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It’s a spaceman level of functionality, for people who fancy themselves as busy and self-caring as an astronaut

There are so many things that annoy me about protein shakes, it is amazing I’ve ever got one as far as my mouth. The packaging is heavily gendered, and the women’s ones all seem to talk about hormones, as if men’s hormones didn’t exist, and there always seems to be some subtle weight loss agenda to anything packaged in pink. They have names like The Slender Blend (though that one is actually yellow). There is a strong millennial tang of body-as-machine to the enterprise: “I put in, I pump out, I know exactly how everything works, I am purely self-sufficient and without needs from the external world.”

Yet if you want to exercise like a maniac, or even at all, you do need protein: a sedentary woman – let’s say she’s my age, though that’s not relevant – is recommended to eat about 0.8g of protein per kilo of bodyweight; an active one, 1.5g. When you exercise you destroy muscle cells; then, when you rebuild them, they’re larger, for which you need protein – and fast. Some argue that even the less active should be eating more protein, which would be easy if protein-y foods were entirely protein. But even the richest sources, such as chicken breast, are only a third protein. Meeting your quota entirely with food is doable, but quite an undertaking. I interviewed Panther the Gladiator once, who said that in the days before a body-building contest, she ate 18 chicken breasts every 24 hours, and this for some reason stayed with me for years, as a good reason not to be a bodybuilder.

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