The morning ritual that sparks joy

Photo by  Nara Gaisina . Organic cotton sleepwear by  Leena & Lu.  Toothpaste by  RiseWell.

Photo by Nara Gaisina. Organic cotton sleepwear by Leena & Lu. Toothpaste by RiseWell.

Lately everything is about sparking joy. After meeting with Kori Estrada, co-founder of RiseWell, I am convinced that our first morning ritual of brushing our teeth should be too.

Think about it. From product to packaging, toothpaste that our grandparents used is similar to what we are still using. Big industry toothpaste works but is laden with chemicals including possible endocrine disruptors like triclosanand fluoride. And even though organic toothpastes make us feel better about ourselves and the environment, its efficacy is questionable and possibly counterproductive. In fact, natural toothpastes may be as effective as brushing with water, and toothpastes with activated charcoal have been noted to damage enamel due to its abrasiveness. 

Kori realized this gap in the market and the need for a clean toothpaste when she was battling PCOS and going through fertility treatments. During fertility treatments there is a growing school of thought that what you put in, and on your body may affect egg quality and possibly influence outcomes. During the fertility process, Kori was eating well and mindful of endocrine disrupting chemicals that mimicked harmful hormones that have been found to get in the way of fertility.  That got her thinking about the toothpaste that she used.

“The first thing that I do in the morning is brush my teeth. Toothpaste is the first thing that we absorb through our mouth and possibly ingest a little of.” Kori went on to share that there is a warning sign about ingesting most commercial toothpaste for good reason. If a child gets its hands on a tube of toothpaste with those levels of fluoride, that child’s health may be in serious jeopardy. That statement really made me think.

Anything with a poison control warning label probably shouldn’t be on anything that we ingest. Kori had already had all of these thoughts which had led to her AHA moment of creating a clean and effective toothpaste. This prompted her to call her brother, Dr. Derek Gatta who is a dentist in Florida, land of pearly white teeth. It became a family affair and Kori who runs a hedge fund by day, along with her brother and husband decided that there was a reason to “RiseWell” with that first morning ritual. They are so passionate about their craft that they researched what could bridge the gap between clean and effective. Their answer was hydroxyapatite. 

Hydroxyapatite has been used as a remineralizing agent in toothpaste in Japan for the last three decades. It has been shown in field trials as an active anti-cavity ingredient to cause a similar reduction in new cavities to that seen with fluoridation in the U.S. Not to geek-out but I will; up to 90% of enamel and 70% of bone is a modified form of hydroxyapatite (aka bone mineral).

Armed with a clean(ing) alternative to traditional toothpastes, Risewell also sought out to differentiate by backing its claims and building their credentials which resulted in the creation of its own Scientific Council with leading experts in dentistry and functional medicine including Robin Berzen, MD, Founder and CEO of Parsley Heath.

Risewell has put the traditional and organic toothpaste products on notice with a full suite of products to include toothpaste, mouthwash, and floss for both adults and children. Most importantly, Risewell stands by the fact that its product is safe for everyone which in my opinion gives it a stamp of approval for anyone looking for a clean and effective toothpaste to use during fertility treatments, pregnancy and to support long-term healthful hygiene habits. 

I was so excited about the prospect of also “rising well” and using a clean toothpaste product that I tried RiseWell and have been using it for the last four months. The verdict? I am impressed with how clean my mouth feels, how comforted my mind is knowing that I am not ingesting endocrine (hormone) disruptors and maybe I am just hallucinating, but I think that my teeth may actually be whiter. The tube is also definitely chic enough to leave out on my bathroom counter.

During our interview Kori mentioned that she wished that she had a community of support during her fertility treatments. Kori is grateful that the fertility experience opened up her eyes to what was missing and gave her the opportunity to create a truly necessary product. To that end, Kori has graciously extended her support for the fertility journey with a special offer to try RiseWell. Follow this link add in the promo code: FERTILUST20 to receive 20% off of your purchase.

Perhaps I am speculating but think that Marie Kondo would also agree that your toothpaste and your morning ritual needed an upgrade.

About Kori Estrada: Kori is the co-CIO of Axon Capital which is an asset management firm managing ~$500mm in capital globally. She has had a focus on consumer related investments throughout her career in both public and private capacities. Prior to joining Axon Capital, Kori was an Associate at Shumway Capital Partners and an Analyst in the Investment Banking Division at UBS Investment Bank. Kori received her BA from Columbia University. Based on her fertility experience, Kori made the notion of a clean toothpaste a reality together with her husband, John and brother, Dr. Derek Gatta. Kori, John and their baby Leo live in New York City.

