Chaitali Rede knows that there's no secret to a healthy lifestyle and that living life with vitality can be accessible with just a little bit of ancient knowledge and wisdom.

Rede, a nutritionist, will be introducing Ayurveda, the ancient and natural healing system of her native India during this month's Clayton Reads, part of the Contra Costa County Library's "One City, One Book" annual event that encourages a community to read and discuss the same book.

Rede will be talking about the holistic health concept that she learned from reading books by Vasant Lad, a foremost expert on Ayurveda.

"It's a completely different science," said Rede, a San Ramon resident.

She wants to let people know that they can heal a lot of common ailments by simply choosing the right foods for their body's constitution, which consists of body type to personality.

"It's a science on how to live your life fully," Rede said. "It's that deep. It goes back 5,000 years and helps you bring your mind, body and spirit in harmony.

Since senior community library manager Karen Hansen-Smith chose the novel "One Amazing Thing," by Indian-born Chitra Divakaruni for this year's Clayton Reads, she said the Indian-themed events planned for the community read, including Rede's talk about Ayurveda, fit in naturally.

"Food should be treated with respect and shouldn't be grabbed along the way," said Rede, who has conducted workshops on grocery shopping, cooking and eating healthy foods.


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Hansen-Smith said Clayton Reads events include "Henna for Teens," and a yoga presentation as well as book discussions on Divakaruni's novel that takes place in an Indian consulate in an unnamed American city.

The library will begin giving away free copies of the book Oct. 15, and the library staff encourages patrons to pass the book along to someone else once they've finished reading it.

Hansen-Smith said she thinks the novel by Divakaruni, also the author of acclaimed "The Mistress of Spices," and former Bay Area resident who now lives in Houston, is an ideal book for the community read at this time because of its universal themes of diversity, survival and acceptance.

"The story is about how these people cope with being trapped after an earthquake and how they're able to combine resources," Hansen-Smith said.

With Indian Americans becoming one of the fastest-growing ethnic groups in the Bay Area today, Hansen-Smith said, there's widespread interest in a culture and cuisine that's gone mainstream.

"It's a fascinating book," she said. "You get captivated by how people act in this situation and sucked in by a really good story."

Leading up to Clayton Reads and during the rest of the month of October, the exhibit, "Growing Up Asian in America" is also on view at the library. The exhibit shows the winning students of the 2012 essay, poem and artwork contest for K-12 students in the San Francisco Bay Area, a program of the Asian Pacific Fund, Hansen-Smith said.

One city, one book
WHAT: Clayton Reads
WHEN: Oct. 15-Nov. 15
WHERE: Clayton Community Library, 6125 Clayton Road
INFORMATION: For more information about the programs, pick up a flier at the library, visit http://guides.ccclib.org/onebook orhttp://www.claytonlibrary.org/