One of the best weapons against heart disease is a heart-healthy diet, but for some, eating heart healthy isn't easy.
And that's why I've teamed up with local dietitians to create a heart-based eating plan that I pledge to follow for the next 30 days to see what exactly it takes.
Heart-healthy eating includes a lot of vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats like olive oil, according to Medical City Las Colinas dietitians Shanny Neely and Katie Boguslawski.
It may sound easy, but sticking to guidelines in an eating plan, like the one they created for me to follow over the next 30 days, is a challenge for millions of Americans.
Neely says people may be hesitant because they think they have to eat organic or that they can't afford a heart-healthy diet.
Not true, she says. You don't need organic. And frozen vegetables tend to be cheaper.
"You get into a social setting like the Super Bowl coming up, and you forget about the diet," Boguslawski said.
So take your own snacks to the watch party, like carrots and a healthy dip.
"They think, 'If I don't want to eat vegetables, then I can't follow a heart-healthy diet," Neely said.
Then try veggies that don't taste like veggies, like cauliflower pizza. Seasonings can also change the taste of your vegetables.
The biggest thing that jumps out at me: how much preparation I have to do at home, how much cooking I have to do, but that's hard with three kids.
"A lot of times, I tell my patients or my clients they need to plan ahead, especially on weekends when they have more time, they can do most of the prepping. If they cook in bulk, they can freeze it," Neely said.
And Neely adds, "If you eat one food that doesn't go with your eating plan, that's not the end of the world just go back to healthy eating."
If you'd like to join me on this month of heart healthy eating, find the eating plan, plus recipes and tips below, and follow along on my Facebook page.