Photograph by Darcy Troutman Photography.
It was after the birth of her second son that Laura Morrow began experiencing the symptoms—the stiffness, the exhaustion, the trouble focusing, the inflammation and tingling in her arms and wrists.
“I woke up one morning and clearly knew something was wrong,” says the now 41-year-old Falls Church resident and mom of two. “I could barely get out of bed.”
She went to several doctors, but they couldn’t diagnose her with an exact illness, meaning medicine wasn’t an option. It was her chiropractor that eventually suggested it might be an autoimmune disease and recommended she try the autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet. It eliminates potentially inflammatory triggers like nightshades and gluten and focuses on eating clean staples like meat, vegetables, and fruit.
“After a few weeks of eating a healthy and anti-inflammatory diet and changing my lifestyle, I was able to reverse my symptoms,” says Morrow, who suspects she may have been suffering from either rheumatoid arthritis or Hashimoto’s. “I had such great results that I wanted to tell women everywhere that there is hope. There is something you can do to change your life and start feeling better.”
So she started Simply AIP, a locally based food delivery service that specializes in meals and snacks compliant with the AIP diet. “I thought if somebody could just send me food to eat, life would be so much easier,” says Morrow of dealing with her own illness.
She hopes her business will do just that for its customers. The subscription service includes one box a month, and memberships start at $39 for a month-to-month commitment. Inside, you’ll find healthy snacks and ingredients like sweet potato chips, paleo cookies, or grain-free pasta. Each month’s box has a different theme, such as pumpkin spice or Italian food.
The box also comes with AIP-friendly recipes that incorporate some of the included ingredients, as well as a natural beauty product or self-care item. And if you especially love something in your monthly shipment, each box has a list of spots where you can go purchase more of the food in-person, as well as promo codes for discounts.
The biggest driver behind Morrow’s company is convenience. As a mom of two, her eating habits pre-AIP weren’t the best, she says. She frequently grabbed snacks to eat on-the-go while heading out the door to drive to school or a playdate, and she wanted it to be simple for moms to do the same, but with healthy AIP options.
“They’re just really hard to find,” Morrow says of AIP ingredients and food. “There’s a lot of label reading and figuring out what brands work and what don’t. So what we’re providing for you is an easy way to find good-tasting food that will also help your body heal.”
Earlier this year, Morrow took her services one step further by introducing the program AIP Made Simple. She realized a lot of her customers wanted more personalized support, so she created the six-weeks-long guide, where Morrow will provide you with meal plans and a daily video, help you clean out your pantry and shop for food, and provide support along the way.
Morrow runs her business out of her home, where she packages all the subscription boxes in her basement. “I love looking at the boxes and thinking about how every box represents a person that is going to get this and maybe have a glimmer of hope,” she says.
And, while the subscription service is available to all sexes, she is especially passionate about helping women who struggle with autoimmune diseases. Women often receive help less frequently than men when it comes to these diseases, Morrow says, as they can blame their health struggles on having children or working full-time while taking care of a family.
“[There’s] this cultural perception that we’re superwomen and we’re supposed to and can take care of it all,” says Morrow. “We just keeping wearing ourselves down. It gets to the point where it almost feels normal to feel bad.”
It’s her hope that Simply AIP will help to spread the message to women that they’re not powerless when it comes to their well-being.
“My big goal is to just expand this to more people, to get the message out that there is something that can be done through diet and lifestyle,” she says. “If women are feeling hopeless that their doctors aren’t listening to them or giving them good options, there’s something you can do to take care of your own health.”