At Gracefully Fed in Sherman Oaks the Soup Is Pipin’ Hot and Uber Healthy
Watching Traci Weintraub energetically scramble around Gracefully Fed, her newly opened Sherman Oaks grab-and-go food shop, no one would guess that five years ago she found herself in and out of hospitals plagued with fatigue, leg pain and “neurological issues.”
The 39-year-old had just moved to New York from LA where she worked in TV production.
“Initially I attributed my symptoms to the amount of walking I was doing … I wasn’t used to it anymore since I was in Los Angeles for 10 years,” she quips.
When the pain progressed to dizzy spells and fainting, she was diagnosed with panic attacks and migraines. She says she “just went with it” until her symptoms progressed.
After seeing dozens of doctors, she finally met a cardiologist who reported she did not have anxiety, but instead diagnosed her with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, also known as POTS—a rare condition that affects heart rate and circulation. Traci later discovered it was a syndrome brought on by Lyme disease, which had lain dormant.
Traci moved back to LA and as part of her recovery, doctors suggested clean eating, essentially eliminating gluten, dairy, soy and alcohol. Cooking and entertaining were always a big part of her life, so once Traci regained her strength, she started developing recipes, which led to sharing soup with friends. It wasn’t long before those friends told other friends, and soon she started selling it out of her home kitchen.
“I really started feeling like I was gaining my life back.”
Overwhelmed with orders, she moved her operation to BLVD Kitchen, the communal space in Sherman Oaks. The business really escalated when her friend Teddi Mellencamp (Real Housewives of Beverly Hills) posted soup photos on Instagram. Within a year, Traci started shipping soups nationwide, and she added local catering and meal plan delivery to the mix. Opening up shop along the Boulevard seemed the next logical step.
Using only organic ingredients, she offers a selection of two dozen soup flavors that are gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and vegan, plus a few poultry choices. A handful of fresh daily soups rotate, while the full soup menu is available frozen for takeaway. Traci shares that some of the most popular varieties are carrot ginger, lentil mushroom chili, and chicken turmeric.
Seasonal entrees and meal plans are available for weekly delivery or to pick up. Selections include a variety of salads, Italian chicken meatballs with roasted eggplant, poached salmon and lentil pasta. Sweets, such as vegan chocolate chip cookies and zucchini muffins, are made with coconut sugar and pureed butternut squash.
Traci thought a career in television would be “it” for her, but now revels in her newly minted brick-and-mortar. “Helping others who’ve been in a similar situation and having real conversations just makes my heart soar.”