Nicole Centeno is the CEO & Founder of Splendid Spoon, a company providing customers with ready-to-eat, nourishing plant-based smoothies and soups. In addition to being a French Culinary Institute-trained chef, Nicole is also the author of Soup Cleanse Cookbook: Embrace a Better Body and a Healthier You with the Weekly Soup Plan, making starting her brand a no-brainer. Before launching Splendid Spoon, Nicole worked at major publications like Wired, The New Yorker, and Saveur–and also taught nutrition courses at Columbia University. Talk about being a healthy eating expert. Wondering what this chef and entrepreneur does to relax while also being productive? She tells us her best self-care tricks below. 

Bad habits you’ve cut from your daily routine?

  1. Coffee — I don’t necessarily think coffee is “bad” but I have found that cutting it out contributes to more even energy levels all day, which is pretty amazing.
  2. Worrying about what other people think.
  3. Self-criticism.

Good habits you work into your day?

  1. Pausing before acting.
  2. Accepting the present moment.
  3. Apple cider vinegar tincture every morning (for gut health).

How do you  take care of yourself throughout the day?

As a working mom on-the-go, it can be hard to find significant chunks of time to take care of myself during the day. Centering myself with 1 plant-based soup is a ritual that helps me stay grounded. I also aim to meditate for 20 minutes at least once a day. One of my tricks with meditation is to give myself the freedom to take those 20 minutes whenever I have them. While I love to do it first thing every morning, I sometimes get swept into a project with the kids or an early request from my team. Rather than criticize myself for missing this important ritual, I just carve out time for it a little later. A midday meditation is super invigorating and clarifying for me!

Are there any activities or hobbies you do to de-stress and relax?

Journaling is really powerful for me. I try to write down my dreams in the morning and this is often a good way for me to explore deeper feelings or emotions that might otherwise stay buried — it’s very cathartic for me. Because I rarely have time on my own, a 75-minute yoga class is also a really important weekly ritual for me. It feels indulgent to get that much time to myself!

How many hours of sleep do you get a night? Is there anything you’d improve about your sleep schedule?

I average about 8 hours. I have a funny schedule when I’m with the kids where I will go to sleep with them around 8:30pm and then wake up at midnight, read or work through a project, and then go back to sleep from 3-7am. Ideally, I’d get those 8 hours uninterrupted, so maybe I’ll be able to improve that over the next year!

Do you have a favorite wellness trend?

I’m not much of a trends person. I will try almost anything once, but the experiences that I value most are the simple ones that I end up coming back to again and again. So, eating more vegetables is probably the most boring answer you will get here, but I’m sticking to it!

What is your favorite healthy food? How do you incorporate it into your diet?

Soup, of course 🙂 I have it at least 5 times a week for my lunch or a snack. It’s nourishing, slows me down, and reminds me of my parents taking care of me when I was little.

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