Signe Johansen: How I stay healthy

The American-Norwegian chef has a thoroughly Scandinavian (and infectious) outlook on wellbeing

What does ‘healthy’ mean to you?

I find the term really controversial these days. Health is worth trillions in business but not many people seem to know what it means. I was brought up in Norway, where to be healthy meant enjoying everything in moderation. Unfortunately, it’s old-fashioned advice, but we’re not a culture that jumps on dieting bandwagons – we’re just careful not to overdo it. We enjoy what we eat and make sure we stay active.

Scandinavians always look so glowing and healthy, and you’re no exception! Has it always been the case?

Since childhood, I’ve always been very active. My parents have photos of me skiing in nappies! I’ve never been skinny, though, and my weight has fluctuated throughout my 20s and 30s. But I have more energy than ever.

What difference do you notice between British and Nordic attitudes to health?

This is slightly touchy ground and I don’t want to over-generalise… But Nords tend to perceive the body in terms of how it functions rather than the way it looks. Poop and periods aren’t considered taboo, and there’s no sense of shame, guilt or embarrassment about the body. We’re quite blunt people and it seems this has translated to how we think about our bodies.

This interview originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of Healthy Food Guide Magazine
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