12 Things That Surprised Me In 2020

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Shorter Version

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Surprise/Challenge 12

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

Prior Belief/Understanding: Shoes were necessary for protection because you needed structural support during workouts. However, I’ve noticed that by doing more workouts barefoot and doing the 5-minute Toe Yoga, I’ve found that 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, for instance, sugar.

Prior Belief/Understanding: Fats never caused an insulin response so, as a result, they were considered safe in all quantities. However, this is not true if in the background of escalating carbohydrate-induced insulin resistance, which are the 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. Therefore, targeting high-dose melatonin would seem reckless. In conclusion, emerging data suggest 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 is an artificial sweetener that may be safe and possibly beneficial. I typically favor the avoidance of any sweetener options. 

Prior Belief/Understanding: Artificial sweeteners routinely have low-level neurotoxins. Moreover, these disrupt the gut biome or trigger the cephalic phase of insulin release. As a result, they then cause you to pop insulin independent of absorption based on sweet taste.

Source that started inquiry: Allulose by stevia is 70% as sweet as sugar and as a result may remove or aid the 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 maybe one of the best mitochondrial supports.

Prior Belief/Understanding: Generally, stressors such as fasting, breath-hold hypoxia, and high-intensity exercise foster beneficial autophagy and mitochondrial biogenesis. As a result, you will have 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. In other words, it’s not as bad for you as I previously thought.

Prior Belief/Understanding: As a coffee or tea additive – for those who want a low sugar option- this fortified option has only 6 total grams of total sugar per 8 oz. In addition, it also has 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 to garner the benefits of EWOT (exercise with O2 therapy).

Prior Belief/Understanding: Through years of using the Wim Hoff method, I stumbled upon the “poor man’s system.” It has easy-to-use Oxygen Plus medical-grade portable oxygen. Likewise, you can do 30-40 breaths at end of the breath-hold pushups—a 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 easy. Above all, it simplifies an exercise, work, and meal schedule.

Prior Belief/Understanding: We seem to be programmed to stop 2-3 times per day and eat. However, I love the steady energy from fat-burning energy production. In addition, it also aids workday clarity and effectiveness while melting abdominal fat. 

Source that started inquiry: The early version of Dave Asprey’s next book “Fast This Way” moved me to eat only dinner on most workdays. Fast This Way 

Surprise/Challenge 4

The surprise: Manifestation Works. Whether you call it prayers, intention setting, or dream work, above all, these are powerful tools.

Prior Belief/Understanding: Intention setting is a major suggestion in my cancer work because it has an impact. For example, as I look back on my life, many of my prayerful dreams have worked out. Most recently, I achieved my goal of hosting 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. 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: The Human Spirit can persevere remarkable obstacles and as a result, continue on beyond reasonable expectations.

Prior Belief/Understanding: My mom, age 89, near totally blind, in hospice for 19 months, continues to surprise us with how she clings to life. However, 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 we often witness heroic survival stories. A good insight 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, I worked with many partners. We all treated this malady and no patient made it more than 12-14 months without crippling recurrences. Now we add metabolic strategies, for example, the ketogenic diet and repurposed metabolic-acting medications, to the standard of care early. As a result, we have many patients out 2+ years without disease and excellent function, too.

Source that started inquiry: A summary of CareOncology.com’s 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: The pursuit of meaning and purpose, instead of chasing happiness in life, will also paradoxically generate happiness and joy. This has never been more evident to me than in this year of turmoil because of the pandemic, social unrest, and divisive politics.

Prior Belief/Understanding: Most days of 2020 I interviewed 4-7 patients per day and got a glimpse into their lives. Moreover, I see an altruistic purpose as the driver of joy and happiness. For instance, this was so true with two of my mom’s caregivers. Shirly, age 72, and Shirly, age 84, unselfishly gave their hours to serve Mom’s end-of-life needs. 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 venn diagram where one’s skills, joys, and society’s needs overlap. Therefore, the daily pursuit of these sometimes challenging callings will paradoxically generate joy and happiness in our lives. 

In conclusion, 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

Skip to Actionable Steps

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Actionable Steps


Healthy habits

First, remember to include personal maintenance of exercise, mental health needs, and work in your daily activities.


Reach out to others

Secondly, you should call or video conference with those at risk who live alone.

In addition, 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 and put wellness to practice instead of indulging in bad habits!

Coaches For All Your Self-Improvement Needs!

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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