IIFYM+ THRIVE : Our Approach to Nutritional Wellness (part 1)

8 min read


What You’ll Read In This 3-Part Article

With the popularity of AdapNation’s Food Diary, Wellness Tips and food-related Articles, we continue to get questions relating to why we eat and promote food the way we do? Why do we choose the ingredients we use, and why do we care so much about Prebiotics, Healthy Fats and Protein?

The answer is all about THRIVING.

Sunflower Thriving

About having the most energy, greatest mood and strongest defence against disease and chronic illness so we can own every day. And all the while, easily managing bodyweight and purposefully eating to build a strong physique.

This 3-Part article helps you understand why food choice is so important, and introduces you to the AdapNation nutrition approach that we call IIFYM+ Thrive. You’ll learn the foundations behind this approach, the accompanying Food Pyramid, the #BeYourBest WOE Framework, and our 10 Daily Principles we use to help our family Thrive.

AdapNation IIFYM+ Thrive Gold (non-feature)

PART 1 – Reflect & Level Set…


Reflect Banner

  • Evolution Of Modern Food Consumption – Through The Eyes of an 80’s Baby
  • My Relationship With Food Now – Confessions & Realisations on the Power of Food
  • No Such Thing As A Perfect Diet – Reflecting on Today’s Popular Diets
  • IIFYM – All of it’s Good Points & Where it Falls Short on Wellness
  • Paleo – The Superiority of This Diet & What’s Lacking

PART 2 – IIFYM+ Thrive – What & How?


IIFYM+ Thrive Gold Wide

  • IIFYM+ THRIVE High Level – Our Foundations & Food Pyramid
  • #BeYourBest Way Of Eating (WOE) Framework – Easy to Remember Visual
  • IIFYM+ THRIVE 10 Daily Principles – Our Daily Food Guidance to Optimal Nutrition (1-6)

PART 3 – IIFYM+ Thrive – What & How?


AdapNation IIFYM+ Thrive Logo

  • IIFYM+ THRIVE 10 Daily Principles – Our Daily Food Guidance to Optimal Nutrition (7-10)
  • Other Aspects of Our Diet – Five Real-World Important Practices & Tools
  • Further Proof That Food Can Change Your Life – Other Great Resources & Leaders



Evolution of Food Consumption For An 80’s Baby

I have always had such a strong connection to food – maybe because I come from a Greek family and they like to feed! Food was, and is, the way to this man’s heart that’s for sure. However, I didn’t grow up in a rural part of Cyprus chowing down on fresh produce. I was an 80’s baby growing up in London, and was in the midst of a food revolution – Convenience Food.

In the 90’s, I was bombarded as a child by advertising and messaging regarding convenience food, fast food and hyperpalatable foods, many of which were encouraged by government agencies. Think Breakfast Cereals, Breads, Sunny D, Sweets, Poptarts, Crispy Pancakes, Pasta-in-Sauce and Microwavable everything.

90s Crispy Pancakes
90’s FOOD: Crispy Pancakes, Sunny D, Poptarts, Pasta-n-Sauce, Kids Cereals with Toys inside!

In the noughties, the message started to shift more towards heart-healthy and low-fat. Wholegrains were pushed very hard. Brown and seedy was a sign of quality and optimal health. Fat was well and truly demonised at this point, leading to supermarkets full of low-fat (but consequently high sugar) food options down every single aisle. The ‘Finest’ and refined options of processed and pre-made food were gaining traction, in response to negative press around the low quality of convenience food. The movement against carbs started to rear it’s head, with the introduction of niche diets such as Atkins.

2001 Healthy Heart Advert: Shreddies & Shredded Wheat Whole Grain

Fast forward to 2019, and there is growing popularity in Keto, Paleo and even Carnivore diets, as the worrying truths of decades of dependance on sugar and gluten-laden foods is starting to get pieced together by scientists. That being said, western society as a whole is increasingly dependant on pre-made and packaged foods, wheat-based products and an abundance of sugary carbs (whether we know it or not). And so was I up until 2016…


FRee From
TODAY: Organic, Gluten Free, Dairy Alternatives, Keto and Paleo gaining in popularity


A fascinating read on the dirty secrets of the Food Industries obsession and careful manipulation of sugar, salt and fat in processed foods to create addiction and taste is laid out in Michael Moss’ Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us New York Times Best Seller.

