We each have our own way of approaching this time of year…
It’s a transition.
One thing ends and another begins.
Resolutions or absolution of resolutions?
Which is your personal preference?
Whether you’ve committed to one or the other it seems to be what all the emails in my inbox have been about for the past week – how to approach a fresh start or how to ditch the desire to do so.
My personal intention is to ease into the new year with some conscious new habits, instead of leaping in with shiny new intentions (that may not stay shiny for long).
I’d like to invite you to do the same.
But that’s not exactly what I mean by “the grace period” – even though it does sound like a graceful way to ease into the new year, now that I think about it!
Instead, by “grace period,” I’ve been reflecting on that occasional day where you overindulge, eating more cookies or chocolate than you intended, whether it be holiday or not, and what happens in the day or two afterward.
Stay here and reflect with me for a moment, as I believe doing so will put a subtle slant on the spirit of your new year.
Getting back to the realm of the occasional overindulgence, first let’s establish that we all have those days. (It’s called being human – and I’m so glad we are!)
No matter whether your new year’s dietary intentions are to kick the sugar habit, lose a few pounds, or stick to some new parameters that are what the “doctor” ordered, a foray or two off the given path is likely to happen. You may be dairy-free yet decide to go out for gluten-free pizza a few times a year, or you might find yourself whipping up a recipe for almond flour scones and eating half the batch.
No matter our given dietary guidelines and “slip-ups,” it’s nearly impossible to walk the straight-and-narrow day after day, meal-after-meal and not venture off that path.
Friends laugh at what it means for me to venture off the path (sprouted corn tortillas, roasted potatoes, raw goat cheese, and, yes, too many cassava flour or plantain-based cookies or scones – but usually not all at once!). And, yes, I do it too!
And one thing I’ve noticed is that there’s always a grace period. (Hang with me, this is where things get interesting.)

The Grace Period

I can indulge and partake in the foods that satisfy my taste buds but that I know don’t ultimately satisfy my health (whether that be my digestion, my energy, my mood, my constant intentions to quell the silent inflammation that can incite my body’s tendency toward autoimmunity, or even my body composition), and there may be a day where I don’t feel the “pain.”
The grace period lasts as long as the indulgence does not.

During that grace period I’ll be relieved to wake up in the morning and slip on my jeans without problem. (It’s less about weight, for me, than about a thickening caused by inflammation.) Or, hooray, there are no puffy bags under my eyes (my telltale sign that the inflammation is quietly brewing within).
But if the indulgence continues, if I am tricked into thinking that the grace period is indicative of my “new norm,” then I may no longer be standing in the face of grace.
Now I’m not talking about eating something that you know does your body no-good at all.
I’m not talking about a day of fast food fries or digging into the stash of the kid’s leftover Halloween candy in an act of desperation. (We are talking about grace here. And that includes a level of tuning into your body and treating it with respect, and abiding by a personal oath to do it no harm.)
For instance, my personal indulgences don’t include gluten, eggs or sugar because I’ll feel that permissiveness right away. For me and for my body, there’s not a bit of grace in those allowances!
Instead, what I’m talking about, and what allows for the grace, are the things that your body can tolerate in moderation, on occasion – whether that be a particular food, food category or just a larger quantity of something yummy than you usually consume.
It’s like gracefully veering off the path in the forest to pick a few berries (not the poisonous ones), and then getting right back on course – heading slowly but steadily toward your intended destination.
That intended destination = feeling your best as often as possible!

Of course you may see some more berries a few hundred yards ahead and have to decide whether or not to veer once again! In that choice, you find your own grace. Time and time again.
Since indulgence is natural, human, to be expected, and also quite the norm this time of year, I’d like to share some of my easiest tips for Saving Grace for the new year.
These are so easy, consider them reminders of the power of the small steps!

Saving Grace Tip#1

Drink lots of water.
In fact, this is my BIGGEST TIP for you in starting your new year right!
The water you drink will help to flush out any excesses and cut down on the bloat. In fact, drink plenty of water before heading out tonight and certainly tomorrow.

Saving Grace Tip#2

Eat lots of vegetables and low-glycemic fruits.
The produce in your fridge are like nature’s best detoxers. They’re loaded with water, fiber and nutrients that will fill and cleanse you, and set you back on course if you stepped off.
If you’re feeling like you want to move back into the face of grace, then plan a day with a “salad” at each meal – that salad can be blended into a smoothie or soup, an extra layer of cooked greens or cauliflower rice beneath your protein of choice, or a heaping tablespoon of kraut on your dinner plate.
Whatever you choose, on your post excess day, think about heading into the veggie kingdom.

Saving Grace Tip#3

Don’t skip meals.
Be kind to yourself and set yourself up for success. If you skimp, you’re likely to become a wimp when it comes to saying ‘no’ to the other half batch of goodies on the counter, intended for the rest of the household.
You remain in grace when you just return to what you know is best, the plan at hand.

Saving Grace Tip#4

Let it go.
Enjoy what you enjoyed and move ahead. And then, you’ve harnessed the grace.
In grace and gratitude and a very happy new year to you!
Andrea Nakayama


Functional Nutrition Alliance provides the comprehensive online Functional Nutrition training in the Science & Art of the Functional Nutrition practice. Learn to address the roots of your clients’ suffering with client education, diet & lifestyle modifications.