Reverb 10 and Podcast

Greetings from snowy Scotland! How the heckles are you doing? I've been a slackarse with updates. November turned out to be a real busy bastard, full of "challenges" but lots of fun too. I need to do a mindful eating update and get back into the blogging groove. If you get out of the habit of flexing the writing muscle it doth turn soft and flabby.

But just a couple of quickies this evening:

image from www.reverb10.com The first thing is Reverb 10, which starts tomorrow 1 December. Reverb 10 is "an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next".

Each day in December you get a daily writing prompt to get you thinking about the year that's been and what's ahead. Then you scribble your thoughts in a blog post or a Tweet or on the back of a bus ticket. This year the prompts are being written by some famous authors (and reportedly, one flaming amateur).

Reverb is the brainchild of genuine social media guru Gwen Bell, who I've linked to on here before as she's written some thought-provoking stuff about mindfulness and digital sabbaticals, among other things.

ANYWAY, after failing spectacularly at NaNoWriMo this month (my efforts curled up and died like a grotty cockroach at 10,000 words), Reverb looked like a fun way to kick-start my regular writing habit. I'll be posting over on my non-fat blog, What's New Pussycat?

If like me you're a total nerd for End of Year navel-gazing (I dunno why reading about stranger's favourite books or films or chickens is so compelling), why not sign up?

For your aural pleasure!In other news, Episode 21 of Two Fit Chicks and a Microphone came out last week and I forgot to beg you listen to it! It's the Staying Healthy in Winter episode, starring lots of your brilliant comments and ideas from this very blog. There is also a White Stripes song at the very end! And a chance to win ONE MILLION DOLLARS. One of those things is not true. Smell my desperation!

Β» Check out Episode 21 over at the Two Fit Chicks website

Episode 21 – Staying Healthy In Winter

Winter Today we have fantastic tips for staying healthy over the winter months. We can say they're fantastic not because we're raging egomaniacs, but because the tips come from sage readers of the Dietgirl blog!

We also talk about wearing bras to bed, SAD parties and going to the wrong toilet. We also finally bring you the Missing Self-Love Interview with the lovely Sue a.k.a. Mrs FatAss from Did I Just Eat That Out Loud?

Here's how to listen:

Here is an alternative download link and another in-browser player below:

21  Staying Healthy in Winter

Please let us know if you have any problems listening – our technical support team is here to serve you.

Many thanks to our Blogger News contributors:

  1. Kathryn from Australia
  2. Jenny from Me Against The Numbers
  3. Elizabeth
  4. Desert Agave
  5. Pamela

And to our winter tipsters: FD, Kate from Walking in the Rain, Katie from Fit Living Daily, Jules from Big Girl Bombshell, Wendy from A Wee Bit Of Cooking, Angel from Germany, Jo, LaLa from Schmeckt, Laura from Growth Is Optional, Tina from Downsized, Gingersnapper, and Laura.

These were just a sample of the great ideas shared – you can find the full thread over here at The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl.

Thanks again to our special guest, the very patient Sue/MrsFatass of Did I Just Eat That Out Loud?

Rug up to today's outro tune, In The Cold, Cold Night by The White Stripes.

Got a some episode feedback or Blogger News to share? Email us at hello@twofitchicks, pop a comment, tweet @twofitchicks or say hello on Facebook. If you'd like to help spread the word about the show, please consider leaving us a review on iTunes.

Thank you very much for listening. Stay warm and/or cool!

Season to taste

Crock Thank you everyone for your take on staying healthy over the winter! There was so much brilliant stuff in the comments. The podcast listeners will be lapping up your collective wisdom next week.

Meanwhile I'm adjusting to the darkness much faster this year, aided by lunchtime walks, kickboxing and the slow cooker! That's crock pot to you Americans. I bought one in January and was in such a zombie state that I couldn't work up the energy to get it out of the box. But now? DUDE. What an invention! Shove foods in the pot in the morning, add hot liquid, switch on, ignore for 8 hours then be rewarded with a hot dinner? Everyone's a winner baby, that's no lie.

It is unsettling though, to arrive home to the smell of a tasty meal and bypassing that whole WTF's For Dinner panic. I never realised how time-consuming that panic was.

