Dr. Oz and the 30-Day Diet Plan

Dr. Mehmet Oz is the director of the Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine Program at New York Presbyterian Hospital and the well known television host of "The Dr. Oz Show." He is the author of six New York Times Best Sellers written in the health, fitness and weight loss genre and has developed several different diet plans. Dr. Oz's 30-Day Diet Plan was developed to decrease your risk of heart disease and reverse some conditions that can lead to this illness. The 30-Day Diet Plan is based on a vegan diet, which eliminates sources of animal protein.

Week 1: Detoxification

During the first week of the 30-Day Diet Plan, begin reducing sources of animal protein and replace them with sources of plant proteins. Sources of plant proteins used by vegans include beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and soy-based foods like tofu. If you haven't tried eating non-meat sources of protein, begin by substituting a plant protein for the meat in a favorite recipe. Additionally, begin taking a multivitamin and vitamin B-12 supplement to help ensure your body can use all the plant proteins efficiently. B vitamins occur naturally in animal proteins and aid the body's digestive process.

Week 2: Total Vegan Diet

By the time you reach the second week of Dr. Oz's 30-Day Diet Plan, you should have discontinued using any sources of animal protein and replaced them with vegetarian proteins. Dr. Oz's website explains that soy proteins, in particular, are naturally low in saturated fat, unlike animal proteins, which tend to contain large amounts of this type of fat that can increase your risk of heart disease. Soy proteins are also naturally low in cholesterol and can decrease inflammation in your arteries that can lead to a heart attack. A 2006 article published in "Circulation" explains that most of the research performed to compare soy protein to animal-based protein found that soy proteins lowered LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels significantly more than their animal-based counterparts.

Week 3: Healthy Snacks

By the third week of Dr. Oz's 30-Day Diet Plan, you should begin to decrease the amount of sugar and unhealthy snacks in your diet. "The Dr. Oz Show" website suggests stocking up on healthier snack choices like fresh fruits, vegetables and soy-based snack foods like soy nuts. Eating a vegan diet doesn't imply that you change only the type of protein you eat, it's a complete change of your approach to nutrition that steers you away from convenience foods. Make a habit of reading nutritional labels on the snacks you choose and avoid those that have sodium or sugar as one of the first five ingredients.

Week 4: Moving Forward

A completely vegan lifestyle may not be your long-term intention when choosing this diet, however it can be beneficial in providing a foundation for healthier food and lifestyle choices. To continue after the initial 30 days, begin to reincorporate foods that suit your tastes while keeping nutrition in mind. This can mean making a substitute of one meatless meal for an animal-protein meal daily, or choosing a piece of fresh fruit as a snack instead of a bag of chips. Making some changes is certainly better than no changes, and maintaining adherence to the principals of a diet that is low in saturated fat, low in sugar and low in sodium can help you keep losing weight in a heart-healthy way.