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Enjoy the benefits of hormonal health in full bloom

September is the beginning of a new season and a good time to relook your hormonal well-being. We’d like to focus on women’s health, starting with an intro to menstrual cups, a quick look at seed cycling and we have a beautiful quinoa porridge recipe to share – and here’s how they all work together:

MENSTRUAL CUPS

Photo by Rubycup

A menstrual cup is a flexible rubber or silicone cup designed to use inside the vagina during your period. The cup collects the menstrual flow rather than absorbing it like tampons or pads do. Tampons are also made from cotton, which is bleached with chlorine. This chlorine is an ingredient that is sadly tested on animals.

Advantages of using a cup:
They are reusable so you save money and there is less landfill waste.
Vaginal pH and beneficial bacteria stay in place (tampons absorb all of these).
You can wear the cup up to 12 hours before emptying and it is easy to use.

All menstrual cups sold at Shop Zero are made from silicone, so they are suitable for latex-sensitive ladies. And remember, the only way to know if a menstrual cup is right for you, is to give it a try – and we are always happy to share our experience and advice here at Shop Zero. Your monthly cycle is about so much more than just your period – which is only the first phase of your cycle. Using a cup also puts you in touch with your body, giving you a better insight into your flow and anatomy.

SEED CYCLING

Image supplied by Francesca Rose

Seed cycling is a gentle way to balance your hormones throughout the two phases of your menstrual cycle by using the nutrients in seeds. All you need is two tablespoons of seeds each day. The first half of your cycle you’d eat pumpkin and flax seeds which help with producing, metabolising and detoxing estrogen. In the second half of your cycle you’d eat sunflower and sesame seeds to help with progesterone production, metabolisation and detoxification.

Women struggling with symptoms of PMS, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), post-birth control syndrome (PBCS), irregular periods, acne, and breast tenderness could greatly benefit from seed cycling. Local women’s wellness enthusiast, Francesa Rose, focuses on balancing hormones through balanced meals. She has developed an inspiring 200-page ebook packed with information and recipes, and was kind enough to share one with us.

Berry Quinoa Porridge
INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup almond milk (or coconut milk)
1 cup water
5 chopped dates
1 cup mixed berries (I used strawberries, cherries and blueberries)
1 ripe banana
1/2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1-2 tsp beetroot powder
1 tsp flaxseeds (freshly ground)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
A dash of Himalayan crystal salt

TO SERVE
Some beetroot slivers
A drop of beetroot sprouts
A dollop of coconut yoghurt (feel free to mix it with some beetroot powder for a fancy pink hue) A drizzle of tahini (or roasted almond butter)
A sprinkle of activated buckwheat

Image supplied by Francesca Rose

METHOD
Thoroughly rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Grind the flaxseeds in a coffee grinder or by hand with a mortar and pestle. Roughly chop the pumpkin seeds and dates. Gently mash the banana and berries with a fork. Keep the juice from the berries.

Bring the quinoa, water and almond milk to a boil in a medium-size saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and cook for 15-20 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Add the mashed banana and berries (with its juice) halfway through cooking. Stir in banana and the berries to ooze out the bright red colours.

Once the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, remove from heat and add the cinnamon, vanilla, beetroot powder, flaxseeds, pumpkin seed and dates. Stir to combine. Cover and let stand for five minutes. Taste and adjust flavour as needed. Add a bit more almond milk if you prefer the texture thinner. Serve up the quinoa in a bowl and top with your desired toppings. Keep any leftovers in the fridge for breakfast for the following week!

For more delicious recipes like this one, check out Francesca’s Rose’s ebook. It features 28 vegan recipes that work with, and correlate to your menstrual cycle and the moon cycle, based on the concept of seed cycling. Follow @francescaeatsroses on Instagram for amazing tips on period health, healing and getting your period back!

On Sunday, 22 September Shop Zero is hosting an informative Women’s Health Workshop with @hormonal.harmony and @rona_mindful_cycles_sa. The morning will be about Aligning with the Rhythm of Nature: Conscious Consumerism & your Menstrual Cycle. Keep your eyes peeled on our social media. This event will take place at our store and tickets will be available soon.

What better way to introduce spring this year than celebrating the natural rhythm of death and rebirth that occurs in women’s bodies every month. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the menstrual cup and your cycle… please share any insights here.

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