Although we've still got a few days until Veganuary, one doctor started early by going vegan for 30 days before sharing the results.
If there's one thing people love to debate about, it's diet. You've got your hardcore, plant-based fanatics, your testicle-eating raw meat lovers and then there's everyone else in between.
One thing that comes up time and again is whether or not veganism is actually that much healthier for you than other diets.
Of course, plenty of people go plant-based for ethical or environmental reasons, but Mikhail Varshavski, better known as Doctor Mike, decided to test out the health side of things by quitting animal products for 30 days.
In a rundown of the challenge, he started off by pointing out that a vegan diet can be nutritional and healthy for anyone.
But as is the case with all food regimes, you need to keep it balanced. After all, you could live on sweets, bread and fizzy drinks and technically still be plant-based.
But, as Mike explained: "If you're following standard American diet and then switch over to a vegan diet, you're gonna see improvement in chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, strokes, even an extension of life in some cases."
When it came to the challenge, one of the first hurdles the physician came across was getting in enough calories.
"I have to be honest, I didn't have much of an appetite," he said. "I'm not a huge fan of just eating vegetables and rice and beans so I didn't have tremendous portions. And because of that I was calorie deficient."
But he did add: "I'm partially to blame here because I didn't prep well. And even at the opening of this video I said the healthy way to follow a vegan diet is to adequately plan your meals for the first two weeks."
The next hurdle? Bloating and gas, which became a particular problem for Mike as he travels a lot for work.
He continued: "I was having tremendous gas and bloating. It's so embarrassing to say. I mean, think about this: I fly on planes, I interact with patients for long periods of time, I sit in conferences. I can't just be sitting there, flatulent."
Another downside was decision fatigue, as Mike found it hard having to constantly think about what he was going to eat.
"What I noticed while I was following the vegan diet was that I lost the drive to go to the gym, my work ethic actually suffered because I was putting such a strong emphasis on sticking to vegan when there were so many temptations and there were things I wanted to eat," he explained.
"I didn't want to hop on my spin bike in my bedroom. I didn't want to go to the gym with my friends. This is really unlike me and it's an obstacle I didn't actually expect to face."
But the hardest for Mike was peer pressure, as his friends weren't too pleased when they had to plan dining out around whether or not the restaurant had vegan options.
That being said, the 33-year-old doctor was well aware of the limitations, including the fact that he didn't plan as well as he could have.
He also mentioned some upsides, including that he didn't notice any major dips in energy and he didn't grow weaker. And he also said vegan sauces are 'on point'.
"I didn't get weaker on vegan, I was lifting strong and I felt good," he said. "But when did suffer was getting to the gym, I really noticed a lack of willpower."
There was also weight loss of three pounds, although he thinks it was likely due to the calorie restriction.
In short, it doesn't look like he'll be taking up the plant-based lifestyle anytime soon, not least because of the bloating.
"If you have that with any diet, there's no way you're sticking with it," he said.
Featured Image Credit: Doctor Mike/YouTube/Simone Montegrandi / Alamy Stock Photo
Topics: Food And Drink, Vegan, YouTube