Inside Gillette Blog

The Ketogenic Diet- Summer Snack Ideas

Posted On: 06/09/2014

By Karri Larson, Registered Pediatric Dietitian


The ketogenic diet is a high fat, low carbohydrate diet that is used as a treatment for difficult to control seizures, or intractable epilepsy. It is a highly specialized diet that should be followed under the direct supervision of a dietitian and physician. We are still trying to understand why and how the ketogenic diet helps to reduce seizures.


The summer season often brings a feeling of wanting to cook lighter foods.  Fresh produce is bountiful and frozen treats are extra special when the temps are high. Take that into consideration when planning ketogenic diet snacks.


One requirement of the ketogenic diet is weighing out all food on a gram scale. This takes some of the simplicity and spontaneity out of cooking for families.  However, it doesn’t have to mean you can’t have any fun with your food. Below you will find 3 recipes for keto-friendly snacks that are perfect for the summer.  Even better, they are snacks that your whole family can enjoy.



Here is some guacamole topped with fresh-from-the-vine tomatoes.  Just fork mash some avocado and chop up a tomato and mix with a sprinkle of garlic salt. You can use carrots and celery as dippers.




Berries and cream

Berries are among the lowest carbohydrate fruits available. Try pairing fresh berries with whipped heavy whipping. You can add a drop or two of some natural food coloring (available at your local co-op or specialty food store) to make some fun colors for variety or put it in a glass to make a fruit parfait.











Another fun snack is to make your own popsicle or creamsicle. Inexpensive popsicle makers are easy to find at your local grocery store and are so versatile. Here we prepared some sugar free jello and mixed the liquid jello with some heavy whipping cream. Pour it into the popsicle mold and freeze.


All recipes are ~200 calories, 3:1 ratio. Please contact your dietitian for a personalized recipe for your child.


Meet Us Monday – Becky Wright, Graphic Designer

Posted On: 06/06/2014

Becky Wright, Graphic Designer1. What is your position and role at Gillette? What does your day-to-day look like?  I have been a Graphic Designer in the communications department for three years. My days are busy and diverse! They are usually spent creating graphics and print materials for internal and external communications. That includes ads, logos, brochures, annual reports, and event graphics. I sometimes help direct photo shoots, which gives me an opportunity to meet some of the kids and families that we serve. Since my job doesn't involve direct care, this allows me to learn more about their conditions and what we do for them.

2. What are some of your hobbies outside of work? Outside of work I enjoy being outdoors—I love to kayak, ride my scooter and garden. I also enjoy music—playing guitar, harmonica and drums.

3. Do you have any children or pets?  I don't have kids, but I've always had a cat or two. My 18-year-old cat Anna just passed away, so I'll soon be hunting for a couple of littermates.

4. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Anywhere warm with water. Costa Rica is on my bucket list, along with Australia and Hawaii.

5. What is one fun fact about you? When I was in college I spent a semester at the University of Copenhagen and lived with a Danish family. It gave me an opportunity to travel to just about every European country. After I graduated from college I went back to visit them, followed by backpacking around Norway and Sweden. I met a Norwegian family and spent part of the summer painting their houses in exchange for room and board. Those were some of the best experiences of my life!

My Gillette Story by Whitney Feidt, Brynn’s Mom

Posted On: 06/05/2014

On August 23, 2013, the first glimpse of our daughter Brynn brought tears of love and worry. To our complete surprise, Brynn was born with a unilateral complete cleft lip and palate. As we held our sweet girl, our hearts overflowed with emotions. We were finally had the baby we had dreamed of—but we questioned what life was going to be like for her.  

Sitting in the hospital room with Brynn wasn’t what I had thought it would be like or what I had planned on. I didn’t want visitors, I didn’t know what to tell people when they asked, and I didn’t want to share the first photos of my baby girl. To us she was beautiful and perfect. But the thought of what others would think consumed me with worry and anxiety.

The first week at home was very challenging as we battled feeding issues. At ten days old, Brynn had her first appointment with a wonderful team of doctors at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. The day was filled with countless appointments. It was a long, emotional day and we were overload with information but we were willing to do whatever it took. In the end, all of our questions and worries were put to ease.

We spent countless hours at Gillette with Brynn during her first six months preparing her for surgery. We went to our weekly orthodontic appointments with Cheryl Anderson-Cermin, D.D.S to address a number of issues. This included being fitted for the Gillette OrthoCleft® retainer, a presurgical device that results in improved outcomes when worn in the months before surgery.  We also saw a feeding nurse, an audiologist, and an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist.  In December, 2013, pediatric craniofacial surgeon Robert Wood, M.D. performed Brynn’s lip repair surgery and did an incredible job. I knew then that all the time, stress and appointments were worth every second.

