Seed cycling for hormone support

Pumpkin, flax, sunflower and sesame seeds.
Pumpkin, flax, sunflower and sesame seeds.

These past couple of years, I’ve definitely noticed my hormones going out of whack. The second half of my cycle is often a rollercoaster of uncomfortable physical symptoms and emotions.

A naturopath had recommended seed cycling a few years ago as a food-based way to support my hormones and I did it for a few months but quit because I didn’t feel like I needed it at the time. If only I knew then…

According to the Herbal Academy, seed cycling:

“… integrates different seeds into the diet at different times in the menstrual cycle to support optimal hormonal balance. The idea is that seeds carry certain oils, vitamins, and nutrients that can help support the body’s production, release, and metabolism of hormones. The seeds used in seed rotation are flax and pumpkin seeds, and sesame and sunflower seeds.”

So here’s the routine…

Day 1 to 14

  • 1 tbsp freshly ground flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground pumpkin seeds

Day 15 to 28

  • 1 tbsp freshly ground sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground sesame seeds

And so my smoothies will include two more ingredients as of tomorrow 🙂

I’m also going to keep supporting my hormones in other ways using clary sage essential oil and magnesium supplementation.

Hope this helps!

M.

Disclaimer

 

Natural DIY laundry detergent

Homemade laundry detergent, essential oils, cotton and plastic laundry balls
Homemade laundry detergent, essential oils, cotton and plastic laundry balls

I’ve tried to make my own laundry detergent in the past but it was too complicated and I gave up and went back to store-bought versions. However, when I was introduced to this recipe, I was amazed by how cheap, easy and effective it was. Plus, it made a huge batch!

Ingredients

  1. 1 cup castile soap
  2. 1 cup baking soda
  3. 1/3 cup coarse salt
  4. 7 L hot water
  5. 20 drops essential oil of choice

Instructions

Mix all ingredients in a large bucket or container. Shake each time before use.

I found the large dispensing container in the picture above at Walmart and it works great! I have it sitting on a shelf in my laundry room and pour about 3 oz in a small measuring cup for each load. I also add white, distilled vinegar in the fabric softener section.

I haven’t used laundry sheets in many years now. The first dryer balls I got were just plain blue plastic. Recently, I got cotton ones that I love because I can add essential oils to them for scent.

Hope this helps!

M.

 

Fruit and veggie soak

Strawberries in fruit and veggie soak
Strawberries soaking in vinegar and therapeutic grade lemon essential oil

I do my very best to buy organic produce all the time. However, every now and then it doesn’t work out that way.

When I can’t get organic, or if I get suckered into a two-for-five dollars deal on conventional produce, I make sure to soak it to get as much pesticide and residue off as possible. It only takes  a couple of minutes and it’s super easy.

Place your fruits or veggies in a large bowl and fill with water then add some vinegar. The official measurement is three parts water to one part vinegar but honestly I just eyeball it.  I’m not overly concerned about the ratio.

Alternatively, I’ll fill the bowl with water and add 3 to 5 drops of therapeutic grade essential oils. I normally use lemon or OnGuard. I’m going to stress the word “therapeutic” grade here. If your bottle of essential oils says for topical or aromatic use only, I don’t recommend you use it on something you plan on eating. There’s probably stuff in there you shouldn’t be ingesting and then this whole exercise becomes counter-productive 🙂

Recently, I’ve even been mixing both methods – vinegar and essential oils.

If storing your washed fruits and vegetables, make sure you dry them completely. Pre-washing makes reaching for a healthy snack easy and convenient. I try to include this as part of my food prep routine on the weekend.

Hope this helps 🙂

M.

 

 

Herbal infusions for health

Herbal infusions of red clover and red raspberry
Herbal infusions of red clover and red raspberry leaf

Several years ago, a friend of mine talked to me about the herb called red raspberry leaf. I had already known little about herbs and regularly drank herbal tea, but mainly the usual suspects like chamomile, peppermint, etc.

In addition to smelling and tasting great, herbs are a valuable tool to assist you in reaching optimal health. They can be helpful in boosting your immune system, easing digestion and promoting healing. However, it’s important to remember that some people should avoid certain herbs (e.g. if trying to conceive, during pregnancy or if certain medical conditions are present) and not all herbs should be infused.

Fast forward to today and I have a bunch of herbs filling up cupboards in my kitchen and bins in my storage room. My herbal heroine is Susun Weed and I’ve collected all of her books. She also introduced me to infusions:

An infusion is a large amount of herb brewed for a long time. Typically, one ounce by weight (about a cup by volume) of dried herb is placed in a quart jar which is then filled to the top with boiling water, tightly lidded and allowed to steep for 4-10 hours. After straining, a cup or more is consumed, and the remainder chilled to slow spoilage.

What is the difference between an herbal tea and infusion? An herbal tea is steeped for a short period of time and usually consumed for enjoyment or to provide some relief during a minor illness. On the other hand, an herbal infusion is steeped much longer, uses more of the herb, and provides your body with more vitamins and minerals. I drink teas for taste and infusions for nutrition.

