Author Archives: Kelly Andrew

About Kelly Andrew

Milwaukee lover. Wine learner. Sort-of-runner. Music enthusiast.

Detoxing through Reiki


Tonight, as an unexpected addition to my cleanse, I was blessed to practice reiki for the first time. As I was reviewing the cleanse guidelines yesterday, I noticed that a suggested add-on to day 5 was energy work which includes reiki and acupuncture. My friend Rebecca recently opened Mosaic Wellness Studio in Germantown, so I emailed her to inquire if she provides reiki. I was in luck! Although her treatment rooms are not quite ready yet (her yoga studio and retail store are bustling though!) she offered me a session, on the condition that I ignore the construction equipment in her back hallway. Of course I agreed, and off I went to Mosaic.

I’ve never practiced reiki before, nor did I really know much about it going into the session. Frankly, I was a little surprised that it was recommended by a physician trained in western medicine, so I guess that made me even more curious. Rebecca had me lay down on a heated mat filled with amethyst (yes, she pulled up the sheets and I kid you not, there were rows of little amethyst chips sewn into the mat) which is intended to stimulate and soothe the mind and emotions.

Rebecca began the session by “scanning” my body from toe to head which was basically just floating her hands over each area and gently placing her hands down at times. She explained to me that the practice of reiki is meant to tune in to the chakras and make sure energy is balanced between them. She started with the root chakra, and moved up my body through the sacrum, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye and crown (yes, she gave me a lovely worksheet after our session to help me remember these). She said that she had set her intention for the session for healing and cleansing, but that she is more of a vessel, an that the energy is actually doing the work. She warned me that I may not really feel anything other than relaxed, or I may feel some heat as she worked on certain areas, or even a magnetic type feeling.

During my session, I did feel heat coming into me from her hands. I felt extremely relaxed, and even got into a meditative state during the second half. During my meditation, I focused on releasing toxins, negative energy and the past from my body and soul. I visualized it moving out of my hands and feet (Rebecca had told me earlier that those are the places where most detoxification can happen). When Rebecca got to my throat chakra (this chakra’s function is inspiration and expression) I felt something – I can’t explain it well, but it was a blocking – my breathing wasn’t as easy, and I wonder if this has something to do with the challenge I’m having with my business identity right now. I also felt something different when she was working on the third eye (this chakra’s function is seeing and wisdom) – I felt almost like I was hearing electrical currents or something.

Now I know, to many of you all of this probably sounds whack-a-doodle and you’d laugh at someone for spending money on such a thing. But I’ll tell you this – I sort of get why reiki was recommended at this point in the cleanse. In the first couple of days, it’s more about movement and detoxing the physical toxins out of your body, and frankly, physically expelling the bad stuff. This practice, on day 5, left me feeling emotionally light and balanced. I was surprised at how nice my body felt on the way home. No hunger cravings. No tummy rumbling to poop some more. No headache. Just plain old nice.

If you are open to it, I do recommend trying reiki. I know that it will do different things for different people, and I think that’s okay. Tonight, it helped me release some things on a different plane than the caffeine, alcohol, sugar and wheat that I’ve been detoxing from all week. It helped me send some feelings away, and made me feel good, and quite frankly, if that’s what it takes, then that’s pretty cool.

Mosaic Wellness Logo

Oh, and if you’re in the Germantown area, I encourage you to check out Mosaic Wellness. They’re on Facebook, too. They have a gorgeous yoga studio with a variety of classes and teachers each week, awesome retail goods (I bought a beautiful scarf and a lip balm tonight), and coming in February, the treatment rooms will be available for massage, reiki, etc. Support local, y’all!

Detoxification Cleanse – Day 5


I told you from the beginning that I would be honest about how I feel during the cleanse, so I will. I’m flabbergasted by how good I am right now, after the fasting day. This is my third time doing a variation of this 7-day cleanse, and I have some very different experiences to compare. The first time that I did it, I had such a headache  that I didn’t get out of bed for a couple of the days. I’ve experienced extreme fatigue.

And to be really honest – I’ve never made it through the fasting day before – I’ve always had to add in something (usually a big salad or sweet potato saute) to get through. But yesterday was different. I drank a lot of tea, and I had a cup of vegetable broth around 10:00 and a cup of beef broth (I guess that’s sort of cheating) around 1:00. I whipped up a vitalizing beverage (juice of 1 lemon, 3 tbsp. maple syrup, 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper and seltzer water in a big glass) around 4:00 and that was it! It was perfect timing that a friend called to invite me to see a movie last night, so I was distracted for a couple of hours that are normally my snacking/eating hours. I will admit, it was hard to turn down popcorn at the theater, but not that hard.

