Hey guys!  Welcome back to The Veg Nurse Blog!  If you are new, my name is Alba and I am the Media Coordinator for SoFlo Vegans.  Up to this point, this blog did not have a name, so yes, I finally decided to name this blog, in which I interview different vegan/plan-based influencers and personalities, who are doing some great things for the world and their communities.

This blog interview is different because it features my first lady influencer/entrepreneur!  The subject for this blog is Mikhaila Christian, I reached out to her on IG a couple of months back and we set a time to get together because of the time difference between Hawaii and Florida.  A little background, I started to follow Mikhaila on SnapChat back in the day a couple of years back.  I do not know how she slipped into my account, but the universe always knows!  Fast forward to now and I see her profile on Instagram this past year and reached out to her.  Mikhaila is a former model and now vegan entrepreneur with her own holistic beauty spa called On Point Aesthetics in Oahu, Hawaii.  I was super excited to do this interview because I had been following her for many years and who would have thought that I would get the chance to interview her now.  There are many things to admire about Mikhaila, she is a very beautiful woman, but there is more to her than that: vegan for over ten years, graduated with a degree in film production from UCLA at nineteen and now currently finishing a master’s degree in Health Coaching with a focus on nutrition.  Up to this point, I hadn’t met anyone that was in the same “age vegan bracket as me”.  I’ve met the two to three years, six even, and then there’s what I call, the “old timers” who go twenty to thirty years vegan; so, it was refreshing to meet someone else who had that in common with me.

Alba:

  How did you come into the vegan lifestyle and how did you end up in Hawaii? 

MC:

I’m originally from Los Angeles, my mother is of Cuban/Puerto Rican descent and my father is of Spaniard/Mexican descent.  I originally moved to Maui following my aunt, but this year I moved to live in Oahu to open my business.  At twenty-two, I had this epiphany because I had not been taken seriously, here I was at nineteen with a college degree but considered a jit (a young person).  I was assisting producers and directors with commercials and music videos, which was super fun!  But two years of partying two to three times a week does take its toll, and I was over living Hollywood.  I didn’t feel good, I looked good, but I wanted to stop partying and hard drinking.  So, at twenty-two I stopped and thought that I needed to do something more for my health.  When you’re an alcoholic, which is what I pretty much was, you have to choose a healthier or deadlier habit.  I chose juicing; at the time Jack Lalanne was the only one who had a juicer out.  I was so sad when he passed, and I started juicing twice a day.

 

Jack Lalaine was a fitness expert who was the first to open health gyms, inventor of several machines that are currently in use today like the Smith machine, leg extensions and pulley.  He was a pioneer of juicing and bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger and other fitness personalities like Richard Simmons, would draw inspiration from him.  Mikhaila describes how a week later she was shopping at Whole Foods for juicing ingredients when she saw the book The China Study displayed on one wall (talk about providence!).  She purchased the book, read it over the weekend and converted to veganism on Monday because she was scared of getting cancer and the other diseases described in the book.

 

MC:

  I was so in shock of the statistics; I couldn’t stop turning the pages!  The only thing is that it didn’t tell me how to go vegan, I didn’t know anyone else that was vegan, and I was like shit, what do I do now?  So, I ended up hiring a dietician and shopper to buy the food for me, I had a maid service business at that time, so that helped me to afford hiring people.  This same shopper was also a vegan chef and she offered to also cook for me, so I went all out, did it all cold turkey. I went from alcoholic and party girl to detoxing to raw vegan after reading David Wolfe’s Eating for Beauty.

 

A raw vegan diet is when foods are not cooked about above 115 degrees Fahrenheit; some raw foodies include Fully Raw Kristina, Jonny Juicer and Karyn Calabrese.  That must have been so brutal…I was one of the lucky ones that when I went cold turkey vegan, I did not go through the “detox stage” that many people experience.  I remember the first two months that my boyfriend changed his diet, were miserable for him.  He had the shakes, irritability and this was him cutting out processed sugars only.

 

MC:

  I first went vegan for health reason but after reading Eating for Beauty with my love of beauty and esthetics, I started discovering even more reasons to be vegan.  Being vegan makes me feel beautiful, my hair grows fast, my nails…I’m not gonna lie, having this lifestyle makes me feel extremely beautiful.

