Protein powder shakes are one of my pet peeves!!! I'm still researching creatine, so far it seems okay, but protein powders are not good in large amounts. Whey is sometimes okay if it's dehydrated, that can preserve the shape of the protein. But real, actual curds and whey is the bomb, really great stuff. Too bad it went out of fashion.
Here's the low-down on Protein Powders in general:
It's important to understand that proteins are very delicate shapes that are easily denatured, or misshapen. When this happens, the body is no longer entirely sure that they are food. See, proteins are not only food, they are also the building blocks for viruses, hormones, things like that. When the body is not sure what type of protein it is faced with or the enzymes cannot break it down because the shape is wrong, the protein stays in a large molecule shape that is eventually destroyed by microbes, causing fermentation, or is attacked by the immune system, causing allergic responses such as shortness of breath, acne, phlegm, pus and mucous.
When we eat protein naturally we get it in balance. It's always combined with fats or carbs. And we take time to CHEW it.
When we take a protein powder this isn't always the case. The fats it comes with are often rancid, the carbs are often simple carbs, such as pouring the powder into a sports drink or fruit juice. What this does is transport the proteins like a bomb very quickly to the liver without much digestion happening in the stomach or from saliva first.
This changes the chemistry of the body very quickly to an acid state, clogs the liver and kidneys, strips the body of water, oxygen, calcium and other essential base minerals. It's terrible, but many weight lifters have suffered with cirrhosis and kidney stones in their golden years because of the "great health" they had when they were working out.
One of the people I help was so weakened by his bodybuilding routine he came down with candida, parasites from contaminated sushi, adrenal fatigue, and lost 60 pounds. It's because of him and others like him that I wanted to include bodybuilding in this site and clear up some of the myths out there.
Because we know now that eggs do not contribute to serum cholesterol, the best protein shake is raw eggs. My protein shake recipe combines raw eggs, granulated lecithin, rice milk and a good oil, because protein + oil = lasting, powerful energy.
Even if you have to eat 4,000+ calories a day, try not to resort to shortcuts like meal replacement shakes or power bars (full of high fructose corn syrup, which is hard on the liver) very often. They really aren't doing you all that much good. Instead, eat fruit and nut bars, make your own sesame seed and raisin cookies in a food dehydrator, eat liver once a week, and get good at making real potroast with the bone left in. The gelatin from the bone is fantastic for increasing protein absorption and feeding cartilage.
Olympic atheletes in Aristotle's age would eat copious amounts of cream one week before the trials, and this is actually a great plan if you can handle dairy. Creme fraiche is a high-fat cream that's been fermented so it's easier to digest. A fruit smoothie with yogurt/kefir, an ounce or two of heavy cream or creme fraiche and raw eggs is a fantastic energy source. Jet fuel! Just try it out sometime, I guarantee your workout will feel better overall. Good fats like dairy fats carry more oxygen with them and make oxygen easier to utilize by the muscles and the liver, which is where the all-important Krebs Cycle takes place.
Hope that makes sense!