I “met” Rikki Valentine on Instagram last year. She is a sweet soul and ray of sunshine who embodies holistic wellness and living slowly at her home on a lake in Michigan. If she is not a photographer, she should be (we will find out soon!). One look at her Instagram grid and you will see that she captures everything so beautifully. Every picture tells a story. Her Instagram name potatoballet? You know I asked.
Okay, potatoballet. How did you come up with this name? — I thought up potatoballet at a pretty pivotal point in my healing journey, sometime in 2020 I believe. I was just jumping into getting comfortable using Instagram to talk about my chronic illness experience and at the same time I was having all of these thoughts and feelings of being kind of worn out and worthless, though I knew this was sickness speaking in more ways than one.
It occurred to me that the humble potato, one of my very favorite healing foods, had the sort of reputation that mirrored how I was feeling at that time, but really it was such a lovely, powerful, delicate but strong healing food that had taken a bit of a social beating. I liked the idea that something can be a little dusty around the edges, maybe have a questionable reputation, but at its core was really a beautiful, magical thing. Somehow “potatoballet” encompassed those feelings and thoughts for me, plus I can’t resist a handle that makes me laugh just a little!
I can’t not ask. What is your favorite thing to make with potatoes? Do you have a specific potato preference? — Oh, so very many things that I love to make with potatoes! I’d say my favorite things are potato wraps and waffles. Having “bread-like” foods while following a Medical Medium centered lifestyle always feels so exciting, but making them from something as clean, simple, and healing as just plain potatoes is doubly satisfying. As far as potato varieties, I love red and yellow potatoes in the summertime and tend to really enjoy russets in the colder months—which in Michigan is basically everything other than summer.
You have shared on your Instagram that you are healing from Lyme with Medical Medium information. What do you believe is the true cause of Lyme and how are you using Medical Medium information to heal? — It took me quite a lot of wandering doctor to doctor to finally get the answer to why I was so sick in the form of a Lyme Disease diagnosis, that diagnosis eventually led me to the Medical Medium. Now that I’ve learned about the true nature of the disease through Anthony William’s teachings I’ve come to understand Lyme as a viral issue, not bacterial as was widely believed at the time I was diagnosed. This revelation of the true nature of what was making me sick changed everything for me, it’s just not possible to fully heal when you don’t really understand the root cause of what’s making you sick.
Since learning about the cause of Lyme through Medical Medium, I’ve implemented many anti-viral protocols that have completely changed my health and allowed me to heal from a multitude of symptoms associated with Lyme. These include things like 16 or more ounces of celery juice on an empty stomach each morning, frequently having the Medical Medium heavy metal detox smoothie for breakfast, plenty of plain steamed potatoes which are high in lysine and therefore extremely anti-viral, clean high quality anti-viral supplements like zinc, micro-c, and goldenseal from Vimergy, a number of Medical Medium 369 cleanses, and avoiding foods that feed viral pathogens or contribute to creating conditions where viruses thrive—eggs, dairy, gluten, canola, corn, soy, pork (though I choose to eat no meat at all), and MSG ingredients like natural flavors and nutritional yeast.
How has having Lyme/healing from Lyme impacted your life in a positive way? — Being on the other side of the most difficult parts of Lyme, I really feel now that everything about it has been both positive and very formative for me. Prior to becoming very chronically ill I was already dealing with things like depression, anxiety, addiction and substance issues, disordered eating. Becoming so sick that I felt like my body was falling apart and dying showed me how much I really loved life, how much I actually cared about myself.
I learned for lack of any other choice that I would go to the ends of the earth to keep myself alive, and that being alive lacks meaning when the pursuit of health isn’t central to the lived experience. I feel in many ways that Lyme showed me what meaning and purpose means, and enforced in me that simply living compassionately is the highest pursuit.
Typical breakfast? — Medical Medium heavy metal detox or liver rescue smoothie, or a tropical fruit smoothie – I love banana, pineapple, spinach, aloe, ginger, honey and coconut water. Like sunshine in a smoothie!
Typical lunch? — Leafy green salad with steamed or baked potatoes and whatever veggies and sometimes fruits I’ve got around. Very often that means cucumber, onion, and tomatoes. I like to top my salads with lemon or lime juice, maple syrup, and a sprinkle of garlic powder. Nice and simple!