This success leads me to two conclusions, neither of which are based in fact or what anyone has told me, but which will give you an idea of who I am and how I function.

Conclusion 1: I must be so fat now that my body doesn’t even respond to going a day without food, it just lives off of itself. While I know this is most likely false, this is how my mind works right now. The negativity has to go, but I think it’s something I’ll always work on.

Conclusion 2: I must be way less polluted than I have been in the past to have less symptoms of detox. This may be true, although again, it’s not based in any research or advisement from an expert. I am in a very different place in life now than I have been for my past cleanses. There is a lot less stress in my life, I’m not stopping at Starbucks every day for a Venti Latte, I’m not drinking alcohol on as frequent a basis as I have in the past – there are a lot of factors that have changed for me recently. And I will take this for what it is – it may have nothing to do with the cleanse symptoms, but I’m grateful that this is where my life is, and that I’m making a move toward changing my body.

Today is day 5, back to fruits and vegetables only, which means I’m back to my leftover soup and spaghetti squash marinara. As you might expect, I’m getting a little bit bored with these meals. I’ve got three new dishes for the last two days of the cleanse – a broccoli-slaw salad, a quinoa salad, and a spinach and white bean crockpot soup. I may whip up the broccoli-slaw salad today without the pumpkin and sunflower seeds, just for some variety. We’ll see how the day goes.

I’m thankful to be feeling good today, but please know that if you are going through this cleanse process and you don’t feel great, it’s just fine. Everyone is in a different place, and everyone’s body will respond differently.

Detoxification Cleanse – Day 4


Today’s the big day. My cleanse guidelines instruct me to avoid eating any solid food; drink plenty of water, broth, juice, and tea. Although I didn’t make the Superfoods Detox Broth, I do have some vegetable broth in the house that I’ll warm up (it’s still in the negative degrees here in WI, so soup is totally appropriate!) I’m also prepared with a wide variety of tea (I think I drank four pots yesterday – I just brew the tea in my 12-cup coffee maker), the ingredients for vitalizing beverage, and if I get really desperate, I’ve got a cucumber, carrots, apples and oranges that I can juice.

Yesterday began to get challenging for me. Maybe it was just a Monday where I was cooped up in the house all day, but I struggled with focus and some negative thinking. I got hungry in the afternoon, so instead of my ants on a log snack, I made some sweet potato hash:

sweet potato hash


This is a really easy solution and I’ve added beans and more veggies to make it into a full dinner before. I just shred a sweet potato using my food processor attachment, heat about 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a skillet and cook it with about 1/4 of a red onion and a bunch of spices: salt, pepper, and this time I used Penzey’s Forward! salt-free blend.

I did notice that about an hour after this meal, I truly started to cleanse (ie – my bowel was moving and hasn’t stopped since). I’m thankful right now that I work from home, and that it’s too cold to go anywhere, because it’s nice to just be able to let this process happen and not feel weird about running to the bathroom frequently.

My negative thinking struggle is a whole different aspect of this process, and trust me, I battle with it outside of my cleanse time, too. There was a realization yesterday, that I should move my body, I needed to sweat, but I felt trapped in the house and couldn’t even take a walk. I’m eagerly awaiting the delivery of my new treadmill (3 more days!) but until then, I need to figure out ways to deal with this. At one point I thought that maybe I should just give up and order a pizza (I didn’t). I also had the internal conversation of, “you’re never going to loose the weight, so why are you even doing this?” I can tell you this: I’m doing this because I love life and I want to live it well, in a body that can take on anything. I started a business, and it’s my responsibility to my business and my clients to be the best me, to feel good, to be productive and sharp, and this cleanse is a way that I can start down that road.

Today will absolutely be the most difficult, but I’m ready for it. Day 4 can bring it on!

Detoxification Cleanse – Day 3


Day three: let the pooping begin!

Don’t be turned off by it, we all know the whole purpose of a cleanse is to actually remove the toxins from your body, and what better way to do that than through sweat, sneezing, and, well, eliminating.

