Truckee resident’s journey to overcome pain leads to successful online business.
Six years ago, Sandra Dorst was in so much pain she couldn’t even twist her pepper grinder. The Truckee resident also suffered from fatigue and had trouble breathing. She initially blamed her issues on that summer’s wildfire smoke. But with a corporate job and three small children to raise, she pushed aside the symptoms.
After years of weekly trips to urgent care, lugging around oxygen bottles, and prednisone prescriptions, Dorst was finally diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called antisynthetase syndrome. Dorst made every lifestyle change she could think of but avoided the obvious change: her diet.
“I was aware very early of how people could combat autoimmune diseases with diet, but it was of zero interest to me,” Dorst says. “I honestly feel that food is a chore. I don’t particularly like thinking about it, planning for it, buying it, cooking it, or cleaning up after it.”
Dorst eventually gave in and tried an anti-inflammatory diet. In less than two weeks, the joint pain, breathing problems, and fatigue were gone.
“What I did not understand in the two and a half years from diagnosis to trying an anti-inflammatory diet was what kind of incredible change it would make,” Dorst says.
What came next was frustration. Finding products to maintain the diet all in one place was difficult, leading Dorst to exclaim aloud, “Why hasn’t someone made a store for this?”
Her husband replied with an answer: Dorst should create that store. Within six months, ShopAIP was born.
AIP In One Place
ShopAIP sources and delivers approved foods for paleo, Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), gluten-free, low-carb, and allergen-friendly diets. AIP foods in particular are designed to reduce inflammation and pain caused by autoimmune diseases, which are disorders in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the joints, lungs, and other organs. Some of the most common autoimmune disorders include Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Graves’ disease, and lupus.
Dorst encourages anyone with an autoimmune disease to eat as many fresh ingredients as possible, but she realizes that having convenient and flavorful pre-made products on hand is a necessary part of everyday life. ShopAIP is the only dedicated site for people on AIP diets and other diets such as Whole 30, Low FODMAP, and gluten free.
“Everyone is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all (solution), but I try to put in as much information as I can,” Dorst says. “Our site has comprehensive search features that help those who have further issues, and we try to make it as easy as possible to find the food they need.”
Small Steps, Big Moves
ShopAIP’s methods seem to be working. The company recently moved from Truckee to Sparks and increased its warehouse footprint by 108 percent. Since COVID-19 hit, the store has seen a huge interest in its product deliveries and is projecting an 85 percent increase in sales this year.
“The integrity of ShopAIP is that we try at the highest level to have the most up-to-date information,” Dorst says. “I also have people smarter than me in the paleo and AIP community who are also double checking products and the science behind them.”
ShopAIP delivers to customers around the world. Some of the most popular brands include sauces by KC Natural, hot cereal and mixes by AiPeazy, plantain strips by Artisan Tropic, soups by Wild Zora, and meat products by EPIC. ShopAIP also sells staples such as oil, vinegar, flour, and sugar.
“Once people learn that we exist, those who need us find us,” Dorst says. “Even if they have been eating well, it never occurs to them that a shop like ours exists.”
For details, visit Shopaip.com.
Christina Nellemann is lucky not to suffer from an autoimmune disease, but she still may need to snag a few packages of Wild Zora Apple Pork Bars from ShopAIP.