JOIN CO-FOUNDER OF RISEWELL KORI ESTRADA ON HER JOURNEY WITH WELLNESS
Growing up I was always very active and thought that was all I needed to live a ‘healthy’ life. My health and wellness journey didn’t truly begin until I had to deal with my first health challenge. During my time in investment banking I was overworked, overstressed and struggling with major stomach issues. I saw numerous conventional doctors who wanted to put me on serious life-long drugs without a diagnosis and without any discussion about food. I finally got put in touch with a fantastic functional medicine doctor who helped me get to the root of my health issues uncovering a serious gluten allergy in my blood tests. As an Italian, I never thought I’d be able to abandon eating wheat but the difference in how I felt without gluten in my life was night and day. I finally understood the connection between eating right and feeling great. This experience empowered me to get to the root of another issue I had been struggling with my entire life – amenorrhea. I was eventually diagnosed with a hormonal disorder called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which can cause infertility among other symptoms. So, when my husband and I were thinking of having children, and diet/lifestyle changes weren’t enough, we turned to IVF. In order to do everything I could to make the process a success, my doctor told me to live as healthy as possible and cut out as many toxins from my life. At this point, my husband John and I were already eating very healthy and thought we were living naturally.
Little did we know, after turning my apartment upside down, how many scary chemicals are in everyday products like toothpaste including propylene glycol (the main ingredient in antifreeze), detergents (toothpaste shouldn’t foam as these detergents can cause dry mouth / canker sores!), Teflon (it’s in most conventional floss) and triclosan (FDA banned this ingredient in hand soap)… and we are putting these products in our mouths twice a day! We had a hard time finding a natural replacement for our oral care products that we actually enjoyed using and more importantly that worked. As my brother, Dr. Derek Gatta informed me, when you take away the fluoride there is not an active ingredient that helps to protect your teeth in most natural toothpastes. We started formulating RiseWell four years ago along with a team of dentists to create oral care products backed by science and that were safe enough to eat. We found our main ingredient, hydroxyapatite, in Japan where it’s the gold standard and has been used for over 40 years. Research has shown that it works just as well if not better than fluoride without any of the toxicity issues. Toothpaste doesn’t have to carry a “call poison control” warning if swallowed! RiseWell was then born along with my 14 month old son, Leo. John and I along with my brother and dentist, Derek launched RiseWell this May bringing to market the safest and most effective oral care products. Your gums are highly absorbent and even if you aren’t swallowing your toothpaste, your gums are absorbing everything you put in your mouth which is why oral care products should be safe enough to eat. I’ve had my set of challenges to overcome, but beautiful things have come from each of these examples and have helped me to live a healthier, happier and more fulfilling life.
It took me more than twenty years to realize that wellness is more than just working out or the absence of disease, it’s a dynamic process of change and growth. It’s not about surviving, but thriving. Like many young people, my wellness journey started shortly after college in the midst of my investment banking career when I was faced with my first health struggle. When I found out I had a gluten allergy and started making small diet changes, I recognized how important it was to be eating the right foods in order to feel my best. Food truly is the best medicine. Not only did I change my diet, but I took a deep dive into all things wellness after realizing how transformational these small changes could be. I started working alongside an experienced functional doctor who helped me to understand my genetics and how that can impact how I absorb vitamins and minerals, incorporating more fitness and better-for-you products into my daily routine and making small choices to live a higher quality of life. This was exactly the reason RiseWell was created. Wellness has been so transformational for me inside and out that we even incorporated ‘well’ into the name of our business! It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Do what makes you feel good and wellness will start to come naturally. And that doesn’t mean you have to give up all indulgences. I also love to bake, so I have found ways to do this with a healthier twist (I have a blog I share my recipes with family and friends called Kokobutter.com).
I work a full time day job as the co-CIO of Axon capital while also helping to run RiseWell with my husband and be a mother to little Leo, so you can imagine how hectic my days can be! The meditation and breathing classes have helped me to find relaxation and a sense of peace wherever I am. I love these because they aren’t designed for only the morning or night, I can do them in between meetings or when I really need them on the go. One of my favorite classes at the moment is Stand Strong. If I am not feeling as confident or energized as I would like to be, this class puts me in the right headspace to take on the day. This is also true for the Energy Booster class. Changing the way you think can automatically change my level of energy and my spirit for the day. For me, wellness comes from physical, mental and social well-being and CARAVAN is an important ingredient for my journey.
Wellness is about consciously making choices toward a more fulfilling lifestyle – it’s about taking care of the whole mind, body and soul. It starts with nourishing your body with the right foods, making safer product choices, and prioritizing things like meditation, fitness, social connectedness and sleep. With a wild 14-month old and two jobs, it’s also about being efficient with my time. Instead of taking the subway to my office I take a CitiBike there (it only adds a few minutes to the commute!) and I do loads of meal prep on the weekend in order to have healthy food easily on hand. When I feed my mind, body and soul what it needs and incorporate daily meditation and awareness practices I’m better able to manage stress, deal with life’s challenges and truly thrive not just survive. Those small daily choices — eating the right foods, using the right products (especially the ones you put in your mouth!), meditating, working out, laughing more — mean that I’m sick less often, have more energy, can physically keep up with my son and have a higher quality of life. I have more energy, see the world differently and can better handle challenges since I have changed my lifestyle and made wellness a priority.
I learned that making your mental and physical wellness a priority is key for this reason.