Behind Eat Better Not less: Nadia Damaso

Nadia Damaso is a 20 year old Swiss blogger best known for her delicious food blog called “Eat Better Not Less“. In it, she shares heathy, wholesome and easy recipes that anyone can make at home. But today she is no longer just a Blogger, she is also a best selling author, Ambassador to some major brands and “Friend” of TAG Heuer.

http://www.eatbetternotless.com/
Eat Better. Not Less

She showed up a few minutes late to our interview but I expected it because she had prefaced in the “About Me” section of her blog that she generally tends to be a few minutes behind schedule ! An attractive, tall, and very fit girl walked in and with her brought a ray of sunshine!  She was bubbly and happy from the get-go. Very refreshing especially given her age when most wouldn’t really care to be polite or attentive. The connection felt easy and genuine.

I was also very impressed by her English which she spoke eloquently and with a perfect American accent. Believe or not, she learned it from studying in high school and living in Canada for only 6 months. Very impressive! She obviously has a knack for languages because she can speak 6 languages almost fluently.

Without any further ado, let’s meet Nadia Damaso!

Nadia Damaso. Photography @www.20min.ch

How did you discover cooking?

I always loved being creative and always wanted to do something without following a recipe or rules so I just started experimenting. To me cooking is an expression of emotions, plus you can eat it!! And I love eating 🙂

When did you start?

I think the first time I cooked by myself I was about ten or a tad younger. I was definitely ten when I made my first recipe.

On your own? Or did you use an existing recipe?

I actually bought a brownie package where you just mix the ingredients. I bought it and tried at home but it didn’t work. I bought it again and tried again and it didn’t work. The third or fourth time, I decided to add nuts, and this and that, and it worked! And from then on I never followed any recipe!

Who influenced you?

Someone I look up to now is Jamie Oliver because of his contagious passion and energy.

What’s your style?

Food wise, I would call it “Chaotic Clean”! Haha!!

It’s colourful! I always drop something on top of a dish and let it fall wherever it wants to fall. I don’t put it exactly where it’s supposed to be. I always say I’m an organised chaotic person.

And regarding fashion, I don’t know – cool, elegant, sporty.

Describe yourself with a couple of words.

Funny!!! haha!!

Humorous. Generous. Positive. Motivated.

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Photography @schweizer-illustrierte.ch

How did Eat Better Not Less come to life?

My mom always cooked healthy and I grew up doing lots of sports. I trained 6 times a week for competitive cross skiing training. We moved to Canada and there I went to a cooking class and participated to a cooking competition which I won. Then I went to Vancouver to participate to another cooking competition, And when I came back to Switzerland I had gained about 10 kilos!

I had to lose the weight but I always loved eating – and a lott! So the only way for me to lose weight the healthy way was to change my lifestyle, my eating habits. I stopped eating white sugar, white flour, processed food, etc.. I got to know and appreciate the healthy ingredients.

Describe your philosophy in a couple of words.

Eat Better! Not less!

How much do you eat a day?

A lot!!

What’s a lot?

I got up this morning and went for a two-hour run. I love running. Came back and obviously was hungry so I made myself a Bananicecream. Do you know it?

No, what is it?

Peel super ripe bananas, slice them and freeze them the night before eating them. In the morning blend them with a dash of milk and voilà! So this morning I made a bananicecream with five bananas topped with a lot of strawberries and some granola. 

Some people say that bananas are fattening

NO! NO! I eat like 50 bananas a week! But obviously you have to listen to your body. I just eat when I’m hungry. I don’t eat bananas just because. 

They’re so good for you. Especially when they’re ripe, super brown and spotty. They get digested much better and have a lot more nutrients. And the starches turn into sugar and the sugar into energy.

What are some of the highlights of your career so far? You’re so young and accomplished!

I never expected my book to become a best seller! The best thing about it is that it all happened my way! And now it will be published in English and sold worldwide.

I’m quite young and I really appreciate that I can do what I love and get the recognition for it. Today I get to work with amazing brands and people.  A lot of people of my age don’t even know what they want to do.

