The Mental Health / Lifestyle Link with Dr Elizabeth Winings: PYP 242

Elizabeth Winings is Doctor of Nursing Practice at  Nemours Children's specialty care and Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida. She specializes in working with children and teens who are receiving mental health care in an acute in-patient setting. In her work with the children and their families, she emphasizes wholistic, therapeutic, and lifestyle approaches toward wellness.

Ironically, it was Dr Winings' early exposure to nursing care in the Emergency Department and on a surgical unit that sparked her abiding interest in prevention through lifestyle.

Dr Winings is also a voice for plant-based, lifestyle medicine. She interned at True North health center, and presents frequently at Engine 2 events and immersions.

We met at Plantstock 2017, where she was slated to give a talk on theories of behavior change, but didn't due to a scheduling crunch. Instead, she gave a 4-minute overview of a single issue that was compelling enough for me to selfishly ask her onto the podcast to share the rest of her insights.

We spoke about that topic, how to apply “stages of change” theory to actual health change efforts, but also strolled into many other topics of mutual fascination. Including:

  • what's known about the relationship between depression and diet
  • arguing with reductionist surgeons about prevention vs amputation
  • going from The China Study and Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease to the primary studies in the scientific literature
  • enjoying – and seeing the limitation of – the acute care setting of the ER
  • “the system is doing the best that it can to sustain a disease model”
  • institutional constraints on lifestyle practitioners – documentation and insurance
  • why she gravitated to mental health
  • the terrible studies that link vegetarianism with depression
  • the stages of change, and how to utilize them for insight and effective transformation
  • meeting patients – and all people – where they're at
  • the five stages:
    • pre-contemplation – may or may not have awareness
    • contemplation – maybe something should change
    • preparation – gathering data or support network
    • action – effort and change
    • maintenance – who you are and how you operate
  • it's a circular model
  • “you have to get them to want to be alive first, before they want to work on their life”
  • sharing hope: “emotions are temporary; you won't feel this way forever”
  • validating someone's life experience and existence – primary task of mental health professional
  • the importance of joy and silliness for kids' healing
  • and much more…

Enjoy, add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share – that's how we spread our message and spread our roots.


Dr Winings on Facebook and Instagram

The China Study – by T. Colin Campbell, PhD

Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease – by Caldwell Esselstyn, MD

The Omnivore's Dilemma – by Michael Pollen

Forks Over Knives

Engine 2 

the terrible AVON study of vegetarians and depression

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