Although Brynn’s journey was overwhelming at times, it led us to a beautiful destination. We created Brynn’s Smile Box Foundation in the hopes that we can help other families whose babies are born with a cleft lip or palate. Brynn’s Smile Box gives families a convenient box to hold all the supplies needed while their child is using an OrthoCleft retainer, along with a flashlight, scissors, toothbrush and a gift card to Gingko Café, which is located right inside Gillette. We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for Brynn’s Smile Box!

Meet Us Monday - Joel Tomlinson, Reimbursement Analyst

Posted On: 05/30/2014

1. What is your position and role at Gillette? I’m a Reimbursement Analyst at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare. I started working here in April 2004.

2. What are some of your hobbies outside of work?  My family and I like to spend time in our backyard and pool during the summer, bringing my son to the driving range, going out to eat, and watching movies. This winter we spent a weekend at a waterpark and had a great time so we decided to book another weekend.

3. Do you have any children or pets? I have a stepson Ryan, stepdaughter Randi, and son Hunter.  We also have two dogs named Deuce and Molly.  Deuce is a 90 lb. yellow lab who thinks he’s a lap dog.  Molly is a 12 lb. dog who likes to chew on Deuce’s leg.

4. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Anywhere that doesn’t have snow!  Someday I would like to spend a month traveling around Europe.

5. What is one fun fact about you?  I like to put together puzzles and balance my checkbook…but doesn’t everyone?

Lady Gaga’s Surprise Visit to Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare!

Posted On: 05/29/2014

Last Thursday began as an ordinary day for patients and employees at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.  But by the end of the day, it became one they’d never forget.

So how did Lady Gaga connect with Gillette? The background story is just as amazing as the visit itself!  Last year, Gaga befriended Gillette patient Emma Carroll, 20, after she reached out by sending the pop star a letter.  During her concert last Wednesday, Gaga recognized her friend publicly:

“I met Emma at the St. Paul show a year ago…she was a fan who needed me, but I had no idea how much I needed her. So, thank you, Emma, for inspiring me every day with everything you do. Emma has been in a wheelchair her whole life, and she has a better attitude than 99 percent of the people I know.”

The next day, Gaga surprised Emma—and everyone at Gillette—by paying an unexpected visit before her tour bus departed later that evening.  Gaga visited one-on-one with every inpatient and their family, sharing inspirational words, hugs, and even a cappella renditions of her hit song ‘Born This Way.’ 

In addition to touching the lives of dozens of patients with her kindness and compassion, Gaga also showed her support for Gillette’s CurePity® movement by signing the CurePity pledge (see photo – Gaga is pictured with Gillette CEO Barbara Joers and Emma).  CurePity is Gillette’s commitment to moving attitudes away from pity, and towards acceptance, of all people who have disabilities.  It’s a mission that echoes that of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, which similarly encourages acceptance and empowerment.

We’re ecstatic to have Lady Gaga’s support of our CurePity movement—and incredibly grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our patients. 

Click here to join Lady Gaga in signing the CurePity pledge!

Volunteer Perspective- An Interview with Taylor Piepenhagen

Posted On: 05/27/2014

Taylor Piepenhagen (left), pictured with mom Kristina, while dropping off donations.

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself? I am an honor roll student in my junior year of high school. I am an editor of the yearbook and I work at Walgreen's.

Q: What made you want to volunteer at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare? I was sitting in the car last summer going to the mall with my mom. She was talking, but I was in my own world!  I was thinking about how I want to make a difference. I feel like people get so caught up in life stressors that they don't have perspective outside of their immediate life.

Q: How did you turn that revelation into action? I started a business with the help of my mom called Pretty in Pink Tutus and More. For every item sold including tutus, hair accessories, blankets, and burb rags, I decided I would donate two items. This is something close to my heart. I am putting my own money into this in order to put a smile on children’s and families’ faces. I want them to know people care about them.

Q: How did you select Gillette as your donation spot? When it came closer to donation time, I didn't really have to research what hospital I wanted! Gillette instantly came to mind. Plus it’s a local hospital, and that was really important to me.

Q: What was the donation experience like for you? Life changing- I can’t wait to go back with even more things!

Do you want to get involved at Gillette? Learn how by clicking here.



Meet Us Monday- Kevin Murphy, M.D., Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine Physician & Veteran

Posted On: 05/23/2014

This week we feature one of our many employees who have served our country.  Kevin Murphy, M.D., served for 24 years in the Minnesota National Guard; division surgeon for the 34th Infantry Red Bull and served four combat tours in Iraq.

1. What is your position and role at Gillette? I am the Medical Director Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare’s Northern Minnesota Clinics and a pediatric and adult rehabilitation physician providing lifetime care to people of all ages with childhood onset conditions.

