Regulations are killing my business

These small businesses are being squeezed by local regulations requiring specific licenses. All are fighting back with the help of the Institute for Justice, a civil liberties law firm.

Diet advice blog

small business regulation advice cooksey
  • Business: Diet advice blog
  • The rule: Can't provide nutrition advice without a license
  • Rule maker: North Carolina's board of dietetics/nutrition
  • Level of crime: Class 1 misdemeanor

In 2009, Steve Cooksey was obese, chronically ill and had just been diagnosed with diabetes. Within 10 months, he shed 78 pounds, overcame the disease and felt great.

His secret? He adopted the Paleo Diet, which essentially means eating like a caveman: Fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and seafood.

But when he tried to share that with others through his blog -- and provide paid counseling -- the state shut him up. Last year, the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition told him he wasn't allowed to answer questions about diabetes or give diet advice. He couldn't develop meal plans or charge for providing emotional support to his growing group of readers.

The nutrition board even sent him a copy of his blog posts, edited with a red pen.

Cooksey took down several posts in question, including his counseling offers, causing any business potential to vanish.

"I can think of nothing better than making a living helping people turn their lives around, but I cannot do that," Cooksey said.

The board declined comment to CNNMoney.

Cooksey's since sued the state, claiming a First Amendment violation. He said his dietary advice, which cuts out bread and grains entirely, isn't offered by doctors.

"If they don't hear it from me, they won't hear it. That's why it's important to me," he said.

  @Jose_Pagliery - Last updated January 30 2013 11:43 AM ET

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