Health Coach Threatened With Jail for Dietary Advice
My name is Heather Kokesch Del Castillo and
I am a certified holistic health coach. I
guide people to put in healthier foods
and in doing that we can take away
unhealthy foods. We’re a military family
and two years ago we had to move for the
military and we moved to Fort Walton
Beach Florida from Monterey California.
California did not require a license
for holistic health coaching. It never
occurred to me that I would be
prohibited in my career and the only
thing that changed was that I moved
state to state. One day I was just
sitting on my couch and got a knock on
my door an investigator said I’m serving
you with a cease-and-desist and a $754 fine.
I was taken aback, I was
I learned a registered dietician decided
to report me. That cease and desist meant
that I could no longer health coach in
the state of Florida. That meant that a
piece of my income and my career and my
passion was then suddenly squelched.
The penalty is if I don’t cease and desist
first-degree, misdemeanor, a year in prison,
and a thousand dollar fine for each offense.
To be licensed in the state of
Florida I would need a bachelor’s degree
in health on top of the bachelor’s and
master’s degree I already have, a 900
hour internship and to pass a board
I just can’t pursue getting licensed in
the state of Florida because the
requirements are just too lengthy and
too financially burdensome.
We’re a military family we may only live in
Florida another two years.
What I do is no different than a blogger or a
book author who is able to publish freely
their words and advice about nutrition.
Someone can be a certified holistic
health coach write a book publish it and
sell it in the state of Florida with the
same advice I may give to an individual
but I can’t meet with that person and
talk to them. A lot of my coaching
happens just over
the phone and Skype or Google Hangouts.
The First Amendment allows us to speak freely
about nutrition, whether paid or unpaid.
With the Institute for justice I am
suing the state of Florida
in federal court for my First Amendment
right to discuss health and nutrition
with other individuals.