Is Lance Armstrong Vegan?

He may have an intriguing sporting past, but is Lance Armstrong vegan? The answer is yes. Well, mostly. As a former athlete, he must know a thing or two about increasing energy levels, and staying in shape, hence the transition to his diet, Engine 2.

This is the name given to the plant-based, organic life that Armstrong has taken to so well. But why the switch and what difference has it made to his life?

When Did Lance Armstrong Become Vegan?

It was back in 2012 that Lance Armstrong revealed he had made a switch to a vegan lifestyle. Mostly saved for breakfast and lunch, it has made a huge difference to his energy levels.

He sticks to the principles of the Engine 2 diet. It was popularized after the “Forks Over Knives” documentary that saw many people switch to vegan, the Engine diet appealed to the former Tour de France winner. 

The documentary features Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, President Clinton’s former Doctor. It is his son, Rip, who created the Engine 2 Diet. As a firefighter, he was intent on finding a way to keep his colleagues healthy, with increased energy. Enter, Engine 2. 

How does this link to Lance Armstrong becoming vegan? Well Esselstyn, a triathlete himself, is his swimming partner. He shared the details of the diet and must have seen something in the logic. 

When interviewed by the Huffington Post, he said:

“Even when you’re training hard, it’s normal that you would have certain things for lunch or certain things for breakfast, and then have this drip, or almost like a food coma. I don’t experience that anymore. My energy level has never been this consistent, and not just consistent, but high.”

With a world-class athlete who continues to cycle and stay in shape saying that a vegan diet has increased his energy levels, it must be encouraging to many others. He has commented on the easier ways to maintain the diet, saying breakfast is easier as you can take most of what you want with you when you travel. 

He was asked if the lifestyle was sustainable:

“It’s hard when you get on the road, of course. I mean, you walk out that door and breakfast is sitting there. None of that [Muffins, croissants, and the likes] is on the Engine 2 diet, so it gets harder and harder. But you can travel with stuff.”

It seems his struggles are the same as anyone else’s, yet he manages to keep it up. Although he doesn’t follow the lifestyle at dinner, this was seen as a positive move by many.

The plan has been called a “vegan until 6” approach where he can eat what he chooses for his final meal of the day. The benefits seem to be increased energy which is one of the main reasons many make the switch.

The quality of the food must help. Eating 100% organic is not an option for everyone, but the benefits translate particularly well for endurance athletes like Armstrong and Rip Esselstyn. Eating whole grains, kale, and legumes is always going to work wonders for that get-up and go.

The diet involves a shift to unprocessed plant-based foods. It should be low fat with no vegetable oils. Consuming nuts, vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, and seeds are all part of what increases energy, without the crash. It isn’t designed for weight loss, rather improving well-being. 


The testicular cancer survivor has noticed many positive changes in how he feels. The Engine 2 diet has not only increased his energy levels but his mental clarity which is difficult to achieve otherwise.

Armstrong made the switch many years ago, but the fact that he maintains the lifestyle to this day is a testament to the benefits of a vegan diet.

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