Luteal Phase Seed Cycling Cups: Days 15-28 (Paleo)
Creamy, luscious and oh-so decadent, these “peanut butter” seed cycling cups are the tastiest way to support your hormones, naturally! As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner,, I am always doing what I can to support my body in more holistic and natural ways and seed cycling is one of them. When I was dealing with a lot of the symptoms of my Hashimoto’s, my cycles became very very short and I dealt with a lot of PMS symptoms like acne, mood swings, irritability, fatigue, sleeplessness, and cramping.
Within the first month of starting seed cycling, my cycle went from 20 days to 27, and all of my PMS symptoms either completely disappeared or drastically lessened, I couldn’t believe it! Now, it has been several months and I have to say, I will continue doing this for the rest of my life as all of my symptoms have gone away and my cycles so much more balanced. These amazing and delicious seed cycling butter cups make it so tasty and easy to start seed cycling today!
What is Seed Cycling
Seed cycling is a natural way using whole foods to support the delicate balance of a woman’s hormones. When this balance becomes off balance due to diet, environmental toxins, lack of sleep, stress, exercise, medications, or illness it can lead to an array of chronic symptoms such as PMS, headaches, irregular menstrual cycles, PCOS, acne and more.
One of the easiest and most natural ways you can support your body’s reproductive hormones is with seed cycling. As I have told many clients, your body is this amazing machine that has the ability to restore and heal when given what it needs. So let’s dive into seed cycling some more!
How does Seed Cycling work to Balance Hormones in the Luteal Phase
The luteal phase of a woman’s cycle begins after ovulation has occurred and is typically during days 15-28. During this phase, the corpus luteum begins to release progesterone, a sex hormone that supports the thickening of the uterine lining in order to support the implantation of an embryo. The nutrients in sunflower seeds and sesame seeds assist with the production of progesterone and more. Sunflower seeds are rich in the fat soluble vitamin E, which boosts the body’s natural progesterone production, and selenium, an essential mineral that supports the detoxification of excess estrogen within the liver. Sesame seeds contain plant lignins, which are a polyphenol, that work by supporting estrogen levels from increasing too high, and zinc, a mineral that supports the production of progesterone.
There are other health benefits to including sesame and sunflower seeds to your diet! To learn about the Follicular Phase, and how flax and pumpkin seeds support your hormonal balance, check out my Follicular Phase Seed Cycling Cups: Days 1-14 HERE.
- Vitamin B3 (niacin): Essential in healthy metabolism, supports healthy cholesterol and blood pressure .
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): Supports metabolic pathways and plays a role in making red blood cells.
- Vitamin B6: There are many benefits from a diet rich in vitamin B6. It plays a role in our immune health, metabolism, and brain health. Vitamin B6 is essential in creating neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which play a role in emotional health and sleep .
- Vitamin B9 (folate): Essential nutrient during pregnancy that supports the development of the neural tube.
- Vitamin E: Powerful antioxidant that supports healthy vision, immune function, reproduction, and may help to lower C-reactive protein levels .
- Iron: Necessary in the formation of hemoglobin and maintaining proper body temperature.
- Copper: Essential in the production of red blood cells.
- Magnesium: The fourth most abundant mineral in the body, it support healthy nerve functions, healthy blood pressure, and detoxification.
- Manganese: Essential mineral in supporting blood sugar regulation, glucose metabolism, and supporting healthy brain and nerve function .
- Selenium: Supports thyroid health  and supports your immune system.
- Zinc: Essential in digestion, thyroid health, and a healthy immune system.
- Linoleic Acid: Supports healthy cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and heart health
- Chlorogenic Acid: Supports healthy blood sugars, blood pressure, weight, and mood balance.
- Sunflower seeds are full of fiber to support a healthy and optimized digestive tract that helps to keep things moving along, rids the body of toxins a supports a healthy microbiome and healthy blood sugar regulation.
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): A water soluble vitamin that is essential in glucose metabolism and supports health heart and nervous system function, Vitamin B3, B6 and Vitamin E.
- Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Selenium, Zinc
- Lignans: Antioxidant/phytoestrogen that reduces free radicals and oxidative stress, supports healthy cholesterol , supports uterine and ovarian health, and reduces hot flashes in menopausal women.
There are more benefits to eating the sesame seeds, they are full of fiber to support a healthy and optimized digestive tract! They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber:
- Insoluble fiber: Works to keep things moving along and helps with toxin and waste elimination.
- Soluble fiber : Soluble fiber works to support a healthy microbiome and supports healthy blood sugar regulation.
So grab some lovely seed butter and let’s get cooking!
What are the Benefits of Seed Cycling*
Seed cycling can have a positive impact on various symptoms of hormonal imbalances in as soon as a few months after starting including
- Hormonal balance
- Reduction in PMS symptoms: bloating, cramping, headache, mood swings, sugar cravings, fatigue
- Improving and regulating your cycle and flow
- Can help stimulate menstruation if absent
- Supporting fertility
- Improving symptoms associated with PCOS, ovarian cysts, fibroids, and endometriosis
- Improved libido
- Improved sleep
- Improves symptoms during peri-menopause and post-menopause
* There is not a lot of scientific data that supports these claims, however, there are many testimonials, mine included, that support seed cycling and its benefits.
How to Start Seed Cycling
Seed Cycling is one of the easiest ways to add more nutrients to support a healthy hormonal balance. During the follicular phase (days 1-14), you will eat 1 Tablespoon each of pumpkin and flaxseeds each day. During the luteal phase (days 15-28), you will eat 1 Tablespoon of each sunflower and sesame seeds each day.
