From the Blog

Start the New Year with these Essentials

Gina Molby, New Pi Assistant Grocery Lead December 30 Category: Featured Products

Come January 1st, we all have health and wellness on our minds, and what better way to kick off 2020 than with New Pi in your corner?

We pride ourselves on providing you local, sustainable, clean food and nutrition.

Cheers to the new year!


New Pi-Branded Vitamins & Supplements by Vitamer Labs

Let’s face it–most of us probably aren’t getting enough vitamins or minerals from our diets alone.

When we miss out on essential nutrients in the food we eat, we aren’t operating at our best and can even become more susceptible to illness.

But where to start?

New Pi-branded vitamins have your back.

Vitamer Labs partners solely with the natural foods industry, so you won’t find them in big-box stores. With quality as its top priority, Vitamer uses glass, amber colored bottles to preserve freshness while considering environmental impacts. We’re proud to team up with Vitamer to bring you our house-brand vitamins and supplements.

Remember these three fundamental pillars of a strong vitamin routine: A multivitamin, omega 3’s, and a probiotic.


A multivitamin is the best way to ensure you’re getting a well-rounded intake of essential nutrients. Vitamin C boosts general immunity and bone strength, B vitamins provide energy, play a role in cardiovascular health, and can increase mood, while zinc helps convert carbohydrates, protein, and fat into fuel, can ward off bacteria and viruses, and can aid in wound healing. Vitamin D is hard to come by in food, and the Midwest winters don’t do much for our intake. Supplementing vitamin D with a multivitamin can boost immunity and assist with calcium absorption. Folate combats inflammation and can aid the body’s natural stress response.


Omega 3 fatty acids, arguably the most important of the omegas, are a type of polyunsaturated fat that body does not make on its own and can only be found in fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and anchovies.

If you don’t eat 1-2 servings of fish each week, an omega 3 supplement can ensure you’re getting enough of the fatty acid.

Omega 3 is a structural component of each cell membrane in the body, and therefore plays many roles—aiding brain function, eye health, inflammation response, and cardiovascular health, to name a few.

These fatty acids are made up of two components: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

While EPA helps reduce cellular and neuro-inflammation, aids joint health, and plays a role in cardiovascular health, DHA supports muscle recovery, can help to lower blood pressure, and is essential for a functional nervous system.

By now, you’ve probably heard of the benefits of gut health, and a probiotic is one of the best ways to balance and protect the “good bacteria” in your gastrointestinal system.

Probiotics are live microorganisms found in fermented foods or supplements, and can have a wide range of health benefits, including aiding digestion, immune support, cholesterol and blood pressure support, weight management, combating allergies, and even supporting mental health.

Let New Pi help start your year off right with a solid vitamin routine.

And as a bonus, members get 5% off New Pi-branded vitamins every day. 

Hue Hill Krauts

Iowa City

Kraut is considered a functional food: food that can possess health benefits beyond that of the nutrients it contains.

Historically, fermentation was a technique used to preserve food before the days of refrigeration. During fermentation, microorganisms such as bacteria and yeast convert sugars and starches into alcohol or acids, which act as natural preservatives.

Just like supplemental probiotics discussed above, consuming fermented foods can have significant health benefits.

Traditional American diets high in refined sugar, can contribute to imbalances in gut heath, enabling “bad” bacteria to flourish. Eliminating high sugar foods and including probiotic and enzyme-rich foods such as kraut can help bring the gut into balance and support the immune system.

Common fermented foods are yogurts and kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, and tempeh.

We recently welcomed Hue Hill to our shelves, and if you haven’t had a chance to pick up a jar, you’re missing out!

Hue Hill is based out of Iowa City— so if buying and eating local is on your list of resolutions, you can’t get much better than this.

Jean, the superwoman behind Hue Hill, explains that her ferments go far beyond gut health. Schisandra (or, five flavor berry as it’s known), gave rise to the adaptogenic properties in one of her most popular varieties. Used for centuries in Ayurvedic health, Schisandra is a plant who’s fruit can increase resistance to disease and stress, increase energy and endurance, stimulate the immune system, and normalize blood sugar.

Check out Hue Hill’s Schisandra kraut and these other varieties at any of our New Pi locations: Ginger Beat, Garlic Dill, Pikliz, and Black Radish Curry.

Anything But Green Gardens Mushrooms


You either love them, or you hate them.

But I challenge those of you who fall into the latter group to give them a try for your health.

Mushies, as we mushroom-lovers call them, are a trend that’s on the rise— even concentrated, powdered blends are being added to smoothies, coffees, teas, and supplements.

But the health benefits of mushrooms are nothing new: these fungi are a nutritional powerhouse and their impact far-reaching.

