My name is Nadia Damaso, I’m 21 years old (or should I say young?) and grew up in the beautiful Swiss Mountains surrounded by snow, snow and more snow. A real gem though- it’s absolutely breathtaking there! I love to entertain people, give them some happiness from the things that I do!
I have been cooking and taking pictures passionately since my childhood and always loved experimenting and coming up with new recipes, new ideas and new „taste-explosions“ -how I like to call them! When I’m in the kitchen I can completely submerge myself in another world, express my ideas in my own way, let my imagination run wild, put my own personality and character into it so that I can create new and delicious dishes every day. Apart from that, I simply LOVE food! I always have and I always will, period. (Dang it, I'm getting hungry now!) Good food just makes you happy right? And sharing that with friends, family and people all over the world, makes it that much more fun! Food tastes different in every part of the world. Every country and culture has its own specialty foods, its unique herbs and spices, but it still brings people together and connects them! If you love food just as much as me, you probably know that people who love to eat are always the best people right?;). High five through the screen chakkaboomboom!
How I changed my lifestyle
A little over 3 years ago I assigned myself to a “healthy diet”. I grew up competitive cross country skiing, so I was used to exercise all the time. But when I was 16, I moved to Canada for 6 months. I had the best time (love you all my Canadian fellas!) but I also came back with around 10 kg (around 22 pounds) more on my hips. I knew I had to change something, after being back home in Switzerland I simply didn’t feel good in my own skin anymore. But since I love food and diets are certainly NOT my friend and never will be, I had to make a lifestyle & mindset change. Get my mind and body into that healthy, balanced lifestyle, treat myself with nourishing food. And even though that meant I had to say goodbye to Frappuccinos, Tim-Bits (Tim Hortons, I dearly miss you!) & Cream-Cheese Bagels, it was for the good. I started excercising more again, swapping those sugary treats to fruits, veggies & wholegrains & quickly saw results. And most importantly, I started to feel better and more energized overall!
But how and with which products can you creatively cook healthy, balanced, simple and quick meals – that are filling – without sacrificing quality and taste?I tried a lot of different things, locked myself into the kitchen, tried and tried and came up with combos I absolutely adored right from the start. The results amazed me so that I could hardly stop an really got into it; the ideas took over my mind. And ever since then, I can’t wait to get up every morning and treat my body & soul with all the delicious foods nature provides us with and come up with new creations that I can eventually share with you all.
Why I started my Social Media/ My 2 biggest passions
I have always loved to arrange food nicely and back in school I was either drawing, (sleeping), or thinking of what I could come up next with. So one morning, I thought my breakfast looked pretty good with all those berries in, on and around the jar, took a quick photo of it and posted in on my personal Instagram account. Without any attentions really. I had fun doing it and did it again the next day and the next day. Somehow the photos were so well accepted, more and more people from all over the world started paying attention and following my Instagram account so they could always see what I was posting everyday. That naturally motivated me to keep going, to create new recipes and keep sharing them. From then on, everything moved really fast. Since I’ve always loved photography and delved into it over the past few years, it was important for me to take photos of high quality. My first good camera was a Nikon d5000 with a 50 mm lens. I would get excited like a little monkey about the new photos of the dishes I was going to shoot! Not only is taking pictures a lot of fun, but all the things a great camera can capture simply is astonishing. Food pictures can bring the food to life where all the different ingredients create a range of emotions. You can see every crumb, every bead of moisture, every piece of ground peppercorn. You can smell the herbs and spices coming out of the picture. And that is exactly why cooking, together with my passion – photography – is art to me!
What kept me going from the beginning on
After about three months and over 30’000 people already following me on Instagram I created my first website. I couldn’t believe how people from all corners of the globe reacted to it so positively. That reaction was such an unbelievable motivator to stick with what I was doing and make something out of it. 30 thousand followers quickly became 40, 50, 60 thousand, and now, over 172’000 people are following my Instagram account. When you think about such a huge amount of people, you feel very small at first. But eventually, you can and should be proud of the work and effort you’ve invested into following something you love to do so passionately, that people world-wide have treasured and honored you for. And I’m so incredibly thankful for everyone joining me on my journey- without you none of this would ever have been possible so: the BIGGEST THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!
