Welcome to Ana’s Bananas. This is a blog where I can share my knowledge, enthusiasm and observations about living a healthier life.
I grew up in Croatia (with warm lunches, playdates outside and lots of free time) and after an international high school in The Netherlands went off to study biomedical sciences (the research side of medicine). I thought it would be valuable to research medical problems that were not solved yet.
By the third year, I felt like I was learning all about pathways (the Jaks and the Hedgehogs) inside the human body without ever having seen a real patient. I decided to study medicine as well and got accepted into the prestigious biomedicine-medicine double degree. Now, I could hear from patients about their disease and their symptoms – and what bothered them the most.
For my first internship back in 2009, I researched kidney disease as a complication of type 2 diabetes and for the first time started thinking about the role of nutrition and lifestyle in the (secondary) prevention of disease.
In my quest to learn more about this, I looked up information in (cook)books and online, and tried many disgusting recipes (even a raw mango-onion-chilli soup once) along the way. I found so many so-called ‘healthy’ recipes which were actually not healthy at all.
In 2012, I decided it was time for me to learn how to cook and I started writing my own blog with actually healthy recipes (evidence-based), back then still called bananasanas. I was a complete beginner and loved diving into the world of nutrition! My rice used to always turn to pudding and my uni housemates can testify to my frozen spinach and microwave lasagna dinners I ate before… Luckily and tastily, I have come a long way since then.
The next year I followed an honours programme where I learned about intrinsic motivation – which is actually an amazing tool for achieving sustainable behavioural change (helping people improve their lifestyle).
During medical rotations, I noticed that doctors were often frustrated yet helpless about their patients’ lifestyles – and sometimes even their own – and I thought it’s time we change that.
After graduation in 2016, I started a clinical PhD programme in healthy ageing and have been involved in multiple lifestyle medicine & nutrition projects ever since, always blogging in between.
In short, what I want to know is – how can we prevent and better treat some of the most common chronic diseases of our time, through food and lifestyle?