If exposed to UV light during harvesting, mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamin D, which as discussed above, is rare to come by in a food source.

Mushrooms are high in potassium, which directly impacts heart, muscle, and nerve function. There is about as much potassium in two-thirds cup portobello mushroom as there is in one medium sized banana.

Rich in B vitamins, mushrooms deliver riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid— the combination of which can protect hearth health, help maintain health skin, and support the nervous system.

Oyster and shitake mushrooms in particular deliver beta gluons, a form of soluble fiber linked to improving cholesterol, regulating blood sugar, and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Mushrooms are also high in antioxidant properties, such as selenium, vitamin C, and choline, which help the body eliminate free radicals.

World-renowned mycologist Paul Stamets in his research, books, and famous Ted Talk discusses the medicinal potential of certain mushroom species due to their antimicrobial and antiviral properties, as well as their ability to clean soil and water contamination.

We recommend something simple: a variety of fresh mushrooms grown locally in Vinton by Anything But Green Gardens, sautéed in butter. Add collards, spinach, an egg, and season with garlic if you wish.

Visit with Brein and Jim Osborn, owners and operators of their family farm, about their journey and experience with mushrooms and how they’ve impacted their family’s health.

Echo Dell Farm

Kalona, Iowa

As the new year is upon us, our minds turn to ways to clean up our diets and be more thoughtful of the health of the earth, as well as our own.

One important factor in clean eating is to choose free roaming, antibiotic and hormone-free, certified organic meat.

That’s why we love Echo Dell Farm in Kalona.

Echo Dell is far from “new” to New Pioneer.

In fact, quite the contrary. Calvin Yoder has been with New Pi for over 30 years as one of our very first local meat producers.

It’s not only true that “you are what you eat,” but also that “you are what you eat, eats.”

That is why Calvin transitioned to organic farming.

He says,

“I’d been thinking, we’re putting poisons on the soil, and then we’re bringing that feed and feeding these animals. It doesn’t make sense that you can put poison on and then get healthy animals.”

As you turn a new leaf with your diet in 2020, by choosing organic and supporting local farmers, you invest in not only your health but your community and planet.

Aura Cacia Essential Oils


Whether you’re new to essential oils or a seasoned pro, there’s no doubt that there are a few Swiss Army knives of the EO world–always good to have on hand for any multitude of uses.

Essential oils are aromatic substances extracted from a plant: its flower, leaf, resin, bark, root, branch, seed or fruit. (Hence the Aura Cacia logo!)

Within these oils, hundreds of organic components promote health benefits when applied or inhaled.

Oils are extracted one of three ways: steam distillation (most common), solvent extraction (for delicate plants that would otherwise be destroyed by steam), or cold press, (a mechanical expression of peels or rinds).

Aura Cacia educates its customers on ways to use essential oils: inhalation, diffusion, or topical use, depending on the oil and its purpose.

So, what should you keep on hand?

These top oils, like many others, are said to be antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and support general wellness in a multitude of ways.

Lavender is calming, supports sleep, and is used to sooth burns, heal cuts, and calm other skin irritations.

Peppermint is often used to alleviate upset stomachs, headaches, and muscle soreness, as well as to boost attention and focus. Peppermint can also be used to help clear congestion and cold symptoms.

Frankincense, considered the “king of oils,” can be used for nearly everything, but most commonly, uplifting mood, supporting memory, healing minor lacerations, soothing dry or irritated skin, and reducing illness with inhalation.

Tea Tree is most commonly used to heal wounds and treat skin ailments such as acne.

Remember your carrier oil:

Unless already diluted, essential oils are concentrated and must be paired with a carrier oil before topical use.

Use approximately six drops of EO per ounce of carrier oil.

Our favorite carrier is Jojoba (“ho-ho-buh”) for its indefinite shelf life and maximum absorption. Jojoba does not oxidize, therefore it will not turn rancid.

Other great options are Argan oil, which has a comedogenic rating of 0, meaning it will not clog pores, and macadamia nut oil, which due to its high lipid properties is slow to absorb, lending itself as an ideal massage oil.

Aura Cacia is a company you can feel good about.

A branch of Frontier Co-op established in 1976, Aura Cacia sustainably sources its oils from all over the world. Frontier Co-op’s mission is “to nourish people and planet with a passion for doing good that is rooted in operational excellence and service work.”

Gina Molby, New Pi Assistant Grocery Lead About the Author

Gina Molby, New Pi Assistant Grocery Lead

Gina started at New Pioneer in 2017 and is currently the Assistant Grocery Lead for the Cedar Rapids store. Find her in the aisles sharing her passion for ketogenic eating, holistic wellness, and environmental sustainability.