2. Do you have a favorite memory? Driving through the Red Lake Indian Reservation in the middle of January; white out conditions, zero visibility, in route to our Roseau outreach clinic. Our team of nurses, medical assistants, orthotists, and equipment specialists were all in the same convoy essentially "bumper to bumper".  We could not see the road so we had to drive just between the telephone poles and hope to stay on the pavement.  It was then I realized what a dedicated team of professionals the Gillette outreach staff is and the wonderful organization of which we all are blessed to be employed! 

3. What are some of your hobbies outside of work? Martial arts and scuba diving (especially in Lake Superior).

4. Do you have any children or pets? Four children; two are adopted from Haiti and two are natural born. I also have two beautiful dogs (black labs); Kelly and Shannon.

5. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? I would go and visit my roots in Ireland. 

6. What is one fun fact about you? I can look too serious at times but I am anything but!

Meet Us Monday- Tara Swedberg, United Cerebral Palsy Associate

Posted On: 05/19/2014

1. What is your position and role at Gillette? I am a United Cerebral Palsy of Minnesota (UCP) Associate. Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare became the affiliate for UCP MN in late 2012 and I started working for Gillette Children’s/UCP MN in January 2013. I have enjoyed working on many projects, educational programs, websites and the first Pedal in Place fundraiser for UCP MN. My greatest joy is being able to help patients and families with their questions or needs.

2. What are some of your hobbies outside of work? When I am not running children from point A to B I enjoy spending time with family and my “girl’s days!”

3. Do you have any children or pets? I have three children, ages 15, 12 and 10 and two dogs. My middle son, Logan, has been a patient at Gillette Children’s since birth. Last year he was involved with the CurePity campaign!

4. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? I have always wanted to go to Australia and New Zealand.

5. What is one fun fact about you? I danced (tap, ballet, toe and jazz) for over 18 years, and now enjoy watching my daughter share the same love of dance.

Event Recap: Minnesota Twins Hope Week Pizza Party

Posted On: 05/15/2014

It was a beautiful day in Minneapolis when Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare families entered Target Field ready for lunch and a chance to meet their favorite athletes. Twins first baseman Joe Mauer greeted the crowd alongside teammates Chris Colabello, Jason Kubel, Eduardo Escobar, Kyle Gibson, Chris Parmelee, Trevor Plouffe, and Michael Tonkinmad. The rest of the afternoon was filled with photos, chatting, autograph signing and playing corn hole. There was even a special appearance by TC Bear! It was a memorable day filled with laughter and smiles!

Click here to see event photos and videos on our Facebook page.

My Gillette Story by Emilie Anderson, Nolan’s Mom

Posted On: 05/14/2014

Nolan's FamilyNolan is our 6-year-old energizer bunny. He is outgoing, loving and has as much energy as 10 people. His big blue eyes instantly draw you in and his enduring personality ensures that people remember Nolan long after he leaves a room.

A couple of years ago Nolan started having behavioral issues paired with leg and back pain. After being pushed from one doctor to another, none of whom could find anything wrong with Nolan, I finally asked for a referral to see a neurologist at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. We were referred to Jennifer Maytum, a pediatric nurse practitioner specializing in neurology.   

Jennifer was amazing. I cried as I told her of our year-long struggle, and that I knew something was wrong with my child, but that no one would listen. She said she would listen and she did. She scheduled Nolan to have a sleep study and an MRI which showed that he had Chiari Malformation and a tethered spinal cord. Finally an answer was found for my child!

Following that appointment, we received a referral to Dr. Peter Kim, a pediatric neurosurgeon who has been my son’s life saver. This past December, he operated on Nolan and released his tethered spinal cord and performed posterior fossa decompression surgery for Nolan’s Chiari Malformation. About a week after the surgery Nolan developed hydrocephalus. Dr. Kim immediately implanted a ventriculoperitoneal shunt to save his life.

Dr. Kim has been nothing but the best, and I wouldn’t trust my child with anyone but him and the Gillette Children’s team! I thank God every day that places like this exist for sick kids and their families. We are so lucky to live close to a facility as amazing as Gillette that makes these terrifying experiences a little easier to live through. Everyone from the front desk staff to the nurses to the surgeons to the people that work at the coffee shop are all absolutely wonderful.

My favorite memory from Gillette is all the alone time I got to spend with Nolan and all the fun and snuggles we got to share. The nurses and doctors at Gillette make it possible for you as a parent to totally be there for your child. You don’t have to worry about anything, and they make it so you are able to do everything you need to make your child happy and comfortable.

We are so proud of Nolan. He has taken this all in stride and has kept his head up and his personality through all of it. He never let any of this slow him down and he gets stronger every day!

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