 

No shame in saying that, that was the first reason why I went vegan twelve years ago.  My mother was mostly vegetarian at that time (she’s being vegan now for twelve years and even more beautiful than ever at sixty) looked ten years younger and everyone mistook her for my sister.  I was tired of that and wanted to look as young as possible; I was dealing with puffiness and the “freshmen fifteen” times three, inflammation everywhere, skin was not fresh and dewy, my hair had the consistency of straw and my nails were weak.  In veganism I saw youth and beauty for the long haul that someday I would look just as youthful and beautiful as my mother.

Diet is not the only thing that helps with slowing the aging process, other factors include genetics of course, exposure to the elements like the sun and environmental toxins like smoking, pollutants, drugs and alcohol, also have a hand in aging.  It is not all about the looks however, bones, ligaments and organs can also age, and a whole food plant based/vegan diet can help to slow down their aging.  In their podcast, host Chuck Carroll from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), episode on “Eating to Stay Young”, he interviewed physicians Hana Kahleova, M.D., Ph.D., and Asha Subramanian, M.D., on how the foods we eat can help keep us looking and feeling younger.  How on the flip side, unhealthy foods can speed up the aging process and, in many cases, shed years from our life instead of adding; one such foods are dairy products.

 

MC:

  Exactly! I am not fully raw anymore but a whole food plant-based diet is the way to go and that is the struggle I have now because I should have started in the beauty industry as soon as I graduated UCLA because Hollywood wasn’t for me.

 

Alba:

  I disagree, if you wouldn’t have gone through the Hollywood lifestyle, the partying and drinking; you probably wouldn’t have discovered this lifestyle and have a successful business.  You are now applying your knowledge of film school when you record promo videos and pictures and when you develop your nutrition courses.  Which is what I want to get into, your business On Point Aesthetics has been open for about a year now and you are very conscious of what products you use.

MC:

  There are so many people that do not care if products are vegan or cruelty-free, they’re all about fix my skin and that’s it!  It is very hard to find products that are vegan friendly, especially the high-end products.  Sometimes we have to sit down and look up every single ingredient and the beauty industry is not very vegan friendly, especially if you are considering a med spa.  A ton of my other clients do care if a product is vegan and cruelty-free.  In fact, they come to me because I am vegan, and because I try to use and sell products that align with our beliefs.  I get so many different messages from around the world of people asking me to open more spas in their states or in other countries because I have mainly a vegan spa.

 

Mikhaila continues in saying that she is looking forward to creating more courses on nutrition because food is her passion; like Hippocrates says, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.  Food detoxes, energizes, and heals us, which is what makes food so fascinating to her.  This also includes what we put on the outside of our body, and her discovering and offering more high-end products that are cruelty-free and vegan to her clients.

 

MC:

While I have them on the table, I casually bring up how a vegan diet can help with acne or cystic acne or wrinkles.  I don’t tell them to go vegan because then they won’t want to come back, but it starts the conversation.  This is why I decided to go back to school and get a master’s degree in Health Coaching with a focus on nutrition and in January we’re going to start offering our nutrition program.

 

Alba:

(I nod my head) This makes sense to me because people want to be beautiful, they want to be attractive.  You’re getting them through their vanity, it’s like a form of activism.

 

MC:

 (Laughs) Yes! I am not the “regular” activist, a different form, and if I can’t get them through beauty, I take them to my favorite restaurants on the island and get them to try vegan desserts.  The important thing is to be open to new things.

Alba:

  Speaking of food, Hawaii has that rich volcanic soil, I can only imagine how delicious the fruits and vegetables must taste.

MC:

  Yes, I am very simple in my diet, which is mainly an Ayuverdic/Japanese diet.  I need to have my apple cider vinegar and lemon in the mornings.  I eat foods that are fermented, have probiotics, tons of greens, rice, curries for the turmeric and anti-inflammatory properties, vegetables, fruits, no processed sugars, these purple potatoes that we have in Hawaii, and tons of water.  I also do a ton of grounding, I live near the beach, so I always walk by the shore with my little dog Coco, we do tons of our videos by the ocean as well.  I also do not drink coffee, instead I do something called Mud Water, which is made out of mushrooms like Reishi.

Alba:

  Ick! Mushrooms! (make a grossed-out face)

MC:

  No, no (laughs), it’s more like a “cacao mushroom”, it tastes like chocolate, you’ll love it.

Ok…I love chocolate, I can do that instead of mushrooms mud water.  The only mushroom I actually like is Shitake mushroom…I’m weird I know, its 2020, no judging please (winks).  Grounding sounds like heaven, that’s what I love about living in Florida, easy access to the beach and smelling that salt air.  Whenever I feel anxious or need a break, I head to the beach which is fifteen minutes away from my apartment.  Mikhaila also explains that her business is close to a botanical garden because of its calming and soothing properties.  Grounding in general is great to breath that fresh air or walk in the sand or if you love near a lake or standing on grass.  I am very partial to that because I’m usually stuck inside of a hospital for twelve hours or more breathing that hospital air (yuck).

