I have been practicing Buddhism since 2005 ;(newbe) starting in 2006 I became a Vegetarian in attempt to be more compassionate towards all beings. I did feel much better as a result and even began to look at all beings in a different way, I then began to have health issues, digestive problems , acid reflex , severe stomach pains ect. To make a long story short after a year and a half of suffering and finally talking to a Homoeopathic doctor and others I discovered I had food intolerance to all forms of soy, Chick peas and beans (toxicity to my body). After stopping eating these and going back to eating chicken and fish I have began to recover from my illnesses. This was very tough for me at first because I felt I could not be the same compassionate person and it took time mentally to adjust....however I believe it is true that being a vegitararin does not make for a kind, compassionate heart as I have experience form others that are Vegetarian. So in my opinion if you can be vegetarian and maintain proper health you should, however eating meat mindfully should not discourage anybody from practicing Buddhism Deeply and without Guilt. I wish I had more time to explain and discuss.....Just work towards acts of Kindness and compassion.
It is my opinion, as deluded as it may be, that if you are able to, by means of environment, finances, health, etc., to eat a vegetarian diet that you should make an effort to do so because it is nonviolent. It took me many years to finally be able to give up meat and many tries, but finally I was able to make the connection between the meat on my plate and the suffering and sacrifice of the animal that died. Living in cattle country, I got the opportunity to get up close and personal with the animals that were being killed for my dinner. Having the means and the ability to eat a vegetarian diet, there was no reason for me to eat meat other than the selfish reason that I liked the way it tasted and the habit of doing so for my entire life. Now, I have found that when I do try to eat meat it makes me sick, so I just don't anymore. That is my experience. I know that others may not be able to do the same, but I would hope that they would try to respect and understand the sacrifice that has been made by the animal that died for them. They are sentient beings too. Again, this is just my opinion. What is yours?