12 Things That Surprised Me In 2020

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Shorter Version

Est. Reading Time: 4 Minutes

Surprise/Challenge 12

The surprise: Shoes weaken intrinsic foot function like a brace on an extremity and barefoot exercise enables full function and recovery. Toe Yoga will accelerate recovery!

Prior Belief/Understanding: Shoes were necessary for protection, and structural support during workouts. Now doing more workouts barefoot and doing the 5-minute Toe Yoga, my one leg balance, and foot function have improved. 

Source that started inquiry: https://youtu.be/dSV5WUvIDnM

Surprise/Challenge 11

The surprise: Fatty Acids in high quantities (non-esterified) can lead to insulin resistance- like sugar.

Prior Belief/Understanding: Fats never caused an insulin response so were safe in all quantities. Not true if in the background of escalating carbohydrate induced insulin resistance (seeds of most chronic medical conditions). 

Source that started inquiry: Gerald Shulman MD, PHD on the Peter Attia Podcast/ and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4587882/

Surprise/Challenge 10

The surprise: High Dose Melatonin may favorably impact cancer growth and aid prevention 

Prior Belief/Understanding: Circadian rhythm maintenance was always known to be foundational but targeting high dose melatonin would seem reckless. Emerging data suggests safety and efficacy.

Source that started inquiry: Frank Shallenberger MD YouTube on Melatonin and then direct research https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28420185/

Surprise/Challenge 9

The surprise: Allulose- an artificial sweetener that may be safe and possibly beneficial. I typically favor avoidance of any sweetener options. 

Prior Belief/Understanding: Artificial sweeteners routinely have low-level neurotoxins, disrupt gut biome, or trigger the cephalic phase of insulin release (pop insulin independent of absorption based on sweet taste)

Source that started inquiry: Allulose by stevia is 70% as sweet as sugar and may remove or aid excretion of other blood glucose by the kidneys —Rare sugar D-allulose: Potential role and therapeutic monitoring in maintaining obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus – PubMed (nih.gov)

Surprise/Challenge 8

The surprise: Spermidine is now available in a supplement and may be one of the best mitochondrial supports

Prior Belief/Understanding: Generally, stressors such as fasting, breath hold hypoxia, high intensity exercise fostered beneficial autophagy and mitochondrial biogenesis (stronger more resilient cells)- now a supplement is included

Source that started inquiry: Lecture by Elizabeth Yurth MD on slowing down cellular aging. Spermidine: a novel autophagy inducer and longevity elixir – PubMed (nih.gov)

Surprise/Challenge 7

The surprise: Fair Life whole milk with added omega 3- manufactured by Coke actually has favorable numbers. 

Prior Belief/Understanding: As a coffee or tea additive- for those who want a low sugar option- this filtered and fortified option has only 6 total grams of total sugar per 8 oz while getting 13 grams of protein, 125mg Omega 3, twice the Ca + and no hormones or antibiotics!

Source that started inquiry: My smart lovely wife found this one for me, and the product has no fishy flavor. DHA Whole Milk | fairlife Ultra-Filtered Milk with DHA Omega-3

Surprise/Challenge 6

The surprise: One does not need an expensive system (most are over $2000) to garner the benefits of EWOT (exercise with O2 therapy) -Low cost EWOT for any home

Prior Belief/Understanding: Through years of using the Wim Hoff method followed by breath-hold push-ups experimentation, I stumbled upon the “poor man’s system” with easy-to-use Oxygen Plus medical-grade portable oxygen doing 30-40 breaths at end of the breath-hold pushups—great cellular upgrade

Source that started inquiry: Sport – Oxygen Plus
Wim Hof breathing tutorial by Wim Hof – Bing video

Surprise/Challenge 5

The surprise: OMAD- (one meal a day) is much easier than one would expect and simplifies a exercise, work, and meal schedule 

Prior Belief/Understanding: We seemed to be programed to stop 2-3 times per day and eat. I love the steady energy delivery from fat burning energy production which aids work day clarity and effectiveness while melting abdominal fat. 

Source that started inquiry: Reading the early version of Dave Asprey’s next book “Fast This Way” moved me to more routinely eat only dinner on most workdays in the last 6 months. Fast This Way 

Surprise/Challenge 4

The surprise: Manifestation Works- Whether you call it prayers, intention setting, or dream work, this is a powerful tool. 