Your go-to healthy dinner? — Potato waffles, wraps, or sliced potatoes as miniature sandwich bread. Usually with an overt-fat free homemade mustard or some mashed avocado and just like with lunch, any veggies or fruits I’ve got in the house.
Favorite go-to drink. — Definitely peppermint tea with honey, it just always sounds good! I also love fresh orange juice and honey lime water.
Do you have a favorite meal or snack that you do not consider healing, but you really enjoy? — Oh, but of course! I absolutely love gluten free bread, bagels, or English muffins with plant-based cheese, jam and micro greens or arugula. I don’t know what it is about it but if that combination was healing I’d probably eat it everyday.
Besides eating the right foods/staying away from certain foods, what has been a big stepping stone in your healing journey? — Speaking (and thinking) gently to myself has been an absolute game changer in my healing journey. My mind really suffered and became a pretty dark place while I was sick, it was quite difficult for me to start to cultivate self-compassion and it’s something I still actively work on everyday. But sowing those seeds of real self-love has been a true miracle for reducing stress and adrenaline in my life, and healing from a self-loathing and self-criticism driven adrenaline addiction has lent itself to a huge step forward in my physical healing.
What does your morning routine look like? — My first order of business in the morning is tooth brushing and tongue scraping. After that I’ll make 32 ounces of lemon or lime water with honey to sip on while I dry brush my face and body, oil cleanse and facial massage, and give my hair a rose water spritz and comb out. While I finish up my water I do a little journaling (I love The Five Minute Journal) and then I wash and juice my morning celery. After celery juice I like to do some yoga or rebounding before I make my breakfast smoothie.
What does your nighttime routine look like? — In the evenings my husband and I usually watch some light, funny tv show together and while we do that I often have a cup (sometimes a whole pot) of herbal tea. After that I’ll do a little bit of stretching or very light yoga. Sometimes I oil cleanse a second time in the evening, other times I’ll just spritz my face with rose water or hydrosol, but either way I like to do a little something for my skin. Then I braid my hair, take supplements, brush my teeth, journal, pray, and turn on one of the Medical Medium soul healing meditations to fall asleep to.
Favorite form of self-care. — This is such a tough favorite to choose! But because it’s summer, I have to say swimming in living water. There’s just no better way to feel fully immersed in and cleansed by nature than to swim in a lake, river or ocean. I always feel so extremely blessed to live on a lake because this is something I’m able to enjoy all summer long that always leaves me feeling like I’ve deeply nurtured my body and soul.
Top 3 favorite clean beauty products. — If I could only use 3 beauty products for the rest of eternity I’d feel extremely comfortable with RMS Beauty UnCover-Up, Living Libations Blushing Balm in Chocolate Ruby (love this because it’s the perfect blush/lip balm all in one), and evanhealy brow pomade. The ingredients in each of them are excellent and they all look very subtle and natural on the face, which is a must as far as I’m concerned!
What book are you currently reading? — My summer fiction read right now is the third in a series by Kate Mosse, called “Citadel”. The series is set in part of southern France I spent time in a few years ago that quickly became my favorite place on earth, so the imagery in the books is really comforting and enjoyable for me. I’m also reading through the Medical Medium “Thyroid Healing” book on my Kindle at the moment, and am looking forward to starting “8 Secrets to Powerful Manifesting” by Mandy Morris.
I see glimpses of where you live on Instagram and it looks so peaceful and serene. The lake, the trees, the peaceful home. How do you believe our surroundings and environment affect us? — For me, this quiet, beautiful environment has meant everything to my healing process. When I became very ill my now-husband and I were living in Nashville, and everyday I went well out of my way to remove myself from the busyness of the city and experience as much nature and solitude as I possibly could. As I got sicker, it became clear that being back home in Michigan was what we both needed.
Once we were here, and I was in the very depths of struggling and suffering with Lyme, I began to cultivate a dream for myself. One where I had learned how to heal my body and mind, a gentle life that existed in my future that afforded me the simplest desires of my heart, like seeing living water from my windows and being able to step outside my front door to harvest fresh herbs. This vision of a soft, simple life that I could tend to and be treated tenderly by was a beacon of hope for me during my darkest days, and years later it felt like nothing less than a miracle when that vision became reality.
