of the answers, I’m here sharing my exploration. Maybe it’s something you’re interested in too… or maybe you just want Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls… and that I respect.
The past month I’ve been enjoying Seed Cycling.
Essentially seed cycling is eating one pairs of seeds for the first 14 days of your menstrual cycle and switching to another pair of seeds for the last 14 days of your menstrual cycle. More about seed cycling here.
Flax Seeds + Pumpkin Seeds for the first 14 days (the first day of your period through ovulation) (also called the follicular phase). The idea is that these two seeds help naturally increase estrogen levels during this part of your cycle while also providing fiber which helps the body process estrogen out, balancing any high levels. Seeds are packed with essential fatty acids, zinc, selenium, and lignans – all things that contribute to helping our body create and process hormones.
Sesame Seeds + Sunflower Seeds for the last 14 days (after ovulation through the start of your period) (also called the luteal phase). These two seeds help balance the progesterone levels as they rise during the second half of our cycles, also holding essential fatty acids and nutrients to help ease PMS symptoms.
And! Since it’s more fun to eat little cookie-like balls instead of palmfuls of flax and sesame seeds, here are two recipes I make once a month so I always have these seed combination on hand.
I made a batch of each, portion them into balls using a cookie scoop and leave them in the freezer. I think these little energy balls fun to eat frozen – it feels like a cookie dough treat. Here are the recipes lightly adapted from Beyond The Pill.
The recipes below mention a small spice grinder. Here’s what I use.
Pumpkin and Flax Spiced Dough Balls
makes 14 to 16 balls
3/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup flax seeds
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/4 cup coconut flakes, plus more for topping
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup cashew butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or honey
1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)
In a small spice grinder grind the pumpkin and flax seeds into a fine flour (it’s ok if a few seed pieces are larger). You may have to grind the seeds in batches, just transfer the fine flour to a medium bowl in batches. Stir in the chia seeds, coconut, spices, and salt. Stir together.
In another small bowl whisk together cashew butter, coconut oil, vanilla, and sweetener.
Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry and stir to incorporate into a thick paste. Stir in the dried cranberries, if using.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Use a small cookie scoop to portion out and roll 14 to 16 balls. Line up together on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the portioned balls with flaked coconut. Freeze and store in the freezer for about a month – though you eat through them in a shorter time.
Sunflower Sesame Lemon and Cardamom Dough Balls
makes 14 to 16 balls
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raw sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
1/2 cup coconut flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup tahini
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a small spice grinder, grind sunflower seeds and sesame seeds into a fine flour (a few larger seed pieces are fine, too!). You may have to grind the seeds in batches but after grinding, transfer the seed flour to a medium bowl. Stir in the coconut, cardamom, salt, and lemon zest.
In another small bowl whisk together tahini, coconut oil, maple, and vanilla.
Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry. Stir together until well combined. The mixture will be a thick paste, not too wet, not too dry.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Use a small cookie scoop to portion out and roll 14 to 16 balls. Line up together on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the portioned balls with sesame seeds. Freeze and store in the freezer for about a month – though you eat through them in a shorter time.
Thank you for letting me share these recipes with you!
I appreciate you!
Hey Joy. I have started seed cycling and read that after grinding the seeds they should be eaten right away because of the oils or absorption is better in some way? Just curious if you heard this and how that relates to making them ahead of time. I love the idea of these, so much easier. Thank you
Joy the Baker
Hi Samantha! I hadn’t heard this but I suppose it makes sense. I will still make them ahead of time because I’ve noticed they do make a difference. I do store them in the freezer and I wonder if that preserves their benefits!
I think a happy medium could be to make them one phase at a time. On the first day of your cycle, make the Pumpkin and Flax Spiced Dough Balls and then 14 or so days later make the Sunflower Sesame Lemon and Cardamom Dough Balls.
These are so yummy!! Even just the smell, as I was putting the ingredients together, was amazing!!
These were both insanely delicious. My life has never followed the typical chronology of most others, being a traveller & free spirit. However, still believing in natural pregnancy in my late 40s, I’m all about these. Thanks for being an amazing revolutionary and a damn good culinary goddess as well.
How do you ensure that you’re getting the right amount of the seeds in each ball? You’re supposed to eat equal amounts of each seed each day (1 tablespoon of each), but these recipes have much more of one seed than the other.
Tahini is ground sesame seeds, so there is maybe more of a balance in that recipe, but for the other (but really, this applies to both), you are looking for nutrients that are found in both seeds, so putting them together delivers a similar net impact than if you consumed them in equal parts. You could also double the recipe and have 2 balls per day.
Further, there is no scientific studies that prove there is a correlation between seed cycling and hormonal health in females (which is not to say that one does not exist), so 1T. per day per seed is mostly just a guess.
These are very nutritious and delicious; you are doing something good for your body and your soul no matter what! <3
ALICE J MICUS
I appreciate this recipe! The easiest for me had been to add my ground seeds to oatmeal or coconut based yogurt. Though not gluten free nor raw, today I added my freshly ground seeds to 2/3 cup of prepared waffle mix and made 2 waffles. Made for a delicious Saturday breakfast.
Ok, may I say thank you thank you thank you for this post? Because this is the first place that I saw seed cycling, and I was desperate. My hormone cycle had been getting steadily more out of control for a couple years, and I couldn’t try any form of birth control to regulate it because of interactions with my other medications. So I figured even if this didn’t work for me it couldn’t hurt to try. But then it has worked. I noticed a profound difference even within the first month (no more morning sickness when ovulating or PMSing hallelujah) and it’s become even more pronounced as I keep going. So thanks for sharing this part of your journey with us!!
Joy, thank you so much for sharing this! How many do you eat per day?
How many balls per serving? Thank you!
14 to 16!
Loving your recipes that deal with hormonal issues. I have endometriosis, as well, and it’s nice to know others are thinking about ways to deal with it, too! I’m excited to try these and learn more about seed cycling.
This is so interesting! I’d never heard of seed cycling but am now going down a deep rabbit hole. Have you heard of the book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility”? It was a game changer for me. I’ve since passed it on to a bunch of my friends and think it may be up your alley too… Thanks for the great recipes!
Kok aan huis
Thanks this dish looks amazing. Want to try it sooon thank you for sharing you’re creativity
Hi! I have a high sensitivity to sunflower. Is there anything you’d recommend as a substitute in the 2nd recipe? Could I Just do more sesame? I’m excited to try this! Thanks!
JOY. I made both of these last night and they are a godsend. (BONUS: I had all the ingredients already in my pantry!) Thank you. Seed cycling has changed my cycle so much in just over a month of doing it. #grateful
Thank you so much for this! It came at literally the perfect time. I just started hormonal birth control for the first time *ever* in my 28 years of life and adjusting to these new levels is a JOURNEY right now. Definitely going to try incorporating these into my diet.
hiya. I want to make these seeds balls as a healthy snack. Can we do that just to eat? With what can we replace coconut oil?
I made them with ghee and they taste great and hold their form.