Yesterday’s yoga experience was…interesting. I forgot that it’s January and everyone and their brother has resolved to move their body more, create time for themselves and bring peace into their lives. The class I went to was packed. Uncomfortably so. I was squished in too close to my neighbor for me to be comfortable (personal boundary issues, I know) and the time before class started when I usually try to quiet my mind was frankly just too loud. I reminded myself of something my favorite yogi Jess says often: your practice is about you and your mat – no one else in the room has an impact on it and you leave whatever you choose on the mat. Interestingly enough, our instructor, Biz, is also working her way through a one-month cleanse, and is integrating her yoga classes with it. So yesterday’s class was focused on cleansing the kidneys and bowels. Yup. You heard it. With a smile, she announced to the class that she encouraged coughing and sneezing as a great way to release toxins, and well, we all know what might come out the other end! Despite being a bit uncomfortable with my proximity to others, I did have a wonderful 90 minute yoga practice full of twists and bends and a focused ending meditation.

I felt great pretty much all day yesterday – not overly hungry, no cravings, not too difficult. I continued to work on my 2014 vision and goals, and watched the Packers loose in the playoffs. It was weird to be watching football at home and not indulging in beers and some sort of cheesy, meat-y treat. One thing that I’m going to need to work on and probably need support in is figuring out how to be social, and at the same time, do the right things for my body.

Again, I didn’t sleep well, and it was midnight before I finally dozed off. I probably need to give some study and attention to my sleep habits and patterns in the near future.

Today is day three of the cleanse and it requires another elimination – no grains, nuts or beans. Fruits and vegetables only, prepared with oils and spices. I already feel like I may struggle with today – no ants on a log for when I get snacky. Since I’ve already got my spaghetti squash marinara and vegetable soup, I’ll stick with those, but I may add a salad in – I bought some fabulous apple balsamic vinegar and rosemary olive oil at Oro di Oliva this week as a treat.

So I’m ready. Bring on the pooping (it actually started yesterday) and get this body cleaned out. I’m ready for a different kind of feeling this year.


Fast break: What am I eating?


Each Sunday, I will post a blog to help you prepare for the week, set some goals, and feel inspired. The whole reason for this blog was to get back a time in my life where it was possible for a couple of friends and I to physically get together weekly for “Fit Club.” We met on Monday nights and did a workout (usually Jillian Michaels  DVD’s in my basement), I cooked a healthy meal, we reviewed a “strategy” for the week, and physically wrote down and shared our goals. During this time, I lost a significant amount of weight – I think I was down to about 180 pounds and a size 12. I felt great, accepted responsibility and had accountability for my choices. When we stopped meeting regularly, I slowly but surely put all of the weight back on, plus an additional ten pounds.

This is a different time in my life and in those people who are physically close to me. Work schedules, kid schedules, proximity and a need for down-time have imposed themselves, and it’s no longer possible to commit to physically being together weekly. So after about a year of hemming and hawing, the idea for the blog came to me. If anyone actually reads this and finds it helpful, I hope we can become a supportive community for each other. Your feedback will help me remain accountable and feel inspired to connect with others this way.

So enough of the back story. This week, I am launching a 17-week initiative based on The Spark Diet. This is the basic structure that I followed and learned from in the past, so I’m revisiting in. Each week, I will link you to the basic concept that I’m focusing on, and give you some thoughts and resources surrounding it. So here goes nothing.

The first six weeks of this program are called the “Fast Break.” Each week focuses on a simple, attainable change to apply to your lifestyle. The goals of this timeframe are to build confidence, gain momentum, and get used to the idea of this new lifestyle.

STRATEGY: Our bite-sized nugget of knowledge this week poses the question, “Do you know what you’re eating?” The whole point of this week is to actually become accountable for the food you’re consuming by recording it. I have made the commitment to myself that I will track all of my food using My Fitness Pal. If you prefer to use pen and paper, use it (although in this day and age, it’s so easy to plug things in using aps on your phone or computer, it seems like a lot of work to figure it out on paper – PLUS you might give yourself a little more wiggle-room than the counter will!). Here are some of the most well known trackers out there – click on one and use it, okay?

my calorie counter                    myfitnesspal                    sparkpeople

As I mentioned, although I respond well to the articles and resources on Spark People, I prefer My Fitness Pal for my tracking. I was able to sync my FitBit with My Fitness Pal, so now it automatically updates my calories burned, which I love. I also find the My Fitness Pal food catalog to be easier to use/find the foods I’m eating. All of this is up for debate, the main thing is JUST USE ONE OF THEM!

