When I spoke with Devon Loftus, founder of Moon Cycle Bakery, she had to pause partway through our conversation to tend to her goats. Devon lives on a farm in Washington where she not only crafts hormone-supportive, nutrient-dense baked goods, but she also strives to “bring wellness to someone who won’t always step into a juice shop.” She wants wellness to be inclusive, and she wants to tell the world that nutrition doesn’t work the same way for everyone. “I refuse to accept the status quo,” she says. “I don’t want to accept the standard, limited beliefs.”
She’s referring in part to how we think about self-care, which Devon wants to help reframe. She says that its about choice: “We each get to decide what we need, and know we are worthy, empowered,” she says. This idea extends into her Moon Cycle Bakery business, where she bakes sweet treats that help you feel good during your menstrual cycle. She founded the bakery with the intention of creating a community where “we can cultivate the belief that it’s possible and important to satisfy our cravings and nourish our bodies—that we don’t have to give up one for the other.” We chatted more with Devon about how Moon Cycle started, and how female empowerment is a key goal of her mission (plus, she shared a new recipe with us that we promise you’ll want to try ASAP).
You talk about “encouraging individuals to celebrate the magic that lives within their cycle.” Why is that an important piece of your mission?
This is a pillar of our foundation because as a woman, I feel that there are many times in our lives where we offer up our power, often times subconsciously. This can be seen in the way society encourages us to over-exert ourselves without filling our own cup first, that self-care and setting boundaries in place to own our power can be considered “selfish.” Or in the workplace, as we continue to take action for equal pay to our male counterparts.
Stepping into the power we harness as women is extremely important to me and I believe that menstruation is a place where we can tend to relinquish just how strong and powerful we are. Many of us were raised speaking about and therefore thinking about our period as a burden and something to keep quiet. This isn’t to say that sometimes our periods can’t absolutely suck and totally feel like a burden, but what I’m more curious about is what happens when we create enough space for ourselves to take a step back and look at who we become when we own our experience instead of running from it.
As a society, we look in awe at pregnant women and it’s not hard to see why—they are total warriors. But in addition to that, why not go back further and look at what we step into on a monthly basis, sometimes without much of an idea of how this month is going to feel, what it’s going to bring up and what tools we’re going to have at the ready to accept it? To me, that’s a reminder of our innate strength and power—power that we can carry into many challenges in our life.
Tell us about the hormone-supportive ingredients you use in your baked goods.
At Moon Cycle Bakery, we want to straddle the line between food that feeds your soul—makes you happy, lifts you up, settles in and feels cozy—and food that will help nourish your body. Some of the ingredients we use can help during different parts of the cycle, including a fan favorite, chocolate. When we crave chocolate during our cycle, it may be a good indicator that we are lacking in the micronutrient magnesium. Our magnesium drops when our estrogen + progesterone rises during the luteal phase, causing some not so great side effects including headaches, bloating, low blood sugar, constipation, sugar cravings and fluid retention. Cacao comes to the rescue and is a helper in replenishing magnesium, administering antioxidants and tasting delicious.
Honey is another ingredient we use in several of our treats. Honey can lead to the same amount of pain relief as an NSAID (Advil, etc). Studies have shown that in the first three days of menstruation, honey and the NSAID led to the same amount of pain relief in women with pain during menstruation, and is suggested to be used for pain relief due to its lower side effects and pharmacological complications.
And in celebration of our newest thumbprint cookie, raspberries re-enter the scene. Besides being totally delicious, Raspberries are high in vitamin C, which helps your body absorb iron. This is a reason to cheer when we’re losing anywhere from four tablespoons to one cup of blood every month.
How do your baked goods help empower women?
Our goal is that our baked goods are an entryway into empowerment in a few ways. Firstly, it’s a reminder to slow down, to take space for yourself and to give yourself at least one moment a day where you enjoy something on your own time at your own pace. Self-care/self-love has become a buzzword, but in no way is it trendy—it’s HARD. And it’s necessary in order to live a sustainable life that includes deep joy and love for ourselves and others.
