when to take protein/creatine

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I do not see the purpose in not taking it. I mean it is like 20 bux for 6 monthes worth. You cannot get a better deal than that.
I would rather buy a nice, juicy steak than a bucket of creatine with my $20.
Well, I imagine that I am one of the few vegetarians on this forum, so I don't eat meat at all. I have not yet tried creatine, but it sounds like everyone thinks I ought to. I'm actually on a vegan diet and once I started counting nutrients I was shocked at how little protein and calories I was getting before starting to read this forum. Past experience, however, had already shown me that I was going to gain very little muscle from training without some protein augmentation (shakes).
''I do not see the purpose in not taking it. I mean it is like 20 bux for 6 monthes worth. You cannot get a better deal than that''

If my creatine stores are saturated, then there is literally NO point in taking it.
This article says that creatine is altered in cooking Cooking Creatine.  Despite the fact that it is from a Weider publication, it sounds plausible.  But if that is the fact, wouldn't cooking meat have the same effect?
That is what I was wondering. If it breaks down when cooked, you won't get the creatine from your steak. I think I will keep taking my creatine for now.
<div></div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">A: The short answer is yes, he's right. And since he's a FLEX reader, that doesn't surprise me. The truth is that baking creatine or exposing it to moderate heat will destroy the supplement.</div>Funny, most of the earlier studies done on monohydrate used either hot tea or coffee and they still showed creatine content increasing so obviously moderate heat does not destroy it.
Ok, haven't read all the studies referenced above, and maybe I've missed something. However, when last I tried to read up on Creatine, I thought that 5gms / day was enough to saturate the muscles (over about a month, sooner if you load with higher amounts). Once saturated, continuing to consume about 5gm/day will keep the muscles full of all the creatine they can hold.

As I recall, you only have to eat about 2lbs of raw meat a day to get this amount. I thought that at least some was destroyed in cooking, so consuming cooked meat will provide some, but the amount was uncertain. My conclusion is that those who eat 2lbs of raw meat / day can indeed stop wasting money on creatine. Yum, yum...not!

Is this wrong? If not, I think it premature to stop taking it just because you have some meat in your diet.
It's a good idea to keep taking it just to be safe. All these athletes over the years have had benefit from creatine, despite being on high protein diets... how much red meat do you actually eat in a day? I probably eat a lot, and I still have been supplementing with creatine just to be sure. You might as well, it's just about the only legal supplement proven to work by studies and it's almost as cheap as dirt. It's surely cheaper than eating two pounds or more of meat per day.
There is a thread  Creatine Thread over at bodybuilding.com  (yeah, I know, don't trust everything you read there) that discusses this issue.  Some quotes:

&quot;Heating any amine (-NH2 group) containing molecule generally denatures it. Since creatine's structure is: (NH2)CN(CH3)CH2CO2.H2O, the same potential for denaturing exists&quot;
&quot;Creatine denatures at high tempertaures. Its ok to mix it in something that is hot enough to drink without burns&quot;
&quot;Creatine will begin to denature at about 45 - 50 degrees C&quot;

On the other hand:

&quot;As a result of this poor solubility, when the creatine gets to your gastrointestinal tract, the body tries to solubilize it...[or it] will just sit around in the pit of your stomach in powder form and eventually pass right out of you. So what the body does to remedy this is to suck fluids out of the cells of the digestive organs in order to provide enough fluid to dissolve the creatine. But...all this fluid that's sucked into the GI tract needs to quickly be eliminated and this leads to diarrhea. So in solubilizing your creatine, the GI causes some nasty bathroom situations...[and] a lot of the creatine is lost during such porcelain episodes.
&quot;So what are some solutions? The first is to dissolve your creatine in a warm beverage. By doing so... the creatine is solubilized. And when consumed, it can be absorbed much more effectively without all the GI distress... Warm coffee, tea, or even just warm water will do just fine.&quot;

&quot;Remember that your body temperature is 37 degrees C. Once you throw creatine into your stomach with fluid at room temperature it will heat up relativly fast as it passes through the intestine. Thus enhancing the solubility.&quot;

Remember, this is info from the web, so draw your own conclusions.  
 It would appear, however, from this and what Dan pointed out that dissolving in a warm (not hot) fluid is ok and may even be beneficial.  Cooking may denature it, but studies typically show meat-eaters to have higher levels than vegetarians, so at least some of the creatine is surviving cooking.
Hey, thanks for that info, maybe thats why they dissolved it with coffee in the study?

I have to say, I have never exerienced a side affect with creatine, apart from increased muscle size!
Creatine gives me explosive ****-ass if taken improperly.  I have found that I can tolerate it only if I eat a solid meal before taking it.  I have successfully taken several 4g doses with solid food.  I am trying a 6g dose tonight.  Yeah I know I wont need that much but I am trying to load up fast and see how far I can push it.  A high GI carb protein shake wont work for me.  I used to get stomach cramps and bloating like crazy on even a 2g dose.  Taking it before a workout is not happening for me.  I have never tried taking it while completely in solution.  I will definitely have to try that out.  I am not sure why taking it with solid food works.  My hypothesis is that it may slow down the absorption and instead of yanking water from the digestive lining its grabbing it from the food and water I take.  Maybe the fats in the food are contributing to its solubility.

However, I still get righteous amounts of gas, which is fun, but since my stomach isnt upset its rather non-smelly. Before it was death incarnate.
I have never had a problem with pure creatine monohydrate by Dymatize. I bought a 1100g can and have been using it since july.

One question....Is it really necissary to cycle with creatine?
(Cova @ Dec. 12 2006,06:45)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">One question....Is it really necissary to cycle with creatine?</div>
short answer
there is no such need
Side note: as a creatine nonresponder (like 30% of us) I took to eating copious amounts of red meat. My blood tests showed my creatine/albumin levels and all associated with it were fine, but my bad (ldl) cholesterol was too high, so now I'm off the beef and cheese for a while.
A lot can go wrong with high cholesterol.
I hardly ever consume dairy, cut out cheese and anything else that isn't directly milk, and cut out the dirty meats: pork, ham, lamb(kinda).
(Cova @ Dec. 12 2006,13:04)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">dirty meats</div>

I don't typically roll my food in mud, so my pork aint dirty.
Haha good point. I will say that the pork-chops arent bad....mainly the tenderloins.

One thing everybody should make sure of is that if you buy already seasoned/marinated meats, make sure it doesn't have stuff like HFCS or other similar things that makeup the average american's diet. I love how you use the term mud, i am assuming you are refering the mud to these substances I mentioned.