MOVE YOUR BODY CHALLENGE: I challenge you to do these mini-workouts six out of the seven days this week. Shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes each, and if you’re living the the frozen tundra of Wisconsin like me, you can do all of them indoors!  

morning workouts

WHAT AM I GOING TO EAT? I challenge you to start thinking about things that you already like in a different way. For a while, I was hooked on Starbucks stops. A great choice at Starbucks is their Protein Box, but even better, you can make it yourself! Check out my instructions for this homemade Protein Box!

protein box

MOTIVATION: I suspect you don’t even need a Monday – any day will do! Make this week about knowing what you’re eating so you can be ready for more positive change next week!  

new year

Detoxification Cleanse – Day 2


Welcome to day two of the cleanse – I’m feeling good! Yesterday I took it very easy – spent a lot of time on the couch working on my Create Your Amazing Year workbook (which you can get on Amazon) and cooking, juicing, etc. in the kitchen. Since I’m using this workbook, I haven’t been journaling separately; it’s a recommended part of Dr. Fortney’s detox plan, and he has a great handout to guide you if you’re so inclined. I was a little hungry during the day and evening, so I had two rounds of “Ants on a Log” made with natural peanut butter, celery and golden raisins. Today’s instructions are the same as yesterday – no meat, eggs, dairy, wheat, alcohol, caffeine or sugar.

Here’s how my green juice smoothies turned out – so yummy! It did take some time yesterday to juice everything, but I’ve got enough frozen juice cubes for four days, which is great.

The apple & orange separated from the kale & parsley!

The apple & orange separated from the kale & parsley!

Blend cubes with 1 c. coconut milk and a banana - yum!

Blend cubes with 1 c. coconut milk and a banana – yum!

I had a little bit of trouble getting to sleep last night. I was in bed by 10:00, but my mind was buzzing (sidebar: I recently started a consulting business and am in the naming process currently – so it was good, creative buzzing, but still kept me awake). I may take a small amount of melatonin tonight (per Luke’s recommendation) to help me shut off and actually get the eight hours that I’m striving for.

Today I’m headed to a 90 minute yoga & meditation class at Haleybird Studios in Tosa. Should be relaxing, and I have to remember that just because I’m being gentle with myself and detoxing, I still need to move my body to have the best effects. I wasn’t planning to make this Asian Broccoli-slaw salad until the end of the week, but I think I’m going to whip it up today – I was a little bored with my spaghetti squash and soup yesterday and this could give me the variety I need to stay satisfied. 

I’ll keep you posted! Hopefully this good feeling and productivity continues!

Detoxification Cleanse – Day 1


Today I start a 7-day journey to help me get rid of the sugar and processed food cravings and get back on the track of basing my diet on the things that really work for me – fruits and vegetables primarily! I am beginning a cleanse that I’ve done a number of times before, and really felt great after. My friend Dr. Luke Fortney developed Detoxification to Promote Health: A 7-Day Program to help his patients detox in a healthy way that promotes our natural detoxification ability. I highly recommend devoting the time to do this a couple of times a year – and for me, after the holidays is the time where I need it most.

I love that Luke lists the five basic elements of detoxification as:

  • Exercise: every day such as yoga or walking, especially in nature
  • Regular sweating: a sauna, steam room, or hot yoga class
  • Healthy nutrition: rich in organic fruits, vegetables, and water
  • Self reflection: such as meditation and breathing-focused relaxation
  • Body-work: such as massage or acupuncture

The approach is gentle and realistic. You can do this cleanse in the midst of your regular lifestyle, although if you can manage to take some time away from your daily grind, it’s beneficial. I bought my groceries yesterday, and since it’s going to be -20 degrees in Wisconsin for the next few days, it’s the perfect time for me to hunker down at home and focus on my health.

I am doing version #1 of the cleanse, so today I begin by eliminating meat, dairy, eggs, wheat, alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, and sugar from my routine. I brought my juicer out of the basement, and am taking my inspiration from this Green Smoothie Plan.  I’m doing mine a little differently – I’ll juice the kale, parsley, and apple together and add an orange, then I’ll freeze my juice in ice cube trays. This way, each morning I can throw a few juice cubes in the blender with a banana and some coconut milk. I’ve also prepared a meal that I’ll use throughout this week which is spaghetti squash with a home-made marinara sauce (I simmered 2 cans of crushed tomatoes, roasted red peppers and a chopped onion with a bunch of basil, Penzy’s Pasta Sprinkle and some sea salt and pepper). I’ll make this Winter Minestrone soup for dinner, and call it a day! I always drink a lot of tea, so that’s nothing new for me, and I’ll make some of the Vitalizing Beverage using lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and seltzer water if I feel hungry or have a craving.

