We have been loyal fans and devoted customers of Splendid Spoon for a long while. They have shown us that busy can be healthy by offering ready-to-eat, nourishing, plant-based smoothies, soups and grain bowls. And just when we thought our love for Splendid Spoon was at a maximum, we met their Founder and CEO, Nicole Centeno, and reached a next-level admiration. We had the privilege of sitting down with Nicole and getting to know her and her journey with Splendid Spoon. Enjoy!
Food + Mood NYC: What inspired you to start Splendid Spoon?
Nicole Centeno: So many things! I have always been fascinated and inspired by food -- in so many ways the quality of our food experiences affects the quality of our experience with life. How much energy we have, how confident we feel, how satisfied. The big light bulb moment was when I was pregnant with my son Grover: I wanted to ‘do it all’ - become an entrepreneur, be fit and healthy, and eat delicious food. Creating nourishing, everyday meal rituals that helped me save me time and made me stronger was my answer, so Splendid Spoon was born..
F+M NYC: What do you see as the benefits of a plant-based diet?
NC: One of the simplest, and probably the least controversial, ways to improve overall health is to eat more vegetables. For every serving of vegetables we eat, we reduce our likelihood to develop cardiac disease (the number one killer in the US) by 4% -- every serving does this work for you. Plants are loaded with fiber, what I consider the OG of superfoods. Fiber evens out blood sugar and is the best medicine for improving gut health. Plus plants are rich in antioxidants which our bodies need more of because of the increased environmental and emotional stress we endure now. Because I’m not 100% plant-based (I went to French culinary school and will never give up oysters, croissants and steak frites!) I see the difference in my energy, my aches and pains and my skin depending on how plant-based I am eating. Plants are powerful!
F+M NYC: A part of the Splendid Spoon philosophy is mindfulness. Can you tell us why?
NC: We move really fast these days, which puts our bodies in a chronic state of fight or flight stress. Any opportunity to slow down and be present for a moment is really important to decrease this stress, and remind the body that we are safe. When the body moves from the sympathetic fight or flight state and into the restful parasympathetic state a whole cascade of effects happen -- cognitive ability improves, blood pressure decreases, the immune system functions more efficiently. Mindfulness can be practiced at any time of day and during any activity, but I love doing it at mealtimes for a few reasons 1) it helps solidify a daily habit because we reliably eat several times a day 2) it improves digestion and reduces our propensity to eat more than we need.
F+M NYC: Any plans to expand beyond soups and smoothies?
NC: YES! We just launched our grain bowls. They’re a great option for a grab-and-go lunch, satisfying dinner, or tasty base for a larger meal. We launched with four super yummy flavors — Lemon Wild Rice & Broccoli, Tuscan White Bean & Tomato, Brown Rice Taco, and Aloo Gobi Quinoa – with more to come this fall. And beyond grain I am really excited to ramp up new product development in 2020. What I find with food is that once you find a ritual that works well for your schedule, you want more of it. Variety is super important. Stay tuned :)
F+M NYC: Besides enjoying Splendid Spoon, how do you take care of yourself on and off the plate?
NC: Quality food, quality time with my family, and stress reduction are my main pillars for self care. I meditate every morning and I try to maintain boundaries for work and family time. I try to stay really committed to those goals, I let Splendid Spoon take care of about 80% of my meals so I know I’m eating plant-based most of the time, and then I just follow what feels right for me. I like to carve out a couple hours of me-time for journaling and yoga at least once a week. I’m so lucky to have an amazing team at Splendid, and super supportive friends and family. The tribe is where it’s at -- with great people around you the everyday challenges are less obstacle and more adventure.
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