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.
By the third year, I felt like I was learning all about pathways inside the cells of the human body (the Jaks and the Hedgehogs) without ever having seen a real patient and heard from them about their symptoms – so I enrolled in medicine as well.
For my first internship, I studied diabetic (type 2) kidney disease, a secondary complication of having type 2 diabetes. For the first time, I started thinking about the role of prevention, specifically nutrition and lifestyle.
There wasn’t much information about nutrition or lifestyle medicine during my classes, so I had to mostly dig up information on it by myself from PubMed, books and online. During medical rotations, I did notice doctors talking about it though, because they also noticed patterns within their patient groups. I once 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. 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.
The next year I followed an honours programme where I learned about intrinsic motivation – which was super awesome because this is actually an essential tool 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 Blog & Workshops came to life in 2019.