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Seed Cycling is amazing!

Or is it…

I always try to be transparent with my readers. In my journey here with everything life has thrown me in the last 5 or so years, I’ve shared the good, the bad, and the ugly. One of the recent highlights though, pertains to my success at losing weight (finally!).

One of the elements I chose to incorporate after, what I thought was, careful consideration, was Seed Cycling. If you’re not familiar, there are 4 types of seeds and two cycles in which you eat 2 different combinations of the seeds.

I read article after article, extolling the benefits of the naturally balanced cycle. Since one of the criteria that led me to my inquiry into the process was wonky cycles, especially regarding consistent weight loss, I wanted to see if this would be a good fit for me.

All natural, right?? I shouldn’t even have to worry. Here’s a funny little thing about myself, though – I’ve had horrific acne since the moment I turned 13. Now that I’m in my 30’s, it has FINALLY gotten itself under control. What did I do? I don’t have a specific formula, to be perfectly honest. Do I eat better? Sure, but I never ate “horribly” to begin with. Did I start specific intermittent fasting? Yes, but this began long before I began IF. Here’s what I think the key was for me: controlling my overactive inflammation.

I take a highly bio-available CBD oil fairly regularly. I drink plenty of water, and almost exclusively water or coffee. I take highly bio-available supplements that have been confirmed as necessary by routine bloodwork, or by specific symptoms (for example, muscle twitching or cramping, when I’m definitely well-hydrated is generally a sign of a lack of magnesium or potassium. Potassium rarely does much for me, but magnesium bisglycinate works wonders). Bottom line: I’ve done significant work to relatively naturally get my inflammation levels to a reasonable status. My joints don’t hurt like I’m 90 anymore. I get fewer headaches. In conjunction with IF, I’ve lost a more significant amount of weight than ever before. But I still felt like I was missing a key to “balancing” those hormonal fluctuations that still plagued me.

Now, if we want to talk psychology, I was mentally and emotionally quite numb to all emotions until I was in my 30’s. Depersonalizing and dissociating are powerful tools the mind uses to keep one safe from external circumstances. So when my body was no longer harboring pharmaceutical hormones from birth control and I came into some emotional and mental maturity in this new phase of life, I was appalled that this roller coaster of emotional “feels” was going to slap me silly every month. Even now, no longer experiencing the physical doom of a menstrual cycle, I still experienced essentially every other part. I was desperate to come up with a solution.

Enter seed cycling. Absolutely ~glowing~ reviews from all corners of the web. I took a concerted effort to find any articles condemning the practice. Even when I searched “could seed cycling cause XYZ problems,” it was still several results down before I got to anyone saying “hey, you might have a bad time.”

Because my inflammation is well managed already, I think this cycling and its ingredients and nutrients threw my system into utter chaos. My skin was NUTS (pun definitely intended). I attributed my joints aching to the weather getting colder, but could it be part of this? I felt like I was weirdly bloated at odd times. I started digging. “Could seed cycling CAUSE acne.”

Here’s an excerpt from the lone page I found that was not so fond of Seed Cycling:

The idea that nuts & seeds are anti-inflammatory is partially true. You see, the polyunsaturated fats in nuts and seeds have an immunosuppressive effect by suppressing the cells that drive up inflammation.⁠

Remember, inflammation is an emergency response to danger, damage or stress. It is the body’s way of dealing with it.

Something that SUPPRESSES inflammation is NOT the same thing as removing the root problems driving inflammation.⁠

Many women with PMS, PCOS, hormonal imbalances, irregular cycles, etc. are in a serious state of metabolic stress.⁠

Jessica Ash Wellness

Basically, what I figure I did to myself, was taking a relative balance (or at the very least, consistent balance) of hormones, stress, and inflammatory homeostasis, and threw it into utter chaos and imbalance. This path may work wonders for some people, but please know that this could cause bigger issues. Stay vigilant if you decide to try this route.

Another thing I discovered in my further research is that Pumpkin seeds, 25% of Seed Cycling, are extremely high in Arginine, which is a major irritant for anyone prone to suffering from HSV-1 or HSV-2 (cold sores; oral or genital herpes). In reality, peanuts and seeds are to be avoided in general because they can break down whatever defenses your body may have built to successfully suppress the virus. Its estimated that 67% of the world population suffers from HSV-1 and about 11-13% HSV-2, and that is just what we know about who it has actually been detected in. It can lie dormant for long stretches or completely undetected for an entire lifetime. Of course, most everything affects people differently, and even with a known infection, it may not cause you any issues! But it is something to be aware of, in case you’ve been considering Seed Cycling.

I hope that my limited experience and research will help at least one person make a fully educated decision about approaching this “natural” route to health care. It may not be as beneficial as one had hoped.

~ Much Love and HEALTH! ~ Jess

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I <3 Eating

This feels like my fast talking, but its a pretty big realization for me!

I’m 24 hours into a 48 hour fast, being bombarded with ads, posts, reels, etc with FOOD. Freaking food. Delicious food. Desserts, pasta, soups, roasts, dumplings, even ramen.

Its American culture; eat!

