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Working for a living | Lyndsay Braswell letting ‘food be thy medicine’

Lyndsay Braswell poses with one of her Pump Cafe meals at Core Fitness in Myrtle Beach. Courtesy photo.
Lyndsay Braswell poses with one of her Pump Cafe meals at Core Fitness in Myrtle Beach. Courtesy photo.

Lyndsay Braswell moved back to the Grand Strand last year from her native Maryland. She previously lived in Myrtle Beach from 2006 to 2010, but said she had to go back home for family reasons.

A personal trainer with a bachelor’s in exercise sports science from Elon University and an MBA from Loyola University Maryland, Braswell was ready for a new undertaking – one in keeping with her core values about health and fitness.

“I really moved back here because I felt a sense of open-mindedness as far as the health movement,” she said. “There was a void here and I wanted to fill it.”

She saw a need for meals targeted for muscle recovery, energy and myriad other components for active people – and started a meal service a couple of months ago to fill that void. At first, she did this out of her home and made deliveries. About a month ago, she opened Pump Café [www.pumpcafe.com] inside Core Fitness in Myrtle Beach.

Braswell said Pump Café services one dish per day with both a paleo and vegan option.

“Every dish is really designed around nutrients that are good for athletic performance – primarily what I share with the Core Fitness community,” she said, adding that the dishes are also good for skin, hair and mind health.

“The key is to preserve all of the nutrients. It’s not a calorie thing – it’s really a functional food type of thing. I change up the menu every week, although there is some consistency like Taco Tuesdays – but I put the menu out ahead of time and people sign up. They just walk in and their meal is ready for them,” she said.

Braswell cited Core Fitness owner Judy Langfitt for her support in bringing Pump Café into her facility.

“I was making all of these dishes and I would take pictures of them and put them on Facebook. Judy was like, ‘you need to bring this to Core.’”

Pump Café is not the exclusive domain of Core Fitness members. Anybody can grab a meal there.

Braswell is a firm believer in the famous Hippocrates quote, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

In addition to the paleo and vegan options, she said her dishes are what she calls high raw – also gluten-free and toxin-free.

“There is nothing in there that can really harm anyone unless they have specific allergies, of course.”

Braswell is particularly optimistic about a spice line she created called NutraCouture, which goes hand-in-hand with the Pump Café concept. In fact, the idea for the meal service came about as a result of this.

“I started creating these spices and then everybody was like, what do I do with them,” she said.

“Probably what I am most famous for are my sweet potato noodles,” she said, adding that she uses a spiralizer and has a way of making them really soft.

And the word is getting out. Braswell uses clear bowls, which she says are starting to become her signature and de facto brand.

Recently, a guy picked up one of her meals and went to the kickball field at The Market Common, and several people came up to him because they recognized the Pump Café bowl and the colorful contents inside.

“It’s not just for people who are working out,” she said. “It’s for people who want to eat better – and I believe the Myrtle Beach community is ready for this. I believe it brings beauty and life and vitality – and that’s kind of what I am really trying to serve the community.”

Her day starts at 5 a.m. With the exception of a CrossFit Class at 6:15 [CrossFit Up Dog at Core Fitness], she finds herself at the café for much of the day when not sourcing ingredients from local businesses and farms.

“Basically I am at the café, working on food and managing customers,” she said. “I give myself some break time on the weekends – maybe go to the beach – but every day I am working on a little bit of something. Every day I am trying to master my craft and what I call food design.”

She said she has never played tourist here, preferring to hang out with friends when she can.

“There is always something going on at Core Fitness,” she said.

With an eye to the future, Braswell said she would like to write cookbooks, travel and explore international cuisine. She has ruminated about the idea of a possible cooking show.

“I want to keep up the meal service here in Myrtle Beach, but I want to be able to teach somebody else how to do it – and I want to continue to grow my NutraCouture product line.”

Know of a local with an interesting job or career that should be given the Working 4 a Living treatment? Contact Roger Yale at rgyale@gmail.com.

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