Origin Story: the Factory Towns of Dongguan
Updated: Aug 4, 2019
It's like this. In early 2013 I'd transitioned to a paleo diet and had taken a job working with factories in China. This took me to the back alleys of Dongguan - the region to the northeast of bustling Shenzhen where a lot of our consumer products are produced. There was little to no choice in what we ate, and though it was possible to get meat and vegetables, I just didn't trust the food quality. My unsubstantiated hunch was that the vegetables were sprayed with industrial chemicals, the meat had been fed pesticide-laden grain, and nearly everything was cooked in gluten-containing soy sauce. I started bringing along snacks - a bag of macadamias, some jerky and a jar of ghee (to slather on whatever I could find). I just wanted clean calories.
The food on the flights there and back wasn't any better. I never found a way to get a meal that's both free of crustaceans and gluten. Even the best meals just don't taste very good, and I shudder to think of the supply chain behind SkyChef (glyphosate, corn starch, mold toxins... stuff I don't want to eat). I made a science of cooking and packing meals for the flight out (sliced ribeye, avocado, broccoli, macadamias and chocolate), and sourcing foods for the flight home (jerky, nuts and chocolate).
The height of the madness was when I schlepped a blender to Guangzhou and had the very helpful staff of the hotel find me a 200 Watt transformer to run it on. That experiment wasn't worth repeating (nor was the 20kg kettlebell I checked as luggage and ferried through the Shenzhen subway), but just like Edison's 10,000 filaments, the failures pointed me in the direction of what DID work.
By 2018 I had the systems worked out. With the right combination of sardines, nuts, dehydrated sauerkraut and jerky I could go for weeks at a time in these food deserts. The information in this website is a distillation of what worked so you don't have to do the homework.