More Than She Wore: the substance of the women we feature.
Nicola Inger is an authoritarian on health and wholesome living. In 2014, she founded a “sugar-free, full-fat” blog, which is aptly named the-unrefined. The blog was born from Nicola’s own personal experiences and challenges, with a mission to inform readers about nutrition, while empowering them to prioritise their health. Since gaining widespread popularity over the years, the-unrefined has now expanded to a lifestyle and nutritious granola company. With plans to expand into the fashion and beauty industry, there’s no stopping this inspirational, self-made businesswoman. Read on to learn about Nicola’s story, and the life lessons which have made her the happy and healthy success story she is today.
What’s a regular day from beginning to end look like for you?
My days definitely vary and every day is different (which I love). Typically, I wake up at 4:30am, go for a coffee, write in a journal and then get started on my emails. At 6:30am I start processing online sales or granola orders and try to have that done by 8am. The rest of the day is spent planning with my interns, putting marketing plans together, going to meetings, attending events, video blogging and creating recipes. At around 4pm I usually head to the gym, go for a run or do some yoga at home. I then work for a couple of hours and then make sure I put my phone away and have a nice dinner with my partner! I also watch a bit of Netflix (gives my mind a rest!).
What was the catalyst for creating a “sugar-free, full-fat” blog?
After a month of following this lifestyle I found my cravings reduced and I genuinely wanted to continue eating sugar-free, full-fat foods. My energy increased and I found myself satiated after meals.
You’ve opened up about your battle with anorexia nervosa, depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts – from where you are now, are there any insights that you would like to share to help people gain a better understanding of mental illness?
I think people need to realise that mental illness is a very debilitating and difficult illness to conquer. Regardless of whether you want to feel happy, excited or normal, you can't if your mind is swept up in the illness (or fog as I like to call it). I remember wishing every night that I could wake up feeling happy or excited or NORMAL but no matter how hard I tried to laugh, or feel what everyone else around me was feeling, I couldn't. It is an actual illness and the only way out is to seek help, whether it be from the people around you or actual professionals. If I could have a conversation with myself when I was suffering from the illness, I'd tell myself that my state of mind is TEMPORARY. I would tell myself to keep going, to seek help and to seek happiness in little things (sitting down and reading a book or having a cup of tea, writing down things you're grateful for, meeting up with friends).
What’s the biggest life lesson that you’ve learned that you want to share?
My biggest life lesson is learning to enjoy your own company. I used to hate being alone with myself and turned to relationships for happiness. I've now realised that in order to be confident and enjoy life, you ultimately have to love yourself!
You’ve gone on to create a granola and lifestyle company; why granola?
To be honest, I would have never thought I'd own a granola company! In the early stages of The Unrefined blog, a cafe came to us and asked us for a gluten free, sugar-free granola recipe. I decided then and there that I would create a recipe and sell it to the cafe (not thinking it would take off). It sold out straight away which is when I knew it would have potential.
Your blog is packed with incredible recipes; if you had to choose one for us that’s easy to make, balanced and healthy, which one would it be?
As an entrepreneur with a blog, granola and lifestyle company, with plans for expansion into fashion and beauty, how do you maintain balance in life?
I definitely make sure I stop! I've recently started doing Yoga at home (I know it sounds cliche but I used to hate yoga! I now love it). I do routines by Boho Beautiful (on YouTube) and do some of their meditation videos when I'm feeling overwhelmed or stressed. I also get up early (before the sun rises) every morning and start the day with coffee.... it's honestly what I live for!
If you allow yourself to indulge in anything, what would that be?
Dark chocolate and duck fat potatoes... I don't actually consider either of them bad in moderation. They're my weakness!
Who do you look to for inspiration?
I have a number of health and fitness YouTubers that I absolutely love to watch. I also follow a few fashion bloggers and always have them on my Pinterest board for motivation (Pepamack and Lioninthewild). My business inspiration is Gary Vaynerchuk and Carolyn Creswell.
Which songs on your exercise playlist right now and guaranteed to get you going?
Katy Perry's Bon Appetite (HAVE YOU WATCHED THE FILM CLIP? Obsessed), and Rufus.