A new report from KleanUpKraft.org is getting a lot of press, and it should! Thirty cheese product items, representing several varieties and brands, were tested. The total concentration of phthalates in macaroni and cheese powder (the kind found in Mac And Cheese products) was more than four times higher than in natural cheese, on a fat basis. Processed cheese slices had nearly three times the phthalates of natural cheese.
Phthalates are mainly used as plasticizers, substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity. Phthalates are nasty and not just because they are spelled with four consonants in a row that make you spit just to say the word. The KleanUpKraft.org report states that “Phthalates are hormone-disrupting chemicals that pose a serious threat to the health of pregnant women and children. Many studies have linked prenatal exposure to phthalates to abnormal development and function of the brain and reproductive system.”
In the It’s All About Food interview with Dr. Neal Barnard discussing his new book, The Cheese Trap, we learned about so many reasons to avoid animal milk cheese and all animal milk in general. Listen to the interview HERE
The good news is that you and your family can enjoy Mac And Cheese without worrying about endocrine disrupters, hormones, opiates and host of other unhealthy, environmentally damaging concerns that come with animal milk products. Try our Macaroni And Cheese recipe below. Not only is it oil-free and phthalate-free, we think it may be the best you have ever tasted!
1 cup whole raw cashews
2 cups water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional, season to taste)
1/2 teaspoon pepper (optional, season to taste)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar)
1 1/2 Tablespoons chickpea miso (or your favorite organic yellow miso)
1 pound pasta (we like Organic Brown Rice Pasta Tubes or Elbows)
To make the sauce:
In a colander, rinse the cashews. If you don’t have a high-powered blender like a Vitamix, the cashews may be soaked making them easier to blend. To do that, place cashews in a bowl or jar that can be covered and add double the volume in water. Cover and soak overnight or at least 4 hours in the refrigerator. Drain the cashews and give a gentle rinse.
Put all of the ingredients, except the miso, in a blender and blend until smooth.
Pour in a heavy saucepan and bring to a slow boil stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t scorch or stick, for about 10 minutes or until thick.
Remove from heat. Mix about 1/2 cup of sauce with miso and blend together until smooth. Add to cheese sauce and mix thoroughly over low heat.
To make the pasta
Follow the package instructions.
To assemble the dish
Drain the pasta and give a quick rinse. Return it to the pot over low heat. Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss. Serve immediately.
Sauce will keep in the refrigerator. To reheat add a little unsweetened plant milk or water to a saucepan, heat to a boil, add the sauce, and mix or whisk until incorporated and the sauce is hot.