One of the easiest but less obvious actions you can take to reduce your carbon footprint is cutting back on your consumption of animal products. A U.N. report found that rearing livestock produces even more greenhouse gases than cars. On top of all their manure, livestock has to be fed—primarily corn, a very energy intensive and thirsty crop, and soybeans. There are additional issues with land degradation and water contamination.
But this doesn’t mean you have to quit animal products cold turkey to make a difference, pun somewhat intended. Just cutting back can make a big difference. Vegan baking (using no animal products, including milk and eggs) is the perfect time to give it a try because with good recipes, you won’t miss the animal products at all! Here are a few notes about sustainable baking, along with one of my favorite recipes for cupcakes.
-- Soy, rice, or almond milk is really handy, because you can buy it in aseptic, recyclable quart or half gallon containers that don’t need refrigerating, so you can store them in your pantry until you need them. You’ll never notice the soy milk in your baked goods. There’s soy yogurt, too, and tasty non-hydrogenated margarine. All of these are cholesterol-free.
--A lot of animal-free recipes can be made without anything special to replace animal ingredients. Some only call for baking soda, baking powder, and vinegar, while others might use flaxseed, which is very healthy, to gel the liquid. Applesauce and bananas also work depending on what you’re making. Huge benefit here: the egg substitutes are usually cheaper, and they’re often shelf-stable, so perfect when you’re out of eggs or have no space in the fridge.
--Buy in bulk! Bulk saves packaging, especially when you have reusable containers, and it also gives you a chance to try out things you’d never have given a shot otherwise.
--A not-necessarily-green healthiness tip: Substitute half whole wheat pastry flour and half regular all purpose flour. You can’t tell and you’re getting in some whole grains.
Here’s a quick and easy recipe for chai latte cupcakes that I’ve already made about 50 cupcakes from: http://theppk.com/recipes/
You can’t tell it’s made without milk or eggs, since it’s deliciously rich and moist. It’s relatively low in calories, and with whole wheat and all the tea and spices, practically healthy! If you like this, check out the book Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World, and its companion, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. No one will ever know, I promise! One of your Green Living Reps said, “I’m from St. Louis, and they’re famous for their cupcakes, and this is probably the best cupcake I’ve ever had," and an anonymous 3L stated that "I don't normally like cupcakes, but these are really good."