And if YOU are passionate about something, be authentic and real- don’t hesitate to share online or simply share in real life- the more positivity you spread the more will come back and make you happier & more self-confident about yourself!:)
When and how "Eat Better Not Less" was created
About 3.5 years ago, I have decided to move forward with everything more professionally. I collected all my previous recipes and made an E-book that I sold online (wanna see it? Just click HERE p.s. it's super old haha, but that's how I started!:P) After writing my first Ebook it was very important to me to close out that time frame and start fresh again. So, so many ideas remained buzzing around in my head. One thought that I just couldn't get out of mind was that I needed to create a good and meaningful slogan. Something that didn't already exist. A new brand. "EAT BETTER NOT LESS" seemed perfect to me from the beginning-> it stroke me with a "lightning-chackaboom-that's-it-feeling"! It expresses exactly what I do & live by. But more to that below. I then created a whole new website, moved to the City- to Zurich- and started with the film acting school. Besides school, I had enough time to create new recipes and post them all over my channels, but something just didn't feel complete.. I got bored after a few months of simply posting online. Of course, the interaction with my followers was always great and hopefully always will be since I think it's super important to interact and answer their questions. Also, some connections I made online and people I actually met through Social Media are priceless. But it started to get too virtual for me. I wanted create something in REAL life, something that I can hold in my hands and not only see on the screen, where I can be around people that I can actually talk to in person. To make them happy with what I do, to see the smiles on their faces. So after lots of thinking what did I come up with? I decided to write my very own first cookbook! So how did I get my very own book published worldwide? Just keep on reading!:)
The way to my first real Cookbook
So I made the decision to write a real cookbook! I put together a collage of my previous food pictures, wrote a text about who I am, what I do, what the story behind my way of cooking, eating & lifestyle is and what differs me from other cookbook authors. I sent it to 2 publishers and to my surprise, one of the publishers got back to me only 2 days later telling me they want to publish a cookbook with me! I couldn't quite believe it they got back to me so quickly. I met them (this was in April 2015) and they told me it would be great to publish the book in fall already. Initially, they wanted to use the recipes and pictures I already had, but for me it was important to make everything new so that it has the same style throughout the whole book. I wanted to do it all myself- from the recipes, to the pictures, to the layout and the whole writing process! They told me that it's up to me, I simply have to be done by the end of August 2015. So I basically had 4 months left to write a book with at least 100 recipes as this was requested to be the minimum. I spent (besides film-acting school and working out to keep my mind clear & fresh) every free minute creating new recipes, taking photos, editing, writing, putting together the whole layout. I loved the process of it and seeing the book coming together piece by piece. Of course, it was a ton of work and I didn't really get a lot of sleep during these 4 months (like 5 hours max.) but it was worth it at the end! By the end of August 2015 my book went into print and couple of months later the first copies of "Eat Better Not Less" where laying on the shelves at the bookstores. It was an incredible feeling to hold something in your hands that you've poured all your heart and soul into over the past months. I still have to pinch myself sometimes today when I hold it in my hands and tell myself that it's okay to be a little bit proud of myself haha ( I'm such a perfectionist and it's not the easiest thing for me to be proud of myself ;)) Anyways, after 1 week only, the first edition was sold out completely!! I was like "What?! Like actually?! I couldn't believe it because over 90% of my followers are based in English speaking countries like the US, the UK & Australia. Barely anybody from Switzerland or Germany followed me or knew who I really am. And how did it go on from then?
..and then it became a Bestseller!
BOOOOMSHAKALAKAAA! After 3 months over 14'000 copies were sold already. My cookbook "Eat Better Not Less" didn't only become the Nr.1 bestseller in the section "cookbooks", over weeks it became the Nr.1 bestseller of all books sold in Switzerland. My way of eating was completely new to the Swiss people- you can almost say that I did the right thing at the right place & time with the release of my cookbook. From then on time just flew by, everything went so fast and pretty crazy. Media, Interviews, TV-Shows, Sponsors- it felt like everybody wanted to know who I am, what I do and why I do it. Of course, as a 19 year old girl being overflown with so much success right away can be a great feeling but it wasn't always easy to be honest. I had to learn to decide what's important and where people only want to profit or take advantage of you. But I can call myself pretty lucky because I have the best and most supportive family & friends around me who always kept me grounded, supported me day by day.
Things didn't slow down and I quickly realized -in order to keep it professional- that I needed support. I found a management, created my own company and ever since then, this is what I do for a living. I quit the film-acting school because I'm a person who either gives 150% or nothing. I never wanted to do different things and only give 80-90%. It's all or nothing. Since the book was only released in German as a hard copy- I flew to Greece for 10 days and translated the whole book in English (at the beach :P) to sell it as an ebook. Because the German version was such a success- I found an English publisher who then also printed my book in English to make it available worldwide for all of my followers and not only to the German speaking people. Getting messages from my friends in Canada, from people in New York or Australia telling me they got my book at their local bookstore is kind of surreal. It just puts the biggest smile on my face! To this day, over 60'000 "Eat Better Not Less" cookbooks were sold worldwide and I can't thank every single one who got a copy enough- you guys (YES YOU!!) you're simply the best best best and the reason that I can do what I love! You rock (like more than Mick Jagger could ever in his wildest dreams haha :P)
What comes next?
Now, after 1.5 years "in the business world", and my second book "Eat Better Not Less- Around the World" (get an insight here) hitting the shelves on September 26th, I can say that I have arrived at a place where I couldn't be happier with what I do. I'm SO lucky to be able to do what I love, day in and day out! I always knew- already as a 10 year old girl- my way would be different and that it would always be the most important thing to me to be happy, free and creative with what I do. Yes, I also had to learn that you can never please everybody- there will always be someone who simply doesn't like you or what you do- but I truly and honestly simply want to spread the love for good, healthy & nourishing food, spread positivity, good vibes and joy. Make people happy with what I do! I don't know what the future holds ready for me. I've always trusted myself and my instinct. Everything in life happens for a reason, it comes as it musts. I have no idea where I'll be in 5 years nor in 2 years. Maybe I'll live in the jungle and grow mangoes for a living hahaha who knows!:P Bnd you know what? I don't care- I simply want to live in the moment and share what I'm passionate about with as many people as possible.
Eat Better Not Less is not just a way of eating, it’s a lifestyle! Good and nourishing food, a healthy mindset, enough movement, a balanced social life, taking care of yourself, allowing yourself to treat yourself and taking some time off- it’s all part of it. Hopefully I can motivate many of you to try new things yourselves and to create your own unique recipes. Cooking is like art. Sometimes the outcome leaves you speechless and other times it doesn’t turn out like you had planned, but that's completely normal and okay. I am convinced that everyone can cook though. It might take a little courage to dare to do something new, like everything else in life. But with a little practice, a lot of passion, imagination and creativity I can promise you you’ll be your very own artist in the kitchen in no time!
Stay true to yourself, trust your instincts, give a 150% for what you are passionate about, enjoy and live life, have fun and never forget- EAT BETTER NOT LESS! ;)