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 (the research side of medicine). I thought it would be interesting to be able to research medical problems that were not solved yet.
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. I got accepted into the prestigious biomedicine-medicine double degree and could finally hear from patients about their disease and their symptoms – and what bothered them the most.
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.
I found so much misleading information and so many bad recipes that in 2012 I started writing my own 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.
During medical rotations, I noticed doctors were often frustrated yet helpless about their patients’ lifestyles. I thought it’s time we change that! I once heard an internist say: “a patient at internal medicine never falls out of the blue sky!” – and started thinking of patients in terms of their context and predisposing and luxating factors.
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 and no junk food of any kind – a tough, and very insightful & successful challenge!
In 2019, I’ve decided to start organising workshops about health, and so Ana’s Bananas Blog & Workshops came to life!
It is now 2020, and I am currently finishing up my PhD in healthy ageing.