In my quest to eat better and find healthier alternatives to some of my favourite snacks and sweets, I keep stumbling onto recipes that are labelled “vegan”. By no means am I a vegan or any other form of vegetarianism. But I guess when you look for some of the healthiest recipes out there, you are bound to stumble across ones like this. So I figured maybe somebody was trying to tell me something and I would give it a try. vegan cupcakes Image by Robyn  I decided that my first attempt would be something baked - vegan cupcakes. At the onset of this adventure, I was not quite sure what kind of concoction this would turn out to be, but I thought the worst that could happen was that it would not taste very good. I could live with that. The biggest thing I learned about vegan cupcakes (and vegan recipes in general) is that none of the ingredients used are by-products of animals—including honey which comes from bees. Basically, all dairy has a vegan substitution. Soy, almond or coconut milk is used in place of regular milk. Pure maple syrup or agave is used in place of honey. Butter is a big no-no as well. Instead, coconut or canola oil is used depending on which you prefer. Then there are the eggs. Vegan cupcakes use ground flaxseed in lieu of eggs. When it is mixed with other liquids, it forms a gel-like substance that resembles the texture of an egg (chia seeds do a similar thing). What I was really impressed with was how many different varieties of vegan cupcakes exist. Red velvet, chocolate peanut butter, Snicker doodle, vanilla, strawberry shortcake—even Butterfinger flavoured ones—were just a few of the dozens flavours I found! The truth is, not much was different in the vegan recipes from regular cupcake recipes aside from the elimination of all dairy. But there are so many ways to substitute them that I did not even feel like they were missing something. And flour, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder and even certain forms of sugar are all still used. Were the cupcakes good? They were delicious! peanut butter vegan cupcakes This is Astera's attempt at vegan chocolate and peanut butter cupcakes, awesome! I think I enjoyed eating these vegan cupcakes more than any others. Why? Well, when you make something yourself, you tend to take a lot more pride in it and enjoy the results even more. I also felt like I was eating something healthy and not stuffing my face with some artificially-flavoured, fat-filled pastry only to regret it minutes later. And because there are so many flavours to make and so many ways to make them, I now have a full menu of different cupcakes to bake whenever the mood strikes me. I have tried finding already-made vegan cupcakes in supermarkets or bakeries. So far I have only managed to find them at natural food stores. I am always tempted to buy them, but then I remember how much fun I had making my own in the flavours I want. I think for now, I will be my own vegan cupcake baker.