DAMDAM

Conversations with

Patricia Klammers

BY GISELLE GO

Photograph by Patricia Klammers

I first met Patricia when we were both living in Singapore. That was around 8 years ago now and we have since continued our friendship across countries when fate dealt us the happy coincidence of a mutual move to Tokyo last year.

In the years I’ve known her, I’ve witnessed Patricia’s transition to becoming a raw food advocate and practitioner, a passion she colorfully documents on her feed @pattkla on Instagram. Dinners at her place are always a treat because she loves to share her food with friends. Through it, we discovered that an entirely raw meal can be just as filling as a cooked one. This revelation led us to collaborate with Patricia for DAMDAM’s recent launch, pairing her herbal-infused water, green juices, and vegan dips with our plant-based skincare products.

For those curious about what a raw food diet entails, I chat with Patricia about it.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born in Colombia, but I have been living in Asia for many years between Tokyo and Singapore with a short interval in Paris and London. After spending 9 beautiful years in Singapore, I’m happy to be back in Japan. I have a special connection with Japan. I love the people especially the elderly and their passion for handcrafts and obviously the food and fresh produce.

Green & Fiesta infused water at DAMDAM’s recent launch. / A world of color in Patricia’s homemade raw food dishes.

“Raw food in this context means food that has not been refined, canned, or chemically processed, and that has not been heated above 42°C so you would not destroy nutrients and natural enzymes… More than a diet, this is a lifestyle that promotes eating more real foods in their natural state without all the dangerous additives, preferably organically grown or locally sourced.”

How did you become interested in raw food?

I have always been passionate about food and all what goes around it from the ingredients to restaurants and chefs. I love cooking for family and friends. I wanted to pursue a carrier in gastronomy back in my days here in Tokyo but then I left for Paris when I was pregnant and after that, I had another 2 children.

While I was living in Singapore, I had an opportunity to take the certification in raw foods with Matthew Kenney Culinary Academy. So I got my diploma after training as a raw food chef. To be honest, I didn’t have much idea about all the amazing benefits that raw food can bring us. I had a vegetarian experience during my last pregnancy 4 years ago but I did not know at that time all the characteristics of non-meat products and how to combine them to have a healthy diet. Initially, I was going to discover about clean and beautiful food without any use of animal product and after my studies, I really liked it very much – so much that I changed my diet accordingly. I now know how to create amazing healthy dishes and get all the necessary nutrients for my body.

What are the benefits of a raw food diet?

There are many health benefits when we include more raw foods in our diet and this is not about eating more salads only. Raw food in this context means food that has not been refined, canned, or chemically processed, and that has not been heated above 42°C so you would not destroy nutrients and natural enzymes.

A raw food diet improves digestion and reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancers, allergies. It also helps increase energy levels, clear skin, lose weight and so on. Usually benefits are felt very quickly just a few weeks after starting.

More than a diet, this is a lifestyle that promotes eating more real foods in their natural state without all the dangerous additives, preferably organically grown or locally sourced.

What can’t you eat in a raw food diet?

Raw foodists do not eat processed foods or foods that has been heated above 42°C and animal products obviously with the exception in some cases of raw honey and bee pollen.

Is there anything that is nutritionally lacking in a raw food diet?

Some of the most common deficiencies in a raw diet are iron, zinc, and Vitamin B12 that you can find usually in animal products. To avoid these deficiencies, make sure you eat superfoods and plant-based supplements. It is important to combine all the right ingredients when you are on a raw food diet.

Patricia teaches her son Max and the rest of her children the value of eating raw food. / Beetroot spread, hummus, and guacamole at DAMDAM.

“Raw foods taught me about the strong relationship between food and health. Another important teaching of the raw diet is the sustainable aspect of it – you participate indirectly in preserving the planet. Avoiding animal products help lower your carbon footprint… There is also a spiritual connection when you eat raw food that embraces purity and a better sense of life.”

Why did you make the transition to raw food/ vegan?

My training in raw foods opened my eyes to many things and taught me about the strong relationship between food and health. Another important teaching of the raw diet is the sustainable aspect of it – you participate indirectly in preserving the planet. Avoiding animal products help lower your carbon footprint. Last but not least, there is also a spiritual connection when you eat raw foods that embraces purity and a better sense of life.

These days I eat mostly raw foods, but it’s actually a plant-based diet made up mostly of fruits, vegetables, sprouts, nuts, and seeds incorporating lightly-cooked food too. Balance is the key.

What ingredients are important to you?

Something I can’t live without would be avocados. They are rich in healthy fats and a great ingredient to thicken soups and desserts. They’re great for dressings and dips. Nuts are very important in raw cuisine to add creaminess and texture. They are indispensable as well as for plant-based milks and ice creams. Bananas are very important to add sweet creaminess to smoothies and raw desserts. Chia for thickness and texture. Lastly, one of the most important ingredient for me is a good variety of salt, salt brings out the flavor in any recipe both sweet and savory.

What is your favorite breakfast dish?

After a green juice packed with vegetables and fruits, I’ll go for my chia pudding which is made from chia seeds soaked overnight in homemade almond milk. In the morning, what I only need to do is top it up with fruits and nuts – so easy and so good .

What is your favorite fall/winter dish?

I love “Kabocha,” this Japanese pumpkin to make the best pumpkin soup, It has a very sweet and nutty flavor.

What is your favorite spring/summer dish?

I love cold pasta, so a very good pesto zucchini noodles with fresh tomatoes and basil will be my go-to dish or a cold capellini, a semi-raw option.

Fruits and vegetables coloring every table with Patricia’s hand.

“Something I can’t live without would be avocados. They are rich in healthy fats and a great ingredient to thicken soups and desserts… Nuts are very important in raw cuisine to add creaminess and texture. They are indispensable as well as for plant-based milks and ice creams. Bananas are very important to add sweet creaminess to smoothies and raw desserts. Chia for thickness and texture. Lastly, one of the most important ingredients for me is a good variety of salt, salt brings out the flavor in any recipe both sweet and savory.”

What are your favorite restaurants in Tokyo?

I’m now in the process of discovering places in Tokyo… The most important for me are places where chefs are capable and don’t mind to accommodate your food restrictions . I like 8ablish in Omotesando, Mr Farmer for a quick lunch, We Are The Farm in Azabu Juban with amazing produce.

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