Health Coach Threatened With Jail for Dietary Advice

Do adults have the right to talk to other adults about what to buy at the grocery store? That’s the question raised by a federal lawsuit filed by the Institute for Justice on behalf of Florida-based health coach Heather Kokesch Del Castillo.

In 2014, Heather left an unfulfilling career to found Constitution Nutrition, a business that specializes in providing one-on-one health coaching for paying clients. As a privately certified health coach, Heather operated successfully and without complaint—first in California and then in Florida—for nearly four years. But in May 2017, Heather was forced to shut down completely, after a licensed dietitian filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Health alleging that Heather was engaging in the unlicensed practice of nutrition/dietetics.

Although Heather has never held herself out as a licensed nutritionist or dietitian, the Florida Department of Health slapped her with an order to cease and desist providing nutritional advice and demanded that she pay over $750 in fines and costs. She would have to spend years of her life and thousands of dollars getting a degree and in training to become a licensed dietitian. Without any realistic options, Heather did as the state ordered and shut down. And she has been turning away willing clients ever since.

Unfortunately, Heather’s situation is not unique. Occupational licensing boards are increasingly operating as special-interest censors, while licensed practitioners—eager to keep out would-be competitors—often scour advertising spaces in search of people to file complaints against. And this problem is particularly acute for military families like Heather’s, for whom frequent moves often lead to conflict with state licensing boards.

But this sort of censorship cannot be squared with the First Amendment. Advice about what people should eat to stay healthy is as old as language and the government has no power to give any group a monopoly on advice about such a common, everyday topic.

That’s why Heather is fighting back. On October 3, 2017, Heather joined with the Institute for Justice to file a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida to strike down Florida’s unconstitutional restrictions on who can give safe dietary advice that customers want to buy. Together, Heather and IJ will vindicate her right—and the rights of all Floridians—to offer nutrition advice and health coaching without the fear of being prosecuted or shut down by the government.

http://ij.org/case/florida-diet-coaching/

50 Comments

  1. ninuxy on March 31, 2020 at 10:44 am

    Florida is a shithole a mile high. Unfortunately, the lower court still sides with the state.
    https://www.thecentersquare.com/florida/ruling-in-diet-advice-lawsuit-confirms-frustrations-in-cutting-fat/article_2ec8ec60-aa30-11e9-a271-5b46bc83df08.html
    IJ will appeal to the higher court.

  2. Katelyn Mcwilliams on March 31, 2020 at 10:46 am

    These people said it best…
    Raven

    If i was the other dietitian, i wouldn’t feel threatened.. instead i’d be pissed! because the "legal" dietitian had to jump through all the legal hoops, pay all the required expensive fees, get all the required stupid pointless licenses in the state of Florida, and not to mention go through the whole lengthy/expensive 500 hour+ process just to be eligible to be licensed… So now here comes Heather, who’s bypassing all the hoops, didn’t pay any fees, didn’t commit the required hundreds of hours, didn’t get a license, etc.. So yeah I don’t think the dietitian feels threatened, instead the dietitian feels pissed that someone is running a competing business without having gone through the same hoops as they were forced to go through and didn’t have to sacrifice their time and money as they had to.

    So either the state must force Heather to also go through the same hoops to keep it fair to everyone else who had already gone through those hoops and sacrificed their time and money to the state, or the state needs to reimburse all those who had already gone through the hoops. Obviously the later would never happen…

    As a person studying nutrition, I totally understand the dietitian, she/he went through all those steps to be able to do what she/he does. Years of education, a competitive internship, and the licensing process. It takes time, effort, and money. Would you want anyone out there to give medical advice and treatment when they are not licensed medical professionals (some already do, but that’s another topic)? Would you want your surgeon to be someone who learned how to operate by just watching youtube videos? Licensing and regulations are there for a reason. Like someone said in another comment, if she wants to practice what she was practicing in California, she should advocate for it and push to make it a thing in Florida. The fact that she didn’t check on it before traveling shows how her job title means nothing. Since anyone who is in a career that needs specific training and licensing knows to check those things before moving to another state or country. Since everyone knows different states and countries require different things. Advising someone on their diet is not as simple as “eat fruits and vegetables.” A person’s health an wellbeing are affected by the dietary decisions they make. Dietitians are not there to simply give out meal and food advise. They work in hospitals, private practice, government, clinics, and more with people before and after surgery, people with kidney failure, people with seizures, premie babies that can’t even eat yet, people with eating disorders, people with Alzheimer’s, etc, etc. They are considered healthcare providers, and healthcare providers almost always need some sort of licensing or certifications, which vary by state.

    The dietitian is not threatened, the dietitian is protecting her profession from hundreds of people who do not get the right training to do the job!

    If this person wins this case, ANYONE can call themselves a "nutritionist" and claim they know what they’re doing!

    You should prove that you have the education and are competent to do the job!

