Introducing Solids: Interview with Cai Anderson

Below is my full interview on introducing solids with Cai Anderson, teacher and extraordinaire of Body Wisdom. I'm excited to share our discussion on homemade baby food. For a brief version of this interview, click here to read the introducing solids article that highlights Cai's wisdom and use of intuition.

A: How did you get interested in working with nutrition?

Cai: Through my own experience. I have a 19 year old, who I brought up with very nutritious foods. In the beginning, I started out just like every other mother starts off, consulting a lot of pediatricians: what to feed your baby, what not to feed your baby, the vaccinations and what I found was when my daughter was two years old she developed bronchitis. And from the time she was a newborn she was having problems with her lungs, a lot of congestion.

A: And did you breastfeed?

Cai: Yes, I did. So, she was having problems with her lungs and the doctors said it was bronchitis. After about a month from when she was born she would receive some antibiotics and then she was off of them. So, by the time she was about a year and a half to two years old at one point she had bronchitis that she was not responding to the antibiotics. And I decided, “okay, this is going to be the third bottle of Cychlor, which is an infant antibiotic.” And I thought, “you know, after the second bottle, this should be working. And she’s not responding to them.” So, by the time I picked up the third prescription, the pharmacist gave me a pamphlet about the prolonged use of antibiotics causes leukemia. And so I thought, I can’t believe I’ve been giving my baby this. And so I decided to do some more research and I took her and we both went to an Iridologist.

A: And what does an Iridologist do?

Cai: An Iridologist examines your eye and the concept is that your eye is a road map to different parts of your body, especially your vital organs, your intestines and your digestive system. And it was pretty amazing. She recommended that I place onion patches, purple onion on her neck…

A: Raw?

Cai: Raw. On her neck and on her chest. And she said to do that until it’s gone. And I started noticing a difference by the second day. She was not coughing, she didn’t have that pale color, because of the antibiotics you baby develops this real pale kind of unhealthy look in their skin. And so, I did the onion, “what are they called?”

A: Layers?

Cai: Layers… there’s a term for it, and I’m looking for it. It’ll come to me. So she got better. And I’ve never given her antibiotics since then, or Tylenol or anything like that since then. So this lady starts telling me, “you know your baby really needs natural foods and foods that are alive with enzymes.” So, that’s where it all started.

A: Okay.

Cai: My daughter grew up this way so she pretty much is, you know feeds herself real natural healthy foods, because that’s how she was brought up. And she’s kept that up.

A: That’s beautiful.

Cai: I mean, you know she’s tried the other stuff that her friends have tried and she’s seen the changes that it would bring in her body. And they were not good. She noticed, “mom if I have coffee or a soft drink like the monster drink or the red bull… I notice that, I don’t know”, she said “I feel like my liver, there’s something going on in my liver and I feel mad. And when I’m just drinking real healthy stuff, water or just natural juices I feel really different.” I said, “that’s the difference… and it’s good that you notice this.” So that’s how it started. And so what I used to do is use a food processor to chop down the vegetables or fruits. When she was a baby.

A: And you did this, the fruits and vegetables were raw or cooked?

Cai: They were raw.

A: Okay.

Cai: For the most part they were raw. There were some vegetables that, like mushroom, I consider a vegetable, and from what I know you increase the nutritional vegetable when you cook them. And so that’s about the only thing that I’ll cook at home. And when it came to juices, I always had a juicer and would give her fresh juice. She was never a fan of milk, neither was I as a baby. And so I didn’t give her too much milk, cow’s milk. And the nutrition that your baby gets from the raw fruits and vegetables, and especially if you go organic versus your regular store-bought, non-organic produce is really important. Because when you buy organic you receiving hopefully as much of the nutritional value in the foods without the pesticides. And so the body is able to assimilate all this food, and especially for a baby. And you’ll see your baby’s skin, you’ll see the glow on the skin. You’ll see how they won’t get sick as other baby’s. My daughter since I’ve been using alternative options she’s really not been ill at all. PMS, and that’s pretty much it.

A: So, when you work with mothers, or if you were to teach a mother, when do you start to introduce solids?

Cai: Depends on every mother. Every mother is going to have a comfort level. And a lot of mothers they will use a lot of guidelines that are provided by the pediatrician, or baby care publications. And that’s fine, whatever their comfort level is. The baby will also give you an indication that they’re ready for solid foods.

A: What does that look like?

Cai: When they are hungry. When the milk is no longer enough.

A: Do you have about a time frame, or does it really vary greatly on the baby?

Cai: I would say about six months is where I notice a lot of babies will start introducing solids as pureed foods. And it’s okay to give them pureed before then, it just depends on every baby.

A: And are there foods that you think are easier to start with?

Cai: fruits are great. Fruits, apples, peas, carrots, lets see, broccoli. My daughter used to love broccoli.

