Organic Whole-Grain Goodness

The fiber found in unrefined whole-grain foods can help lower your blood cholesterol, which is important in preventing heart disease and stroke.
When looking for a whole-grain snack:

  • Choose foods like whole wheat, oats and oatmeal, rye, barley and corn. Also include popcorn, brown rice, wild rice, buckwheat, bulgur (cracked wheat), millet, quinoa and sorghum.
  • Choose breads and other foods that list whole grains as the first item in the ingredient list.
  • Aim for about 25 grams of fiber a day.

To make shopping easier, look for the American Heart Association’s heart-check mark. It identifies products that meet the association’s criteria for being high in whole grains and fiber and low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

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  • joanne  September 3, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Reducing exposure to toxins – does it matter?

    In a world of increasing consumption and fast-paced lifestyles, do many of us stop to think about how toxic our lifestyles may be? Does it matter?

    A recent forum at Brisbane’s Griffith Eco Centre, Griffith University, Nathan, highlighted that many people, including a significant percentage of men, believe it does matter!

    The forum, lead by three Australian eco-business women who ‘walk the talk’, gave participants insight into the real world of skin care, personal care and house cleaning products made from non-renewable resources and the related toxins.

    They also explained the countless benefits of using products based on renewable resources and how each individual can easily avoid toxins in their lives and the effect they have on the environment.

    Forum presenters included: Joanne Costello, founder of Equalibrium Bar now ebar the online organic retail shop; Narelle Chenery, international activist and founder of the first organic personal care range Miessence; and Averyll Fitzgerald, Managing Director of Noosa-based eco cleaning group, Energy Health and Living.

    In this interview we’ll gain insight into Joanne’s presentation: Certified Organic body products versus synthetic alternatives.

    So when did our dependence on mass-produced synthetic soaps and body products begin?

    While various body products as we know them have been produced for some time, their significance came to the fore with the advent of television and the glossy advertisements that filled a great deal of television space in the 1960s and 70s.

    According to Joanne Costello, the new advertising age brought with it, the chance to extend to millions of people promises of flawless beauty and enhanced lifestyles, all of this packaged in new novel, mass produced goods in reach of the average person.

    However, as Joanne explains, just about all of these products were based on chemical substances created and owned by the multi-nationals. And, in these early days, the true impact of such substances (some of which are listed in the Toxicity Table) was far from understood. Alarmingly, many of these substances are still widely used today.

    “On the one hand humankind was witnessing great feats in technology and the chance to get on board countless supporters, or customers, who would make new product discoveries profitable,” Joanne said.

    “However, as we now know is the case with many industrial chemicals and fertilisers, while creating products based on synthetic chemicals was indeed clever, in themselves they create new problems, problems of toxicity and pollution that outweigh many of the perceived benefits.

    “After several generations of using synthetic products, and in many cases, increased marketing and increased usage, we are starting to feel the effects, both on our bodies and our environment.

    “Many people know they are sensitive to toxic ingredients, and yet they don’t realise we have affordable, easy-to-access alternatives.”

    Joanne Costello has developed a green audit program called ‘carbon rainbow’ a three-step plan to a sustainable home and work environment. It is a unique audit that can help people identify what is bad and good in all facets of their energy consumption.

    This is just one of the many evolving tools poised to help people reduce toxicity in their lives and the lives of future generations.

    Additionally, many specialised organic products are readily available often at a lesser cost than their toxic counterparts.

    To avoid toxins, Joanne states that consumers should aim to purchase Certified Organic skin and personal care products and avoid words that are marketing hype, such as Organic, Natural, Pure, Fruit, Fresh and botanical. Certified organic is the purest form of product on the market.

    Certified Organic is a status that must be clearly listed on a product, it cannot be explained in any other terms, ie natural, pure, which may be misleading and allow for harmful ingredients to be used in the manufacture of the end product.

    “Our skin is our body’s largest organ, through it we feed our bodies with either harmful or beneficial ingredients – it’s our choice,” Joanne said.

    “There are many characteristics that make up an organic product, two being they do not include the use of synthetic chemical or genetically modified ingredients. Additionally, they are very rich in essential minerals and nutrients that come from using ingredients in their natural form.”

    “With the long-term toxic effects on our bodies and the environment of the non-organic products becoming clear, these products simply make good sense.”

    Joanne’s business Ebar is a web-based skin and body-care shop that also makes education and general information widely available to its clients and the general public. For more information go to: or email joanne on [email protected]

    Toxicity and skincare
    Joanne Costello, Ph: 0410 097 414

    Julie Lloyd: 0415 799 890

  • joanne  September 3, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    Toxic-free bathrooms a key to better health

    Toxic-free lifestyle advocate Jo Costello has a vision for your bathroom: to see it free of products containing toxins which may be damaging to your health.

    The owner of Queensland’s first and only ‘supermarket’ for toxic-free and organic bathroom products, Jo has first-hand experience of the consequences of using too many chemicals on the skin and hair.

    “About Eight years ago I started to suffer the symptoms of toxic poisoning – and although I didn’t know what it was at the time, that experience started me on the journey to creating Equalibrium Bar (e-bar),” Jo says.
    e-bar currently stocks twelve different natural body and skin product ranges for men, women and babies – many of which are produced in Queensland and all of which meet the company’s criteria of containing 95-100% natural ingredients with no sulphates, mineral oils, petrochemicals, pesticides and no testing on animals as well stocking only Australian made and owned brands.
    “e-bar was founded on my belief that if consumers had easy access to a range of products and information about what was actually in them, most would prefer to use non-toxic products,” Jo said.

    Catering to the growing consumer demand for non-toxic and organic products via the first e-bar located at the popular Indooroopilly Shopping Centre in Brisbane, Jo has ensured residents in (location) have access to e-bar’s products via the website and through fax-back catalogues.

    “Every product counts. If you replace just one toxic product you use daily, like toothpaste or shampoo, with a non-toxic alternative, you have started on the road to regaining your body’s natural equilibrium,” Jo said.

    “The quality and variety of toxic-free and organic products now available makes it totally unnecessary to use anything which may cause damage to you or your family’s health,” she said.

    “Many of the health complaints commonly experienced such as fatigue, cancer, Alzheimer’s, dermatitis eczema, acne and hair loss can actually be triggered by toxic poisoning – caused by seemingly innocent bathroom products like shampoo and moisturizer.

    “I recommend customers look at the products in their own bathrooms – if they don’t understand the ingredients listing, how can they be sure the products are not damaging their health?” Jo said.

    The full range of products from e-bar is available to read about and purchase on

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