Eating Out and Keeping it Healthy

Samuel A. Kojoglanian, MD, FACC, FSCAI


  1. Leave the bread in the basket. White flour offers extra calories. Looks too good to pass? Scoop out the dough and eat the crust.
  2. If your meal comes with a choice of soup or salad, choose the salad. The salad has less sodium and more potassium-rich veggies.
  3. If you struggle with high blood pressure, ask the waiter to make your meal “low salt.”
  4. At Italian restaurants, choose the tomato-based pasta sauces (marinara, pomodoro, arrabbiata, or diavolo) rather than alfredo, cream, pesto, or butter. You’ll save a good 300 calories.
  5. At Chinese restaurants, toss the order of a meal like Chicken Chow Mein with an order of steamed broccoli, and lower the calories and sodium per bite.
  6. At Mexican restaurants, avoid the tortilla chips. To cut more calories, get the black beans instead of refried beans. Lose the flour tortilla. Ask for a bowl with the burrito ingredients over brown rice.
  7. At a burger joint, ask for your burger without the bun. Some places will wrap the burger in fresh lettuce. Not ready to go “bun-less?” Ask for whole-grain bun.
  8. For lower sodium and fewer calories and saturated fat, grab the lunch-size portion at dinner or split an ordinary main course. Think of a buffet as an invitation to overeat; fill up at least half your plate with non-starchy veggies.
  9. For a side, choose veggies over potatoes, pasta, or rice.
  10. When eating breakfast, skip the pancakes and waffles and savor the veggie omelet. You’ll save big on calories, carbs and sugar!
  11. Be good to yourself and lighten your pizza by ordering thin crust instead of deep-dish, pan or hand-tossed. Top with veggies, chicken or seafood instead of sausage, beef, bacon, salami or pepperoni.
  12. Crazy for Latte? Switch from 2% milk to nonfat to save calories and saturated fat. Skip the whipped cream on your coffee drinks and you’ll save up to 100 calories.

Run Mouse, Run

Samuel A. Kojoglanian, MD, FACC, FSCAI


We enjoyed our grandpa, who moved to the states in his 80’s and asked him, “Grandpa, what did you learn in English class today?” And he would say, “Run mouse, run. If you do not run, the cat will catch you!” We’d laugh with him, congratulating him on learning how to put simple sentences together.

5 Ways to Save Your Life

Samuel A. Kojoglanian, MD, FACC, FSCAI


1) Stretch: stretch your arms, legs and back. You can do it sitting or laying on your back. Raise your hands, lift your feet, and turn your neck (slowly). Stretching improves posture, increases blood flow to your extremities, relieves your neck and thoracic spine, and decreases tension.

Twinkie Delight

Samuel A. Kojoglanian, MD, FACC, FSCAI


Tony just got back from a cruise, had gained ten pounds, and wanted to let me know exactly what he ate on his trip. Though 40 years old, he’s had several stents placed in the past because of coronary artery disease.

A Pair of Shoes

Samuel A. Kojoglanian, MD, FACC, FSCAI 

Have you ever felt the urge to say something, but didn’t know if you should speak up? Sometimes it’s wise to speak, and other times it’s prudent to be quiet. In my college years, I volunteered in the office of a great cardiologist, who was kind enough to allow an aspiring cardiologist to come into his office and learn from him.

A Routine Day

Samuel A. Kojoglanian, MD, FACC, FSCAI

Rod, who is a 75 year-old gentleman with a keen mind, and who works on top-secret government projects, was at work on a routine day. I had seen him in my office for the past 3 years, and he was doing well.

While at work a couple of months ago, he felt ill, and sat in his office alone. Five minutes later he managed to get up, walk down the hallway and collapsed in front of his colleagues. Paramedics arrived, and resuscitated him with several shocks because he was in a pulseless ventricular arrhythmia, which is a heart rhythm incompatible with life. His hospitalization was prolonged, but after 2 months, only as Rod would do, he is begging to go back to work.

The angiogram didn’t show much disease and “plumbing” problems were ruled out, consistent with the previous tests. I placed a holter monitor on him, and noted that he had developed rapid heartbeats followed by long 4 to 5 second pauses, which may have caused his cardiac arrest.

Today, he is getting an AICD, an automatic internal cardiac defibrillator, which will pace his heart when it is too slow and shock his heart if it is too fast and erratic. His prognosis is excellent given his strong heart muscle. His full recovery is remarkable, and simply a miracle. And all this started on a routine workday two months ago.

I guess it was a routine day when Jesus was lying dead in the tomb. Then he rose and stunned the world, transforming darkness to light, death to life, depression to joy, and hopelessness to hope, shocking the Roman world, which to this day, impacts us greatly.