What is your collaboration with TAG Heuer all about?

I’m a friend of the brand and not an Ambassador. If you look at their Ambassadors, wow, I’m def not an ambassador! 

People ask me why TAG? What does a watch brand have to do with cooking?

TAG promotes a healthy lifestyle and positive mindset which fits perfectly with “Eat Better Not Less” where eating is not just about eating or dieting, it’s about a lifestyle. My recipes are easy and healthy and TAG’s slogan “Don’t crack under Pressure” totally matches my philosophy.

How is your working relationship?

We do 7-8 events per year together, nationally and internationally.

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Nadia Damaso with Nervo girls during TAG Heuer manufacturing visit

What’s coming up in the near future?

My book is being published in English and I am already planning my next book!

I have a few film projects in the works: cooking videos and commercials. I have restaurants in mind… OMG I can’t even think straight! So many ideas and projects!

How many recipes do you have in your book?

TONS!! The hardest thing for me is to write down the recipes because I make new ones every single day.  Each recipe from my book I only made once!  

Two days ago I sat down and wrote 180 new recipe ideas. I just taste them in my mind, visualise them. I think in pictures and colors.

What’s your favourite food?

I always ask everyone around me what their favourite food is and they can never answer and I can never answer either.

I love bananas!! At the moment it’s baby bananas. You can slice them and caramelise them using Coconut blossom sugar, which is in the coconut palm (super healthy), then add them to your porridge or banana ice cream. Yumm, I just love it!!

As for savoury, I like everything with avocado, sea salt and a dash of wine. Add some cashew cream and put on a crunchy toast.

Are you a Vegetarian?

No. That’s also part of my philosophy in “Eat Better Not Less” – there are no restrictions. You can always alter my recipes and make them Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten or lactose free. Basically you will always have the possibility to make changes that suit your lifestyle. I never say “Don’t eat this or that or do it my way”.

What would you say to people who want to start a business but are too afraid?

It takes a lot of effort. You have to want it 100%, 99% is not enough. Give it all you have and just try. There will always be people who will criticise what you do but you just have to stay true to yourself and push yourself. It will pay off one day.

How do you deal with critics?

With success comes criticism but most of them motivate and push me to be better.  I’m just thankful for everything I get to do. Not everything can be a positive. I never hold on to anything bad that happens to me because when one door closes another one always opens.

Were you always like that?

Yeah. I always knew since I was ten that I would do something that doesn’t exist yet, something creative. I never really knew what it would be but I knew in my heart something great would happen. Thankfully my parents supported me every step of the way. 

EatBetterNotLess
EatmBetter Not Less

Now time for my interrogation questions! I start and you finish my sentences.

Today I woke up and went for a run.

My favourite day dream is to eat all day and never get fat!

I’m happiest in my kitchen.

I’m sad when my family is sad (and when I don’t have food in front of me!)

My girlfriends are the best and they think that I’m the best when I cook for them 🙂

These days, what I wear the most are flip flops.I love Flip flops!

My favourite place to shop for clothes is All Saints (just bought a jacket!)

My favourite place to shop for food are Indian and Thai stores. I get a lot of my ingredients from them. 

My favourite spice is Chili flakes.

Romance is not for me!!

To survive as a young entrepreneur you have to stay true to yourself. 

I am following my passion and hopefully making people happy with what I do 😉

I never leave home without gum.

My top beauty essential is a good mascara. I have ten of them!! I like Max Factor, waterproof. 

I would love the chance to work with Jaimie Oliver.

I have a crush on Paul Walker, but he’s dead 🙁 

The coolest place I’ve been too is Santa Barbara. I loved it! I like the climate, the people, the mentality. No one cares about who you are, do or eat. 

My biggest challenge is not to be too hard on myself.

Right now I’m obsessed with jumpers and jackets. I buy a lot of them.  Oh and Sweet Potatoes.

Being Glamorous means being comfortable in your own skin. 

My perfect date is super casual, good dinner and the beach. 

Tomorrow I will workout and create recipes!

20min
Photography @20min.ch
 
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