The recruit system in gold was intended to make the battle results more significant. So you'll have to be more careful with your units as it takes longer for you to recover from losses but it also means when you defeat the enemy they are down for much longer.
A few tricks that you might find helpful: units can now leave their home as long as they have at least 1 guy so your phalangites aren't stuck there. Also, you can change a unit's home city to one that has more recruits available. Finally, large cities generate recruits much faster than smaller ones so you may want to base your larger units in city's like pella (after you settle it with migrants).