Dental Gastronomy: Strenghtening your tooth enamel with Collards

I love being a dentist in Honolulu.  I enjoyed living on the mainland while I was in college, and then again as I pursued my Doctorate in Dentistry, but I sure missed local style foods.  Lucky for me, healthy eating is important for good oral health!  Have you been to the new gastropub in Moilili?  Gastronomy is the art or science of food eating… so why not dental gastronomy?  Eating food that is good for your oral health!

Weak tooth enamel leaves your teeth vulnerable to tooth problems like cavities, chipping and sensitivity as the enamel thins and breaks.  Ok, not so good, but not like anyone wants to think about tooth enamel all the time.  I do like to think about food though!  One of the strategies to stop the weakening of the enamel is to watch what we eat.  Sugary, starchy and acidic foods feed the Streptococcus mutans and lacto bacillus bacteria that cause tooth decay.  Even my beloved diet coke can be highly acidic. Yikes.

Lucky for me, I am one of those people who lives to eat.. as opposed to those who just eat to live!  I am happy to eat those yummy foods that just happen to strengthen my tooth enamel at the same time.  Vitamin K is known to strengthen tooth enamel when paired with Vitamin D.  Since vitamin D is easy to come by in sunny Hawaii, (and also included in my skim milk),  I am looking for vitamin K.  Abundant in collards, which by the way has more calcium than milk, and is grown locally in Hawaii.   I have been making a Hawaii style version of Brazilian collard greens Mineira.  Super fast.. and tasty.  It is nothing like the collards cooked to extinction that my dad remembers growing up in North Carolina. affordable honolulu dentist

Mineira Oahu

1 bunch collards, stems removed. (about 1 pound)
3 slices Spam (or bacon) thinly sliced into sticks
¼ round onion, minced
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1 c extra firm tofu, quarter inch dice
Lemon juice, dash of shoyu and dash of pepper to taste.

  1. Directions:
    Wash collards and remove stems, Stack the leaves one on another, and roll from stem ends to tips into a cigar shape.  Cut cross wise into 1/8 inch strips, much as you would to chiffonade herbs)
  2. In a non-stick skillet over medium high heat, cook spam, onion, garlic until onion is translucent, and spam has browned.  Stir in tofu and sauté briefly.  Add collards to pan and cook, stirring until just wilted and bright green (this will take 3 minutes or so) Honolulu Dentist helathy eating

 I could eat this all myself, but it makes a great side vegetable dish for 4.

As a Honolulu Dentist, I have an interest in anything that impacts oral health.  This dish is tasty, and great for your health!!  Now that is a strategy I can sink my teeth into!!

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