An example situation could be the following:  

It is 4pm in the office, and you are craving a donut. It is quite a specific craving, and you have your mind set on it. You are about to head to the shops to get one, but first you stop, and consider if there might not be a more wholesome alternative that still satisfies your craving.

You become a food detective.

When we put on our detective hats, we simply start to break down the taste and sensations of the donut. It is sweet, fatty, starchy, light, and doughy. The trick is to now start thinking of other, more wholesome foods, that might fulfil that criteria.


I find it best to start with the 3 macronutrients to whittle down the potential healthier alternative foods. They are:

CARBOHYDRATES: These will be anything from fruit and vegetables, to rice and potatoes and can be known to be starchy and/or sweet.

PROTEIN: These will be largely based around animal products like meat, and fish, although many vegan and vegetarian products like tofu, are non-animal based. The texture of all is quite unique from fats and carbs.

FATS: These range from foods like avocados to oils, to dairy products. These can often be quite filling.

Those are very brief descriptions, however, once you can decide on which macronutrients your craving calls for, you can start to pin-point other foods that are similar.

Donuts are carbohydrates, and fats.


An alternative that would certainly be more nutritious, might a baked potato with grass fed butter. This isn’t a sweet alternative, however.

Another idea might be protein pancakes: These include eggs (fats), oats (carbs), bananas (carbs), are cooked in coconut oil (fat), and can be topped with honey (sweet). That means that they are a combination of sweet, carbs, and fats.

There is no right or wrong answer. Just focus on the exercise that the alternative food/s to your craving that you are trying to figure out, need to be something that you will actually enjoy and are satisfying, otherwise you will probably still be craving the donut afterwards and end up eating more than if you’d just eaten the donut in the first place.



Another angle you might consider is that sometimes cravings are not just guides to our nutritional needs, but also to our emotional ones, as in food can be a metaphor for our deepest needs.  

For example:

  • WARM FOODS: Might mean you are craving emotional warmth

  • SWEET FOODS:  Maybe you are craving sweet things in other areas of life

  • SPICY FOODS: Perhaps craving stimulation/a need to spice up life!

  • CRUNCHY & SALTY: You might need to express anger

  • CRUNCHY & CHEWY: These could have a calming effect on the body

  • CHOCOLATE: Can represent love and forbidden sexuality


I have therefore included a final column in the Food Detective Diary. That way, you have the flexibility to go beyond the food, and begin to look deeper into your very psyche



Cravings are often considered to be direct messages from our bodies of what nutrients we might be lacking.

Pregnant women are known to develop obscure, and rare cravings for things like charcoal, and chalk, to actually eat!

Having this fantastically in-tune dialogue with the body can be great, and by eating that exact food, we can find ourselves reinvigorated with the exact medicine we needed….however, it doesn’t always work out like that!

In fact, many times, our cravings lead us to a food, that when we eat it, leaves us feeling worse off than before, and wondering why our bodies keep giving us signals to eat foods that make us feel sick.

In many situations, what people crave are processed, high sugary-fatty foods. Now we are wired to seek such calorie dense food. Especially in times of fatigue. It is our survival mechanism, and a very intelligent system at that.


Rather than jumping to the assumption that we are broken, and that our cravings keep leading us to all the ‘bad’ food that keeps us low in energy, and overweight, I encourage you to try a different approach, and become a food detective.


A food detective, is able to identify the qualities present tin the food that they crave, and then see if another food; one that is far more nutritionally sound, might also fit that criteria. CLICK HERE, to download you free graph and try it yourself.