The Green Whisperer: Simple Swaps

by Ronda Zegarelli


May 6, 2020

Being a vegetarian for over 25 years has been a lifestyle change, but it has been one of my greatest passions. One of my favorite topics of discussion with friends and family are Simple Swaps. What changes can you make every day to protect our planet and live the healthiest lifestyle? 

Let’s be the Best Version of Ourselves that We Can Be. 

My diet is gluten free and 100% vegetarian. I’m still learning how to commit to a 100% non-dairy vegan diet.  Cheese is my weakness but I’ll get there someday.  In the meantime, there are so many ways to make small changes and incorporate plant based healthy alternatives into your day to day living. 


There are many different types of vegetarian diets. This list can help you set a manageable goal:

  • Lacto-vegetarian diets exclude meat, fish, poultry and eggs, as well as foods that contain them. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, yogurt and butter, are included.
  • Ovo-vegetarian diets exclude meat, poultry, seafood and dairy products, but allow eggs.
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian diets exclude meat, fish and poultry, but allow dairy products and eggs.
  • Pescatarian diets exclude meat and poultry, dairy, and eggs, but allow fish.
  • Vegan diets exclude meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products — and foods that contain these products.

Some people follow a semi-vegetarian diet—also called a flexitarian diet—which is primarily a plant-based diet but includes meat, dairy, eggs, poultry and fish on occasion or in small quantities.

It’s simple and easy so I would like to share some of my Simple Swaps.

My Favorite Top Ten Simple Swaps in addition to veggies, veggies and more veggies:

    1. Use non-dairy butter. Check out Earth Balance Buttery Spread. You won’t be able to tell the difference.
    2. Try a nut based milk. Almond Milk is my favorite. There is also rice, oat, soy and hemp milk. 
    3. Substitute unsweetened almond, coconut or soy milk instead of milk or cream.
    4. Replace No Chicken Broth or Veggie Broth instead of chicken or beef stock in recipes.
    5. Great Sources of Protein are seiten, tempeh, beans, lentils, and tofu, so add a bit of Fakin Bacon to your tofu scramble.
    6. Substitute beef with plant based meat alternatives, such as Beyond Meat Burgers and Beyond Sausage that grill up nicely.
    7. There are many flavors of green tea for you to see what whets your palate.  Try green tea and ginger as a healthy option. Green tea raises your metabolism and has important antioxidants.
    8. Use Stevia instead of sugar or sugar alternatives, such as Splenda. Stevia has become readily available in grocery stores, so give it a go.  
    9. Vegan Protein like SunWarrior or VegaSport are two yummy options. Mix with your favorite fruit, vegetable or nut butter and add nut milk.  Experiment for your favorite morning and mid day snack.  I’m a fan of almond milk, peanut butter, SunWarrior Vanilla Protein, a handful of frozen spinach and flaxseed.  Sometimes I add a banana and a bit of agave for a sweeter taste. 
    10. For tasty snacks, a handful of nuts or dairy free chocolate in lieu of chocolate bars.

My top ten inspo list comes from one of my favorite vegan authors, Kathy Freston’s book “The Lean."

For more tips from Kathy Freston, click here.


Ronda Zegarelli is the president of Acrobatique Creative and a regular columnist with The Green Voice Weekly Newsletter.