We had the pleasure last week of chatting with the founder of The Health Institute, Dr. Joel NM Kerr, who gave us his thoughts on coconut water. He is a chiropractor/ART provider, acupuncturist, fitness coach and one who works closely with clients to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle. He currently works as a health and fitness consultant for numerous competitive sports teams in the G.T.A. and is the official team doctor for the Oshawa Power, National Basketball League of Canada. He enjoys working at the grass root level with young athletes. These professional experiences, combined with formal education in healthcare, set the method that Dr. Kerr uses to effectively manage acute or chronic injuries that his patients sustain at work or play.
Grace: What kind of athletes do you work with?
Dr. Joel Kerr: I work with athletes – by which I mean, people who play sports or who are otherwise active. Some of my clients are professional athletes, and some are active people who aren’t professionals but who want to stay active. One of my clients is a guy with a busy job and 4 kids at home; he needs to be active to keep up with his day to day life!
As my practice continued to grow, I decided to open my facility, The Health Institute. Two years ago, I also started working with a summer professional basketball league for the past 2 years: it’s for basketball players who play overseas to come back home and have somewhere to keep their skill level up. The second year I was involved, I decided to reach out to Grace Coconut Water to see if there was a possibility for a partnership.
Grace: You say you don’t recommend sports drinks for hydration. Why not?
I don’t support eating processed sugar. I’m very strict in keeping my personal philosophy of eating healthy and maintaining a nutritional balance, and whatever I recommend for my athletes, I have to make sure that fit with my training regimen for people who are active. I don’t advocate for sports drinks because, simply, they’re loaded with sugar and chemicals and they don’t help people maintain their health.
Grace: Why do you think that Grace 100% coconut water is the best choice for athletes?
It’s interesting, because in the past little while, coconut water has become more mainstream and more widely available. As someone who’s West Indian, though, coconut water is something I have always consumed in my home. I wanted to get it to people who wouldn’t necessarily have been exposed to it otherwise.
Hydration is the number one factor. No matter if you play sports or not, almost all of us are often dehydrated, because of the fact that many people eat too much food with salt. Salt is dehydrating.
The thing about pure coconut water like Grace’s – which isn’t from concentrate like a lot of other top brands are – is that it’s a pure form of hydration. I like that there’s plenty of magnesium in coconut water, which aids in muscle recovery. Another huge part of why coconut water is great for athletes is the fiber aspect – Canadians don’t eat enough fiber. It’s free of added sugar, it’s gluten free… and of course, the Grace logo is great!
Grace: What kind of work do you do with kids?
Dr. Joel Kerr: I work a LOT with kids around basketball: I have a great program for kids who want to play and don’t necessarily have the resources that would allow that. We wanted a professional basketball net, and Grace was kind enough to donate one to my kids.
Grace: Why do you think coconut water is good for kids to drink?
Dr. Joel Kerr: My approach to kids’ nutrition is authentic and health-based. A lot of clinics and facilities that work with kids have Coca-Cola vending machines selling sports drinks that are full of sugar – they do it because it makes money. I didn’t want to put one of those in The Health Institute, because of the message it would send: I want my facility to be totally supportive of my clients’ health. This is especially important for kids from a West Indian background, because we have a higher incidence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. These are things we need to stay away from. It’s important that an authority figure expresses that belief to the kids.
Grace coconut water is pure hydration and pure nutrition for kids. It’s much better than sports drinks for them.
Grace: Thanks so much, Dr. Kerr, for talking to us!