A: How do you do broccoli?

Cai: You just puree it.

A: So you plop it in the blender and puree it, or do you puree it somehow different?

Cai: Without the blender, there are baby pureeing little machines. They are not electrical they are just, they have a lever and you just turn the lever.

A: Is that better somehow than a blender on puree?

Cai: I think so, it’s just the vibration. You don’t interfere with the vibration, the blender is chaos. And I was thinking more about that because the blender is just like a lot of, a different vibration so, anything that is low-keyed, peaceful…is better for baby, especially in regards to foods. That’s what you want to stick with.

A: I heard avocado is a great one to start with.

Cai: Avocados, just about anything. I don’t believe there’s a limit to what a baby can eat as long as it’s natural. I’ve heard honey is not something you can give a baby, but I gave my baby honey and there was no problem with it. But some mothers would be concerned with that. And they may not feel comfortable giving their babies raw honey.

A: And when you say natural do you include grains and rice and oats and stuff like that or are you strictly speaking, um, vegetables, fruits?

Cai: You can add grains like oats, brown rice and flax seed, which is great for them, it’s good for their livers. Geared more towards the options that are available versus this is what you want to feed your baby. Because there are so many different cultural preferences with everyone. Everyone brings from their different cultures different fruits and vegetables. What I bring in the workshop is, okay instead of cooking your vegetables, or buying them jarred for your baby to eat from. How about if you put them in this pureeing system and you feed them to your baby. And they’ll notice a huge difference in that one concept alone. Um, the workshop is really about, okay can you eat raw cauliflower, raw broccoli? Absolutely! You can feed your baby any raw fruits and vegetables that I know of, that I’m aware of that would not hinder their bodies.

A: That’s beautiful. So when you teach your workshop, you have people bring in their vegetables?

Cai: Usually I bring the fruits and vegetables, organic and any type. I don’t specifically stick to any one type of fruit or vegetable. Basically whatever I want and I just kind of have them bring in what they want to. And if a mom says “well, my baby is bored with this type of vegetable, like broccoli.” Well, maybe you want to add a little bit of garlic or a little bit of onion to it. And that’s okay. Cause onion is filled with antibiotics, with natural antibiotics and so is garlic. And so, you kind of spice it up as your baby develops their palette a little bit more and it becomes more mature they are ready to explore a little bit more and so you should be able to do it in a very healthy way, without having to cook. And so it just becomes a way of life because that’s probably the way it’s become for you, right? Where it’s like “I don’t know if I can eat beef or pork now. Now I know that I can’t now, every once in a while I will do it, but then I think I knew I shouldn’t have done it!”

A: You know the symptoms you are going to have from it.

Cai: Exactly! Do you go through that?

A: For sure. I know if I eat some kind of beef or heavy meat, I’ll be going to bed right after, because I’ll need a nap. It’ll be like I can’t keep my eyes open. It’s incredible and sometimes I've actually gotten sick from it, but it depends on the quality of meat.

Cai: Yes, when I used to do it, it’s my joints. They hurt. That’s how I know I cannot be eating that. And I don’t do it often, you know once a month at the most. But that once a month I realize, “this is why I don’t do it anymore!” It’s not worth it anymore.

A: So, how do you encourage moms to share this experience with the babies? To motivate and to understand what the baby is going through?

Cai: That’s the difficult part because unless the mother sees the benefit in her own body and experience it, then she’ll know the value of it for her baby.

A: So you encourage mothers to…

Cai: To make the switch, yes. And the other workshop I have does that. What I’ve found that is once the mom notices the difference that she changes in her body of having, for instance, oatmeal with soy or almond milk, versus cows milk. Or with cornflakes and cheerios. She’s going to go, “oh, this is really good, this must be better for my baby!” It’s sort of, it has to be done on a personal level first before it can be offered to the baby. Mothers will feed their baby’s donuts on Saturday morning and they are out there buying donuts for their babies…if they knew that donuts, research has found that donuts stall the immune system for 3 hours! Isn’t that amazing? If they knew that, they wouldn’t give their babies that.

A: That’s amazing. What’s in the donuts that do that? Is it because it’s deep-fried or what is it?

Cai: I think it’s a combination of things that it’s fried, deeply fried and it’s loaded with sugar and I think the combination of those things has a really negative affect on the body.

A: That’s incredible.

Cai: Yeah. And I used to love donuts! I wouldn’t eat them every weekend, but every once in a while I would have them. Now, I couldn’t do that anymore and so, unless the mom experiences first hand then it’s tough to get them to introduce this to their babies. Some moms feel that it’s too difficult. That it’s too time-consuming. But it’s actually is cheaper, healthier, and it’s not as time-consuming. You just put the vegetable either in a food processor or in a little baby puree machine and it’s ready! And it’s good for your baby!

