Holy smokes Batman! It sure is hazy over in the inland northwest right now. Massive forest fires are creating a very low quality air situation. Since the air quality index is listed as “hazardous” by the EPA, I am doing my best to remain indoors for the time being!
Fortunately, that means I can still cook and bake 🙂 Some of the things that have really caught my attention this week include:
#1 Seed Cycling + Flax Seed Bread
Seed cycling is a really cool idea used to maintain an optimal hormonal balance in a woman’s cycle. The basic idea is that certain seeds are used during certain times of the cycle to help support the different hormones that are more present.
A quick run down of hormones during a female’s cycle:
Days 1-13 (menstural + follicular phase): working to boost estrogen
Days 14-28 (ovulation + luteal phase): working to boost progesterone
Basically, Day 1 is counted as the first day of menstruation and during this time, women are working to boost estrogen to encourage ovulation. Flax seeds and pumpkin seeds help during this time by encouraging extra estrogen production.
Days 14-28 or after ovulation has occurred is an important time to boost progesterone by consuming seeds like sunflower and sesame. The high content of zinc in sesame seeds and vitamin E in sunflower seeds can stimulate progesterone production and help to bind to and block excess estrogen in the body (more on that here).
Ideally, the seeds consumed during to two phases would help to balance hormones naturally.
Symptoms of “unbalanced” cycles can include:
- amenhorrhea (seed cycling could potentially help this)
- irregular periods
- heavy periods
- hair loss
- weight gain
- water retention
- thyroid issues
- PMS and mood swings
- and more!
For a really detailed article on all the downsides of estrogen-progesterone balance head here.
Now, the fun part! How do you incorporate these seeds into your daily life? The recommended dose is 1 tablespoon of each seed a day during each of the phases. It is also recommended that the seeds be ground instead of whole so that they do not pass through the intestinal tract still in tact.
Ground flax seed (also known as flax seed meal) can be put into smoothies, oatmeal, baked goods (like this DELISH bread I made from Elana’s Pantry) and much more! Pumpkin seeds can be made into seed butter, added to a smoothie, baked goods or taken raw!
Sesame seeds are great for making tahini (the seed butter version), tossing onto roasted veggies and can be a great addition to most baked goods. Sunflower seeds also make a really tasty nut butter and can be used in sauces, smoothies or eaten ground up. If you suspect digestion issues with any of the seeds, be sure to soak and sprout or dehydrate them first to limit the amount of phytic acid. More on why soaking and sprouting is important here.
#2 Delicata Squash
Okay, preeeetty obsessed with this cute little squash right about now. It’s been a lot cooler in the mornings and I am so excited for fall! One thing that never fails to remind me of fall is SQUASH!
Delicata is a perfect squash for roasting, steaming and the freezing for smoothies and for baking with! I am very excited to include it in some awesome baked goods coming up.
Delicata squash is an excellent source of fiber, is a great source for starchy carbohydrates (the body needs these!) and provides tons of Vitamin A and C. Try roasting slices coated in coconut oil and a sprinkle of cinnamon in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes, flipping once half-way through!
#3 Bee Pollen
I have been using bee pollen in my smoothies consistently for a little over a month now. I love the slight sweetness and chew that the the pollen has!
Bee pollen is chock full of nutrition and really helps to boost the immune system, reduce inflammation and promote healing. Along with containing vitamins and minerals, bee pollen is rich in protein, enzymes, fatty acids and amino acids.
Superfood much?! I love adding it as a topping to smoothies but you can also use it on yogurt (dairy-free or not), or even on toast with peanut butter and honey! Double whammy.
#4 You are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero
This book is AMAZING. Seriously, pretty life changing so far. I have not finished it yet but it has made a huge impact on my life already and the way I think about and treat money.
Jen is a super relate-able writer and has such a sense of humor when she writes! I love being able to relate to most of her stories and can really see myself implementing some of the exercises she lists.
I have noticed, for myself, the times I feel “my best” often coincide with the times I am making steps to work on myself and bettering my life with the help of books like Jen’s.
I haven’t yet read You are a Badass by Jen but I have heard many wonderful things about it! I am looking forward to finishing this book and reading the other in the future!
#5 Homemade Sugar Scrubs
I love being able to control the ingredients inside my personal-care products! Sugar scrubs are super simple to make and totally customize-able.
I have been following this recipe and have loved having this scrub to use pre-shave in the shower! Sugar scrubs are amazing for exfoliating and removing dead skin buildup. And honestly, they smell SO GOOD. I have been making a pumpkin spice version to really get myself psyched up for fall!