I like to steep my infusions before I go to bed and consume them the next day. I put about a 1/4 cup of herb (depending on the herb) in a mason jar, fill with hot water and cover with the lid. Some of my favourite herbal infusions include: nettle, oatstraw, red clover and red raspberry leaf.

My goal is to one day know enough about herbs to harvest the locally available ones myself. I know we have stinging nettle around here… I’d love to gather some to make soup and dry some for infusions 🙂

M.

Disclaimer

My natural health story

Plant, almonds and a buddha

In my early twenties, I suffered from really bad anxiety. I’m talking debilitating panic attacks. Tightness in chest, couldn’t breathe, heart palpitations, racing heart.

I tried to manage it as best I could, but it only got progressively worse to the point where I had to take time off work. I could not drive on a highway and eventually I could not even be alone for a few minutes. At the time, I was living on my own and my parents were in a different city.

At my lowest point, my parents came to town and rented a hotel room to take care of me. I couldn’t handle being in my own apartment anymore but I couldn’t handle being in public either. I stayed locked up in that hotel room with my parents by my side until I could get it together again. I was literally like Marge in that episode of the Simpsons where she gets mugged and develops agoraphobia.

I sought conventional treatments and made progress but it was always a struggle. I also started researching alternative therapies and became very interested in holistic health. I started supplementing, ate more whole foods, started doing yoga, etc.

However, the game-changer for me was when I got an IgG food sensitivity test done and found out I had an “extremely high” sensitivity to almonds. This was eye-opening to me as I was regularly consuming almonds: almond butter, almond milk, massive bags of tamari almonds from Costco… oops.

I quit the almonds right away and, no joke, the anxiety improved exponentially. That’s when I discovered the real power of food.

Since then, I listen more closely to my body and pay better attention to what I feed it. I’ve noticed it often tells me what it needs or doesn’t need. The challenge is sometimes figuring out what that is 🙂

Hope this helps!

M.

PS – By no means am I suggesting that we should all stop eating almonds and anxiety will be eradicated from this earth – or that managing anxiety is this simplistic. What I learned and want to share is that the food we eat is an integral part of our health and it should never be overlooked as a possible trigger.

Slow cooker bone broth

Bone broth recipe ingredients in slow cookerCalling it bone broth sounds very caveman… it’s more commonly known as chicken or beef broth, depending on the type of bones you choose to make it with.

Bone broth has a host of health benefits. Remember how you had chicken noodle soup as a kid when you were sick?

One of the main reasons I like to consume bone broth is for its collagen content, which can be helpful for cellulite. It is also rich in amino acids and can contribute to improving your health in many ways. I first heard of it benefits while researching ways to improve allergies and enhance gut health.

I find making bone broth in the slow cooker is an easy and convenient way to ensure I have a good supply on hand. Just throw in all of the ingredients and forget about it for a while 🙂

Ingredients

  1. Organic chicken or beef bones
  2. 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  3. 1 tsp salt (and then add more to taste)
  4. 1 celery stalk
  5. 1 carrot
  6. 1 bunch parsley
  7. Herbs of choice
  8. Pepper
  9. Water

Instructions

Put all ingredients in slow cooker and fill to top with water. Set to high for one hour, then on low for a minimum of 12 hours. You can do a “continuous” broth where you take some out and replace with the same amount of water and keep the slow cooker going on low. When you’ve made enough, strain into a container and store in refrigerator. I sometimes freeze batches for future use in recipes.

Finished bone broth in jug

I’ll reheat about a cup of broth and sip in the evenings, especially during the cold weather season.

Enjoy!

M.

 

Sniffles and a neti pot

Neti pot, baking soda and sea salt

Anyone that know me well knows that I am the worst when it comes to a stuffy, sniffly nose. This past week was terrible, as I caught a bad cold right before the holidays.

A few years back, I caved and decided to try this weird device called a neti pot. I hesitated at first… The process sounded kind of gross. Now after seeing the benefits, and on further thought, I love it and now think it’s kind of gross to not wash your nose. Don’t we wash the rest of ourselves?

Neti pots are used for nasal saline irrigation which basically means you rinse your nose with salt water. Doing so helps thin and flush out mucus (yuck). You can buy a pre-made saline rinse or I started making my own of equal parts pure sea salt and baking soda (1/4 tsp each).

Tea tree, lavender and easy air essential oils

Since introducing more essential oils into my life, I’ve been adding a drop of pure tea tree and/or lavender essential oil to my neti pot rinses every now and then. I have definitely noticed a difference in the effectiveness of the rinses.

Another thing I do to help with the stuffiness and sniffles at night is to put a drop of essential oil on both bottom corners of my pillow (I turn around a lot). I normally use eucalyptus but this time I tried “easy air” and it worked even better for me. In fact, once the aroma wore off, I woke up in the middle of the night all stuffed up. I put a few more drops and fell right back asleep until morning. Easy air also works well in the diffuser.

Obviously, I follow this routine when I am sick. However, I will sometimes do the neti pot as a preventive measure (i.e. after taking a flight or train ride or during allergy season).

Hope this helps!

M.