Secondly, we’re here to try and re-shape the perspective we may have about our cycles. It may start with our period but eventually the acceptance of a cycle that can feel messy and uncomfortable leads to compassion for ourselves and ultimately, others. And dare I say we may find that we begin to celebrate the messy? Isn’t that the reason we’re here? To experience fully without judgement and shame but with ownership of who we are and how we experience life?
I feel that when we own our story, which includes our cycles and parts of life that make us us, we brighten our light and we encourage others to step into the same empowerment. Lastly, we love learning and sharing education on how we can support ourselves through our diet and lifestyle. Education creates empowerment by helping us to better understand ourselves and our bodies and how WE choose to support it. There are limitless possibilities when we tap into that empowerment and confidence within ourselves.
Tell us how you define self-care.
I define self-care as doing whatever it is that makes you happy to be alive in any given moment. Self-care feels a bit undefinable for me as I find parts of it are always evolving and growing as I evolve and grow and other aspects, like waking up and washing my face because it helps me feel ready for the day, are steadfast. A big part of my self-care is not judging or comparing my self-care practices. I feel it can be easy to get bogged down in what we “should” be doing or what someone else is doing or what the influencer we really admire is doing, and while that inspiration + connection is beautiful and much needed, it doesn’t dictate what we decide we need to do for ourselves. We are so capable of caring for ourselves when we practice listening to our intuition and bodies and honor whatever we need without judgement and with trust—a donut, a trip home, a call with our best friend or a salad—that is the definition of self-care to me.
How can people get your goodies?
To order our goodies, you can head to www.mooncyclebakery.shop and set up a profile to get started! If you want to sign up for a subscription-based service that teams up with our period tracker, in which you receive treats every month, we offer a monthly, six-month and annual package. You can choose between two and three treats per order. You’re also able to order a one-time order and our sampler package. Our site will be expanding in the coming weeks including the option to checkout as a guest for one-time orders (no profile needed) and order an endless amount of treats.
What recipe are you sharing with us and how will it help support our cycle?
I’m sharing my Tahini + Raspberry Jam Bite recipe! As summer settles in, I find myself constantly craving that traditional peanut butter and jelly combination that reminds me of picnics and days in the park under the sun as a kid. This is my take on that. The tahini gives that nutty taste while my recent favorite Trader Joe’s find, Organic Raspberry Fruit Spread (sweetened with white grape juice!), comes in with that summery jam vibe. I’m just learning about seed cycling and have talked to women in my community who swear by it, so when tahini kept showing up in my fridge, I decided to research more about it.
Seed cycling is based on the concept that integrating different seeds into our diet at different times in the menstrual cycle helps to support hormone balancing. The thought is that seeds carry certain fats, vitamins and nutrients that can help support the body’s production, release and metabolism of hormones. The seeds used in seed cycling are flax and pumpkin seeds and sesame and sunflower seeds.
Lignans in seeds help to eliminate excess estrogen through their gentle phytohormone activity. Excess estrogen is a common concern that can cause excess body fat, PMS symptoms, ovarian cysts and other challenges. Because of this, sesame seeds are used during the Luteal Phase of seed cycling (usually from day 15 [about] to 28, or until menses) to help balance excess estrogen. Every body is different and metabolizes at a different rate, so I recommend always talking with your doctor or nutritionist before trying something new.
Hormone balancing aside, this gluten-free + dairy-free treat is perfect for backyard get-togethers or a midday snack (best when eaten on a hammock) and is kid friendly! I’m always trying to strike that balance between nutritional and soulfully satisfying and this hits them both.
Tahini and Raspberry Jam Bites
Recipe by Devon Loftus
Yield: 12, 1.5-inch diameter bites
Total recipe time: 20 minutes
- 1.5 cup almonds
- 1/4 cup Tahini
- 1/4 Trader Joe’s Raspberry Fruit Spread
- 1.5 tsp. honey
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup sesame seeds (to roll bites in afterwards)
- Chunk out almonds in food processor or blender.
- Add remainder of ingredients and combine until it’s a dough-like texture.
- Roll into 1.5 inch balls.
- Roll balls in sesame seeds.
- Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.
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