the Spirit of Mahatma Gandhi lives through every nonviolent action
My own finding is that first and foremost action in nonviolence (Ahimsa) is the personal aspect of turning to become a vegetarian.
It is kind-of easy if not other-intentional to be non violent with other people since the police and popular society support the non violence of the people in every population.
When one truly becomes a true votary then it must be on a personal basis being one person doing the one thing and what we put into our mouth is surely as personal as it gets.
The animal kingdom is the most vulnerable and innocent and defenseless and humanity is their worst of enemies.
In the Christian and Hebrew Bible is tells of animal sacrifices as a sin-offering, and the point was that the people would see their sins as harmful but instead the people cared nothing about the animal being sacrificed - so this prompted the famous Bible words that God wants "mercy and not sacrifice", Hosea 6:6 link HERE , and Jesus repeated this in Matthew 12:7 link HERE .
God does not expect that people simply stop killing animals but that we have mercy on the animal and then stop killing based on that mercy, and that would be real Ahimsa.
For much of the world, vegetarianism is largely a matter of economics: Meat costs a lot more than, say, beans or rice, so meat becomes a special-occasion dish (if it's eaten at all). Even where meat is more plentiful, it's still used in moderation, often providing a side note to a meal rather than taking center stage.
In countries like the United States where meat is not as expensive, though, people choose to be vegetarians for reasons other than cost. Parental preferences, religious or other beliefs, and health issues are among the most common reasons for choosing to be a vegetarian. Many people choose a vegetarian diet out of concern over animal rights or the environment. And lots of people choosing nonviolence in their life style have the best motivation for choosing vegetarianism.
I expect Gandhian people in India to be vegetarian as I know the Hindu religion is primarily vegetarian.
I would even say that poor people who are vegetarian because of their restricted economics are in that way blessed of God while the poor do not see it that way.
I am in the USA and animal meat is rather inexpensive and readily available, and I turned vegetarian for religious reason to be non violent but that idea first came to me after reading Gandhi's autobiography.
Here in the USA there is much talk and advice for vegetarian based on our own health and I find this as not a great way for becoming a vegetarian. It is better then nothing which is not saying much. When it is done for one's own health then it is not Ahimsa / non violence because health reasons are fundamentally self serving and often selfish reasoning.
One must commit to vegetarian in regard to the animal or else it is not a non violent action.
In my opinion.
I understand what you say about turning vegetarian for better health is not a nonviolent choice, but, as you say, it is a first step, better than nothing. I think that after the detoxication of the body, the mind becomes more clear and open to understand the other motivations... we all come from different directions but meet as brothers and sisters in the center, which is "awaken human consciousness"...
In the late 70's I had open a vegetarian restaurant in my home town in norther Italy an we were promoting organic/vegetarian/macrobiotic nutrition with a wide range of motivations, so that every one would find their own.. what was important to us was that they could move out of habits and mental frames and be open to start a new path of conscious choices....
Really, It is matter of feelings. You can feel power of Ahimsa by feeling on specific way. This artical is very nice.