What do you want for dinner? I don't know, what do YOU want for dinner. I don't know, I asked you first. Well what's in the fridge? Dying mushrooms and jar of non-inspiration, what's in the cupboard? Just BORING stuff, lentils and shit, we never have anything good. Well we could get a takeaway. You said you were trying to be healthy. Yeah well I said that before my tastebuds were bored to tears by the contents of the cupboard. Fine. Why don't we have beans on toast? But I already had that for lunch.

Thanks to the slow cooker we sat down to dinner at 6.15 the other night. Before we knew it, forks were resting on empty plates and we looked at each other and said, "Now what?" I mean, it was still a whole 85 minutes before University Challenge started.

I fear the slow cooker will accelerate our descent into middle age. Next thing you know when I invite people over for dinner and they say, "Sure, shall we say 7PM?" I will reply, "I was thinking more like FOUR THIRTY," in the manner of some parents-in-law I may or may not know.

I've got a couple of cookbooks and have been reading blogs such as the insanely comprehensive A Year Of Slow Cooking, but if you have any crock pot crackers – particularly vegetarian ones – I'd love to hear them!

Bon weekend, comrades!

P.S. Not a slow cooker recipe, but a few weeks ago I made Juliet's Roast Chicken from one of my favourite blogs, A Wee Bit Of Cooking. It's basically a whole chicken roasted on a bed of sauerkraut, seasoned with paprika. It's the simplest dish ever but there aren't enough superlatives in the world for its goodness! I've been hassling everyone I know plus random strangers to cook it immediately… and now I am pestering YOU πŸ™‚

How do you stay healthy in winter?

November is such a bitch. This will be my eighth Scottish winter so the early sunsets shouldn't come as a shock. Yet I was spewing with indignation on Monday afternoon as I walked home from the bus stop through horizontal rain and pitch black darkness, "THIS IS INHUMANE! HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO LIVE LIKE THIS!?"

View The view on the way home πŸ˜›

I'm not alone though. From colleagues to friends to old ladies on the bus, this week everyone was talking about the urge to do nowt but curl up on the couch beneath a blanket until April.

We're recording a new podcast next week and will be tackling a question on this subject from listener Tuuli from Finland:

Any tips on how to avoid the hibernation effect? The one where suddenly you really really really want to do nothing but spend the next four months sitting at home in the dark doing constant bicep curls from the biscuit tin to your mouth?

Yes, it's winter time up north and my body and subconscious have decided that a warm layer of lard is the season's fashion accessory no 1. Oh dear.

I have my own coping tips to share but I was wondering what works for you guys? Light boxes, Vitamin D, lunchtime walks, yoga, fleeing to your Caribbean island? I'd love to hear what keeps your healthy and happy through the dreary months.

If you're up for us sharing your thoughts on air we would of course link back to your blog and/or Twitter page on the Two Fit Chicks blog.

Related reading:

Oat O’clock

Oats I’ve been on a mad quest to make a decent “instant” porridge/oatmeal. I eat my breakfast at work and since the weather turned gloomy, my taste buds have rejected the portable summer combo of yogurt/raw oats/fruit.

I wanted the cosy reassurance of a bowl of porridge – but I don’t have the option of slinking away on company time to make it in the office microwave.

Recently I tried a pot of “Instant Golden Syrup Flavour Porridge” from Marks & Spencer. You just add boiling water, stir, leave for a minute, stir again and eat.

Pros: Very handy because there’s a boiling water tap thingy close to my desk. Unlike the microwave, I didn’t have to disappear for ages to make it.

Cons: Alas, not that tasty. And there was a rather ropey ingredients list:

Oat Flakes (57%), Sugar, Dried Skimmed Milk, Dried Whey, Dried Glucose Syrup. Natural Flavouring: Golden Syrup.

I don’t mind a dod of sugar in my porridge but three different kinds was too much. Plus there’s the packaging waste and crazy cost – 99p per serve!

But I did like the “instant” boiling water method, so I’ve been attempting to rip it off. I usually eat jumbo old-fashioned oats, the kind that you lovingly stir on the stove, but they alone didn’t work well for the “instant” boiling water method. So I chucked in some quick cooking oats – not as refined as instant oats (see below) but they’re cut more finely so they kind of melt away into the hot water then thicken up.