After much thought, I really don’t think there are any routine days. Today, start your day with a thankful heart. You are a recipient of breath and a living heart. Be grateful for what is given to you. Don’t be rude; the person you bark at may be the one who will perform CPR on you. Be gracious; it is so much healthier to be kind that to be mean. Be in expectation of good to come from a God who lives and who is not mad at you, but is madly in love with you. Guard your heart. Make people smile. You just never know what a “routine” day may bring!

Changing Your World

Samuel A. Kojoglanian, MD, FACC, FSCAI

Missy is 80, but acts like she’s 30. Lately however, she slowed down, and complained of chest pains while walking a block or two. Much to everyone’s surprise, an angiogram showed severe coronary artery disease, and she underwent successful bypass surgery.

Her chest pains resolved, but months later, her stamina was not up to par. Simple blood tests revealed severe anemia and other abnormalities. She complained of abdominal pains, so we quickly got her to see a GI doctor. A colonoscopy revealed a tumor, and she underwent another major surgery.

She is hanging on, fighting on, believing, and churning to get better. I asked her about her resolve, her determination, and her tenacious hope to endure, and she said, “Oh, that’s easy, lots of prayer, sprinkled with good attitude.”

I believe as Missy believes that she will overcome. First, I’d like to stress the importance of screening tests, such as blood work at least annually, a stress echocardiogram when it’s proper, and a colonoscopy when it’s recommended. Then, I’d like to address our outlook. A negative mindset is a sure prescription for deterioration while a joyful spirit will translate into a healthy and strong body, mind and soul.

Want to change your situation? I’ll prescribe 2 things: prayer and attitude. With prayer, you can move mountains, and calm your weary soul. You can cast all your cares on God, who loves you and embraces you. You can have peace that surpasses all understanding. This will allow you to have a good attitude, and with a good attitude, you can embrace the day, and stay the course.

But, “What about education, opinions, science, giftedness, skill, appearance, genetics, accomplishments, referrals, networking, IQ, and popularity,” you may ask? If you’ve been observing, you’ll know that we can’t change many things: have you tried to change a particular person, change your past, or change the inevitable? Me too. But there is something you can change, and that’s your focus. Changing your focus will change your attitude. And in so doing, you can change the world!

Healing the Body, Soul and Spirit

Samuel A. Kojoglanian, MD, FACC, FSCAI

One of my patients, David, had a massive heart attack at age 46. While on the cardiac cathetherization table, he died several times and by God’s grace, we brought him back to life and successfully opened up his heart artery that was 100% blocked.

David was a smoker and a heavy drinker. Anger was fueled by his past, when he recalled his parents, who divorced when he was 7. He had heard his parents arguing about their “problem child, ” and being the only child, he always blamed himself for the divorce. That led him to a life of drugs in his teenage years. The drugs turned into alcohol and cigarettes and daily chained him as a prisoner in his adulthood.

No matter what medications I gave him, what counsel I offered him to stop drinking and stop smoking, and no matter how many arteries I opened, my work would have been wasted if I did not focus on the core issue. Yes he had heart disease. Yes he was angry. Yes he felt shame. But why? The more we spoke, the more I found his issue was one a deep injury: rejection, which led to pain, anger, bitterness, and self-condemnation. The addictions effortlessly followed and ultimately manifested in a sick heart.

The person you see in the mirror is much more that a body. The symptoms doctors treat is much more than a diagnosis. The prognosis given to you is so much more than a lab, ultrasound or biopsy result. The Body (Greek, soma) is the physical structure of a human being. The Soul (Greek, psyche) consists of the mind, will and emotions. The Spirit (Greek, “Pneuma”) is the noblest part of a man, occupies the innermost area of his being, separates us from animals, and is the eternal component of a person, seeking purpose, goodness, and a relationship with God. The body communicates with the material world. The Spirit communicates with the spiritual world. And the soul mediates between the two. One cannot be whole by just taking care of his body.

According to Psalm 139:14, you are knit by God in your mothers’ womb, and are amazingly and wonderfully made. Placing a stent for coronary artery disease, or treating one’s blood pressure, high cholesterol, arrhythmia, cancer or depression is addressing such a minor part of a whole person.

I am convinced that we need a sound body, but that’s not possible until one has a sound soul, mind and spirit. And that’s how David is slowly mending today. Wishing you and your family complete healing!

Starting Anew

Samuel A. Kojoglanian, MD, FACC, FSCAI

Judith came to see me for palpitations. She hadn’t experienced her fast heartbeats for many years, but the recent stress and demands in her life were pushing her to care for herself less and less.

See SON’s Greetings

Samuel A. Kojoglanian, MD, FACC, FSCAI

More than 2,000 years ago
Eternity came to live among man
Rejected on the day of His birth
Rejected on the day of His death
Year of the dragon? No, behold God’s unblemished Lamb