Nicola and Jess from @the__unrefined, one of Brisbane's most popular sugar-free Instagram accounts, have teamed up with Kiss the Berry to launch The Unrefined bowl! We sat down with the girls to get the low down on their newly created bowl, its significance and their connection to Share the Dignity. In between mouthfuls of acai, we also got the 101 on their health, business and personal goals for the next year. 

KTB: Congrats on making it through your first year of business! What does 2016 hold in store for The Unrefined?
The Unrefined: A lot! At the moment we're diversifying our granola and we'll be releasing some very out-of-the-box flavours in the coming months. We're also working on a separate product altogether to tie in with The Unrefined Cycle (our eBook)… stay tuned!

KTB: How did The Unrefined begin?
The Unrefined: It all started when both of us decided to go cold turkey on sugar for thirty days (we actually followed Sarah Wilson's iQuitSugar guide!). Nicola was fed up with breakouts and low blood sugar, and Jess was completely over her constant cravings and mood swings. We decided we’d rid our body of sugar for just one month and then introduce it back into our diet in smaller, less-frequent doses. Surprisingly, we actually never ended up reintroducing it back into our diets! We found we no longer had cravings for sugar and we had developed recipe/snack solutions for those times of the month when we did (avocado-cacao mousse tartlets and raw refined sugar free snickers slice). After going just one day without it and experiencing severe side-effects of moodiness, weakness, headaches and even depression, we realised we needed to spread the word and our own experiences and write a blog about it. Enter… The Unrefined. We were surprised at the level of interest in our recipes and how fast our instagram grew but once we started growing, everything snowballed. We developed the granola, the swimwear and the eBook and we continued to receive a good response from our followers so decided to quit our full-time jobs and focus on The Unrefined full-time. 

KTB: We're very happy and excited to partner with you and Share the Dignity to produce “The Unrefined Bowl” (a delicious blend of acai, banana, avocado, spinach, kale and coconut water topped with COYO, apple, kiwifruit and of course, The Unrefined granola). What made you choose the ingredients in this bowl?
The Unrefined: The bowl is actually one of our staples! When we first started the business and were writing the eBook we were honestly so time poor! We'd get home from our 9-5pm jobs, go straight to training (Training for Results), get home and sit down and start writing and brainstorming. During this period the easiest thing to make (with plenty of vitamins and minerals and protein) were green bowls! We would put all of The Unrefined bowl's ingredients plus vegan protein powder and sometimes a scoop of peanut butter. We are still obsessed to this day and have it at least once a week. The recipe definitely has a lot of meaning to us :). 

KTB: What is your connection to Share the Dignity and why did you decide to donate a percentage of proceeds from your eBook to the charity? (50 cents from every The Unrefined bowl goes to the Share the Dignity charity).
The Unrefined: We chose Share the Dignity not only because of its strong connection with our eBook and the topic of menstruation, but also because it is a charity that sheds light on an issue that we believe is very close to every woman’s heart. An issue we feel is very much overlooked in society. When we first decided to write an eBook on the menstrual cycle, what we found interesting and insightful to talk about was to other people, more often than not met with awkwardness. To put a stop to this awkwardness and to try to reduce the stigma associated with menstrual cycles, we decided to dedicate Instagram posts and blog posts to discussing such topics (AKA George or our Period) and somewhat normalise the subject.

No woman, regardless of whether that are homeless, should suffer the indignity of not being able to access sanitary items.

KTB: What advice do you have for anyone interested in following a healthy lifestyle?
The Unrefined: 
Try to find a way to enjoy yourself. A lot of people put so much emphasis on staying healthy and exercising that it becomes an unhealthy obsession. The key to exercise is to find something that you love doing – we both look forward to getting home and going for a run, going to the gym after work or doing a session of yoga. It’s very therapeutic and is a great way to sort your thoughts out.

The best advice we can give anyone for following a healthy diet is to allow yourself the occasional indulgence. Wanting what you can’t have is life’s dilemma however, if you’re body is craving something it usually means it is deficient in a certain nutrient! This is particularly true for women at “that time of the month”. Give your body what it needs!  

KTB: What is your number one goal for the next year?
The Unrefined: To grow! In everything we do. This whole year has been one massive journey and learning experience and we can't wait to see what's in store this year.