For one hearty serve I’ve been using:

  • 30 grams “quick” oats
  • 10 or 20 grams old-fashioned oats
  • 10 grams skimmed milk powder

(The ingredients label just says “dried skimmed milk”. I’m not one of those people who can eat porridge made with just water.)

I pack the above in a little bowl with a lid and take to work. When ready to eat, you just:

  • Add some boiling water – I’ve not measured exactly, but basically enough water to cover the ingredients and it looks quite runny with the oats kind of floating about.
  • Stir and put the lid on right away
  • Leave for a minute to thicken up.
  • Stir it again (it’s nice and creamy now) and chuck on any toppings (I like fruit and/or blob of nut butter).
  • Eat quietly and discreetly in your vast open plan office.

I do realise that quick oats aren’t as nutritious as the old-fashioned kind (UPDATE: not necessarily so!), and skimmed milk powder sounds so daggy and 1970s but it’s the best way I’ve found to get a hot, filling breakfast at work without making a big deal out of eating breakfast at work.

UPDATE 2: Just realised I hadn’t really mentioned the taste! It wasn’t quite as good as porridge made on the stove, but was nice and creamy, not watery and gruelly like the instant packet I’d tried. I think it’s coz, as WHF says below, the oats dubbed “quick” are cut bigger than ones called “instant”.

UPDATE 3: Some people have asked why I don’t just make normal porridge at home instead of all this faffing around at work. Answer: I’m out of the house by 8AM and not hungry for breakfast until 9.30-10AM, so need a workplace solution.

By the way, if you’re confused as I am by all the kinds of oats, here’s a handy guide from World’s Healthiest Foods:

  • Oat groats – unflattened kernels that are good for using as a breakfast cereal or for stuffing
  • Steel-cut oats – featuring a dense and chewy texture, they are produced by running the grain through steel blades that thinly slices them.
  • Old-fashioned oats (a.k.a. rolled oats) – have a flatter shape that is the result of their being steamed and then rolled.
  • Quick-cooking oats – processed like old-fashioned oats, except they are cut finely before rolling
  • Instant oatmeal – produced by partially cooking the grains and then rolling them very thin. Oftentimes, sugar, salt and other ingredients are added to make the finished product. (a la your Quaker packets)
  • Oat bran – the outer layer of the grain that resides under the hull. While oat bran is found in rolled oats and steel-cut oats, it may also be purchased as a separate product that can be added to recipes or cooked to make a hot cereal.
  • Oat flour – used in baking, it is oftentimes combined with wheat or other gluten-containing flours when making leavened bread.

So what’s your favourite winter breakfast? All this oat talk makes me fancy porridge for dinner tonight.

Episode 20 – What’s Self Love Got To Do With It?

This episode is rather truncated due to Shauna forgetting to hit RECORD when interviewing our special guest. Said guest was very articulate on our theme of self-love and learning to like your body, a theme that was prompted by the large number of emails we get on this topic from you lovely listeners.

We are going to interview her again in the near future, but for now you get the first part of the episode where we talked about:

  • the power of the word "husky"
  • how the heck you're supposed to love yourself when loving messages have not been on your radar
  • what worked for us to start enjoying the view in the mirror.

Here's how to listen:

Here is an alternative download link and another in-browser player below:

20 What's self love got to do with it?

Please let us know if you have any problems listening – our technical support team is here to serve you.

Many thanks to our Blogger News contributors:

  1. Paige from Oregon – @fjernsyn
  2. Helen from Scotland – @thebirdwoman
  3. Rainmaker Roxy from Workout Buddy Needed@RainmakerRoxy
  4. E of One Twenty Five – @OneTwentyFiveE
  5. Caro of On The Weight Watch
  6. Katie Nizi via email
  7. Liz of Amazons Aren't Fat
  8. Nicole via Facebook
  9. Christina from Miles4Kids
  10. Pauline via Facebook

Today's OMG I can't believe I didn't record the interview! outro tune is My Mistake by Split Enz.

Got a some episode feedback or Blogger News to share? Email us at hello@twofitchicks, pop a comment, tweet @twofitchicks or say hello on Facebook. If you'd like to help spread the word about the show, please consider leaving us a review on iTunes.

Thank you very much for listening to this slightly shambolic episode!