 

Mikhaila:

  The food that I eat keeps me slim and strong and the grounding keeps me connected to my body.  I practically live at the beach and I am always in a bikini.

Alba:

  I see that! You are not ashamed of your body, or to show it off.  I love the pictures that you take, some look very artistic and you are very comfortable in your own skin, and you also bring your little dog Coco to the beach as well. 

MC:

 Thanks! (she smiles) I love the beach, and so does Coco, we go on walks on the beach all the time and I also make sure that he eats the best food as well. 

Alba:

 I can relate to that because Kona (my chihuahua) is on an organic vegan diet and she eat V-dog, however, she does not like the sand like Coco!  But let’s bring it back to On Point Aesthetics, we know that you are very conscious about what you use and sell to your clients, but how did On Point Aesthetics finally come to be?

MC:

  The idea came because I got into microneedling and because I am so “hippie”, I didn’t want to get fillers so soon.  I am trying to delay injecting anything for as long as possible, but when the time comes, I am open to the possibility of doing it.

Alba:

  Wait, wait, wait! Hippie!? (I hold up my hand)

 

MC:

 (Laughs) I’ve being called “hippie” and “boujee” because I have a vegan business and I have a condo on the beach.  You know “free-spirit”, “cruelty-free” and how can you not want to have your own business, be your own boss, be able to afford a condo on the beach and travel to anywhere in the world without worrying about money?

Alba:

  I actually like being called “hippie”, “tree-hugger”, “radical”, or whatever because I dare to be different; and I agree with you.  You want to be minimal in material things but still have the financial security to do what you want like travel and afford a nice place to live, there’s nothing wrong with that.

 

Mikhaila nods and continues by explaining that microneedling improves the look of scars, age spots and can boost collagen which keeps the elasticity of the skin.  Microneedling is the insertion of very fine short needles into the skin that is minimally invasive, it creates small cuts into the skin fooling the body into thinking that the skin is damaged, thus repairing the skin leaving it glow-y, brighter and with more collagen.  Microneedling is one of the services offered at the spa, there’s also dermaplaning, customized facials, waxing, brow/eyelash tinting and lift, makeup services, bridal packages, peels and so much more.

Mikhaila was the one who first introduced me to dermaplaning facials because I am also trying to delay inject fillers or Botox for a long as possible.  Dermaplaning is also minimally invasive but the skin does not get cut, instead a layer of dead skin and peach fuzz is removed with a very fine surgical blade…you must trust your esthetician because it is a sharp object on you neck and face.  It leaves my skin soft and any products I put gets absorbed better and the benefits are diminished fine lines, or age spots, and brighter skin.  The spa will also start to offer Botox and fillers in the next couple of months and this will be an option for people who do want to get them.

Alba:

  I have seen on your stories that a ton of your clients come in for microneedling, why is that?

MC:

  Because 90% of my clients have acne scaring and a fun fact is that the name On Point Aesthetics came about from the microneedling; because off the needles, you use the needles to be “on point”.  That’s the double entendre and meaning behind it that a lot of people don’t know about.  It is our number one requested service and we get tons of happy clients when they see their results after the dead skin has peeled off.

Alba:

That’s different and as we start to close the interview, what are some of your beauty tips for both men and women? (I say as I drink my green tea).   

MC:

  Do not over exfoliate because you can make your skin thin and papery; stay hydrated and drink lots of water.  I know that is so cliché, but water flushes you out and keeps you hydrated which is important for healthy skin and eat a whole food plant-based diet.  You are what you eat.

 

If you want to learn more about Mikhaila and On Point Aesthetics you can follow her on IG on @mikhailaxtian and @onpointaesthetics.  On Point Aesthetics is on 46-018 Kamehameha Hwy. Suite 210. Kaneohe, HI 96744.

 

References

Carroll, Chuck, narrator. “Eating to Stay Young.” Physicians Committee, The Exam Room, 2019

 

About Alba the Veg Nurse

Alba Mendez is a nurse working and living in South Florida and is the Media Coordinator for SoFlo Vegans.  She can be reached at [email protected] and on social media theveg_nurse .  Follow SoFlo Vegans for more information, podcast episodes, interviews, events, and giveaways.

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