Days 1-14: Follicular Phase, starts the first day of your period
- Eat 1 Tablespoon of Pumpkin Seeds: ground
- Eat 1 Tablespoon of Flaxseeds: ground
Days 15-28: Luteal Phase
- Eat 1 Tablespoon of Sunflower seeds, ground
- Eat 1 Tablespoon of Sesame seeds, ground
Seed Cycling FAQs
Q: When should I start seed cycling?
A: If you are menstruating, start on the first day of your next period. If you are peri-menopausal or post-menopausal and are experiencing amenorrhea, start with the seed cycling anytime you like and follow the timeline of the 14-day rotation.
Q: What if my cycle is shorter? Longer?
A: Not everyone has a cycle that is 28-days, many of us are less than that and many of us are longer. Everyone is different, and that’s okay.
If you cycle is shorter than 28 days like I was, then stop the luteal phase seeds and restart the follicular seeds when your period starts. Over time you may see improvement in the cycle length. If you have consistently shorter cycles, you may also decrease the number of days you are in each phase, for instance, if you have a 26-day cycle, you can choose to do each phase for 13 days instead of 14. Listen to your body, you know what is best for you.
If you cycle is longer, I recommend sticking with the 14-day cycling as close as possible to help provide the necessary nutrients in supporting the body’s natural hormonal balance of a 28-day cycle.
Q: Do the seeds have to be ground?
A: Grinding the seeds helps to improve the availability of the nutrients in the seeds by breaking the seeds down into a more absorbable form. You can grind them up in a coffee grinder, food processor, or blender and add them to different foods or make seed cycling cups to enjoy.
Q: What if I can’t eat certain seeds?
A: Try to add the ones you can during the specific phases they support, and avoid flax and pumpkin seeds during your luteal phases and sesame and sunflower during your follicular phases.
Q: What if I don’t have time to ground fresh seeds everyday?
A: There are so many alternatives! Make seed butter cups like I do and keep them in the fridge/freezer, make your own seed powder or seed butter to add to other foods, or even just buy organic seed butters (what I do A LOT) and eat a Tablespoon of each on some celery, apples, or toast!
Q: What are some other ways to add the seeds to my diet?
A: So many answers here, but I’ll throw these out!
- Make Seed Cycling Candy Bars
- Try them in a Raw Seed Cycling Brownie
- Savory Seed Cycling Crackers
- Blend them to into smoothies
- Add them to a yogurt parfait
- Add them to a bowl of homemade granola
- Add them to an energy ball
- Add them to your oatmeal
- Stir them into your overnight chia pudding
- Add the seeds to your salad (make sure the flax is ground)
- Use a seed butter for snacks and sandwiches
- Add them to your baked goods: breads, cookies, muffins
Paleo Seed Cycling Cups Days 15-28
Makes 14-16 mini-cups*
1 cup of Unsweetened Sunflower Seed Butter
1 cup of Unsweetened Tahini
2/3 cup Hu chocolate or 70% or higher dark chocolate, melted
1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract (opt)
1-2 dropper fulls of Pure Organic Stevia (opt) OR 1-2 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup or Honey
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt (opt)
Cacao Nibs for topping (opt)
Flaked Sea Salt for topping (opt)
Sesame or Sunflower seeds for topping (opt)
*This recipe makes about 1/2 cup more of sunflower and sesame seed butter mix that I love to add to my smoothies, and use as a delicious seed butter for apple slices and celery sticks during my luteal phase.
How to Make Paleo Seed Cycling Cups Days 15-28
1. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave.
2. Line a mini-cupcake pan with liners.
3. Using a small spoon, fill the bottom about 1/8th full of chocolate and freeze for 10-15 minutes while you make the sunflower and sesame seed butter mixture.
4. Add the sunflower seed butter and tahini to a medium bowl and any whole food sweetener or spices you want.
5. Mix well to evenly combine.
6. Take the cupcake tin out of the freezer and add 2 Tbsp of the seed butter mixture to the cupcake liner, it should fill it up to the top. Freeze for 60-minutes until the top has hardened some.
7. Drizzle the remaining chocolate over the top of the seed cycle butter cups and top with anything else you like: flaked sea salt, cacao nibs, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds.
8. Freeze for 2-4 hours until firm.
9. Transfer to a freezer safe container or freezer bag and enjoy 1 seed butter cup every day during your luteal phase.
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Q: Can I keep these seed butter cups in the refrigerator so they aren’t as solid?
A: Absolutely! I just like to keep my frozen to keep the seed butter from running, this mixture is a bit softer than the follicular phase cups. If you are going to keep them in the fridge, I would opt for a container you could stack them up.
Q: Can I use whole sesame seeds in this recipe instead of the tahini?
A: Yes, you can! Just grind it first so you can maximize the absorption of the nutrients and stir it into the sunflower seed butter before making the seed butter cups.
Q: What if I have left over filling?
A: You can do a few things with it, I love to use any leftover seed butter filling to eat with apple slices, celery, on a sandwich, to add to smoothies or oatmeal, or just to eat by the spoonful! OR, you can make extra cups and save them for the next luteal cycle.
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I am a holistic nutritionist with an auto-immune disorder, a love of cooking, and a passion for holistic health.
Sharing what I make and eat with all of you…in hopes that you find inspiration here to fuel your body and feel your best with nutrient dense whole foods and clean eating.