How I Gather

Bringing people together around a table is our greatest passion in life and we believe food is one of the most powerful tools for connection. But what makes a gathering meaningful? In our series, How I Gather we go behind the scenes of our favorite chefs, foodies, and tastemakers to answer that question.  See All

Forget everything you thought you knew about hemp: for the next installment of our Embracing Your Best Self series, Maja interviews Tara Miko, founder of Happy Hemp, who spills on this super food and her many other healthy lifestyle choices. She also recently introduced us to our favorite new snack, toasted hemp seeds! By the way, Miss Miko is a far cry from any dread-locked health-food hippy — she actually spent years working in the L.A. fashion industry before founding her company. Specializing in the highest-quality raw and toasted hemp seeds, Happy Hemp culinary products have already been featured on CNN and Oprah.com. They taste great as a simple snack, but can also be used to season meats, dress salads and add protein to smoothies. In our latest interview, Tara takes us inside her brimming-with-color Austin home to give us a taste of what inspires her healthy lifestyle and how she incorporates hemp into her everyday life. Click through for all the details shot by Chelsea Fullerton.


Maja: During the past three years, you left a demanding job in the fashion industry, moved from LA to Austin, and launched a health food company. Total life change! Tell us your story.

Tara: When one door closes another one opens! After working for the same company for ten years, I suddenly found myself jobless. Losing what I thought was a secure job in a career I loved, I was faced with the fear of the unknown and a financial stress that was reeking havoc on my health both emotionally and physically. No job. No insurance. Sick. Hmmm… What to do? Start every aspect of my life over.

Starting with my health, I took issues into my own hands. I started with nutrition and what I was choosing to put in my body. I started juicing, food journaling, drinking bizarre root teas, I hopped on one foot while drinking water. I was literally open to anything that anyone told me would help. Enter hemp. Intrigued, I started eating hemp seeds on a regular basis. After about two weeks, there was a noticeable improvement in my digestion, energy and sleeping habits. The more I learned about this amazing super food, the more impressed I was. That’s when “the seed” was planted!

 


M: What’s your morning routine?

T: I start each morning with yoga. I find I’m my best when I balance my mind and body. My breakfast routine consists of making a green juice and Happy Hemp shake. I then take the pulp from the juice and make my dogs’ food. The morning is sealed with a walk with the two loves of my life: Oliver, (golden retriever) and Moka, the “magnificent mutt”!


Tara’s recipe for the most nutritious, delicious dog food:

  • kale
  • apples
  • kefir
  • local honey (for allergies)
  • one raw egg

Tara’s colorful abode reflects the four years she spent living in San Miguel de Allende.

M: What’s the last piece of advice you gave that you had a hard time following yourself?

T: Get out of your own way! My biggest critic is me. I can be so hard on myself. I am learning to love me in spite of myself.


Tara’s Super Green Juice:

  • green apples
  • big bunch of kale
  • cucumber
  • ginger
  • mint

Wash all vegetables, add to the juicer and drink up!


M: Three things always in your fridge?

T: Kombucha, kefir, kale… they are my version of Special K.

M: Why should we incorporate hemp into our diets?

T: Hemp seeds are THE most nutritiously balanced food source on the planet. They are also THE most misunderstood food source on the planet. This vegan, gluten-free, soy-free super food has more protein than meat, fish or tofu. Full of omegas, essential fatty acids, minerals and vitamins, it’s the perfect food source. Added to your daily diet it aids in digestion, weight management, energy, insomnia, immune deficiency disorders, PMS, menopause and more. Hemp has no known allergens, so literally everyone can enjoy this amazing food source!

Click here to browse Tara’s videos for recipes using hemp seeds.


M: Why is community such a critical part of your business?

T: Farmers’ Market is my local go to. My customers give me great feedback on new concepts and things I am testing with my business. That is how I decided to launch toasted hemp seeds. My customers sampled and loved it! They are my focus group.


Tara is inspired by Todd Selby’s latest book, Edible Selby. She plans to unveil a blog featuring stories and ideas from people she meets at local farmers’ markets.

Life mantra:

Everything happens for a reason.


M: Building your own business is so hard. How do you get through those days where you don’t want to get out of bed?

T: I have the most amazing support system of friends and family which include my pets. Oliver and Moka don’t let me stay in bed. They yell at me to get up and go on a walk. A walk with the pups in the fresh air… usually clears the ugly out of my head.


M: How do you balance dating with building a company?

T: For a long time, I didn’t. I chose to live and love my job. When I made the life change from fashion in LA to hemp in Austin, I made a promise to myself to not live life out of balance. My goal is to work smart, play hard and love deep.


Head over to Go Forth Creative to view more of Chelsea’s work.

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Comments (10)
  1. 1
    Jeanine Donofrio January 28, 2013 at 8:39 am

    I love Tara & Happy Hemp! My favorite is sprinkling the raw hemp seeds on avocado toast for a quick lunch.

    Reply
    • Chelsea January 28, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      Great lunch idea, Jeanine. I’m going to try that combo this week!

      Reply
  2. 2
    Ashley January 28, 2013 at 10:50 am

    I’m excited to try the super green juice! I have been looking for a “green” smoothie recipe that isn’t just kale + every fruit under the sun…aka sugar overload. The mint in this will be a nice touch! Thanks!

    Reply
  3. 3
    Ruins Barry January 28, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Great post. Now I found something new to try.

    Reply
    • Chelsea January 28, 2013 at 12:30 pm

      Chelsea, the photographer here. Tara was kind enough to send us home with some seeds and they’re so addicting! You’re going to love them.

      Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  4. 4
    Brianna January 28, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Cannot WAIT for her farmer’s market book to come out–what a great idea!! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  5. 5
    Amanda January 28, 2013 at 11:55 am

    I love hemp seeds and have been eating them for a while now. Their delicate, earthy flavour tastes great in the smoothies I enjoy after my workout.

    Reply
  6. 6
    diane smith January 28, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    What an inspiring story. Great ideas. D

    Reply
  7. 7
    Cortney W. January 29, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Yum! Love all of this. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  8. 8
    Kristin February 7, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Great feature! Love Tara’s story and had to check out her product. Wow, there really is no overstating how great these seeds are. You’ve earned a new fan for life, and I’m even sending some to my parents and sisters on the east coast. Now we’re a happy hemp family.

    Reply