'Hygge' is helping America to change lifestyle choices

MALIBU, Calif. (KABC) -- A warm mug of coffee, a tasty European breakfast and soft flannel pajamas -- all examples of creature comforts the Danes call "hygge," which is pronounced who-guh.

Having been to Scandinavia, dietitian Ashley Koff was impressed with their food, fitness and overall lifestyle.

"I didn't do this for a picture on Instagram. It's this idea that it isn't really about what you eat," Koff said. "It's about how you eat, how you live."

That means making smart choices like omega rich fish, with a smattering of good fat on a great grain like rye -- and seasonal veggies or kefir topped with muesli. And enjoy it all in the company of friends and family in a cozy, comfy setting!

This resonates with Koff who sees too many people trying to do too much in terms of following a diet or exercise.

"We are not pursing perfect nutrition. If you're pursing perfect health, you're going to be perfectly stressed, perfectly frustrated and perfectly wrong," said Koff.

Her mantra?

"If we make better not perfect choices more often, that will enable better health," she said.

A good example of hygge: Exercising outside in the chilly weather, then enjoying the warmth inside with a cup of tea and a blanket or a cozy dinner with friends. In summer, hygge happens with outdoor picnics and festivals. Nothing fancy... rather, rustic, wholesome, nourishing practices help to create a comfy environment.

A United Nations survey put Denmark as the happiest country in the world and Sweden and Finland in the top five. With America at number 13, it appears we could learn a little more hygee in our daily life.
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