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It Takes A Village, Meet Yours: Our Chat with beSPICED

Written by Aimee Blinder, CFM Committee Member

In our new interview series, It Takes A Village, Meet Yours, we take time out to meet with a variety of our cherished vendors where they share interesting and fun perspectives on their lives.

Today’s spotlight is on Sapna Punjabi-Gupta of beSPICED. Offering a rich tapestry of blended healing modalities and traditions, Sapna’s journey and passion shines through in our recent virtual sit down. We had a wonderful time with Sapna enjoying the way that she brilliantly and effortlessly illustrates the lushness of our community’s cultural diversity.

Where were you born and raised? “I was born in Mumbai, India (formerly Bombay) and I came to the US in 1998 to pursue my master’s degree in Nutrition from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.” And to her surprise this is where she would also meet her future husband. After marrying, his work brought them to the Dallas areas in 2001 where they would happily welcome their son & daughter and also became US citizens.

Sapna’s market day table. Photo by Abigail Paxton Photography.

What does Texas pride mean to you? Sapna shared, “I am a proud Texan. When I travel throughout the world, I enjoy sharing how diverse & welcoming Texas really is and helping to change any engrained stereotypes. This is home.”

Is there a particular family tradition that stands out in your life? I could hear Sapna smiling when she shared “Coming from Indian origin, we have many festivals. Being in the US we keep those traditions very much alive to help our children connect with their roots and to also welcome our friends and community into these celebrations.” Of all of the annual celebrations Sapna’s absolute favorite is the Festival of Lord Ganesha (the symbol of wisdom, prosperity, and good fortune), which is an eleven-day celebration that takes place in late summer/early fall, overflowing with the joy of food, beauty, and life. Each year her home welcomes friends from all faiths that gather together to celebrate this multi-day celebration. Sapna said it’s easily one of the busiest times in her kitchen, but also the most joyful.

What do you enjoy most about being part of CFM? Without hesitation Sapna shared, “Oh my goodness, I have found it to be such a welcoming place. It has become such an extended family. Being able to see your friends and neighbors enjoy your products is so fulfilling. The credit goes to the CFM committee in having such a great demeanor and energy. Being part of CFM really has invigorated me.” Sapna and her husband both agree it’s a highlight in their week to be immersed within their community at CFM.

Sapna and her husband, Saurabh, on a market day. Photograph by Abigail Paxton Photography.

What does it mean to be able to serve the community directly? For Sapna it is a true honor to connect to her local community giving them a touch of her culture while also sharing her wellness techniques.

What is your proudest moment so far in regard to your business? As the founder and sole proprietor of beSPICED Sapna says “I feel privileged to live my dream. I get to write my own journey and create my own path. Marrying my Indian roots with my Western nutritional training.” And given the clear divinity and ever-present joy in her pursuits, it’s no coincidence that Sapna means dream.

Do you have a nickname and if so what’s the story? A woman after my own heart, Sapna laughed and said “My friends and family call me Shopna due to my love of shopping, especially when I go back to India for a visit.” Her husband knows when to step aside and let her do her thing. And a wise man he is.

Masala Dabba Spice Box and the various products beSPICED sells on a market day. Photo by Abigail Paxton Photography.

What is your true north star in life, or a motto you live by? Sapna has complete clarity here, “Don’t be bland in life, be spiced, that really is my motto. It’s not just about food, it’s about living a colorful, diverse life.”

What is something you are really good at that would surprise most folks? Tying into the Shopna nickname, Sapna says “Yes it’s true, I’m a sari hoarder, I collect hand woven saris. I currently have more than 150.” On occasion she is known to share some of her favorites on her Instagram account @be.spiced and it truly is an artistic collection to behold.

Of your peer vendors, what is one of your favorite foods to get at CFM? Here Sapna reconnects with the importance of certain foods culturally, “Fresh milk is a very special and holy ingredient from an Indian cultural perspective. Having access to non-homogenized farm-based milk from Jersey Girls is such a blessing. I grew up with this type of milk and it’s so joyous.”

Do you have any pets that serve as a helper or companion in your daily curating? Sapna shared that although they don’t have any pets at this time, her children definitely serve as her beloved sidekicks and helpers. And they also both really want a puppy, but the family is holding off on that addition until they have a commercial kitchen.

If you could have any performer in the world come and sing at CFM one beautiful summer Saturday, who would it be and what song would you want to hear? “If we could have a Bollywood day with music, drums, and a DJ I’d love that!” You can bet one of her favorite prized saris would be on full display and much dancing would be had.

Sapna and her signature Turmeric Churna spice blend. Photo by Abigail Paxton Photography.

If you set out on a camping trip and could only bring 3 provisions from your offering, what would you bring and why? For Sapna this was easy, because she already carries these items everywhere “Turmeric Churna because it’s a medicinal yet warm drink, a bag of my Indian spiced nuts for a snack, and finally my Mukhwas because it’s a nice sweet treat. I know with those three things we could survive!”

If all of the CFM vendors were part of a band, what instrument would you want to play? Sapna shared she always wanted to play the flute, so for the CFM band she’d either play the flute or the violin. Her son also happens to be a flutist and she adores listening to him play.

If I could grant you a superhero power what would it be? “If I could feed every single hungry child in the world, that would be my super power.” And I think we can all agree that would most definitely be a worthy super power indeed.

In one moment if you could only choose cheese, chocolate, or coffee, which would it be? Laughing Sapna said, “That’s very, very easy it’s chocolate. I can be bribed with good dark chocolate!”

For summertime, pools or lakes? For Sapna she actually always prefers the beauty of mountains if given a choice of outdoor experiences.

For fall, apple cider or pumpkin spice? In all that she does spice is so connected, so it would be her version of apple cider, but further enhanced with her chai spice, a bit of extra cinnamon, and a hint of citrus. We’ll bring our own mugs, because that sounds delicious!

If you could raise any baby animal, what would it be? In a nod to Ganesha, she shared “I would love, love to have a baby elephant.” We’ll look into the Coppell city ordinances, because we’d all love for Sapna to have a baby elephant too!

What time of day is your most productive golden hour and why? “I’m most productive when my home is quiet late at night. Even though it’s not totally aligned with Ayurveda ways, I find I’m most creative after 11 PM.”

We hope you enjoyed your special spiced time with Sapna, we sure did. For more information about Sapna’s unique & health forward wellness offering with beSPICED you can visit her website at bespiced.com or come say hello during an upcoming visit to the Market.

Most recently she has also added a series of virtual cooking classes to help you expand your culinary horizons by enjoying some savory dishes, while also having a great time (information is available from her website). And if you sign-up for one of her classes and wear your favorite sari, you’re sure to get the Spicey Student of the Day Award!

The Coppell Farmers Market provides groceries year-round and vendors are vetted to ensure they make and grow what they sell, so shoppers can be confident in the quality they receive! We’re asking shoppers to adhere to certain safety precautions, like practicing physical distancing and wearing masks, during this time. Please be familiar with these guidelines prior to attending.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are accepted at the Coppell Farmers Market. 

The market is located at 768 W. Main St. in Old Town Coppell. Open 8am-noon every Saturday.

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