I grew up in Croatia – with warm lunches, lots of free time and playdates outside.
As a teenager, I moved to The Netherlands where I attended an international high school and eventually went off to study biomedical sciences at the amazing Leiden University.
Being a chatty Cathy, I quickly learned to speak English and Dutch.
I enjoyed all sort of student activities, and by the third year, I felt like I was learning all about pathways (the Jaks and the Hedgehogs) without ever having seen a real patient, so I enrolled in medicine as well.
For my first internship, I studied diabetic (type 2) kidney disease and for the first time started thinking about the role of nutrition and lifestyle in disease prevention.
There wasn’t much information about nutrition or lifestyle medicine during my classes, but during medical rotations, I heard an internist say: “a patient at internal medicine never falls out of the blue sky!” – which made me think of patients in terms of their context, not just their disease. I loved meeting patients and learning about their environment, and each patient’s individual predisposing and luxating factors.
In 2012 I started writing a blog with healthy recipes (evidence-based), which went on to evolve into information about disease prevention.
Coincidentally, the next year I followed an honours programme where I learned about intrinsic motivation – which is actually a crucial tool for getting to know what makes someone tick – and essential for helping people reach sustainable behavioural change.
I have been involved in multiple lifestyle medicine & nutrition projects since then, always blogging in between.
In the fall of 2018, I started my own experiment: 90 days of no added sugars – a tough, and very insightful & successful challenge!
Ana’s Bananas Health Counseling & Workshops came to life in 2019.