Salt Sugar Fat Book

So What’s My Relationship With Food Now?

For those who haven’t checked it out yet, I would suggest taking a quick flick through My Food Diary Confessional blog, where I laid out my principles and personal needs as it relates to food.

AdapNation Food Diary: the way we eat to thrive at home

Almost on a daily basis, I am now a consumer of scientific and anecdotal information, as well as being tuned into my own personal observations as it relates to the impacts of food on wellbeing, fitness, mood, energy and disease.

I believe wholeheartedly that food is the key to thriving as a human, but it can be abused. We have such great opportunities and relative safety today in comparison to our ancient Hunter Gatherer ancestors, yet we have messed with our food and the supply chain to such an alarming degree, that chronic issues are at all-time highs.

Rise in Chronic Illness
LEFT: Increase in Worldwide Diabetes. RIGHT: US Increase in Chronic Illness

Hunter Gatherers did not suffer a great deal from chronic issue and disease. Instead, their lives were shorter due to danger, lack of safe shelter, hunger, accidents and fighting etc. Today, however, we are living longer than ever, but many of those extra years are full of aches, pains, chronic issues, disease and mental diseases.

It doesn’t need to be that way. I, plus many other leaders and scientists in nutrition and health, believe that we can heal ourselves with food. Moreover, with the right food choices, we can not only rid ourselves of many of the chronic issues we face today, but we can thrive. Thrive in the context of being healthier than ever – in the body and crucially in the mind, by having a healthy gut.

We shouldn’t expect the Red Line ‘tradition’ of Ageing.

It’s this belief, combined with science and our families positive experiences, that leads us at AdapNation to eat in the way that we do. When I have such stark changes in energy, outlook, mood, stomach ease and performance by eliminating and adding foods, I can’t but help pay attention and want to optimise even further.

I want to Thrive, be in great shape and live a long disease-free life. It starts and ends with food, the constant in your life every single day. The fuel that drives all change in our body.

It’s all about Self-Optimisation – #BeYourBest

Live Long Die Young

No Such Thing As A Perfect Diet Approach

As we are learning more, I do believe that the current popular diets are mostly grounded in more healthy truths than what we had previously been exposed to. There is merit to the Carnivore Diet, Keto Diet, Atkins Diet, Paleo Diet, Carb Cycling, IIFYM, LCHF Diet and the Vegan Diet. The problem is the dogmatism, rigidity, close-mindedness and self-identification to these diets that stop people using their intuition, and perhaps creating unhealthy relationships with certain foods.

I AM MY DIET: The downside of diet dogma and identifying as your diet

For example, a Vegan diet is steeped in the moral and ethical issues with the modern farming standards. There is some merit in these arguments, but the vegan propaganda is seriously overreaching in support of converting the masses. That said, we equally must demand more from the savage means of agricultural farming of vegetables, including Wheat, Corn and Soy. But morality and optimal nutrition are getting jumbled together, leading to unwillingness to accept that it is natural and essential for us to get nutrients from sustainably farmed meat, fish and poultry.

Vegan Ethical Dogma
GOING VEGAN: The lines can get blurred between ethical issues and optimal nutrition. Leading to dogma vs scientific truths

As another example, a true Keto diet has you eat no more than 50 grams of carbs a day. There is a lot of merit to the Keto diet on our energy, cognitive sharpness and wellbeing, but it sounds unnecessarily strict and restrictive as a forever approach. It effectively creates a mindset that demonises carbs and make individuals so socially restrictive when it comes to eating out and hedonistically enjoying dining out. And then you have the exogenous ketones market that is blowing up – more processed lab food. 🤔

Exogenous Ketones
KETO: With the rise of ‘Keto Diet’, people are resorting to Exogenous Ketones to accelerate Ketosis.

IIFYM & Paleo Almost Have It Right

IIFYM – If It Fits Your Macros

If you’ve been following AdapNation for a while, you’ll know that we’re fans of a macro and calorie focussed means of controlling bodyweight. Check out this 3-Part Losing Body Fat For Good – Here’s All You Need To Know Article, the 3-Part accompanying Podcast Series and our Podcast Episode special on IIFYM for our thoughts and useful insights/tools.