A: And it’s incredibly tasty! Raw vegetables are just…once you start to… I heard this man talking about if you were trying to diet, he said before you cut out anything or change anything. Make it so where you have to take 20 chews of a food before you swallow. And I actually did it, and not that I was trying to loose weight, but I actually did it and I could not take twenty bites of bread, it gets boring and if you actually have 20 chews of a carrot the taste is still incredible at the end. It’s so interesting to really taste the food. And so now it’s not, oh I really love bread cause I love bread… but actually when I really have to taste it 20 times before I swallow! So, his point was if you start to do that, you’re going to actually readjust yourself pretty much because you’re not going to, well first you’re going to eat slower and get full faster, or realize you are full, but you are also going to find out what really tastes good and it’s not the fast food that we normally eat.

Cai: Thinking about chewing that 20 times, it’s just not something that I really want to do!

A: Exactly!

Cai: To make the switch can be so difficult for a lot of moms because it’s time issue, or just because they’ve been trained through advertisements and through the medical community to think a certain way and to only see certain options available. So that’s all they think is available.

A: And creativity I think comes into it too. Because of the fact that, well at least for me when I started eating more raw stuff, and I still think this sometimes, okay I’ve eaten that all the time and for unhealthy food, we have a million options for fast foods and restaurant foods but when it comes to raw, I am not as familiar with those. So, it’s like reaching out into the vast unknown when it’s easier to fall back on old habit.

Cai: And if you go back to your family history, your grandmother cooked that way, your mother cooked that way and you’ve inherited that way of cooking and there’s a whole world out there. Different types of recipes that I introduce in the Body Wisdom workshop for women in hopes that once they taste the difference that raw food doesn’t have to be eaten cold and that you can make these delicious meals out of them they’ll not be bored. And I know this when I make a vegetarian sandwich, most people will think, “ugh a vegetarian sandwich come on!” But the way I make it is key to being able to not miss that taste, the tastiness of whatever you’ve been used too. It’s all in the spices, it’s all in how you prepare it.

Cai: My boyfriend was raised on meat and potatoes type of family. But it was difficult for him to switch, but now because that’s what I eat he’s making the switch on his own, not willingly, but because he wants us to eat the same meal together, to share it together. To him having the same meal and sharing the same meal is important. So, I know I need to eat this, and I feel really good with this and he does notice the difference too. And my daughter notices a huge difference when she sticks to her normal nutrition. What is normal for her. And with babies it is so easy because they haven’t developed, their taste buds haven’t trained to taste certain things and so it is such an important time to train them to eat the right stuff. And so, um, that being said, what I have found is that through the energy work that has kind of taken off on it’s own: with that type of work, your body on it’s own starts rejecting what is not good for it, because you become more aware of it. And that’s the goal. That’s why it’s become more, first, before the other stuff and so I still have to work with that because I think nutrition is so important. And the nutritional aspect, your emotional and your physical, all of these things are really important to bring you to an awareness which is something that a lot of people, right now there is this awareness, this awakening of your higher self, of you happening. And my theory is that all of this is tied together.

A: How do you see it?

Cai: How do I see it? Umm, you cannot experience your body at it’s optimum unless your feeding it the right foods, if you are eating beef, chicken, eggs, they’ve been injected with antibiotics, with hormones. All these things interfere with your connection within your body, as well as caffeine, soft drinks, all these things interfere with you being able to make that connection. And so that’s where nutrition comes in. The energy aspect of it goes along with the emotions. When you are loaded with stress or a history of emotional traumas, you can’t connect to your body. You’ve got to find some strategy to get rid of all the baggage, so to speak, to be able to make that connection. So, how do you do that, how do you get rid of that baggage? Through counseling? Some people do seek counseling, and I do believe that counseling is good and effective, but this is so effective. Because it works with your body and you are actually doing the work yourself. It’s not someone else doing the work for you. You’re being trained so that your body on it’s own layer-by-layer gets rid of maybe the trauma of loosing a parent during childhood. Little by little. So, those three things put together, I believe, is what’s going to bring consciousness in people probably faster.

A: So… the nutrition, the body work and what’s the third?

Cai: The emotional work. The emotional and the bodywork are intertwined, wouldn’t you agree?

A: I would agree. I think we hold the emotional energetically and physically and that they release together.

Cai: Yes!

A: What would you recommend for people for more information? Do you have any websites or books that you really enjoyed? What’s been your inspiration?

Cai: There’s so many books that I have read that are incredibly good. I recommend Gary X, Louise Hay, Carolyn Myss, or for more data-oriented people David Hawkins. He writes on kinesiology. Who else?

A: What about for the nutrition?

