First, there was Dry January, a month-long break from alcohol after the excesses of the holidays. Now, here comes “Veganuary,” a campaign to get people to try a plant-based diet in the new year.

The goal is to go vegan “for January and beyond,” according to the British non-profit organization behind the effort. Launched in the UK in 2014, the challenge has spread to the U.S. and other countries, with more than 250,000 people taking the movement’s pledge in 2019.

Going this extreme all at once can actually turn people off, so making just a few changes may be better, said Beth Kitchin, an assistant professor of nutrition at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“A vegan diet can be very healthy, but it’s not easy. Easing into it may give you better long-term benefits, because you might get frustrated if you just jump in full force,” Kitchin said.

Still, Veganuary is worth a try if you want to test-drive this lifestyle, added Ashley Gearhardt, an associate psychology professor at the University of Michigan and director of its Food and Addiction Science & Treatment Lab.

A 30-day trial run can change people's behavior, Gearhardt noted, but she was concerned most would replace meat and cheese with “ultra-processed vegan junk food” filled with sugar, fat and salt, and think they were eating healthy.

“Spending all month eating vegan hot dogs, vegan ice cream and vegan french fries is not going to improve health,” Gearhardt warned.

Read the full article at Today.