Florida threatens holistic health coach with fines, jail for giving diet tips

Florida threatens holistic health coach with fines, jail for giving diet tips


It appears the State of Florida has far too much time on its hands (or the governor is directing them to keep them off his corrupt trail); they have been threatening Heather Kokesch Del Castillo of Fort Walton Beach with A YEAR IN JAIL unless she stops telling people what to eat. 1

Del Castillo isn’t going up to total strangers and telling them what they should and should not eat. No, she is consulting with people about dietary and nutritional advice, mostly over Skype and Google hangouts, for a fee. This is her job.

However, although she’s a licensed holistic health coach in the state of California, in Florida she is not, so the state has “declared her an unlicensed dietician and fined her more than $750. She faces misdemeanor charges if she doesn’t shut her mouth, with further fines of up to $1,000 for each incident and possibly even a year in prison.”2 (To become a licensed dietician in Florida requires a bachelor’s degree in the appropriate field, 900 hours of supervised practice, fees and a completed test. For a license she already has in California- on top of a Bachelors and Masters degree!)

And so, Del Castillo has turned to the lawyers at the Institute for Justice, for help:

“The advice Heather offers is pure speech, no different from the constitutionally protected speech of the cookbook authors whose philosophies and recipes she recommends to her clients. In fact, under Florida law, it would be perfectly legal if Heather published her advice in a book. And under binding Supreme Court precedent, laws that restrict speech based on its subject matter are subject to the most rigorous level of constitutional scrutiny. Moreover, the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the mere fact that a person is paid for their speech has no effect on its level of constitutional protection.”3

After a licensed state of Florida dietician reported her, an investigator with Florida’s Department of Health posed as a potential customer and asked Del Castillo for info about a weight-loss program. By responding to the question, even though she never claimed to be a licensed dietitian, the Department of Health said that she was behaving like a licensed dietitian anyway.

This is beyond absurd.

We will obviously update you with any new information we receive about Del Castillo’s case.


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Erin Elizabeth


Erin Elizabeth is a long time activist with a passion for the healing arts, working in that arena for a quarter century. Her site HealthNutNews.com is barely 4 years old, but cracked the top 20 Natural Health sites worldwide. She is an author, public speaker, and has recently done some TV and film programs for some of her original work which have attracted international media coverage. Erin was the recipient for the Doctors Who Rock "Truth in Journalism award for 2017. You can get Erin’s free e-book here and also watch a short documentary on how she overcame vaccine injuries, Lyme disease, significant weight gain, and more. Follow Erin on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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Sources and References

  1. Reason, October 9, 2017.
  2. Reason, October 9, 2017.
  3. Reason, October 9, 2017.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

  • Bonnie

    I am a certified holistic health coach also. Every state has different laws pertaining to the requirements necessary to practice as a coach. I am in Maryland (a red state) and can’t coach people unless I have a dietician license. You can look it up online for each state. The RDA’s have made it very hard in some states for health coaches to practice because they feel threatened. I think it’s terrible that she is going through this but she should have checked into Florida law pertaining to coaching.

  • Lisa A. Finley

    Erin Elizabeth, do you fear your “whistle blowing” type posts will land you in jail or worse? I can only presume you understand why I ask.

  • What drives me “nuts” is that that registered “dietitian” is giving her clients bad information. Like agave, soy, diary, diet pop etc are okay to consume, but has the nerve to look down on health coaches because it didn’t take them near as long to learn how to actually help people. Just look at the food guide, it’s pathetic (better than it was but still), and this is what people who are allowed to give health advice are learning from their government sanctioned courses. The same government that thinks it okay and legal for big agriculture companies (Monsanto) to produce glyphosate (proven to cause cancer and kill people) and spray it all over our food, but god forbid a health coach try to save one of those poor people. Yeah, that’s who I want to get my health information from!!!! I mean, come on, wake up people. It’s just stupid! Let’s not even get into the deaths prescription “medications” cause! I’ll take health information from a unregistered health coach any day over a registerd dietician. Ever been in a hospital? That crap they serve you is put together by a dietician. You’re supposed to be trying to heal, and you get soggy green beans (with not a nutrient left in them, not to mention full of pesticides), some kind of cooked to death meat from CAFO animals full of RBGH and antibiotics, then for dessert –jello! Artifical sweetener (neuro-toxin), plus artificial food coloring etc. etc. Thanks Ms. Registered Dietician, I think I’ll talk to a actual health coach.

  • Reesatay

    Wow! You seem to have a problem with RDs and the government. I am not a RD but work with them daily. I don’t know one RD that recommends diet pop! Not one of them recommends the use of glyphosate. Can you cite your source of a RD making these claims? I am betting you can’t and jealousy looks good on no one.

  • Tasha

    Jealousy, who? I’m a Functional Medicine Practitioner! Jealousy isn’t even a notion. I didn’t say RD’s recommend Glyphosate! Only an idiot would do that. And as far as citing a source, just look at what RD’s put in front of recovering patients in hospitals. Do I need more evidence than the millions of people in hospitals that are fed toxic crap when they need real nutrition the most? What hospital do you know that doesn’t serve Jello? And does Jello contain sucralose? They same thing in diet pop? And yes, I have a huge problem with a “government” who will allow us to, legally, be slowly poisoned by big Ag and big Pharma, but will put a health coach in jail for using the term “meal plan”, or suggesting a plan to help heal their IBS! etc etc etc etc etc etc. And I don’t have a problem with RD’s as people, most are extremely well meaning. I DO however, have a huge problem with what they have been “taught”, according to government “standards”, to perpetuate!!! And furthermore, if you really do work with them daily, more’s the pity for you!!!And those you come in contact with!

  • Magda Schoultz

    Carrots, greens, lots of vegetables in the background… wow, she does appear dangerous. On a serious note: how sad that it was an RD who reported her – citizens monitoring one another, shame!

  • Rebecca Fowles

    I found 2 accredited on-line schools that offer masters degrees in integrative nutrition. One is at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut and the other is at the New York Chiropractic College (NYCC).

  • Teri

    I’m sure that all RD’s are not created equal… but my Mother’s RD told us that she would have to drink a ton of diet pop for it to be harmful to her. After I mentioned that we were trying to get her to cut down on her diet pepsi consumption. And my Dad’s doctor actually told him that he could drink as much diet coke as he wanted because it is just colored water. To the older generations their doctors’ word was gospel, therefore they blindly followed the advice they were given by their health care team. My Dad drank 6 to 8 diet cokes a day, was diabetic and died at age 66. So from my experience I’ve seen very uneducated advice given from health care professionals.