Photography by Green Street Studio
Interview by Jennifer Proe
Who: Rachel Ruthenbeck
Where: Lomond neighborhood
Business: HippieChick Noms, a whole food, plant-based granola company. All of our
granolas are sweetened with fruit leaving out the added sugar and oil, so you can feel
good about eating granola.
Mission: To spread health and wellness through great tasting food.
What I Love About My Work: I love being in the kitchen and making great tasting,
healthy food. Even more though, I love meeting new people who are looking for great
tasting, healthy food. It’s not just about making another packaged granola for people
to buy, it’s about sharing the idea that food that’s good for you can also taste good.
I feel like I’m winning every time people try my granola for the first time and are
surprised at how much they like it.
Personal Background: I grew up in Cleveland Heights. For most of my life I wanted
to be a writer and, as I got older, I wanted to be a screenwriter and work in TV. With
that goal in mind, I went to film school in Vancouver and later moved to Austin, Texas
hoping to get into film there. Life had other plans though; I never did get into film,
but I did meet my husband and business partner, Christopher. ¶ I also found a doctor
who could finally diagnose my health issues. After discovering what an important
role food played in my health, I made a lot of changes, cutting out sugar, oil, and
processed foods. Already a vegan, I made it my mission to cook healthy, yummy food
for people as often as possible. I also went to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition
to become a health coach. ¶ I always knew I wanted to work in museums. I studied
Anthropology and the Medieval and Renaissance Collegium at the University of
Michigan. Then I went on to the University of Missouri for a masters in anthropology,
where I studied the archaeology of northern Europe from the Roman occupation
through the Migration Period and Viking Age. ¶ Between the Austin heat and missing
my friends and family, we decided to move back to Shaker Heights to be near my
mom. While trying to get settled into a new house and start up a business as a health
coach, a friend also encouraged me to try selling my granola. I wasn’t sure there would
be a market for sugar- and oil-free granola, or that people would actually like it, but
we decided to give it a try. Now, I coach as a side business and spend most of my time
making and selling granola.
On Working and Living in Shaker Heights: Living in Shaker has been one of the
best choices we could have made. The Lomond community is beautiful and everyone is
so friendly and supportive. We love being able to walk down the street and bump into
people we know and meet new people, especially in the summer when everyone is out
and about. ¶ We also really enjoy being walking distance from both the Chagrin-Lee
area and the Van Aken District. It makes it so easy to do a quick run to Heinen’s, grab
some bread at Lucy’s Sweet Surrender, or enjoy a cup of tea and get some work done
at Brew at Juma. ¶ Making granola at home and selling it at farmer’s markets can be
challenging. There are long hours in the kitchen followed by driving all over Northeast
Ohio. To relax, I love to go up to Horseshoe Lake to walk around, do some writing, or
just lie in the grass. And getting to those markets is easy. We seem to be close to it all!
Instagram: instagram.com/HippieChickNoms SL
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