AdapNation IIFYM Worth Trying Podcast
AdapNation Podcast #24: Is IIFYM Diet Worth Trying?

This notion of If It Fits Your Macro (IIFYM) is grounded on great principles when it comes to managing body composition. Simply understand your TDEE, increase/decrease this number accordingly based on your goals, and take guidance from this article on how to set your macro (Protein/Fat/Carb) targets. Then, simply measure and calorie count plus exercise and you WILL get the fat off or muscle on based on your goals. It’s a simple and beautiful thing.

4 Buckets Macro Targets
IIFYM: Work out your Daily Calorie & Macro targets and flexibly fill up the buckets accordingly

IIFYM also takes the rigidity out of the system, by saying any food is fair game. As a diet approach it does not demonise any food, which I love, because flexibility is what encourages people to stick to an eating approach long term. You want to have your favourite food today? Or go to a restaurant with friends tomorrow evening? Go for it! Just track and make the adjustments accordingly. See the Dieting & Eating Out article for practical tips on how to do this with ease.

Lets Eat - Eating Out
ARTICLE: Flexible dieting (IIFYM-esque) approach to dining eat and managing your bodyweight.

But here’s the problem with IIFYM. There’s a strong implicit message that the food itself does not matter, it’s all about the calories and macros. Whilst that is mostly true if your goal is simply to look a certain way, it couldn’t be farther from the truth from a wellness and longevity standpoint. There is no messaging with IIFYM that suggests making optimal choices for your body. Instead, live off Poptarts every morning if you wish, just make sure you get enough protein and end the day within your calorie target.

IIFYM Rep: This approach for many implies that food choice does not matter. Only Macros.

I’ve learned the hard way that this does not work, in the long term. Getting most of my protein from protein shakes and bars and grabbing lots of processed wheat-based foods meant I had terrible bloat and gas, I was hangry all the time, mood and energy swings were hard to control and I developed some conditions that I now attribute to bad processed food choices made over a long timeframe.


The Paleo diet in my opinion gets a lot right, probably more so than any other diet, when it comes to a sustainable and optimal way to live a healthy life.

It’s underlying premise is to return to a diet of our Hunter Gatherer ancestors, where the human body thrived – allowing it to evolve over millions of years. Palaeolithic humans were taller with bigger brains (by about 300cc) than modern day humans, with the decline starting from from the agricultural revolution. That speaks volumes…

The idea is to eliminate modern foods and keep to foods that were only available in the Palaeolithic era. Another underlying tenant is to remove the most common foods that cause allergies and intolerances – namely Gluten, Dairy and Beans/Legumes.

PALEO DIET: Attempting to mimic the Palaeolithic Diet from 10,000+ years ago with contemporary foods.

It is grounded on similar principles on the LCHF diet and Keto Diet, where you have a fat-rich and moderate protein diet whilst eliminating processed food and most of the modern carb-foods. And for good reason – lowering our dependance on sugars/carbs helps regulate blood sugar and insulin which in turn gives a steadier energy and mood, whilst removing our risk of diabetes, dementia and obesity. However, it is not as strict as Keto, allowing for more carbs depending on how your body processes them.

Keto Paleo Comparison
PALEO & KETO: Both promote higher healthy fats and lower carbs. Keto being more extreme.

The downsides to Paleo is:

  1. There is less acknowledgement/messaging to manage calorie and macro targets – a critical mechanism to reliably control your weight. You can still get fat eating avocados, olive oil, nuts and ribeye steak if you don’t watch your calories!
  2. There are some restrictions which seem to go too far – such as white potatoes. Whilst they has one of the highest GI scores, suggesting it is universally detrimental is a stretch too far. For example, people from Ireland can tolerate and process white potato more effectively due to the ancestry where this food has been consumed for many thousands of years.
  3. People Identify with being Paleo – I get it. It makes it easy to relay to others how you eat. But, it’s this dogmatic restrictive nature of branded diets that can create food relationship issues, and limit peoples intuition.


Continue Reading 👉 IIFYM+ THRIVE : Our Approach to Nutritional Wellness (part 2)

AdapNation - IIFYM+ THrive - Our Approach Pyramid PART 2
IIFYM+ THRIVE – AdapNation’s Approach to Nutritional Wellness [PART 2 / 3]

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