I believe our environments can be a truly sacred component to our healing and well-being in general, but I’ve learned that this looks different for everyone. For some, cities with large communities of like-minded people are the healing charge that helps them thrive, for others it’s an off-grid yurt where their families can be raised wild and they can truly live off the land that gives them peace. For many it’s somewhere between those two worlds where they feel the healing embrace that our environments can offer. And for me it was always this place that lived in my heart that I now feel so held by everyday.
I believe no matter what we value or what makes us feel “charged up”, the environment we live in plays a critical role in our experience of wellness, and that even in a space that feels less-than-perfect there are always simple things we can do to make our environment feel more true to who we are and what we need to thrive. And that in the midst of that, holding a vision of the life and environment we most dream of is a healing action in and of itself.
I said you embody living slowly and I saw your profile says living lightly. What does this mean to you and how can the rest of us learn to live a little lighter? — I love this question. To me, living lightly encompasses the idea of slow living, but also living in a way that brings more light into this world. I think sometimes it’s easy to feel as though we live in relatively dark times right now, and to live lightly is, in my mind, the antidote to this creeping sense of darkness that can overwhelm us so easily.
To tread lightly on the earth, to bring gentleness, lightness and benevolence to our treatment of human and non-human beings, to strive to take situations lightly as often as possible, to retain a deep and abundant sense of humor and to cultivate a light heart. That is the core of what it means to me to live lightly.
I think a great way to begin to practice living lightly is to see how often we can bring humor into our daily lives and into the more challenging situations we encounter. I believe humor is equalizing and humanizing, and that it reminds us of how playful—how light—life is at its sweet center.
You capture each picture you take so beautifully! It is so inspiring! So, are you an actual photographer or do you just have mad skills?! Really wishing you lived next door to me! — I am so seriously honored! But I’m a hobbyist photographer in the humblest sense of the term. I’ve never had any photography training, I just love to create little vignettes of life through a lens. I’m one of those “look at the sky right now! Look at the moon! Look at the light on that door!” kinds of people, and photographing things has always felt like the best way to translate my love for the visual world to anyone who will “look at the sky right now!” with me.
Lastly, do you have a motto, fun fact, wellness tip, or anything else I should have asked you and did not? — All of your questions were so touching and fun to answer. I think my only closing thought is one of how amazing it can be to find community online. It was something that had always made me uncomfortable, but since opening up about my healing journey I have made connections with the most beautiful souls, none of whom I’ve ever met in person, but all of whom feel like the dearest of friends, people I trust and treasure deeply. This interview was such a special confirmation of that, and I am so very grateful!
Recently Rikki made a plant-based cheese spread that looked so incredible that I had to get the recipe. She was sweet enough to share with all of us here!
- 2 cups raw cashews
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 lemon – juiced
- 2 – 4 cloves garlic
- Lemon zest (to taste)
- Pink salt or sea salt (to taste)
- Garlic powder to taste
- (optional) onion powder to taste
- Soak cashews in room temperature water overnight, or quick soak in hot water for 20+ minutes (I find the longer they “quick soak”, the better the consistency).
- Drain cashews and add them to a food processor along with other ingredients.
- Process until the mixture reaches a very smooth consistency, stopping along the way to taste-test and adding lemon zest, salt, garlic powder, onion powder if desired, or water to blend as needed.
- Pour the finished mixture into a nut milk bag (parchment paper will work as well!), shape the cheese and secure the cloth or parchment at the top to hold the shape. Place the bundled cheese into a colander with a bowl or plate underneath in case of excess moisture. If using parchment paper, simply place into a bowl.
- Refrigerate overnight. The longer it is left refrigerated, the firmer the consistency.
- To serve, coat the cheese with fresh minced herbs of choice, or garnish with garlic or onion granules, dried orange peel, crushed red pepper, olive oil, edible flowers, etc.
A huge thank you to Rikki for sharing this with all with us! I find learning from and about others so inspiring. You? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you.🤍
Grateful you are following along! xx Riane
Find me on the daily @herhealthystyle on Instagram
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