  3. Al Richards on March 31, 2020 at 10:48 am

    We’re military also. I’m in the process of getting a nutrition certification but if I do it now, I won’t be able to use it until we move again for the military. This is crazy! Looks like I’m sticking to a blog until we move 🤷🏻‍♀️

  4. Not My Name on March 31, 2020 at 10:48 am

    In all fairness though this license procedure, while burdensome, is also to protect the public from charlatans. Though I must say selling nutritional advice isnt necessarily the same thing as holistic medicine.

  5. johnnymcblaze on March 31, 2020 at 10:50 am

    It’s a racket. But holistic medicine threatens both the medical industry and dieticians. Hell the FDA won’t even release the cure for cancer because treatment makes more money than cures.

  6. northern1639 on March 31, 2020 at 10:51 am

    She lost the case.

  7. HuMan Being 34/7 on March 31, 2020 at 10:52 am

    Against the law to discuss health. Time we find Where these Laws come from

  8. KELLI2L2 on March 31, 2020 at 10:55 am

    American politicians have lost their way way…
    We must do something about the federal and local politicians that keep pushing these Draconian laws against the Constitution‼️

  9. Kea Whitmore on March 31, 2020 at 10:57 am

    Feessssssssss for everything and anything. It’s flat out extortion.

  10. brian cote on March 31, 2020 at 10:57 am

    This isn’t about free speech. You can talk all you want. The moment however that you set yourself up as a business and are making a profit you’re no longer someone just talking. This isn’t about the first amendment.

  11. LT Kimura on March 31, 2020 at 10:57 am

    I can’t see the need for licensure. Pay taxes for business and sign something agreeing not to give medical advice.

  12. La Yazz on March 31, 2020 at 10:58 am

    Is there an update to your case? Any link to it? I hope you won!

  13. CPacker 1183 on March 31, 2020 at 10:59 am

    Oh so now if you dont have a university degree your to stupid to know what your talking about.

  14. J C on March 31, 2020 at 11:02 am

    She’s giving out dietary advice, not medical advice so this really shouldn’t have happened

  15. Dano1947 on March 31, 2020 at 11:03 am

    But you already received a fine, big government is thriving and you can’t trust your neighbors not to rat you out.

  16. Cockatoo in Sunglasses on March 31, 2020 at 11:03 am

    I need to get her to health coach me because her skin is glowing 😧👩‍🦱🍎🥑🥦🍓🥭🥗

  17. Sheal Dedmon on March 31, 2020 at 11:03 am

    How does that make you feel?

  18. Wednesday's Child on March 31, 2020 at 11:04 am

    I wish they had more stringent rules in Colorado. I think it needs to be clearly posted that Health coaches don’t have a license to treat diseases. As long as that is understood, then I think it’s okay. We have a lot of scammers in Colorado who don’t know anything.

  19. Greg Fam on March 31, 2020 at 11:05 am

    What was the outcome?

  20. Drew Jackson on March 31, 2020 at 11:05 am

    a military family? maybe it’s time to start asking yourself what you’re fighting for?

  21. JAKE W JONES on March 31, 2020 at 11:06 am

    She is being treated like she is practicing law without a license.

  22. Terry Turner on March 31, 2020 at 11:06 am

    You stay the path which is your choice, in doctoring minds with fines scaring you the medical big pharma is running most of the people’s lives and dictating lies about healing

  23. Emma Dee on March 31, 2020 at 11:06 am

    You go girl!! It’s ashamed that someone was threatened by you and decided to turn you in.

  24. mi haj on March 31, 2020 at 11:06 am

    Wow! FREE speech, now comes at a cost, well to those that wish to pay for it? Whats the difference between a public square and auditorium speaker for same subject? ONE has to pay one and the other is FREEEEEEEEEE? madness. YOU go girl sue and teach them your first Constitution RIGHT to free speech.

  25. Dyanne Horton on March 31, 2020 at 11:07 am

    Who makes these crazy laws?

  26. Papa Yuki on March 31, 2020 at 11:07 am

    sorry they lost the case … i hope that she can move elsewhere and do what she loves without recourse

  27. Takeabreakwith Ines on March 31, 2020 at 11:07 am

    Omg thats so sadddd, then they complaint people are jobless why not let someone work to help others! You not stealing. But I will tell all these dietitions are trained to not tell people what is actually happening with food industry they scared of people like you. They tried to sue dr sebi as well what a joke

  28. BOYSWILLBEBOYS2010 on March 31, 2020 at 11:08 am

    First amendment was the first for a reason. Politicians should never have been allowed to manipulate it in any way. Politicians preyed on Americans fears and pushed laws blocking truly free speech and y’all allowed it. It was step one in destroying our country. You idiots you honestly thought they would stop at hate speech… nope that was just to get their tippy toes in the door. Now they have their foot in….. bet you still think they’ll stop taking our rights away any day now.

    PS. Institute for Justice, if I ever become financially stable and have extra I’m sending your way. Keep up the amazing work. Never stop fighting oppression no matter the form it takes.

  29. Samsng Device on March 31, 2020 at 11:09 am

    Its because of all the sham others that has made the people of the state want this regulation a requirement.

  30. Honest Tee on March 31, 2020 at 11:10 am

    Update please!!!