Disclaimer: I was provided free product in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions herein are my own and are not influenced by the developing company, and/or its affiliates in any way. Please note that I am NOT an affiliate marketer for RiseWell or Leena & Lu and will not be paid a commission for any product purchased through the provided links.

Redefining the Conversation about Infertility

Fertility Warriors from L to R:    Andrea Syrtash, Anthea King–Pascual, Jane Jolis, Nathalie Carpenter, Jennie Monness, Rebekah Rosler, Stephanie Rapp. Photo credit: Alexis Mera.

Fertility Warriors from L to R: Andrea Syrtash, Anthea King–Pascual, Jane Jolis, Nathalie Carpenter, Jennie Monness, Rebekah Rosler, Stephanie Rapp. Photo credit: Alexis Mera.

I have thought a lot about the word infertility. It sounds like such an ugly word because there is so much judgement (including self) and lack of awareness around the subject. Even for those embarking on the “journey” there is so much that is unknown. Although the science around it has come a long way, there is still not a guarantee that it will find the underlying cause, let alone solve it to produce a child. 

The word infertile goes against our very basic function as humans to reproduce. And if we can’t do that, we may admonish ourselves for not being “normal” or having tried hard enough, or perhaps not trying the right way (whatever that means). There may be shame, embarrassment, guilt, fear, frustration, jealousy, and, and, and… Societally, we have been taught that all of these emotions are bad/negative and since there is no pride in them, we naturally try to hide them, making the depths of despair associated with (in)fertility even greater. 

I am speaking about all of the above from experience because I have lived it. Do you know how liberating it is to share that publicly? The first time I announced my experience through this blog, I held my breath when I hit publish. I didn’t know what the reaction would be and whether it would be met with public disparagement or disgust, or whether I might even be let go at my corporate job for airing my so-called dirty laundry so publicly. Instead, I was met with responses from people that I knew and didn’t know; that they, their sister, cousin, friend, or colleague was going through it, and would I talk to them about it. In those moments, I understood that I was so far from being alone. I realized that I had been shouldering a greater burden than I had to; and had created more stress for myself by not talking about my (in)fertility story. I will purposely refer to (in)fertility like so moving forward because infertility and fertility are often interchangeable, however I believe that being in the community of fertility is powerful.

By being vulnerable by sharing my own story, I have come to learn that that there are other women who have been voicing their experience and encouraging others to do the same. These fertility warriors are trailblazers, and I recently had the honor and privilege of being in the same room with six incredible women who also see the possibility of change. Alexis Mera was there to capture it all on camera.

To say that it was magical being in the room with these other women is an understatement. We all “knew” each other without actually ever meeting, because although the journey was different for all of us, the end goal of becoming a mother was the same.  Our common bond was cemented in the interest of redefining the conversation around (in)fertility by breaking the silence to get it started.

The silence for all of us at one point or another was deafening. At times the path had been hell both mentally and/or physically, but I believe that we all realized that we could use our strength to give voices and faces to (in)fertility. When. the seven of us met, it was clear that we had found community through authenticity, transparency and vulnerability by sharingand as a result, the ability to pay it forward by supporting others going through the fire.

This is just the start, by creating community, we discover resources, are empowered by options, and elevate the conversation for support publicly and in the workplace. We have the power to make infertility a safe discussion and promoting its importance for financial support consideration and workplace benefits for both women and men.

Be a trailblazer. Over the course of this week during National Infertility Awareness Week, six fertility warriors will be featured on Fertilust. Each will share their story and their reflections on their experience. Some of the themes expressed by our trailblazers included empowerment, community, perseverance, resilience, options, strength, and advocacy.

We welcome you to join the conversation by sharing your constructive voice in the comments, and/or by reaching out to find out how to tap into the community. 

In collaboration with Alexis Mera who photographed each fertility warrior and provided graphic tees from her collections, you can get a sneak peek into each woman’s story here as shared on Alexis’ blog. Please also be sure to check back each day this week as we highlight each fertility warrior in detail here on Fertilust.

Together we can take the conversation about (in)fertility out of the shadows to normalize it. We can make it inclusive by building awareness and community. By giving it so many voices, we can drown out the judgement, misconceptions and silence around the topic.

Rather than focus on the negative aspects of (in)fertility, we have the opportunity to get IN to the community of FERTILITY. Please join us.