How to Make a Bento Box for Your Brain

How to Make a Bento Box for Your Brain

How to Make a Bento Box for Your Brain

It’s been several months now since I’ve implemented a Nutrient-Dense, Low-Info (NDLI) diet into my life.  The main benefits I’ve gotten out of this experiment:

  1. More free time
  2. Greater peace of mind
  3. Enhanced focus
  4. Presence and engagement with the world


The Catalyst

When the hard drive to your computer crashes and you haven’t backed it up in a while, two things come up: Fear and Focus. Fear that you lost everything, followed by Focus on what the essentials are that need to be recovered.  

Three Important Lessons

  1. Most information we interact with and store is useless in the long run
  2. Either way, backup your data!
  3. And backup your backup!

After the dust settled, Epiphany graced me with her ephemeral presence: 

“Rather than wait for a crisis to occur that forces you to reevaluate what the most important things are to you, why don’t you create the end result of one intentionally?”  

Thus my decision to go on an immediate 1-week media fast followed by a NDLI diet.  


What do I mean by a NDLI diet?

In the nutrition world, there is this concept of nutrient density, which refers to the balance of nutrient content in a food versus it’s caloric content. Nutrient dense (ND) foods pack in huge amounts of nutritional value with fewer calories than energy-dense (ED) or empty calorie foods. An image of a bowl of cherries (ND) vs. a can of Coke (ED) comes to mind.

I’ve extended this concept from food to information. In a world of information overload, I’ve found it extremely useful to cut out the inessentials in order to free up time and mind- allowing me to focus on the things that matter most to me such as family, friends, and my Life’s work.

Bento or Buffet?

I liken a brain on a NDLI Diet to a Bento Box. I liken a brain on an Energy-Dense Junk-Info (EDJI) Diet to a 24-7 all-you-can-eat buffet. I used to partake in the latter. The result: consumption of a lot of unnecessary junk info and resultant obesity of the brain. There’s a cute phrase for this in Japanese: Gyu-gyu zume – it literally translates to “my head is packed full”.

A Cornucopia of Culinary Care

Due to its small size, preparation of what goes into a Bento Box must be done with judicious foresight- only the essentials need apply. In the case of both Information and Bentos, more is not necessarily better.

Interesting tidbit: although the serving size is relatively small, the Bento creates a curious sense of satiety, due to the presence of a variety of important nutrients, textures, and colors that the brain and body both thrive on.  


How to Kick the EDJI Diet Habit

Go on a 1-week media detox. Starting now. With the exception of information that is critical for your work or your Life’s Mission, cut out all internet, newspapers, magazines, books, TV, etc. for one week straight, cold turkey. 

[NOTE FROM AUTHOR: If that last paragraph triggered a mild to moderate increase in heart rate and/or sweatiness of palms, all the more reason to follow through]

At the end of the fast, consume mainly nutrient dense critical information. The focus is on quality, not quantity. If you still need the occasional fix, create specific blocks of time that you allow yourself to splurge on EDJI i.e. only Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8-9 PM. I’ve found setting a timer on my iPhone to be really helpful.


Dr. Chiu’s Bento-Box-for-Your-Brain Action Steps

Immediately after reading this blog, follow these 6 easy action steps to begin making a Bento Box for Your Brain:

  1. Turn off your computer/smartphone
  2. Turn it off again
  3. Stand up, close your eyes and stretch
  4. Breathe in through your nose for 5 seconds
  5. Then out through your nose for 10 seconds
  6. Open your eyes to a Whole New World

Your brain will thank you for it.

Do you have any Lifestyle tips you’d like to share?

In the Spirit of Total Presence,

Dr. Chiu