And finally, as my self-reflection efforts, I’m working through Leone Dawson’s Create Your Amazing Year workbook. This project is helping me let go of 2013, envision 2014, and document how I’m going to live this year.

Stay tuned for the rest of the cleanse. I know what’s coming, and I may not be as chipper as I start to feel some of the detox effects, but I promise to be honest about how it’s going and hope that you’ll find this tool helpful in your life, too.

2014 Is Here!


run into the new year

It’s January second and it’s time for millions of people around the world to begin their journeys to health, weight-loss, fitness and mental wellbeing. I’m one of those people, and the proof was in the pudding this morning as I overheard a number of individuals at personal training this morning complaining of holiday weight, lethargy and disappointment in themselves for having one too many cocktails or cheesy dips over the last few weeks.

I am proud to say that despite temperatures in the single digits and a course covered in ice, my friend Erin and I “Ran into the New Year” at State Fair Park in Milwaukee on New Year’s Eve. We finished in 45 minutes, but hey, we finished, right? After the run, Erin and I set a joint goal: another 5k in March, where we finish in 37 minutes (and, we’re both going to be down to 210 pounds by then). I’m trying to think back to my last race, and I think it was Crazylegs back in 2011! Time flies, and I’m not going to let myself get that far away from running in the future. Speaking of which – I finally bit the bullet and purchased a treadmill! It’s on order from Sears, and will be delivered on January 10 – just in time for me to kick into gear for a St. Patrick’s Day race!

kelly010214  So here I am today, up to 225 pounds, but made it out in the snowstorm to Push for training with Karen. I had a good workout, considering I’m still sore from the 5k and I’m coming off of the holiday binge. While I haven’t quite finished my personal resolutions yet, Karen set one for me: I will stop making excuses. I’m just like every other person in the world – I have challenges managing my time, giving in to temptation, and feeling like I have too many barriers to lead a healthy, happy life. But that’s bullsh*t and we all know it. And Karen is going to help me remember it through this year.

My next few posts will be my personal resolutions, goals and action plan for 2014, as well posts letting you know how I do on a 7-day cleanse next week. I’m lining up contributors to help us all with fitness, diet, and inspiration, so stay tuned for more Fit Club action.

Advice from my therapist for the week: set one fitness/weight loss goal for the week. Don’t get overwhelmed. So for this first week in January, 2014, I will clean out the fridge, getting rid of the holiday treats and go shopping to stock up on the things I’m going to need to make this happen. 

Time to end the war


Life's Too Short...

I think about food a lot. Like “normal” people, I think about how good it tastes, how much I am going to enjoy my next home cooked meal, how great the Christmas ham will be. But along with those thoughts, I think about how guilty I am for loving food so much, and how stupid I must be for not being able to lose weight (it’s just a numbers game, right?) and how if I don’t finish the rest of that cheese and sausage tray immediately, it will probably go bad and that’s such a waste of food, don’t you think?

In the 90’s, I was a pom-pon girl. I danced every night after school, and then again twice a week for ballet and jazz lessons. I’ve never been a size 8, but let’s be honest, 140 pounds of pure muscle is damn sexy. And at the time, I didn’t even know it. I wanted to be 132, like a friend I looked up to. I was embarrassed to wear my pom skirt without pants under it on game days. I had a beautiful, athletic, muscular body and I didn’t even appreciate it.

Today I weigh 222 pounds. I am 31 years old. This is the most I’ve ever weighed, and I hate getting dressed in the morning. I recently discovered that binge eating is actually a psychological disorder, and my therapist recommended I read up on it. But this is not who I am! I just started my own business! I have loving relationships with friends and family! I have never failed at anything that I really put my heart into! Except for this.

I don’t exactly know why I have the instinct to write about this journey. I feel like if I can share what I’m going through, and have gone through and the tools I use I might be able to connect with someone like me, who needs a little help. My goal weight by January 1, 2015 is 165 pounds. About a pound a week. I know that physically this is possible and I’m going to deal with all of the emotions that come along with it come hell or high water.

So now you know, interwebs. I’m a fatty and I can’t hide it any more (like I was fooling anyone, right?)! This is a journal of my process. I can’t tell you if it will be successful or if I’ll find the answer. But what I promise is to be honest about what’s going on with me, with the hope that others like me won’t feel alone. We need to end this fat-war and find peace in our bodies, our health and our souls.

kelly gala

Feb. 2013 – one of the only full-length pictures I’ve allowed in a long time