Click to view this awesome infographic larger! Laan, S. (2022, June 24). Portion sizes around the world. Infographics Archive. Retrieved October 2, 2022, from https://www.infographicsarchive.com/infographic-serving-sizes-around-the-world/

Ok lets really talk about this because its bugging the crap out of me. One of the biggest changes I had to make with my intermittent fasting routine was portion size. Next was frequency of eating, but first thing I had to tackle was wanting to eat “all the things” and a lot of it. American portion sizes are enormous to say the absolute least. Check out the startling comparisons in this infographic –>

I have several friends, who, in another lifetime would be professional chefs (if it wasn’t for capitalism and having to maintain insufferable employment to survive). I can’t imagine being so talented in the kitchen and feeling capable of successfully breaking negative food habits. Now, I’m not terrible. In fact, I think I’m a pretty decent cook. But I’ve been cooking for one for so long that my skills leave me less than motivated to cook at all. I cook the “meal for an army” size and then eat leftovers for the week rather than tempting myself to overeat because I made something different every day.

Now, don’t misunderstand me – I’m not saying I don’t deserve to nourish myself, or don’t deserve to eat delicious things. I just know my level of willpower is not as impressive as I’d hope.

I’ve spent over 30 years on earth enjoying food whenever and however I please. Until I hit my 30’s, simply the *enjoyment* was what mattered. It was basically my understanding and “energy” that all I had to do was not feel guilty, and I could basically enjoy what I wanted. My metabolism/body/insulin resistance/hormones … whatever you’d like to label the issue or issues, changed. I have never been an overeater in the binge/purge sense. I just really like food. But my body hit a wall with what I could eat and how much I could eat! I bet you’re shaking your head, especially if you’re also in your 30’s or older. It runs you over like a truck barreling around a blind corner. One day you’re enjoying a coffee and donut, lunch, a snack, a carb-heavy dinner, the next day you’re wondering why you feel like garbage and you’re gaining weight at an unreasonable pace.

So maybe you started exercising. Cutting down on carbs. Maybe you even paid for a nutrition plan (like I did) and a fitness plan (like I did) and it works for a little! Yay you’ve lost some weight, you feel a little stronger. And then it stops. So you juggle things around; you still feel good, but the weight loss has stalled and you’re definitely not at a comfortable weight yet

— Men, just keep on scrolling, because the chances that you can relate are so slim. This seems to be almost an AFAB issue, and I’ve already argued with a man who insists diet & exercise are the ObViOuS and singular solution to the weight issue this week. —

ANYWAY! Things stalled. You did all the right things and they didn’t work like they’re supposed to magically work. So you just go back to all the delicious foods and “regular” portions.

Now this is the point where I read The Obesity Code and realized that first of all, throughout all of this, my refined carbohydrate intake and sugar (real or fake) intake have both been unhinged. Was it bad? No! Precisely why I didn’t even think anything of it. Everything fit within my macros and calorie counts. When I started adjusting things according to the book and my coach’s guidance, I realized just how absurd American eating habits are.

Portion sizes are astronomical. We are encouraged to literally eat 5-6 times a day. We slap a few weak vegetables on our plate each week and call it a day. I could keep going but I imagine you know that our eating habits are absolutely wild in this country. My biggest revelation and my motivation for this particular post has to do with portion size, though.

I just freaking love to eat. Food is f****ing GOOD. Sweet, salty, savory, complex, spicy, I love it. Its the experience of eating, savoring the flavors, especially enjoying it with friends and loved ones. The smells, the textures, all of it. I will bet you can relate. Many centuries ago, famine was a genuine and frequent risk; our ancestors imbedded famine-busting tactics on our DNA. Most of which includes enjoy food, take advantage of what’s available to you, and don’t waste it. I bet most of us also grew up in “Clean Plate Club” households, too. We were always encouraged (often demanded) to clean our plates regardless of how we feel. So combine the Clean Plate Club mentality with our carefully encoded anti-famine DNA and we have a recipe for disaster when we’re constantly surrounded by abundant, delicious food.

Quite possibly my greatest frustration with any length of fasting is that I just crave the comfort, feel, smell, taste (etc etc etc) of FOOD. The mental battle I wage is astounding. The logic of the situation is that I’m not even genuinely hungry. I’m looking for a fix. And there we have it. My brain whacks that dopamine buzzer like its on Family Feud and it doesn’t care if it knows the answer. Meanwhile Steve Harvey (me) is rolling his eyes because he know full well I don’t actually need whatever my brain is having a tantrum over.

None of this is to say I’m ignoring when I’m genuinely hungry. There have been days when I planned to do a longer fast but I stopped. I have to listen to how I feel – sometimes its a mental battle I’m not able to wage that day, sometimes I feel faint and its definitely time to get a good re-feeding period in regardless of my plan. But its 100% possible to make it through safe fasting lengths.

Now that you know you aren’t alone, that the challenge to intermittently fast effectively can be daunting, and that we all have our battles, do you think you’re better prepared to take control of your health too?

In the next few posts, I’ll talk more about battling Dopamine Demons and the purpose of intermittently fasting without breaking your fast!

-Love, Light and Health! ~ Jess

An EXCELLENT book! (I may receive a small commission for referring you to this listing)