Prior Belief/Understanding: Intention setting is a major suggestion in my cancer work because it has an impact. As I look back on my life, many of my prayerful dreams have worked out-most recently- a Bulletproof Podcast on our company-CareOncology.com

Source that started inquiry: One of the best books on the science of intention or the science of Quantum Physics- is by Cell Biologist Bruce Lipton PHD “ Biology of Belief”- The Biology of Belief 10th Anniversary Edition: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter & Miracles: Lipton, Bruce H.: 9781401952471: Amazon.com: Books

Surprise/Challenge 3

The surprise: Human Spirit can persevere remarkable obstacles and continue on beyond reasonable expectations.

Prior Belief/Understanding: I had the close-up view of this as my mom at the age of 89, near totally blind, in Hospice for 19 months now, continues to surprise us with how she clings to life, despite falls, wound infections, and more. The care by my family has been inspiring and elevated our hearts.

Source that started inquiry: As Medical Director of CareOncology.com, we see many advanced, terrible cancers but often witness heroic survival stories. A good insight into the right ingredients necessary was laid out by Kelly Turner in her book “Radical Remission” Radical Remission Project | Official Website of the NY Times Bestseller

Surprise/Challenge 2

The surprise: The devastating brain tumor Glioblastoma (GBM) is not necessarily terminal.

Prior Belief/Understanding: In my first 29 years of big hospital cancer care, working around many partners where we all treated this malady and no patient made it more than 12-14 months without crippling recurrences. Now with metabolic strategies- ketogenic diet and repurposed metabolic acting medications added to standard of care early, we have many patients out 2 plus years without disease and excellent function.

Source that started inquiry: A summary of CareOncology.com first cohort of GBM patients can be found at the peer-reviewed article-Frontiers | A New Method for Ethical and Efficient Evidence Generation for Off-Label Medication Use in Oncology (A Case Study in Glioblastoma) | Pharmacology (frontiersin.org)

Surprise/Challenge 1

The surprise: Pursuit of meaning and purpose rather than chasing happiness in life will paradoxically generate happiness and joy as a byproduct. This has never been more evident to me than in this year of turmoil with a pandemic, social unrest, and divisive politics.

Prior Belief/Understanding: Most days of 2020 I have had the privilege to interview 4-7 patients per day and get a glimpse into their lives. I continue to see the power of an altruistic purpose as the driver to spit out peals of joy and happiness in people’s lives. This was so true with two of my mom’s caregivers; Shirly age 72 and Shirly age 84 who offered unselfishly their hours to serve mom’s end of life needs along with us. Upon us asking about their remarkable commitment, both said in their own way “this is why I am here.” 

Source that started inquiry: Henry David Thoreau said, “Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.” 

I think “other things” above is the common space of the 3-part ven diagram where one’s skills, joys, and society’s need overlap. The daily pursuit of these sometimes challenging callings will paradoxically generate joy and happiness in our lives. 

The prayer of Father Theodore Hesburgh-past president of Notre Dame says it well- “Lord, give me the ambition to do as much we can, as well as we can, as long as we can, and the resolve not to despair over the things we cannot do.”

Stay Curious, 
2021 will be the Best Year Ever, 

Doc Chuck

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Actionable Steps


Healthy habits

Remember to include the critical personal maintenance of exercise, mental health needs, and work in your daily activities during the quarantine wait.


Reach out to others

Call or video conference with those at risk who live alone.

Other good people to remember to contact are the elderly, frail, or whoever your intuition (that is not random but rather a telepathic nudge) suggests.


Put wellness to practice

Now more than ever…be your own best doctor!

Still need help? Ask the coaches!

About the Author

Dr. Charles Meakin III, MD, MHA

Dr. Charles Meakin III, MD, MHA

Medical Director

Charles (Chuck) is a 60-year-old cancer doctor who spent the last 40 years passionately studying healthcare, eastern philosophies, and fitness predictors of longevity and happiness. As someone who lives in two worlds, the traditional healthcare western model and new integrative strategies and personal biohacking, he hopes to present the best of both worlds for rational decision making on difficult personal health issues.
Full Bio | LinkedIn

*Article is re-posted with permission from the author, Dr. Charles J. Meakin III, at Coach It Forward Chuck.

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