by Vicki Batts, Natural News:
When it comes to government interference, it seems like the southern state of Florida just can’t say “No.” In recent years, the state has continuously come under fire for trampling all over the rights of private citizens — particularly when it comes to food and health freedoms. A Florida health coach is under attack for offering clients advice on how to incorporate healthy foods into their daily lives. You’d think the government has better things to do than crack down on health and wellness, but apparently not.
Heather Kokesh Del Castillo first began her career as a health coach in 2014, back when she still lived in California. She was a privately licensed health coach and operated her own business on the West Coast for years, before moving to Florida. That was when all the problems began.
Holistic health coach under attack
As Reason.com reports, it appears that a local registered dietitian sought to eliminate a little competition by reporting Heather to the Florida Department of Health. The licensed health coach was then cited and fined by the state government for offering nutrition advice without a license. The department underwent a “sting operation,” posing as a potential client and then slapping Heather with fines. In Florida, the “unlicensed practice of dietetics or nutrition is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and $1,000 in fines per offense.” The Department of Health can also seek out civil fines of up to $5,000 per day that the “violation” occurs.
Though Heather never once described herself as a nutritionist or dietitian, the government also presented her with an order to cease and desist providing nutritional advice to her clients. Now, she is looking to fight back against this egregious case of government overreach, with help (and legal counsel) from the Institute for Justice (IJ). As IJ notes, “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.”
Heather’s holistic health coach license didn’t preclude her from offering nutritional advice in California, but in the state of Florida, it seems as though she’s viewed as nothing more than a snake oil salesperson.
As the IJ contends, if Heather were to put all of her advice into a book and advertised it, there’d be no issue with the government. While working with her clients as a holistic health coach, Heather helped create personalized exercise regimens and showed them how to incorporate more nutritious foods into their diets. Most everyone knows that they should be eating more fruits and vegetables, but actually incorporating these foods can pose quite the challenge for many people. And according to IJ, Heather’s clients were more than appreciative of her advice — with many seeing great success.
The crackdown on health freedom
Occupational licensing is a growing phenomenon here in the United States; the Institute for Justice says that roughly one out of every four American workers needs some sort of government-issued license to do their job. And for military families like Heather’s, such draconian licensing practices can be exceptionally burdensome, as most every state has different laws. IJ states, “When the U.S. military relocates service members from one state to another, their spouses are often subject to new licensing laws that didn’t exist in their previous state of residence, and their existing professional credentials often aren’t transferable to their new state.”
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