According to a 2012 Gallup poll, roughly 2 percent of Americans consider themselves vegans. These people choose to eat no meat or dairy products—no hamburgers or chicken, no milk or cheese.
Their specific reasons for choosing the vegan lifestyle are varied. Some say it's an ethical issue; they don't think it's humane to kill another living being. Others say it's about taste; they simply prefer plant-based foods.
But nearly all of them agree that their diets are healthier than those of the other 98 percent of Americans who are proud carnivores or vegetarians.
Scientists haven't reached a clear consensus as to which diet is the best, but one thing is clear: There may be some value in being a "part-time vegan":
Cutting out meat and dairy may help lower your cholesterol
There is "good" cholesterol and "bad" cholesterol. Good cholesterol, that which actually helps your body fend off heart disease, is found in vegan-friendly foods such as almonds, oat bran and orange juice. Bad cholesterol, that which clogs your arteries, is found in eggs, steak, cheese and hamburger. Hence, eating like a vegan for a while can help lower your cholesterol.
Eating like a vegan could lower your blood pressure
The American Diabetic Association reports that people who eat a vegan diet have a decreased risk of hypertension, or high blood pressure. This is a good thing.
You'll load up on antioxidants
Antioxidants are really, really good for you. Once consumed, they remove potentially damaging chemicals from your body. Scientists believe they help fend off horrible diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and even Alzheimer's. The good news for vegans (and part-time vegans) is that many fruits and vegetables are super high in antioxidants. So if you're eating like a vegan, even for a little while, you'll be loading up your body with the powerful disease-fighting agents.
At the end of the day, experts agree that moderation is key to any successful diet. So maybe trying it for a week—and reaping the benefits—is the way to go.