  31. Windshield Repair on March 31, 2020 at 11:11 am

    One way…..personalities they seem to think their way is the only way….They tell you in school be all can be….What do you want to be when you grow up….Its all nonesense and they do not really mean it….On their business side of things this is the pathway they Have made for you….and in our personal lives our paths are different and we have multiple options towards the same goal…their are many turns off the path and we shouldntbe contained to this one narrow trail…..This is how every path is….and when we carve our own path this is the negitive remarks and attention we recieve…..A barber can cut hair and practice the trade for 10 or 15 years and be very good at their craft…..They already have accumulated enough experience and training without the labor boards authenticity stamp of approval….and still be obligated to take their their one and only route..route towards a barber license……When they are already qualified……No comment"

  32. Hubert Webb on March 31, 2020 at 11:11 am

    This is what happens when Democrats take over a town or city or state, they take away your constitutional rights step by step by step until you don’t have any left.

  33. Sheal Dedmon on March 31, 2020 at 11:16 am

    Remember see something say something! How about mind your own fucking business!

  34. Psychic/Medium Andrea on March 31, 2020 at 11:22 am

    I hope you have successfully sued them. You have every right to practice health coaching. Sounds like some jealous low-minded dietician who obviously can’t get her feet on the ground attacked you wrongfully but that karma she will eventually wear on her sleeve.

  35. Sheal Dedmon on March 31, 2020 at 11:23 am

    Ask your doctor for some deadly drugs. He will prescribe them to you. Oh and make sure you get plenty of rat poison! Excuse me I meant fluoride!

  36. La Yazz on March 31, 2020 at 11:24 am

    Doctors and nutritionists are taught by the government, they don’t want 100% healthy people. HHCs are a threaten to them and the farmatheutical companies off course. Is all about money!

  37. J K on March 31, 2020 at 11:24 am

    To the people in here defending the RD rat who reported Heather, you need to wake up. I haven’t heard a single one of you attack the information Heather gave her clients. You just attacked her because of her lack of a license. If you live in the US, you live in a country with the sickest population of all developed nations. Highest rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, etc. A country with a growing opiod epidemic. How many certified health coaches have contributed to any of that disaster? Zero. But plenty of doctors and other licensed and degree holding professionals have. Good information is good information no matter who is giving it. If Heather is helping improve the health of her clients, then what is the problem? Why hinder her?

  38. Terry Turner on March 31, 2020 at 11:28 am

    Today I fill like leaking info, lie=400 mg magnesium daily

    Truth= 750-800 milligrams magnesium is correct, no more cramping fatigue

  39. Mike on March 31, 2020 at 11:29 am

    i feel bad for most people on this channel, but this lady needs to realize you need to do research before just starting a business.. and without degrees what makes you an expert in giving advice, youtube university? agree with florida on this one.

  40. Rob Bassett on March 31, 2020 at 11:30 am

    This situation is what’s coming and what will be the result of Red Flag Laws. Random neighbor or person doesn’t like you or wants to target you for their own personal vendetta, good bye freedoms. Modern day gestapo.

  41. David Craig on March 31, 2020 at 11:31 am

    These "regs’ are written and demanded by those seeking to eliminate competition.

  42. Steven Alexander on March 31, 2020 at 11:32 am

    I guess Michelle Obama was also breaking the law every time she appeared on a Disney commercial with Disney child stars telling people to eat healthy as well. Why wasn’t she fined like this woman and threatened? Also, for most of the food that we eat, I don’t believe in good food or bad food. I believe in how we eat and the amount we eat. Let’s be honest, if we gorged ourselves on what society has deemed to be healthy food, is it still healthy good food when it begins to impact our health through weight gain or weight loss?

  43. Aaron on March 31, 2020 at 11:32 am

    She should get a outlet cover for that outlet in the kitchen…the one the steamer is plugged into.

  44. Greg Clower on March 31, 2020 at 11:33 am

    Some states reqire certification to arrange flowers in a flower shop. Really? That art is handed down from mother to daughter. The law is there to protect the existing businesses and keep the competition out. Crony capitalism.

  45. Raquel Stevens on March 31, 2020 at 11:36 am

    Wow I am a Floridian getting ready to do my hhc and I’m glad I came across this video. Thank you

  46. JamesCrowonline on March 31, 2020 at 11:37 am

    Never overlook the gangster state armed with greed and stupidity

  47. TheCameronFamily on March 31, 2020 at 11:38 am

    Agenda 21 at its best , people. We are living in the last days- Surrender your lives to JESUS. Its only going to get worse. The BIBLE says it all. Sorry this happened to you and your business. I pray it will change.

  48. Will D on March 31, 2020 at 11:38 am

    Really???

  49. northern1639 on March 31, 2020 at 11:39 am

    Del Castillo’s case is not settled. The Institute for Justice will appeal the Del Castillo decision,

  50. 1CrazyLife4Me on March 31, 2020 at 11:39 am

    So sad that she lost this case. Disgusting – our government is getting way too big!!! We have a constitution for a reason. This is ridiculous as long as she is not prescribing medication, sigh.

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