By Lyndsey Hafer-Williams
Just recently, in the space of a couple days, the following things occurred:
A dear friend called me up and we chatted for a bit about her new boyfriend and all the things she was hoping for with this new love…
I walked to the mailbox and mailed a get well card to a sweet friend who is out of town and had sprained his ankle…
A text came in from another friend saying that she and her husband had joined a local hiking group and wondered if my wife and I were interested…
I received a Facebook message from a delightful friend sporting her latest thrift store find and asking if I wanted to go with her the next time she checked out the local stores…
I sent a group Facebook message to my favorite six couples with details regarding an anniversary party that I am throwing for our mutual friends next month…
Another friend dropped by my house, picked me up, and we went to a local apple orchard to buy apples and eat vegan apple cider donuts…
Another text came in from a treasured friend – an accountability partner, to check on me and encourage me with Lighten Up and maintaining my health and fitness goals…
I sent a crazy selfie (from the toilet, no less!) to a hilarious friend, who I knew would respond right back, with one of her own to make me laugh…
All of these things happened, because I have found the most wonderful, good-hearted, supportive local Dirty community, and I did it through Dirty Dates!
Dirty Dates by Clean Food Dirty Girl (CFDG for short) was started in April of 2018 and has grown to over 3,000 members looking to find their own local Dirty Crew. The idea behind this group was simply to provide a place for local Dirties to find one another and connect in person. The concept was just to meet friends and hang out together, and hopefully, find support and encouragement with this Whole Food Plant Based No Oil way of eating.
My life has been forever changed by CFDG and the friendships that I have formed in my community because of it. Some of these folks I see on a monthly Dirty Date, but most all of my Asheville Crew (whom I met on various Dirty Dates) have become dear friends that I socialize with and cherish outside of our scheduled Dates.
At the beginning of this year, a precious Dirty friend knew how hard I was struggling with a bout of depression and weight gain. She inspired, motivated, and encouraged me to keep working towards my goals. We are now accountability partners on this journey to health and I wouldn’t want to live life without her.
In the spring, I got to travel to Italy with one of my best Dirty friends and her vegan tour group. It remains one of the greatest highlights of my life, and I never would have met her or had this phenomenal experience without CFDG Dirty Dates.
When I had thyroid surgery (and a cancer scare), a sweet Dirty friend came and sat with my wife at the hospital and kept her company for the entire six-hour procedure. She and her husband then sent a gorgeous arrangement of flowers on top of that beautiful kindness!
I have looked on with pride as my wildlife biologist wife taught and mentored two super-smart, pre-teen girls when we all gathered for a Dirty Date hike this summer. As we splashed around in a cold, mountain stream their parents/aunt watched this exchange, and I know we were all smiling as we thought of the future biologists and badass women being shaped by this interaction.
I have celebrated birthdays, attended baby showers, watched as friends were married, consoled when relationships fell apart, christened new homes, hosted my first Halloween party, enjoyed picnics and hikes, batched casseroles for the sick or injured, met for coffee and conversation, and experienced so much love and laughter it’s ridiculous!
Those of us who subscribe to the CFDG Plant Fueled Meal Plans chat back and forth about recipes and what we loved from the week’s plan. We eat at each other’s homes and enjoy sweet fellowship and a love that is absolutely treasured.
Anytime I need a real friend, all I have to do is reach out. I have so many to choose from, all because of this network of local Dirty connections, that my heart is constantly overflowing with gratitude!
But (for me) the single best thing to come out of Dirty Dates has been watching my sweet, introverted wife come out of her shell and bloom right before my eyes. Shy and quiet, she would rather be out in nature than around other people. But she’s said to me that it’s easy to be around our Dirty friends, because we all generally share the same basic values of kindness, respect, and non-judgement. No matter where we are on this path to eating more plants and less of everything else, we have found common ground in our love for life, for animals, and for our planet.
Dirty Dating has been so much fun since it started last year, and now Molly and Team Dirty are implementing some awesome changes so that even more people can experience what I have experienced with these Dirty Dates. This update will allow Dirties to continue forming a network of in-person friendships as well as fostering the exchange of local plant-powered information, events, and recommendations.
- Need a plant-based doc in your town?
- Want to meet up at a new vegan restaurant in your city?
- Can’t find Ume Plum Vinegar in your local grocery store?
- Want to let folks know about your town’s upcoming VegFest?
- Need restaurant recommendations (from locals!) while traveling?
- Are Dr. Greger and Dr. Esselstyn speaking at a conference in your city?
- Want to get together and watch “The Game Changers” on Netflix?
The Dirty Dates Facebook group is for helping you create friendships by connecting you with other Dirties in your community.
It is now also a place to post all things local and plant based!
You can ask your questions and get answers specific to your city and town and maybe even find a Dirty friend to go out with and enjoy a turmeric latte.
Check out the fab new changes!
Previously, only posts regarding the planning, scheduling, or advertising of official Dirty Dates were allowed. Now, any plant-focused question or event may be posted about your city or town with the intention of connecting, educating, or finding answers from local Dirties:
“I am in Rochester and I can’t locate brown rice vinegar. Who sells it in this area?”
“Vortex Donuts in Asheville has AMAZEBALL vegan options – check it out!”
“Fab new veggie food truck in downtown Houston – anyone want to meet up after work?”
Previously, only approved Organizers were allowed to create and hold CFDG Dirty Dates. Those already doing their thing and enjoying it can continue creating, scheduling, and corralling their Dirties into fun gatherings.
Now, anyone can connect and meet up in their city and there will be no need to wait for an organized event:
“Hi! I am in Atlanta and was wondering if anyone would like to meet at Herban Fix on Sunday for their sensational vegan brunch?”
“Calling all Raleigh Dirties! I just scheduled your next Dirty Date, check out the link and RSVP so I can get a head count for the restaurant!”
“I am new to Cincinnati and need some Dirty friends in my life! Anyone out there want to get together?”
Find out all the Dirty details here and discover local plant-powered community, camaraderie, and connection.
CFDG Dirty Dates enriched my life and filled it with beautiful, diverse friends from all backgrounds and walks of life. They bring me such immense pleasure, joy, and outrageous happiness…
Come join us and find your local Dirty Crew!
Here are some pictures of Dirty Dates from this past year!
Have you participated in a Dirty Date or do you want to meet up with Dirties in your town? Talk to us in the comments below and then read all the details here.
Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with finding your people.