Maggie Niemiec

Four Things to Remember for the Fourth

July 1, 2011 at 9:36 am , by

Instead of hamburgers and hot dogs this Fourth of July, how about some fresh bacteria casserole? Or maybe some salmonella with a side of E. coli? Doesn’t that sound appetizing? We didn’t think so either. But the thought of those cringe-inducing dishes is just one of the ways a new food safety campaign got our attention.

The USDA, FDA, CDC and the Ad Council have cooked up a “Food Safe Families” campaign to remind people that one in six Americans will get sick from food poisoning this year. See the strange yet memorable pig-in-a-sauna one, below.

We know many parts of the country will feel like a sauna this weekend, and you’ll probably be outside grilling something. So keep your delicious barbecued chicken, juicy cheeseburgers and yummy hot dogs free of food-borne illnesses.


Clean kitchen surfaces, utensils and hands with soap and water while preparing food.

Separate raw meats from other foods with different cutting boards.

Cook foods to the right temperature by using a food thermometer.

Chill raw and prepared foods promptly.

For the skinny on just how many E. coli cells it takes to make you sick, check out our interview with Elisabeth Hagen, M.D., head of the Food Safety and Inspection Service at the USDA. (Hint: it’s not many.) Head to for more tips.

Happy Fourth of July from the LHJ Health Ladies!

I Did Yoga WHERE?

June 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm , by

It’s been a mere three weeks, but I’ve already decided I love the energy and excitement of New York City. As the new editorial intern at Ladies’ Home Journal, I have moved to the city for the summer. Every day, there’s something new to do or see. I’ve explored museums, shopped at discount department stores, watched free movies in the park and eaten the most delicious cupcakes. Yet as much as I enjoy living here, it can get really overwhelming. The subway is dirty and hot and crowded. The streets smell like garbage, which piles up on the sidewalks. Vendors constantly pester you to buy their hot dogs and knock-off purses. Taxi drivers honk nonstop, and the noise is so bad, I have to wear earplugs when I sleep.

It’s hard to achieve a sense of calm with all this insanity around me. So when a friend suggested we attend a yoga event on the Solstice, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to slow down. The only catch was that it took place on the asphalt in the middle of Times Square. (That’s me, to the right, getting my “om” on.) I was skeptical of how calm I could feel in the busiest of all busy intersections. But when else would I get do yoga in the heart of New York City?

The instructor jumped up on stage at 7:30 a.m. and got us started to the sounds of Alicia Keys’s re-mixed, relaxing version of “Empire State of Mind.” For the next hour and 15 minutes, it was just me and my yoga mat… and more than 1,000 others in my “class.”

Surprisingly, all the hustle and bustle faded away as I curled into cat, pushed back into downward dog, stretched into warrior and balanced in tree pose. I had somehow reached my center through all the madness. I realized if I could relax in Times Square, I could relax anywhere.

I ended lying on my back, feeling like a true yogi. As I slowly rose from the mat, the sun began to peek around the skyscrapers. The buses and taxis sounded a little louder; the neon signs shined a little brighter. It was back to reality, but I couldn’t stop smiling. I had just found peace and tranquility in the most unlikely of places. Invigorated, refreshed and relaxed, I was ready to start the day.