Cai: There so many good sources out there, but I go back to this: using your own intuition to determine what your body needs. If you are craving something it’s because your body needs something in that food, it needs to assimilate it so that whatever nutritional value that is in that fruit or vegetable, it can take it and then your body assimilates it.

A: I have a question about that because actually I’m stopping eating bread and I feel like I have a huge craving for it. But I feel like it’s more of an emotion than an actual need.

Cai: It’s probably emotional because it’s a comfort food. And you may be missing something emotionally and you’re maybe going through a transition where you need that comfort feeling of home.

A: Okay.

Cai: So it makes a lot of sense.

A: Because I’ve been noticing as I’ve tried it. I’ve been like, feeling like I’m going to this other level and on an emotional level, I felt like I needed to stop eating bread. And I’ve been craving it. And I’m like that’s a crave and I don’t have to eat it. But, I’m just watching it and it’s very interesting.

Cai: And you’re going, I know I don’t have to have this. But your emotional self is telling you “I really want it”. And you see when that happens, yeah you want to give into the craving, and other times I don’t have to because I can pinpoint “this is why”. And I’m able to work it out within myself. I need to address the issue that I’m trying to appease. And we all have a different strategy for doing that. I’m thinking for you, it’s around your heart chakra.

A: Yep.

Cai: And, um, I don’t know if it’ll help you but if you want me to do a real quick entrainment, I would be more than happy too.

A: I’d love it. One last question, is there anything else that I didn’t touch on that you would like to share with women, or dads who are just becoming aware of how they want to feed their babies.

Cai: My most important message is for them to listen to their intuition because for their own bodies there is no one else in the world that knows better what they need. But you, yourself! The person in the body! Doctors are wonderful health professionals in the setting where you’ve got a broken bone, lets fix it and put it in a cast or you broke your head, lets put it back together. But when it comes to diagnosing, they’re really kind of trying to, um. They are often prescribing medication based on a few symptoms and when you go back and you’re in your body and you feel intuitively whether the medication you’ve been prescribed is good for you, if you listen to your body or you do muscle testing you will find, most-likely that that medication is not good for you. And when you do this type of muscle testing you’ll find that your muscles…there is a quote that David Hawkins has and I’ll read it to you really quick. And it proves true to so many things in life, and most of all nutrition. And he’s actually great, he’s a psychiatrist by profession and he had a moment of spiritual awakening and his story is really interesting. So what he says is that “with lightening-like speed the muscles of the body go instantly weak in the absence of truth, they grow strong in the presence of truth or that which supports life.”

A: Isn’t that incredible?

Cai: Yes! And that’s what I go by for my own nutrition. Do I really want a banana? Do I want to eat this? What does my body need?

A: Okay, when you ask yourself that. To get the answer do you muscle-test or do you go with what first pops up or what do you do?

Cai: What makes me feel good. If I’m holding a glass of water in one hand and then I switch it out for a coke. The feeling I get is very distinct. My body will feel the strength of drinking water versus with the coke if you’re very sensitive, you can feel your muscles go limp if it’s something that your body doesn’t want. It’s sort of like in a conversation, when someone brings something negative to the table, you notice it on people’s faces. It’s like “oh god, what a downer!” And people actually have that reaction, and they usually don’t know it, with nutrition.

A: That’s incredible. So, when someone’s starting out and they’ve been eating fast food, coke, how do you make it simple?

Cai: Um, the simplest way is to make the switch by eating foods and preparing them in a way that’s very tasteful to you, very tasty to your palette. For example, if you like spicy food and the taste of hamburger. Make yourself a sandwich with whole grain bread and add roasted peppers. Roasted peppers, they are cooked but they have immense taste and they come in a jar. But I only add a little bit of that to add taste and flavor to my sandwich. And then I put a zucchini, fresh tomatoes, and before that I’ll sauté garlic in very low heat with coconut oil. And put the roasted pepper with the garlic and the coconut oil and layer it with the zucchini after I shut off the stove. And it’s not cooked, but it’s warm. Then I put it on a sandwich.

A: That sounds delicious.

Cai: It’s delicious.

A: So find a healthy way to prepare it and get used to the taste?

Cai: You won’t have to get used to it because it’s so delicious.

A: I mean get used to it as far as how your body reacts.

Cai: Get used to making the mind-set. Being of that mindset, the natural. You don’t need to eat the hamburger because it tastes so good, now you have another really healthy option that tastes just as good, if not better. And is 100x better for you! And so when you look at it that way it’s almost like you don’t feel like you’re giving up anything. You feel like, oh gosh, I’ve gained so much by going this route versus eating the hamburger. Because by eating the hamburger I may feel bloated, it’s not good for my digestive system at all. And the nutritional value and the calories. It’s not worth it.

A: Thank you. Thank you for your time and this was beautiful.

Cai: Your welcome.