Water, water everywhere, but is it fit to drink?
There are lots sayings out there, like the solution to pollution is dilution. Which means, if you add enough water to nasty stuff, you can't see the nasty stuff anymore. The problem with water today is it is either too polluted to drink, or it has had all the good stuff taken out of it, and therefore, less good stuff for our bodies.
Enter Vital Waters. This Kelowna based company is paving the way for the water of our future. They aren't another reverse osmosis chain store; they are, surprisingly, a business that actually cares about what goes into everyone's body and the health of their community. I went down there the other day to learn all I could about this company that is creating a quiet buzz in the area.
Vital Waters was started in 2009 by Joel Kutschera and Chris Collinson. Chris, who had 12 years in the water industry, was running a purified water store in Kelowna when Joel came to him with a proposal for what was to become Vital Waters.
"I was looking into alkaline water about 15 years ago," said Kutschera, "and I had a health and wellness understanding of the need for alkaline water for the human body. Alkaline isn't just about the pH level; it's about what's in the water People look at pH levels and think that's what it is all about. It's far more than that."
Another player on the Vital Waters team is Dr. Roger Drinkwater. He was in pharmaceutical development his whole life but moved on because he was disillusioned with the whole concept of pharmaceutical use and the treatment of disease vs. the prevention of disease. When he moved to Canada from Australia, he realized even though he was exercising properly, he was loosing weight; weight he did not want to lose. "I was drinking regular reverse osmosis water and realized I was dehydrated from drinking it. I started drinking alkaline water and quickly recovered all my weight," He continues. "Then I realized many people didn't know what alkaline water was and how important it was to our wellbeing. I published a number of articles on alkaline water - Joel read one of the articles and contacted me. I loved what they were doing for people’s health and for the community, so I came on board to help with the growth and expansion of the company."
Vital waters is composed of an amazing group of people who want to make a difference in our world, and few things in our world are more important than water.
The first thing they do is take local municipal water and turn it into clean water. "We then put back the things that should be in the water; the trace minerals, carbonate and bicarbonate ions," explained Kutschera. "Our premium reverse osmosis water goes through six stages. The pH Plus goes through 11 stages, and Himalayan Plus goes through 13 stages."
The beauty of Vital Waters is they sell their reverse osmosis water at or below the price of other water stores.
I asked him about those self serve machines where you can get water refills for $2 in your own container. His explanation has me rethinking 'cheap' water. "First of all you are putting water into a container that is not properly cleaned. You reuse the same bottles and those bottles are usually are made of some chemical composition that can leech into the water. You don't know how often the machines are cleaned or serviced and what type of process the water goes through. At Vital Waters, we clean and sterilize containers four times and we give you fresh bottles every time. We use the highest grade BPA free plastics as well as glass bottles, give you fresh caps and we'll even carry the bottles out to car for you."
I did a taste test of the water at Vital Waters and I really could tell the difference. Their regular RO tasted about the same as my Britta countertop container. The next one, the pH Plus, was fresh tasting, with a hint of sweetness. The Himalayan was by far the best and I actually felt like I had refreshed my system after I drank it. Then we discussed coffee. I get the shakes after two cups of coffee. Joel explained to me that it was partially because of the additives in regular coffee and partly because of the water. They carry socially responsible organic coffees and teas, as well as a line of health/beauty products sourced locally from all natural products made in Kelowna. There are chocolate products too, but I never got to sample them.
I decided to be a guinea pig and drank not one, but two, cups of strong coffee, and something amazing happened. I was alert, awake, clear-headed and no shakes. Holy cow! He was right. Who knew water could make such a big difference. It was time for more water education and I was now wide awake and ready to learn.
"In your water you want to have the right trace elements and minerals so that water can properly absorb into your cells and help your body," he explained. "Water is the least understood thing we put into our body and without it there is no life. When you give the body what it needs, it can become the miracle that it is."
The systems made to create the water at Vital Water are proprietary. They are duplicating nature as close as they can without the use of chemicals. Kutschera wants to give people the tools they need to heal themselves through water. It's a hard sell for a skeptic like me but the longer I was with the man, the more I believed him.
If staff is the true reflection of a company, then Vital Waters is amazing. Many people are hired here when other places have turned them down. Kutschera doesn't believe in the word disabled and is proud of everyone who works there. It really is a community of people helping people within the store, who in turn help others who come into the store. They started out with two employees and have grown to over 15. On top of that, the business donates over $50,000 a year to local charities like the Kelowna Women's Shelter, Kelowna Gospel Mission, Kelowna and Westside food banks (which is a whole other story) as well as the KGH Children's Ward and a half dozen more. (see their website for a full list)
I was convinced this really was a business that put its employees, its customer, and the community first, but still I wanted more proof. A customer, a young man named David Simpson, came in and I asked him what he thought about Vital Waters.
“My mom and my sister are big health nuts. When I started researching Vital Waters, it was a no brainer for me. We haven't turned back since," said Simpson. "I have to drink less water because I feel more hydrated. I also became that much more inclined to research what we are drinking now. I work in the bar industry so you see a lot of people grabbing a bottle of water and they think it is good for you. Since I've been drinking proper water I have lost weight, I feel a lot better, I'm healthier, and I have more stamina. I feel less stressed," he paused and added, "If I couldn't drink Vital Waters I'd have to figure out a way to create my own."
There you have it, straight from the mouth of a happy customer. But don't take my word, or his, for it. Go down to Vital Waters and ask for a taste test, meet the staff, and make your own decision.
They are located at 1923 Kent Road and are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed Sunday and holidays. Vital Waters is available at other locations in Vernon and Kelowna. Check out their website for retailers. They also deliver to the Westside. Visit their site at vitalwaters.ca or call toll free 877-605-0083 or email [email protected]