When it comes to detoxing, juicing has been the buzz word du jour for quite some time now. But when busy mom and French Culinary Institute-trained chef Nicole Centeno starting looking for an easy, delicious way to eat clean (and green), she found herself unenthused by the options available to her. Rather than hop on board the health trends that were taking over at the time – ahem, the juicing craze – Centeno came up with the idea of creating a souping program that would keep her body healthy and nourished, while keeping her taste buds satisfied. The idea led to the birth of Splendid Spoon, a souping program that delivers a seven days’ worth of soups to your door every week, complete with a guide to meal planning – not to mention some meditation tips to round out your healthy lifestyle. Here, we chat with two members of the Splendid Spoon team – Hannah Hoskins, the brand’s community and content manager, and Alex Hagney, the brand’s special projects coordinator – to learn a bit more about how the souping program works, why souping is a perfect healthy eating option, and how they come up with those seriously killer flavors.
How did Splendid Spoon come about?
HANNAH: Nicole founded it 3 years ago, when she had two kids and was really struggling to eat healthily and get vegetables that she needed, so soup was kind of the easiest option but she didn’t see a lot of really great healthy options out there, so she made her own.
Can you tell me a bit more about how Splendid Spoon works, exactly?
HANNAH: We basically deliver the ten meals to your door, and then you have those based on our program schedule. So five days a week, you get one of our bowls, and you can have that and replace a meal with that. Then on the cleanse day, you have four drinkable soups that you can have throughout the day and for dinner you’d have one of our bowls, as well. This is basically like a reset button in the middle of the week, and you’ll be getting fewer calories than usual but you’ll get all the nutrients you need and won’t crash or anything. Then, there’s one day a week where you have a “wander” day where you can kind of drift and have whatever you want. You can call it a cheat day, but I think the idea is that you’re building these healthy habits and you’ll kind of want to carry them over because they make you feel good. This is also the day to kind of pause and reflect on the changes and how far you’ve come.
What were some of the most important qualities for the soups that you guys make?
HANNAH: We chose to make it plant-based so that people could really get enough vegetables in their diet. It’s really to help people eat healthier, and even if you’re not a vegan or something – Nicole isn’t a vegan – just cutting out meat and dairy from even one meal a day can be really helpful.
ALEX: And it’s not just vegan. All of the soups are also gluten-free, and non-GMO – all that good stuff.
I know that another thing that you guys do is offer weekly meditations alongside the soup. Why include that?
ALEX: Nicole actually wrote all of the meditations and they’re found in our cookbook, but they’re also included with the meals every week, and it kind of just guides you through different mantras and different ways that you can create peace with your food and in your mind.
HANNAH: I think the idea, really, is that we want to encompass everything about wellness instead of just being a diet solution.
ALEX: Yeah, diet is a scary word and we don’t really want to label ourselves as a diet. Instead, we just want it to be about creating a healthy relationship with food, which is something that a lot of people have trouble with. So meditation can kind of help with that.
A lot of your flavors (like chickpea harissa tahini!) are super unique. How do you guys come up with the flavors?
ALEX: They’re all Nicole’s ideas. She says she’s been writing recipes for soup since she was like 16! We definitely brainstorm as a team, but Nicole writes most of them herself because she’s a trained chef. And you’ll always notice that with a lot of the soups, there are global influences, like there are a lot of Indian flavors, and things like that.
Has there been a flavor that’s especially popular?
HANNAH: Lentil kale is always a popular one.
ALEX: Butternut turmeric, too. Most things with turmeric, people are obsessed with!
Why do you think souping is such a great way for people to clean up their diets?
HANNAH: There are so many benefits of souping and the different programs that we’ve created. Souping, as opposed to juicing or raw foods and salads, or something, is really important because the vegetables are cooked so it’s super easy to digest and all the nutrients are readily available for you. And so that we can ship it out, we actually flash freeze all our soups and then send them frozen, so the nutrients are kind of locked in there. So when you heat it up and eat it, you’re really getting the maximum benefit you can. There’s nothing lost in transit or anything.
What does Splendid Spoon really bring to the table when it comes to healthy eating?
ALEX: I think convenience is the biggest thing, because people always want a way to make healthy food more convenient and accessible. So definitely the ease, effectiveness, and efficiency are a huge value. Plus, I think the branding is really important. We really invite people, you know. It’s not like some exclusive diet. We want to be a go-to for people when they want to change their diet and their lifestyles for the better.